Recap: A scraggly haired man is standing on an embankment across from Southfork, creepily staring at the ranch through a pair of binoculars...while inside, the Ewings enjoy their breakfast. Bobby tells everyone that Pam already left for work...and when Jock grumbles something derisive about women in the workplace, Bobby says he's OK with his wife leaving the house early, as long as she doesn't work nights. 'Cause that would warrant a stern talkin' to. Sue Ellen says she just received a letter from her mother, who wants to come to Dallas, along with her sister Kristin - yay! - soon after her love spawn with Cliff is born. JR makes a blech face and says, "Just don't let them stay here" and reminds her that he can only take so much of her mother. Sue Ellen tells him her mother isn't easily put off, but he dismissively retorts, "You'll find a way", and then he and Bobby abruptly leave the table and head off to work.
The scraggly haired man, whose name we eventually learn is Al, checks his watch as he carefully notes the time that JR and Bobby depart from the ranch in their individual vehicles.
Al heads back to his decrepit hovel, which he shares with his two weird partners in crime: Willie and Faye. Al gives them a slide show presentation of the Ewing family, and the three examine still images of JR (who is the primary target), Bobby, Ray, Pam, Sue Ellen, Lucy, and Ray...along with photos of their automobiles. The three cackle about how they're going to spend their shares of the ransom money, then discuss their plan to abduct JR...and by plan, they mean they're just going to passively stalk him until a golden opportunity to grab him arises. Willie says he doesn't want any accidental killings this time around, since an unintentional murder resulted in a lot of messy shit during one of their previous kidnappings.
Bobby gets a call about a construction site emergency, and he's like, "I'm on it!" and rushes right down to the underground garage. He then makes the grim discovery that his car has a flat tire.
JR, meanwhile, is canoodling in bed with his blonde mistress - possibly the same one he was doinking during the Act of Love episode, but I can't be bothered to check the cast list on IMDB to verify this. He tells her that he has a meeting in a few minutes, but when blondie whines that she hardly ever gets to see him, he happily delays his meeting and re-smooches her in earnest.
Bobby tells the two secretaries that his car has a flat tire, then asks if JR is around. One of the secretaries informs him that JR walked to a nearby meeting, so Bobby decides he'll borrow JR's car to the construction site...then asks the secretaries to arrange for his flat tire to get fixed so that JR can drive his car home at the end of the day. He then grabs JR's car keys and heads back down to the underground garage. When he appears on the street in JR's car, Al, Faye, and Willie - who have been staking out the Ewing Oil building - perk up and immediately start following him in a not-so-subtle fashion. Bobby pulls onto the isolated road that leads to the construction site, finally gets a clue that he's being followed, and stupidly pulls over. The three kidnappers advance on him with their guns drawn, and when Al - who looks even more scraggly than he did the day before - exclaims, "Holy! We got the wrong Ewing!" After letting that sink in for a few seconds, he's like, "Ah, fuck it!" and decides to just continue with the kidnapping. He orders Bobby out of his car...then forces him into the backseat of their car, where they handcuff and blindfold him before squealing off.
The kidnappers take Bobby to their hovel and shove him inside a boarded up room. When Al removes the blindfold and chains him up to the bed, a quivering Bobby asks what they plan to do with him. Faye snarls, "That's up to your folks" then cackles, "I hope they like you. A lot."
When JR returns to the office, the secretaries inform him that Bobby had a flat tire so he borrowed his car 'cause he had to rush over to a construction site. Oddly, however, he never made it there. JR just kind of shrugs unconcernedly and is like, "OK. Whatever."
Al snarls at Bobby to keep his mouth shut and do what he's told. The kidnappers convene in the kitchen to discuss the next steps: take a proof of life photo of Bobby, and force him to write a letter to his wife. They also agree that Cliff Barnes should be the official go-between. Not sure why. Faye and Willie warn Al to not go all demented like he did when he accidentally shot a hostage before they could collect the ransom money.
Cliff gets an urgent call from Al, who tells him that he and his fellow kidnappers have abducted Bobby Ewing. When Cliff is all, "Wha-a?!!", Al says that Bobby will remain alive as long as everyone does what they're told, then tells him he's been designated as the go-between. He tells him to dig up a set of instructions that are buried under the phone pole by the entrance of Southfork. He warns Cliff to do exactly as the note says, which means no involving the cops or feds.
