Dallas - Season 2, Episode 8
Recap: JR, Bobby, and Jock are in a meeting with a gaggle of old white men, discussing who they want to endorse to run against Cliff Barnes in the upcoming Senate race. One of them floats Martin Cole - a civic councilman, lawyer, and all-around pliable guy. The group mulls over that suggestion and agrees that he'd be an adequate Ewing puppet if elected into office. Bobby describes Martin Cole as "dull, but clean and honest" and volunteers to be the campaign's point person. One of the men asks him if taking on that role is going to cause problems with the wifey, but Bobby assures them it won't...and then grizzled Jock gruffly adds, "Bobby knows where his loyalties lie. He's a Ewing, first and last."
Pam meets up with Cliff for lunch in the park. He asks her if she knows who the Ewings are backing in the election, and she tells him they're prolly deciding that right now...but she has no idea who they're considering. Cliff scrunches his face worriedly and says the Ewings will spare no expense to get their puppet elected, which means he needs to step up on his fundraising so he can pay for TV ads. To that end, he asks her if she would please plan a fashion show fundraiser with the goal of raising $50,000, and Pam makes a face and complains that she's going to get all kinds of flak from the Ewings. Cliff gets annoyed, pissy, and starts questioning her loyalty to her only brother, so Pam throws in the towel and reluctantly agrees.
That evening, the Ewings descend on Pam while she's in the study and ask her whassup with all the fashion design sketches she's working on. Pam tells them that she's organizing a fashion show fundraiser for Cliff's Senate campaign, and Jock pissily snaps at Bobby, "I thought you said she was just stuffing envelopes!" Pam explains - not that it's any of his business - that since Cliff is her brother, she's not going to not help him out, then says she'd prefer to discuss the matter with Bobby in private. Jock growls that Bobby doesn't have secrets from his family, and JR chooses that moment to smugly inform Pam that Bobby is in charge of raising campaign funds for their candidate, Martin Cole. Pam's just like, "Whatever" and quietly packs up her sketches and exits the room. It remains a mystery why she's still willing to live under the same roof as these awful people.
After dinner, Bobby and Pam go upstairs to discuss their roles in the opposing campaigns. Pam says that Cliff doesn't have anyone but her to plan the fashion show fundraiser - unlike the Ewing-financed machine that Martin Cole has supporting his campaign. Further to that, she snarks that if Cliff loses the race, the Ewing family is going to control everything and everyone in the state of Texas. Bobby calls her a "knee-jerk radical" like her brother, so she angrily retorts that someone has to stand up to corruption, exploitation, and greed. Bobby denies that his family commits any such sins, and that his grizzled daddy built an empire purely 'cause he was smart, hardworking, and lucky. Pam tells him they'll have to agree to disagree 'bout that version of history, and says it's clear they've each chosen their side.
Sue Ellen is hosting a candidates' debate sponsored by Daughters of the Alamo. After the Q&A session, Cliff notices Sue Ellen checking him out, so he struts over and the two enjoy some flirty banter. After a few minutes, Peter Larson (Cliff's campaign manager) comes over to let them know that their conversation is raising eyebrows among the judgemental voters in attendance, so Sue Ellen formally shakes Cliff's hand and loudly thanks him for coming...and Cliff loudly retorts that he's confident he'll win the election.
JR admonishes Martin Cole for being a shitty candidate and allowing Cliff Barnes to creep up in the polls. He complains that his family keeps pumping money into his campaign, but is getting nothing in return. Martin weakly assures him that in time things will turn in his favor, to which Jock snaps, "We don't have time!" and orders him to hire a decent speechwriter and spruce up his fugly wardrobe. He then turns to JR and gruffly orders him to buy the puppet some better clothes, along with some more TV time. After Martin is brusquely dismissed, Jock complains that the guy is a washout who doesn't stand a chance of winning. JR concurs, and the two put their heads together to think of ways they can undermine Cliff's candidacy. Jock suggests he find some dirt on Peter Larson, and JR likes the sound of that and says that if he finds no skeletons in the man's closet, he'll put some there.
During dinner, Sue Ellen tattles to Miss Ellie about how Pam hasn't touched her dinner, and Pam politely says she's not very hungry. JR jokes that he hopes she's not getting sick and will have to step down from helping Cliff with his campaign...then redirects the conversation to Martin Cole. Miss Ellie asks Jock if they've hired a new speechwriter yet, and Jock tells her they're looking for someone with the credentials of someone like Peter Larson...then remarks how expensive Peter must be. He asks Pam how Cliff is able to afford him on his shoestring budget, so she explains that Peter and Cliff were roommates in college...and Peter is volunteering his services out of respect for their close friendship. JR looks faux shocked and says that managing a Senate campaign seems to go beyond ordinary friendship, then pretends to be intrigued by the closeness of the two men's relationship. He smirkishly says, "There's a growing phenomenon these days, but not something I can understand" and Lucy looks aghast and chirps, "You mean to tell me that that gorgeous Cliff Barnes is..?" Ellie orders her to shut it and says she doesn't like the tone of this conversation, and Pam snaps, "Neither do I." JR comes right out and says it's just plain weird for a thirty-something man to still be single, and Pam takes the bait and tells him it just so happens that Cliff was once engaged to a woman who worked with Peter's father. JR asks her whatever became of this alleged fiancee, and Pam quietly says she died in an accident and doesn't remember much about it...then completely clams up.
After dinner, JR makes a beeline to the study and gets on the horn with a private investigator and orders him to look into Cliff's past - specifically his possibly gay lifestyle or hetero/dead fiancee scandal.
