Dallas “Changing of the Guard; Hedging Your Bets” Review

After a year of anticipation, the new version of Dallas premiered this week, offering viewers two episodes, “Changing of the Guard” and “Hedging Your Bets”…double the chance to get re-invested (or invested for the first time) in the dysfunctional Ewings of Texas. Did TNT succeed in that mission statement? I have to admit…I’m more than willing to stick around to see just how deep the double crossing will go.

The original show centered around feuding brothers J.R. (Larry Hagman) and Bobby (Patrick Duffy), and while they both play a large part in the new show, their rivalry and conflicts have been passed on to their children, John Ross Jr. (Josh Henderson) and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), cousins who at odds about the future of the family business. Going against his grandmother’s will which stipulated no drilling on Ewing ranch property, John Ross struck oil. Meanwhile, Christopher believes the future is in clean energy.

Adding to their animosity is the fact that John Ross is dating Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster), a former flame of Christopher’s. And even though Christopher is on the brink of marrying Rebecca Sutter (Julie Gonzalo), sparks still fly between him and Elena. We later learn that their plans to marry were thwarted by an email, supposedly sent from Christopher telling Elena that, as the cook’s daughter, she wasn’t good enough to marry an Ewing. Presumably that email was sent by John Ross, but it appears he might be telling the truth when he denied all knowledge. At this point, I’m not sure who’s behind it. I would say J.R. or Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), but why would they have cared if Bobby’s adopted son married the daughter of the cook? Anyone on Christopher’s side, Bobby or his new wife Ann (Brenda Strong), would never have done something so underhanded. Although Ann is awesome with a shotgun.

Before the credits (and that legendary theme music) even rolled, we learned that Bobby is dying of stomach cancer. In order to protect the ranch from John Ross and raise money to help Christopher with his clean energy initiative, he wants to sell Southfork to a conservation group called Del Sol. But Del Sol appears to be in John Ross’s pocket, until J.R. steps in to help his son keep the ranch and the oil in the family. He discovers that John Ross is playing all of them…the contact woman for the company isn’t who she claims to be. John Ross might even be worse than his father before him; deals and promises and handshakes and women mean absolutely nothing to him.

Christopher, meanwhile, is a chip off Bobby’s block. Despite finding out on his wedding day that Elena was tricked into abandoning him, Christopher goes ahead and marries Rebecca, but he might come to regret that move. Although she seems sweeter than the pies she’s learning to bake, Rebecca and her brother have some ulterior motive that involves the Ewings. And even though the new Mrs. Ewing is having second thoughts, she still claims to be committed to their goal, whatever that might be.

I think what I enjoyed the most was finding out that Elena isn’t a bitch; she’s an educated, hard-working woman with a heart who wound up with John Ross by default, rather than a desire to align herself with the scion of the family. Also, Larry Hagman is still wonderfully evil as J.R.; this remake would have been far less without him. There were plenty of unanswered questions, enough to keep me coming back from week to week. I also can’t wait to see what J.R. does to his son next.

Thirty years later…it’s still all about J.R. That is how delicious his character is. I used to get annoyed when people would assume I was named after the woman who shot him. Now, I think I’ll just start going with it.

What did you think? Will you go back to Southfork next week? Let me know below!