April 15 Dallas Season Finale Recap: “Guilt by Association” & “Legacies”

Dallas finally puts nagging questions from the past to rest and sets the stage for a new season of family strife during the two-hour season finale, which answered the question: Who Killed J.R.? The Ewings mobilize for a final showdown with Cliff Barnes and his accomplices Harris and Governor McConaughay. Cliff gleefully prepares to dump the Ewings’ belongings into the street as he makes himself at home at Ewing Energies, unaware that his daughter is flying back from Las Vegas as Mrs. John Ross Ewing. When the Ewings discover Cliff’s airplane was documented as having been in Nuevo Laredo the night that J.R. was killed, Bobby tells Bum it’s time to put the final phase of J.R.’s masterpiece plan into motion. Evidence against Cliff mounts when Ronda Simmons, the woman who met with J.R. during his final nights in Mexico, visits Southfork and recognizes a photo of Cliff that Pamela shows her. John Ross is foaming at the mouth to nail Cliff but Bobby tells him it’s Christopher’s turn to secure shares of Barnes Global through another Pamela who was beloved by Cliff. In Zurich, Chris has a hard time making good on Bobby’s strategy. He shows up at his mother’s home and confronts Dr. David Gordon, Pam’s new husband. He’s devastated when Dr. Gordon tells him Pam left Dallas and her family behind on purpose and wants nothing to do with her son. Although Elena is a comfort to him at first, Christopher turns on her when he dials a number on her cell phone and Drew picks up. Chris tells Elena he can never trust her again and orders her out of his life. Back in Dallas, John Ross works with Pam to advance the plot against her father. The two go into Cliff’s safe deposit box and plant a replica of J.R.’s signature belt buckle as further evidence that he was in Mexico the night J.R. was murdered. While rifling through Cliff’s possessions, Pamela discovers a death certificate from Abu Dabi listing the deceased as Pamela Ewing! Christopher learns the awful truth during his second skirmish with Dr. Gordon and a disguised woman who turns out to be the nurse who took care of Pam when the doctor was treating her after her disfiguring car accident of 1987. When Chris threatens to call the police, Dr. Gordon reveals that Pam had discovered she had pancreatic cancer and chose not to reveal her condition to Bobby and their son. Cliff had been paying them for their silence so he could maintain control over Pam’s shares of Barnes Global. They turn over her will to a sobbing Christopher, who has no choice but to mourn the end of his (and Dallas fans’) hopes that Pamela Jean Barnes Ewing would ever return. While John Ross and Pamela close in on Cliff, Sue Ellen targets Governor McConaghey. She tracks down Ken Richards in the Cayman Islands, with Bum’s help, and forces him to turn over evidence against the governor or she’ll unearth some shady facts about Ken’s son’s company that Ken had swept under a rug and the governor was blackmailing him about. Taking a final meeting with McConaghey, Sue Ellen relishes confronting the governor with the evidence she has and calls his bluff when he threatens to bring down Ken. Sue Ellen, as J.R. would no doubt be proud to know, doesn’t care if her old friend has to pay a price for her getting the Ewing land back from the Texas government. The gloves are off! The next target on the Ewings’ list is Harris and they send drugged out Emma in as a Trojan horse, returning home to beg for leniency and a fresh supply of tranquilizers. While Emma tries to get evidence against her father from within, her ex Drew is setting up Roy Vickers to get arrested for possession of drugs with which the ladies’ shoes in the Ryland Transport trucks are coated. Now that puts a whole new spin on the term shoe addiction! Cliff panics when Vickers is arrested and orders a hit on him, but not before Pamela gets him to admit Cliff knew she and the Ewings were present on the rig when he ordered Vickers to detonate the bomb. Emma pretends to be glad Vickers is dead when it’s reported on the news and knocks her dad out with a cocktail of her pulverized meds. She breaks into his safe and finds a ledger detailing his meetings with the Mexican drug cartel. Visiting her dad later in jail, Emma assures Harris she’s exactly her daddy’s little girl. When Christopher returns from Zurich, the Ewings quickly wave away any time to mourn the finality of his mother’s fate and plan their ultimate sting on Cliff. Bobby show’s them the gun that J.R. had Bum deliver to Bobby and Pamela recognizes it as Cliff’s. J.R.’s body is exhumed and bullet shrapnel in his chest matches Cliff’s gun. Pamela volunteers to lure Cliff back to Mexico so he can be within the jurisdiction of Mexican authorities. Flying down on the pretext of finishing some of Frank’s business, Pamela plants the gun in the car. She intercepts a frantic call from Cliff’s secretary and lets in the Ewings, who lower the boom on Barnes. Cliff protests that he’s being set up by J.R. from the grave, just like the good old days. When Bobby visits him in jail, he tells Cliff he’ll never know who really killed J.R. Emma and John Ross get busyAt J.R.’s grave, John Ross and Christopher confront Bobby and Bum and demand Bobby reveal the full contents of J.R.’s final letter to him. We learn that the trigger man was actually Bum, on the orders of J.R. himself, who had decided to end his life on his own terms after learning he had terminal cancer. J.R. confirmed in his own words to a teary Bobby how his scheming and jealousy over Ewing Oil all those years ago never meant that he didn’t love his little brother way down deep. As John Ross put it, in the end, only J.R. Ewing could take down J.R. Ewing. Down in Mexico, Cliff shows he still has a few tricks up his sleeves and reveals to Elena that J.R. had screwed her father out of the riches of his oil fields just like J.R.’s father Jock Ewing had done to Cliff’s dad Digger Barnes ages ago. Elena pays a visit to the mysterious Joaquin, a Ramos family member who may just help her launch a new blood feud with the Ewings! Back in Dallas, Sue Ellen asks John Ross to be good to his new wife but he’s too busy screwing his accomplice Emma to mind his mother. Like father, like son. See y’all next season!