Pam sits outside on the front porch, staring despondently into space. A few seconds later, Bobby joins her and reminds her that as husband and wife they need to communicate with each other even during the hard time...but Pam says it's difficult to do that when they're on opposite sides of an upcoming campaign. Bobby asks her how Cliff's fiancee died...and when Pam refuses to divulge any of the details, Bobby tells her it sucks that she doesn't feel as though she can trust him. Well duh. You're a Ewing, "first and last".
The following day, JR hears back from his private investigator and is delighted at what he was able to uncover. He calls Jock at the ranch and tells him they hit pay dirt, then laughs about how Cliff broke the cardinal rule of politics: never get caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman. Or a live hooker.
Pam, Cliff, and Cliff's campaign volunteers are busily setting up for the fashion show fundraiser when a reporter and cameraman suddenly burst in for an impromptu live interview. The reporter goes on the air announcing that Cliff Barnes has just been implicated in the abortion death of a woman he was engaged to ten years ago...and as everyone within hearing range gasps in shock, Peter immediately shuts down the interview and tells the reporter they have no comment. When the reporter continues peppering Cliff with questions, he tells her he'll release a statement for the press this evening. Peter ushers the reporter and cameraman out of the venue...and Cliff stares into space looking completely discombobulated, while Pam sheepishly scrunches her face.
Cliff gathers his campaign staff together so he can tell everyone the story of Penny's unfortunate demise. The two lovebirds were living together, and she had just passed her entrance exam into law school when she discovered that Cliff had knocked her up. She insisted on getting an abortion, which was illegal at the time, and - blah blah blah...long story short - the doctor she went to did a hatchet job on her insides and she bled to death. Cliff admits that he helped arrange the illegal abortion, and will issue a statement to help water down the horrible incident. He then tears up and professes his love for Penny and says, in his defense, he was only trying to fulfill her fervent wish to remain childless.
Cliff retires to his office with Peter. Cliff says he can't figure out who would have leaked the information about Penny, since the only people who knew about her were the two of them and Pam. Peter asks him if it's possible that Pam is the culprit, but Cliff swiftly rejects that notion.
Pam bursts into JR's office at Ewing Oil, where he and Jock are huddled together, gloating over Cliff's bad press. She bellows, "How?! How could you have done it?" then glares at Jock and snaps, "And you! You let him!" Jock shrugs indifferently and retorts, "Politics is politics" to which Pam tearfully snarks, "That's your excuse?!" She admonishes them for being self serving douchetards, and JR retorts that she has a biased opinion of her brother, then reminds her that he committed an illegal act. Pam accuses him of distorting the truth and declares them both despicable...then wails about how she doesn't know how to play by their dirty rules - but as soon as she figures it out she'll make them pay for what they've done.
Pam drops by Cliff's apartment to lament the unfairness of the Ewings' smear campaign...and to 'fess up about unwittingly spilling the beans about about his dead fiancee during a Ewing family dinner. She sheepishly tells him that the words accidentally tumbled out of her mouth...and before she knew it, JR was off and running. Cliff is all, "Wha-a?!!", gets enraged, refuses to believe it was an accident, and accuses her of doing it for Bobby. She yells, "How dare you!" and denies deliberately betraying him to curry favor with her shitty in-laws. Cliff refuses to listen to another word and rails about how the Ewings destroy everything - and that she's becoming just like them. He yells, "Go back where you belong!" and a tearful Pam exits the apartment and slinks back to Southfork.
Pam is laying in bed, despondently staring into space. Bobby comes in to ask her whassup, so she tells him what happened at the fashion show venue, and that the only reason the sordid tale is all over the news is 'cause JR exploited what she innocently told the family at dinner the other night. Bobby shows little sympathy and says that this sort of thing "is the name of the game", and a disgusted Pam says he sounds just like his creepy father. She whines that Cliff thinks she deliberately leaked this information to JR, and Bobby assures her that Cliff will come around, and that by the time the end credits roll everything will be hunky-dory.
Election night! The Ewings are hosting a party for Martin Cole and his supporters...and when the election results are announced on the TV, JR congratulates Martin Cole to the cheering crowd. Pam, meanwhile, sits in the study, looking sad. Sue Ellen sits next to her and expresses her condolences, then tells her she's genuinely sorry that the best man didn't win. When Pam's all, "Wuh?" Sue Ellen says it would have been nice if, for once, JR didn't get what he wanted. Bobby enters the room and asks Pam if she's OK, and she sadly tells him that when she phoned Cliff earlier, he asked her what the Ewings offered her in exchange for helping destroy his campaign. Bobby insists they both go downtown and talk to Cliff right now and get the matter sorted out.
Cliff and Peter are watching Martin Cole on TV deliver his acceptance speech. After a few minutes, Peter turns off the TV and invites Cliff to join him in drowning his sorrows at a nearby bar, but Cliff declines and says he's not in the mood to drink. After Peter heads off, Bobby and Pam arrive at campaign headquarters...and Cliff scowls at them and says he doesn't believe for a minute that Pam accidentally told JR about his dead fiancee. Pam swears she never told anyone the details about Penny's death, and Bobby corroborates that and says JR must have dug around and found out the rest for himself. Pam tearfully tells her brother that she loves him and would never intentionally hurt him, and Cliff finally softens and says he loves her too...and the two hug it out. Bobby proposes they all go to a bar and smooth everything over with a drink, but Cliff declines and says he'd like to sit by himself and do some deep thinking about his future.
After Pam and Bobby leave, Cliff phones Peter at the bar and asks him to get in touch with someone named Livingstone and find out if he has enough money to buy the next Senate seat...or, better yet, a seat in Congress. He declares, "I've just become a realist."
And so the tedious Ewing-Barnes feud continues..
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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