The final scenes of the third episode of “Dallas," "The Price You Pay,” juxtapose a typical struggle within the series: the domestic versus the urban.
In one, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and his wife Ann (Brenda Strong) settle into their king-size bed, her rubbing in hand cream, him reflecting upon the predictably dastardly ways of brother JR. Cut to John Ross meeting with his private investigator (a wonderful character, right?) against the backdrop of neon-lit skyscrapers. Foreshadowing? Perhaps, as Bobby treasures his home life on Southfork, and John Ross equates success with money, just like his daddy.
JR was the predominant force in the episode, opening the show with a razor blade to his son's throat and later attempting to slice the ego of Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval, reprising his role as Ewing nemesis in a lawyer's suit) by telling him he's a mix of “brimstone and crazy.” Serious kudos to the writers for their dialogue, the best of which they offer to JR. And why not? Hagman has such fun with the role, delivering lines such as (to John Ross), "Nobody ever gives you power. Power is something you take,” with more conviction than Tony Robbins.
But when father and son aren't scheming to steal Southfork, the story arc flatlines. Christopher's (Jesse Metcalfe) search for alternative energy results in him staring at inanimate objects -- rocks, computer screens, etc. -- and his wife Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) is the most boring kind of grifter, one who trades action for a crumpled brow. A potential bright spot exists in her brother, who's pretty good at lurking around the ranch, and lurking is the stuff of good soaps.
We conclude the episode with John Ross discovering that Rebecca was the sender of the email that ended Christopher's prior engagement to Elena. (And the predictable promise of blackmail that brings.) Of course JR would never use email, but if he did, it would say something catchy like “you're drilling a dry hole." (Yes, another of his zingers from tonight.) As for Rebecca, well, you just know she uses way too many emoticons.