Pam returns home and asks if anyone has seen Bobby. JR tells her that he was supposed to check in at a construction site, but for some reason he never showed up. Miss Ellie assures Pam that if there had been an accident, they would have heard something about it by now. A few seconds later, Miss Ellie answers a call from the construction site manager, who informs her that his crew found JR's car abandoned on a nearby remote road. While that's happening, Cliff arrives at Southfork and solemnly announces, "Bobby's been kidnapped." JR says he doesn't buy it and questions why a kidnapper would involve him, so Cliff pulls out the kidnappers' instructions that he dug up and hands them to Jock. The note says that they've kidnapped JR - their intended target - and that he's unharmed, and will remain so until they receive $1.5 million. The note specifies that Cliff will act as the go-between, and that further instructions about a drop-off location will be forthcoming. Jock slumps into the nearest chair, while Pam's hand-wringing gives way to panic. JR tells Cliff that this is a family matter, and as such they'll handle it from here on in - but Cliff argues that he's not going to risk Bobby's life to continue feeding the tedious Ewing/Barnes feud that viewers were already tired of in Season 1. Pam agrees and angrily tells JR that they're going to keep Cliff as the go-between. When Miss Ellie and Jock concur, Cliff stares over at JR and glumly says, "Looks like we're stuck with each other."
The next morning, JR complains to Jock that he doesn't like the idea of involving Cliff Barnes in Bobby's rescue, so he plans to resolve it his way...and by his way he means he's going to call the FBI and take an agent along to the bank to get a suitcase full of marked bills.
Pam paces around the house, wondering aloud why the kidnappers haven't called yet. JR tells Ray that they'll have to put aside their differences from two episodes ago until Bobby is found safe, then orders him to gather the ranch hands together, particularly those who have really good aim.
Cliff runs into Sue Ellen in the foyer...and the two grin stupidly at each other until JR appears, yanks Sue Ellen away, and tells her she's not required to be polite to this cretin. A few seconds later, Pam answers the phone and gets all hysterical when she realizes she's on the phone with the kidnapper. She wails, "I want to talk to Bobbbbbbyyyyy!" so Cliff grabs the phone to handle the call. An angry Al accuses him of bringing an FBI agent into the bank, and Cliff weakly denies that and says they want proof that Bobby is still alive. Al gives him an address and says he can find the proof there, then barks, "No feds, or Bobby is dead" and hangs up. The FBI agent, who was tracing the call, says they weren't on the line long enough to tell where he was calling from. Cliff points out to the Ewings that obviously they're being watched, so therefore the FBI agent shouldn't be part of this anymore. He says he's going to follow the kidnapper's exact instructions, and Pam thanks him and tearfully wishes him good luck.
Cliff arrives at the address Al gave to him and finds a photo of a pitiful looking Bobby holding yesterday's newspaper. Doesn't look like he's holding up very well in captivity. Included in the little packet is a note directing him to go to a different address, so he rushes to his car and speeds across town. He finds note #2 under a park bench, which directs him to a drop-off location near railroad tracks. There he finds a letter stuck on a nearby fence, along with Bobby's wallet. The letter was written by Bobby - to Pam - telling her to do exactly as the kidnappers say. Cliff waits around for a few minutes with the suitcase o' cash...but when no one shows up for the ransom/hostage exchange, he just kind of shrugs and heads back to his car. After he drives off, we see that Al was sitting in his car the entire time, creepily watching him.
Cliff returns to Southfork with the suitcase o' cash and tells everyone that no one showed up at the drop-off location, then gives Pam Bobby's wallet and letter. JR announces that he's taking over this operation, and Cliff breathes a sigh of relief and says he's glad to be off the hook. When JR tries to blame Cliff for the failed outcome, Pam snarks at him that things started to go bad when he went rogue and involved the FBI, and that if something happens to Bobby he should blame himself. Pam implores Cliff to continue acting as the go-between, and Jock gruffly weighs in and concurs that that's probably best. JR scowls, clearly not happy.
Willie and Faye are annoyed with Al for not following through with the ransom/hostage exchange. Al says he was worried that FBI agents were staking out the location, so he chickened out...but promises to arrange another drop-off time/place. Willie suggests killing Bobby - a complete reversal of his sentiment at the beginning of the episode - and fleeing to Wyoming...and when Bobby overhears the terrible suggestion, he freaks out and attempts an ill-fated escape by loudly trying to rip the boards off of the windows. Smooth, Bobby. The kidnappers hear the sudden commotion and charge into the room. Al punches Bobby and drags him over to the bed and re-chains him...and Bobby stares mournfully into space, doing his best to contort his default blank expression into one of extreme terror.
