Good Guys, Bad Guys and Good Bad Guys: Catching Up with the Next Generation of Dallas

Patrick Duffy Brenda Strong Julie Gonzalo Jesse Metcalfe Josh Henderson Linda Gray Jordana Brewster and Larry Hagman PH Mark Seliger

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost entirely through the first season of the new Dallas; it seems like just yesterday we were re-introduced to the Ewings of Southfork. While it’s a bit premature to round-up the entire season with three episodes still to go, it does seem like a good time to talk about what we expected during the year that led up to the premiere and how the show’s younger generation lived up to (or exceeded) our expectations.

Taking After Daddy
 

So, we all knew that John Ross was going to be a chip off his father’s block. How could he not be with J.R.’s evil genes running all through his blood? There is no doubt that John Ross is conniving and greedy, but what he lacks (that surprised me) is his father’s killer instinct. Unlike J.R. who is perpetually three steps ahead of his allies and five steps ahead of his enemies, John Ross gets bamboozled and, frankly, a little overwhelmed by the plots in which he gets involved.

It could be blamed on his youth, but he’s been around the block a few times, enough to know to watch his back. What’s more than likely responsible is the fact that, unlike his father, he does have a heart. I think he honestly does love Elena, despite sleeping with the fake Marta del Sol, but he has this idea of the man he’s supposed to be in order to be worthy to follow in his father’s footsteps, and there’s no room in that picture for love or loyalty. He’s a bad guy who could be capable of good.

Dallas "Changing of the Guard; Hedging Your Bets" Episode 1 and 2

On the other hand, there’s Christopher. He might not be related to Bobby by blood (although it was never established whether or not he was the product of his mother’s affair with J.R…), but in the previews, it was indicated that he would be just as good and honest as his adopted father. For the most part, that’s true. He cares about the ranch, not the oil underneath it, and he wants to save the world with alternate energy sources, but Christopher is harder than Bobby’s ever been. He’s willing to get his hands dirty, even going so far as to break a few laws if the greater good demands it. He has deep trust issues with the women in his life, and his own guilty conscience caused him to be downright cruel to Elena. He’s a good guy who is capable of being bad.

Let’s Talk About the Girls
 

Maybe it’s just me, but when I watched the previews for Dallas, I was absolutely convinced that Elena would be another Kristin Shepard (a bad girl, for those still learning the history, as well as Christopher’s biological mother). The previews made Elena seem entirely in league with John Ross…not just his girlfriend, but his partner in crime, too. Much to my surprise, Elena might be just as good as Bobby Ewing, and that’s not an easy label to live up to.

She’s educated and beautiful, she works hard, but she’s willing to give up millions of dollars to save Southfork, she’s been nice to Rebecca, the woman who tricked her out of a life with Christopher, and she’s tried to love and understand John Ross. Does this make her a bit boring? Eh, some could argue that, but I think it’s absolutely necessary to have a genuinely good character, especially one who is quietly good and doesn’t try to moralize or save everyone else.

And then there’s Rebecca. Initially painted as the next Pamela Barnes, entering into the big, bad Ewing family via her marriage to the “good son,” it was quickly revealed that Rebecca was actually a con artist working with her brother to scam the Ewings out of their fortune. The motive for this has never actually been revealed, but rather than dragging the story out, the writers wisely had Rebecca confess all to Christopher, who promptly dumped her.

Rather than seek revenge as other bad girls would have, Rebecca actually ended up finding evidence that saved the ranch from J.R. and John Ross. And now that she’s having Christopher’s twins, it looks like she’ll be around for awhile, maybe long enough to make amends. She’s a bad girl who wants to do good.

Anyone can write a night-time soap opera with clearly cut good guys and bad guys, but it takes some skill to create characters who straddle those lines, and the effort always pays off in the end. Still, there are three episodes left, plenty of time for us to be surprised by these characters. Let’s just hope Elena stays good.

Have you been enjoying Dallas? Has it met your expectations or let you down? Let me know below!!