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**NOTE- This review contains spoilers**
Who would have thought that so deep in its run, and after the off-the-rails fiasco of the "dream season" Dallas could bounce back so quickly with one of its best seasons ever?
After Patrick Duffy agreed to return to the show as Bobby Ewing in the second most-famous shower scene in history (behind "Psycho"), the writers had their work cut out for them in how to explain away the events of the previous season. This makes for some awkwardness in the storylines as the writers are forced to do some serious backtracking to get the plots rolling again. This gives the early episodes a strange sense of deja vu.
Pam and Bobby remarry but not before Ray blurts out that Jenna is pregnant with Bobby's child. Jenna comes off as especially bitter and angry this season, but Priscilla Presley delivers her best performance on "Dallas" during the scene when Pam offers to adopt the unborn baby.
Steve Forrest's original character Ben Stivers had to be re-written, because you don't just fire an actor like Steve Forrest. So now he's Wes Parmalee, who still has a mysterious interest in Miss Ellie--for good reason. It seems Wes is the reincarnation of the late Jock Ewing, which has Miss Ellie questioning her own sanity and culminates in a great showdown between Wes and Clayton (Howard Keel). Naturally J.R. is suspicious of Wes but it's Bobby who comes off incredibly hostile. Later, there's another great fight; this one between J.R. and Clayton.
Mrs. Krebbs Goes to Washington: Donna (Susan Howard) is still pregnant, but the baby no longer has Down's Syndrome. Howard looks positively radiant without makeup in the hospital scene after she's given birth to a baby girl. Her decision to get back into politics puts the nail in the coffin to her marriage so Ray hooks up with Jenna and she and daughter Charlie (who's now a defiant teenage party girl who hangs out with bikers) move in with him.
Sue Ellen secretly purchases a trashy lingerie franchise and makes Mandy Winger (Deborah Shelton) the face of Valentine Lingerie. The "pornographic" ads serve their purpose when they turn J.R. off Mandy for good and her clever scheme earns Sue Ellen his respect. Deborah Shelton really ups her game this season and delivers her best work on the series.
Jamie (Jenilee Harrison) looks stunning this season but she and Cliff divorce because he can't seem to help treating her badly. Later, Sue Ellen gets the phone call that Jamie has died offscreen in a hiking accident.
Shelton and Harrison depart "Dallas" in the same episode and Sheree J. Wilson debuts this season to fill the void (and move into Mandy's condo). Wilson plays April Stevens, ex-wife of Jack Ewing (Dack Rambo), who uses her kittenish, sly feminine wiles to play both J.R. AND Jeremy Wendell to get whatever she wants.
J.R. toys with the idea of bombing oil fields in the Middle East and hooks up with crazy mercenary B.D. Calhoun, but when things get too heated, J.R. sells him out to the Feds--an act that has serious consequences when B.D. retaliates by kidnapping John-Ross and luring J.R. to an amusement park for a showdown. It's all too over-the-top for it's own good, even for "Dallas". Jeremy Wendell blows the whistle on the whole scheme and the CIA catch up with J.R. for his actions which results in a huge scandal for Ewing Oil. This allows Wendell to finally be able to purchase the company.
The season ends with the surprise return of Katherine (Morgan Brittany) and the heartwarming news that Pam will finally be able to conceive a baby and carry it to full-term. That is, until the explosive season-finale!
Episode 13 of the season does appear time-compressed with everyone speaking in high-pitched voices.
A huge improvement over the dreadful "dream season" and being the last season with Victoria Principal, really the end of an era for "Dallas".
on September 25, 2013
The Dallas TV show was a 60 minute primetime soap opera drama series on CBS about a family that had created a dynasty out of the Texas oil industry. From the Southfork ranch, they wheeled and deeled in the business world and dealt with their personal lives involving love, affairs, jealousy and even hate. The series pretty much revolved around trying to outmaneuver others people both financially and personally and to keep others from doing the same to them.