JR tells his family that, according to the FBI, Bobby's kidnappers are most likely the trio responsible for abductions all over the country. The good news is that most of the hostages were eventually released; the bad news is that one of the hostages was killed while in captivity.
Faye enters the room as Bobby listlessly chews on a piece of bread. She tells him he shouldn't have tried to run, so he explains that he panicked 'cause he thought his life was in immediate danger. Faye tells him that they don't (usually) kill anyone during their kidnappings, then grumbles about being poor her whole life and that she'd do anything for money. I'm guessing that none of the previous kidnappings she's been involved with have generated much ransom money?? Bobby promises to give her a boatload of cash if she lets him go, but she says she can't run out on Al and Willie. Somehow, the conversation emboldens Faye to mount Bobby - ack! - and she plants a big smooch on him...and Bobby's like, "Ewwww!!" and quickly shoves her off of him. The disturbing interaction comes to an abrupt end when Al and Willie enter the room to summon Faye...and she glares at Bobby as she heads out. She is one strange bird, that Faye.
Al calls Cliff at Southfork to give him a new set of instructions for the drop-off, which will take place in a remote field near the Denton substation...'cause what could go wrong with providing advance notice to Bobby's family that the ransom/hostage exchange will take place in a remote field? When Cliff shares that bit of intel with the family, JR mutters, "I'm going to make myself useful" and heads out to put a plan in motion with the sharpshooting ranch hands.
Al tells Willie and Faye that everything is set for tomorrow's ransom/hostage exchange. Willie and Faye are at least smart enough to question how intelligent it is for them to carry out the exchange in an open field, and worry that they'll be ambushed...'cause d'yuh. They haul Bobby out and ask him what he thinks of the drop-off location, and he assures them that his family wouldn't do anything to endanger his life. Bobby says they can use him as a human shield, and that he won't let anyone call the cops until they get away. Willie warns him against trying any funny business, and Bobby solemnly replies, "No one's going to do anything funny" and promises that somehow this absurdly amateurish kidnapping plot will work out A-OK for everyone involved.
Jock, JR, and Ray gather the ranch's best sharp-shooters together and make a plan for them to spread out in the open field and conceal themselves while lying in wait. JR is adamant about nailing the kidnappers - but Jock warns him not to take any risks, 'cause he'd prefer that Bobby returns home alive.
At dawn, Pam ambles around the house restlessly and finds Cliff standing on the porch. She tells him she's scared, but is pleased that he likes Bobby enough to do all this for him. A few seconds later, Miss Ellie and Jock come out and tell Cliff it's time to go. Miss Ellie tells Cliff that if he brings her boy home safe, they'll be grateful to him forever...and Cliff picks up the suitcase o' cash and heads out.
Cliff arrives at the substation...as does JR, Ray, and a gang of sharpshooting ranch hands, who quickly hide in the tall grass. A few minutes later, the kidnappers pull up with Bobby in the back seat. Al steps out of the car and barks at Cliff to hand over the cash, then orders Bobby out of the car. Cliff pulls the suitcase o' cash out of the trunk and opens it to show Al that the money is all there. Al looks satisfied enough with that, then uncuffs Bobby and tells him to start walking - but orders Cliff to hang back. Once Bobby is several feet away, JR bellows, "Look out, Bobby!" and starts shooting - bwahaha! - and within a few seconds the kidnappers start returning fire. As Bobby lunges at Cliff to pull him to the ground, Willie is fatally shot...and then JR, Ray, and the ranch hands all rush over. Faye and Al, who are both still armed, hover over Willie with their sad faces on...and I'll have to assume that someone in JR's crew had the presence of mind to disarm these two while the camera is panned onto Cliff. He yells at JR for nearly getting him killed, and JR breezily retorts, "Ah, you were both in the clear." Bobby says he really really wants to go home now, and then he and JR cap off the riveting scene by exchanging a tender look of brotherly love.
Back at Southfork, Pam tells Bobby how frightened she was during the entire episode, then shoots JR the stink-eye and admonishes him for needlessly putting Cliff's life in danger. JR flashes her a shit-eating grin and replies, "He's never been safer in his life." And then...the end. Weird.