Dallas season finale recap: J.R.'s Masterpiece Unveiled

J.R.'s killer is revealed, as are two new alliances we didn't see coming
Ep. 12 | Aired Apr 15, 2013

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON John Ross (Josh Henderson) just became the guy we love to hate.

Van Redin/TNT

At their hotel in Mexico, Pamela hung up on a woman who called to warn Cliff about police searching his office. She disconnected the phone. There was a knock at the door, and in walked Bobby, Christopher, John Ross, and Sue Ellen. I cheered. Christopher told Cliff about his shares, and Pamela told him about her marriage to John Ross. We knew Cliff was lying when he told Pamela that he wasn't responsible for the rig, but we couldn't be sure that Cliff was fibbing when he said his gun was stolen before J.R.’s shooting and that someone had moved his plane (he says he was in Mexico, but it was Cabo). Cliff was arrested, repeating again and again that he didn’t kill J.R. as he was escorted out. Cliff was convincing enough that at that point, I was willing to consider that J.R. had developed a terminal disease and decided to pay someone to end his life and frame Cliff for it. (And I was right!)

Bobby went to see Cliff, who still insisted that he was being framed for J.R.’s death, and Bobby made him an offer: He’d help him get back to an American prison if he admitted to sabotaging the rig, killing their grandchildren, and partnering with Harris. Cliff said he’s never done what the Ewings wanted him to do and he’s not starting now. As Bobby left, Cliff asked who killed J.R., and Bobby said Cliff would never know. WHAT? So Bobby knew Cliff didn’t do it. Bad Bobby!

Back in the States, Bobby and Bum drove up to J.R.’s grave, and John Ross and Christopher seemed to surprise them there. They, too, now suspected that Cliff didn’t kill J.R. and wanted the truth. They demanded to know what was in J.R.’s letter, and luckily, Bobby had it on him.

“Bobby, doctors say I’ve only got a few days left. Damn cancer.” I WAS RIGHT!!! He didn’t tell Bobby he was sick because he detested pity. He’d had Bum steal Cliff’s gun because he knew Cliff came to Mexico every year for a fishing competition. He’d had Carlos smooth things out on that end. He wanted Bobby to end the Ewing/Barnes feud once and for all. The letter said Bum was the best friend J.R. didn’t deserve to have -- that's when I knew Bum pulled the trigger. It referenced a time when J.R. had framed Bobby as the one who’d borrowed their daddy’s favorite shotgun by putting extra shells in Bobby's room. Bobby broke down and couldn’t finish reading the letter. A single tear fell down his cheek as Christopher continued. J.R. hoped Bobby knew that his love for him outweighed his jealousy: “Goodbye, baby brother, I guess I’ll be duck huntin’ with daddy. I’ll tell him I was the one who borrowed his gun.”

If you weren’t tearing up then, Josh Henderson’s broken delivery of John Ross' response definitely got you. “I’m sorry, I’m confused. Who shot my father, Uncle Bobby?” he asked. “I shot your father, John Ross,” Bum confirmed. He said that J.R.'s last act was one of love for his family and for his son. BUT DID HE HAVE TO DO IT WHEN HE WAS ON THE PHONE WITH JOHN ROSS???

“The only person that could take down J.R. was J.R.,” John Ross said. And he held out his hand to Bum. Tears!

Bobby handed John Ross the letter and left him alone, kneeling at the grave. “Thank you, daddy, for watching over us. I love you,” he said. We could have ended there, but we had to set up for season 3 with some serious craziness.

Elena found out that her father died for nothing. His land had no oil. As if on cue, papers were delivered to her from Cliff Barnes’ lawyers. They were land records -- one of them had J.R.’s name on it, and the other was her father’s land. Cliff wanted her to come to the jail in Mexico to see him. WHAT?

Emma went to see her father in jail to gloat and assure him that she’s exactly the daughter he raised. Harris told Ann she must be enjoying this. Ann didn't have much to do in these episode, but this could be the line of the night: "Actually, I’m not, Harris," she said, "because I’m not a sick, sadistic prick like you are.” He was speechless.

At Southfork, Christopher drank a Miller Lite and read the letter from his mother -- who had the handwriting of a fifth grader. (Oh, was that burn-related? Now I feel bad.) Pamela walked the grounds, unsure about whether she was moving back into Southfork but knowing she doesn’t want to go home. She wants to start a new life with John Ross. Christopher said he was happy for her, and she told him he’s always loved Elena. Even though he’s mad at her, he should forgive her. All you get holding onto anger, she said, is wreckage like her father left. Who would’ve thought we’d end the season loving Pamela?

Elena went to see Cliff, who told her that J.R. had paid someone to switch the deeds so that Elena’s father got J.R.’s worthless land, and J.R. got her father’s goldmine. Elena told Cliff he must be making this up, but Cliff said to go check the records: J.R. had done the same thing to his father. He wants her to be his proxy for the third of Barnes Global he still owns and to make the Ewings pay for the sins against her family. J.R.’S SINS. And he's gone. Rise above it, Elena.

At the newly christened Ewing Global, a portrait was hung of J.R. as a reminder that no one goes against a Ewing and bourbon was poured. Ann came to the office, and she and Bobby kissed and made up. He told her that he’d only shut her out because he didn’t want her to see him act like J.R. -- but she said he’s still the best man she knows. Ah.

After Sue Ellen told John Ross to treat his bride right (and he joked that he wasn't a scoundrel), he went off to buy champagne and flowers. We saw Christopher try to tell Elena he loved her, but he was talking to an empty room. And Elena, well she was at a compound owned by someone she and Drew grew up with in Mexico who is now, it appears, into some serious s---. That was a lot of armed guards. Please don't tell me Drew is there. What is she plotting? A coup?

John Ross arrived at a hotel room with his romantic gestures, found a pair of discarded panties, and went into the bedroom. I totally thought he and Pamela were celebrating their honeymoon. I was wrong. IT WAS EMMA. WHAT? She’d gotten the briefcase out of her dad’s safe for him. He told her it looks like they hit the motherload. “That look’s gonna cost you,” she said. "Darlin’ trust me," he replied. "I'm willing to pay the price. Just don’t tell my wife.” He picked her up, and they hit the sheets. Scoundrel! I really thought he cared about Pamela. I feel like a fool. When did he have time to orchestrate this with Emma? And how does he explain to his new wife that he's not spending the night with her? What happens if Pamela finds out Cliff didn't kill J.R.? Would she be fine (because he did kill her babies) or would she turn on John Ross again? And how soon will she find out he's cheating on her? Notice he didn't say he loved her when she said it. Are we going to see her fall back into Christopher's arms? How sick would that be? Theories? Go!

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