September 22 Dallas Season Finale Recap


Emma’s attempts to get free backfire badly.

The closing episode of Dallas’ third season brought back the time-honored concept of the cliffhanger, thankfully, as the Mexican cartel storyline came to an explosive conclusion and we learned that old J.R. left another Ewing heir out there somewhere. Considering the amount of bed-hopping he did in his prime during the show’s original run, is it any surprise to anyone that this twist would come up?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Luis gave Bobby the shocking news that only one of his hostages would be freed, for now, in return for arranging a diversionary freight train test at the U.S.-Mexican border to allow the cartel’s drug shipment to pass through unnoticed. Bobby promises Luis that he will track down every cartel member responsible should anything happen to his family and chooses Emma, knowing that that’s what Ann would want. When a car turns up at the drop-off spot and Bobby opens the trunk, he discovers that the cartel boss chose to keep the Ryland heiress and instead freed her mom. Back in Dallas, Judith Ryland if of course incensed by this turn of events. Luckily for her, John Ross, armed with the funds Nassar secured from the sheik thanks to Pamela’s charm and negotiating skills, has cooked up his own plan to rescue Emma so he shares with her the fact that Harris has been working with the CIA. John Ross asks Judith to set up a meeting for him with Luis. He hires a mercenary to provide back-up should his plan go awry while he’s in the lions’ den.

While the Ewings take turns trying to negotiate Emma’s release, she decides to take things into her own hands, with disastrous results. Noticing that one of Luis’ henchmen has taken a liking to her, she shifts into seductress mode, flirting with him and distracting him so she can swipe his pencil. Taking a bathroom break, Emma tries to pass a note she wrote to a little boy outside the house but can’t reach him through the bars on the bathroom window. The fellow she had been flirting with shows up and wonders what Emma would be willing to do to enlist his help in getting the note to someone who could help her. Before Emma gets a chance to show how far she’ll go to secure her freedom, Luis interrupts them and chases the guy off. Grabbing Emma’s S.O.S. note, he closes the bathroom door behind him and takes what he wants from her without any negotiations!

Christopher and a team of U.S. marshals catch up with Nicolas and Elena at their hiding place. Nicolas cuts a deal with the CIA to turn informant in exchange for immunity. He calls the cartel’s head honcho Mendes Ochoa and they set a meeting time in Nuevo Laredo. When Nicolas is dropped off at a parking lot, he’s met by five identical vans sent to confuse the feds as they head off into different directions, leaving behind Nicolas’ cellphone with a tracking device. When John Ross is brought to the cartel hideout, he fans the flames of rivalry he senses between Luis and Nicolas, telling Luis that he shouldn’t settle for being Ochoa’s enforcer, doing the dirty work while Nicolas enjoys the high life of a corporate raider with the beautiful Elena by his side and in his bed. John Ross is relieved to see Emma alive but senses in her blank expression that she’s experienced something traumatic. When Emma arrives at Southfork, John Ross instructs Pamela to ask Nassar to transfer the promised funds from the sheik.

By the time Mendes Ochoa and Nicolas arrive at the hideout, Luis is ready for a showdown with his rival and demands Nicolas kill John Ross to prove his worthiness as a cartel member. Ochoa agrees that murder is the ultimate show of solidarity within the cartel ranks and tells Nicolas to go through with the hit. John Ross activates the signal built into the cigarette lighter the mercenary had given him and commandos invade the house, capturing all the cartel members present. With the cartel rounded up — for now, anyway — the Ewings and Rylands return to the activities of their normal lives, in other words, they start sharpening knives for each others’ backs. The CIA offers Harris a chance to bring Judith up on drug trafficking charges but he turns it down. Harris regrets letting her off the hook when he gets a recording from Mama forgiving him for conspiring against her with the feds while she was still buddy-buddy with the cartel. He’s in for a tough season next year.

After rebuffing Harris’ attempt to rekindle their relationship, Ann is relieved to be back in Bobby’s arms at Southfork but gets an uneasy feeling when she meets Tracy McKay, who’s dropped by the ranch seeking comfort from Bobby as she struggles with the regrets over her nephew Hunter’s murder. Ann is not pleased to be referred to as “Bobby’s latest wife” by Tracy, who I suspect has designs on becoming the fourth Mrs. Robert James Ewing. Stay tuned. Bobby’s son Christopher is having even worse romantic problems as he tries to help Elena pick up the pieces of her shattered life. She’s wracked with guilt over the damage her vendetta against the Ewings caused both their families. Christopher is supportive but can’t fathom why Elena would agree to having dinner with Nicolas after all he’s done. In the understatement of the century, Chris points out that Nicolas, a.k.a. Joaquin, is a bad guy. The catch is that although Senor Trevino is bad, he’s not as boring as Christopher has been this season. Like a moth drawn to the flame, Elena needs to find closure for her nightmare. Christopher adds fuel to Elena’s fire when he reveals to her that he’s learned from the Dallas sheriff that evidence points to Drew’s death being murder at the hands of the cartel. An enraged Elena greets her duplicitous lover with a handgun and nearly kills him until Christopher shows up, giving Trevino a chance to escape.

John Ross returns to Southfork a hero in everyone’s eyes except Pamela’s. Emma accepts that his motives in going to Mexico to rescue her weren’t purely personal but is grateful nevertheless and hands him a file from the seemingly bottomless supply of blackmail material Harris had accumulated against J.R. as a show of her appreciation. That stash of files is chock full of juicy — and conveniently timed — plot twists.  I can’t wait to see what else Harris has crammed in it! Emma’s not the only Ryland woman giving John Ross secret files. Deeply grateful to him for rescuing her precious Emma, Judith hands over the trumped up evidence she and Harris set up at their bordello and asks him to be available to Emma as a friend when she needs one. An intuitive Judith suspects that Emma was raped during her captivity and knows that her granddaughter has a tough period of recover ahead of her.

Despite his good fortune with the Ryland women, John Ross is down one when he walks in on a teddy-clad Pamela closing her secret deal with Nassar in bed. She’s been plotting her takeover of Ewing Global while the Ewings have been distracted by their efforts to rescue Ann and Emma. When he confronts Pamela at the EG offices while she’s contemplating redecorating the place, they’re confronted by Bobby and Sue Ellen, who reveal that a loan from their friend Carlos Del Sol enabled them to buy back the majority of EG shares released by the feds after taking down the cartel. They’re all back to being one big, unhappy family in business. John Ross reveals his hidden trump card: Judith has taken on the vacant job of Texas railroad commissioner so the Ewings will need to deal with her as they transport their supplies going forward.

The twists and double-crosses reach a crescendo in the closing minutes of the episode as one of the hired cartel thugs sneaks into the jail cell where Luis and Mendes Ochoa are being held and kills them! Nicolas, recovering from his gunshot wounds, is pleased that the deed is done and reveals that he has a claim on Elena that will come to light in nine months. Cut to a shot of Ms. Ramos throwing up in a gas station bathroom while Christopher waits in a car outside. When Elena emerges from the bathroom she’s devastated by the sight of the car being blown apart by a bomb set off by a cartel hitman. Is Christopher Ewing dead? Unaware of the tragedy that may have befallen his cousin, John Ross launches a search for his long-lost “sister.” That list of Ewing heirs is getting mightly long.

Any ideas on who might be her mother?

UPDATE: While I held on to the crazy notion that Christopher’s death in the car explosion could be explained away somehow in next season’s premiere, Dallas executive producer Cynthia Cidre has given Entertainment Weekly the scoop that he is indeed dead and Jesse Metcalfe has departed the cast. Here’s her sneak peek at what Season 4 has in store if the show gets renewed: