A BRIEF DALLAS INTERLUDE: PART 9 OF 12
Episode Title: Five Dollars A Barrel
Season 05, Episode 09
Written by Leonard Katzman
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Original Airdate: Friday, December 4th, 1981
The Plot (Courtesy of TV.com): Cliff gains the upperhand by acquiring the notes on J.R.'s loans; J.R. tries to get Gary and Ray's Ewing Oil voting shares; Pam has a short visit home to Southfork.
Welcome back to Texas for A Brief Dallas Interlude: Part 9. This writeup may not be quite as brisk as the one on The Split, but it’ll probably come close. As was the case with No More Mister Nice Guy: Part Two back in the 1980-1981 season, what we have here is an episode where Gary shows up right away, has some lines, seems important, but then vanishes completely for the second half of the episode and we just have to watch the usual Dallas shenanigans.
This Dallas episode actually begins right away with Gary. A fancy, sexy car is driving up to Southfork, the door pops open, and out pops Gary. Ah, what a glorious entrance, and after watching so much of The Split without him and wondering when he was gonna show up, it was nice to see this one where he just pops up right away. Miss Ellie comes trailing out of the car after him, positively beaming with pride, looking at her most favorite son with such love. At this point I must remind the reader that Miss Ellie never once drags her old ass out to California to crossover to KL and visit Gary even though on Dallas she could never shut the hell up about how much she loved him and missed him. I guess she’s just too busy playing checkers and being generally uninteresting to get on a plane and travel out to see him.
Anyway, Gary encounters J.R. by the Southfork pool (a pool that just recently had Kristin’s corpse floating in it but which the characters of Southfork have zero problem swimming in for the rest of the series’ run; just sayin’) and the two have a dialogue. I got a boner during this scene, I have to say, and it fooled me into thinking Gary was gonna be way more important in this episode than he winds up being. Basically, J.R. wants those voting shares from Gary (you’ll recall that Gary gets ten voting shares in Ewing Oil from Jock, as was established in The Split). J.R. gives a nice speech about how Gary should go back to his “pretty little wife and little business back in California." Gary is sorta sassy back with J.R., basically not taking any crap from him, and I liked that, but mostly what I liked was the reference to Val and to his business, Knots Landing Motors. Again, I remind you that Dallas is #1 this season and KL is #43, but this doesn’t feel like a parent series doing a tacky advertisement for its spinoff series (the way it felt back in No More Mister Nice Guy: Part Two when J.R. was like, “How’s that sexy Karen doing over in Knots Landing?” or whatever he said while lying in his hospital bed); this just feels like storytelling continuity being maintained.
We get scenes of Dallas storylines that, for the purpose of this blog, I do not care about, but we get one more pretty great scene featuring Gary. In this case, the whole family has gathered around in the living room for cocktail hour. Gary comes walking in with Lucy at his side. This I liked a lot, because they both look so happy to be together (and I remind you that we only see Lucy on KL once, in a very early episode, Home is for Healing). Also, Gary has a little sexy announcement to make, and that’s the fact that he’s given his voting shares to Lucy omigod. The music swells, we get lots of close-ups of people’s faces, and then we see Gary looking smug and happy and we go to a commercial.
And that’s it for Gary. The rest of the episode plays out like a regular Dallas episode, and honestly I was fidgety and bored. Doing these Interludes has only made Dallas drop in my estimation when stacked against the so-much-more-interesting-and-so-much-more-well-done KL. Whenever we dip our toes back into Dallas for an Interlude, it just feels like so much of the same thing and nothing too terribly interesting. J.R. is always up to some dirty deed, there’s always the continuing battle for Ewing Oil, there’s always lots of people meeting in restaurants and throwing vague threats at each other, J.R. and Cliff Barnes are always sworn enemies, Miss Ellie is always boring, and yada yada yada. I’d just much rather be over with my friends at Seaview Circle, so I’m glad we don’t have another Interlude for some time.
Also, I must note that these Interludes just don’t squeeze tidily in with the KL proceedings. The previous Interludes felt like they squeezed in pretty well. I particularly enjoyed watching A Family Matter of KL and then immediately watching the Dallas episode End of the Road: Part Two; I actually thought that played very well. These do not, however, mostly because this episode starts with Gary arriving at Southfork, as if he got off the phone in The Split and then immediately flew out to Texas. How, then, do you account for him hanging around all through Moving In? As an anal person who takes all of this much too seriously, I must do a personal retcon where I assume that, in The Split, Gary got off the phone and immediately made plane reservations, but they weren’t for a few days or whatever, so he had time to be in Moving In and deal with Lilimae and all that stuff, and then he flew to Texas for Five Dollars a Barrel.
Last of all, I haven’t noted any Transmorphers in awhile, but I have two to note here, although I’ve already discussed them previously and, even more interestingly, these two Transmorphers were in fact married to each other at the time of this airing. First off, we have Priscilla Pointer as Rebecca Wentworth, Pam and Cliff Barnes’ real biological mother. You’ll recall she was very creepy in an early KL entitled The Constant Companion in which she was, like, harassing Ginger and confessed to watching Ginger and her son make love, ick. Secondly, we have that doctor from The Exorcist. This guy’s name is Robert Symonds and he has a very unique voice and whenever I see him, I have to close my eyes and be like, “What do I know this guy from?” After a few seconds, I usually remember that he was in The Exorcist and tried to help out the possessed Linda Blair. Well, he’s in this episode and he was also in The Split playing some boring guy making a boring business deal with Ray (really, most of Dallas is just people making boring business deals), but he also helped out Michael when we realized Michael had A.D.D. back in Scapegoats (when was the last time we heard mention of Michael’s A.D.D., by the way?). So, anyway, there you go.
That’s all I have to say for this one, and we don't have another Brief Dallas Interlude to deal with until next season, when we actually get a Dallas (Jock's Will) followed immediately, on the same night in fact, by a KL (New Beginnings). Until then, though, it's strictly Seaview Circle for the rest of the season, so tune in on Sunday for a return to the glorious California world of KL with the episode entitled The Surprise.