Oh, who are we trying to kid? Yes, we, like many, many other viewers, kindasorta figured there was a connection between Rebecca and the Barnes family (the number one clue being the name Rebecca), but it was one in a number of possible theories we threw out there. Personally, we were a little disappointed Aunt Pam wasn’t on that plane. It sure sounds like they’re keeping the possibility open for her return, though. No single original character is mentioned as often as she is. Her ghost quite deliberately hangs over everything and we wonder if the show’s boffo ratings will entice her to show her frozen face next season.
So Rebecca is Cliff’s daughter. Okay. It’s a nice enough twist, but it leaves a lot of questions (like, oh… let’s say, HOW ON EARTH DID SHE HIDE THAT FACT FROM THE EWINGS?) and it doesn’t feel like quite the jaw-dropper the writers wanted it to be. Maybe if they hadn’t dropped so many hints earlier that she was a big ol’ liar and that she was hiding a major secret we all would have been blindsided by it. No complaints, though. It’s a delicious twist that opens a ton of story possibilities even if a lot of us saw it coming. Maybe it was too much to expect a “Who Shot J.R.?” -style cliffhanger right out of the gate (although it didn’t help that TNT relentlessly hyped the finale as BIGGER than the show’s most famous cliffhanger).
In other news, Bobby is well and whole again by the end of the episode! His cancer and hilariously blinky seizures now entirely forgotten until the next time they need to inject some family drama into the proceedings and get J.R. all wobbly and wooby. We didn’t mind the somewhat neutered J.R. here. To be honest, if they depicted this wizened old man as exactly the same as the 5o-year-old hotshot who got whatever he wanted, we would have found it a nice bit of fantasy and nothing else. Depicting J.R. as chastened and a little overwhelmed by how things have spun out of control actually works for us – as a one-time deal. Like we’ve said a couple times before, the beauty of this reboot is that it took the exact tropes that worked in the original version (fathers and sons, the Barnes feud, drilling on South Fork, scheming wives) and updated them by giving them some emotional beats they never had before. John Ross and J.R.’s relationship is kind of fascinating now. The younger Ewing is a bit revolted by the fallout from all his machinations but ignores an opportunity to become a better man and instead pleads with his father to teach him the Jedi ways of Ewing bastardry. That’s gonna be crazy fun going forward.
And Elena and Christopher are back together. Yawn. He’s a tool and she lost any sort of sympathy from us when she started collecting Ewing engagement rings like Cracker Jack prizes. Honey, pick a Ewing and saddle up, but you can’t keep jumping in and out of bed with each of them as you try and make up your mind.
Also: Sue Ellen is the least likely candidate for Texas governor in the history of Texas because she almost resigned her campaign over a minor scandal. Next season, she names Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy as her campaign managers.
BUT, Not-Pam is our new favorite character ever. In fact, we almost considered dropping the “Not-Pam” name out of respect, but now we think she should hold on to it as a badge of honor. Pam never would’ve taken out an ex-husband that efficiently, nor would anyone believe her if she threatened to get her shotgun. Not-Pam not only has a shotgun, she knows how to use it and likes reminding people of that fact while she’s unbuttoning her top. What’s not to love here? It’s about time they got her out of the long sweaters and had her put down her ever-present coffee cup. Later, she and Sue Ellen bond in that way that Ewing women bond: by meeting on a park bench and exchanging blackmail material in front of children. God bless this fucked-up family. They make the Kennedys look like the Bradys.
It was a tightly scripted perfect little wrap-up to the first season; ending certain stories (for now, like Bobby’s illness and Not-Pam’s sleazy ex), opening up new storylines, and setting up a slightly new status quo for Season 2, with some serious payback on the line. We look forward to seeing Rebecca turn full-on bitch when it comes time to keep those Barnes babies out of the hands of the accursed Ewings. We hope she gets to do those fabulously convoluted soap opera murder attempts, like pushing people out of high-rises and trying to run them over with her car instead of, you know, just shooting them in the head at close range.