Recap: Pam is in New York with her boss (Liz Craig), checking out the newest clothing lines from various designers. She gets a call from Bobby, who's annoyed that she's unable to meet him in New Orleans (where he and JR were conducting business) and then fly back to Dallas with him as they had planned. He dickishly grumbles about how her job is getting in the way of their marriage, and Pam quietly says she's in a meeting and that they can argue about his sexist horseshit when they get home.
As Bobby and JR board a small engine plane, JR bitches about being cut out of the loop on a construction meeting and reminds his brother that Ewing Construction is a subsidiary of Ewing Oil. The pilot warns them that there's a big storm headed their way, so they should probably delay the flight until morning - but JR nixes that idea 'cause they have an afternoon meeting they need to get to. The pilot reluctantly agrees, and the three climb on board. Bobby admonishes JR for never being willing to listen to anyone, then barks at him to keep his nose out of his construction company bidness and focus on Ewing Oil. JR snarks back that the reason he's all in his bidness is 'cause of how inept he is at dealing with "the old boys", then criticizes the pussy way he handles his non-conformist wife.
Jock's doctor pays a house call to Southfork to give the old goat a checkup. He cautions him against working too hard, but Jock argues that it takes a lot of energy to run a large ranch. The doctor points out that it's not necessary for him to do everything [especially when he has an entire staff of young, strapping ranch hands], then gives him an ultimatum: start following his advice, or find himself another doctor. Jock nods sheepishly and promises to consider taking it easy.
Miss Ellie pops into the room to ask Jock how the appointment went, and Jock assures her he's very healthy...then admits that the doctor ordered him to lighten up on the ranching. Miss Ellie says she likes the sound of that, but stares worriedly into space as the two hug.
Liz Craig invites Pam to lunch and then a sauna and massage - but Pam declines and says she'd better rush back to Dallas before her husband gets any angrier about her having a career. She calls Southfork and gets Lucy, who excitedly asks her how "the big city" is. Pam asks her to let Bobby know that she'll be heading to the airport soon and that her plane is scheduled to land in Dallas at 2:30pm. Lucy amiably agrees, then tells Miss Ellie and Jock about Pam's call just now. Jock grumbles that he thought Pam was meeting Bobby and JR in New Orleans and flying home with them...and Miss Ellie smiles in her annoyingly serene, let's-all-remain-calm fashion and says that Pam's plans must have changed. Jock gruffly bitches about what a disorderly household Southfork has become, and that he doesn't know where the hell anyone is anymore...and Miss Ellie and Lucy chuckle at his curmudgeonly assholery.
Bobby and JR are aboard the small plane, still bickering. Suddenly, they hear a scary crack of thunder, and the plane gets bounced around as it flies through turbulence. JR nervously remarks that it looks as though this flight is going to be a much rougher trip that he thought it would be. No duh. It's too bad the pilot didn't have the stones to stand up to you and insist on a delay.
Sue Ellen drops by Cliff's office and says she needs a favor. She invokes her muddled attempt to illegally adopt a baby in the Black Market Baby episode, and Cliff is all, "Wuh? JR agreed to that?" and Sue Ellen says he didn't, actually; in fact, when he got wind of the situation, he gave the birth mother a pile of money and sent her on her way. She says she now wants to find that birth mother and go through with the adoption, but Cliff just shakes his head and says the writers aren't interested in resurrecting that storyline - plus, she can't very well adopt a baby without JR's consent unless she divorces him. Sue Ellen mulls that over, quickly decides she has no desire to get off the Ewing gravy train anytime soon, and says divorce isn't an option. She sadly says she was hoping for a miracle, and Cliff clucks sympathetically and offers to cheer her up with some lunch.
Bobby, JR, and the pilot huddle together and look tense and afraid as their plane continues to get bounced around by turbulence. Suddenly, the pilot goes, "Ack!" and informs them that the electrical system is starting to fail. Ooooh noooo!!
Miss Ellie gets a call from someone at the airport named Bert, informing her that they lost contact with her sons' plane as it was flying over a swamp (eeek! alligators!). He tells her that no one knows exactly why it dropped off their radar, but he suspects it's related to the storm that's raging across the flight plan the pilot stupidly filed. Miss Ellie asks him to launch a search party asap - but orders him not to call the ranch again, for fear that Jock will get wind of what's happening and keel over from the shock.
Miss Ellie covertly tells Ray and Lucy about the missing plane, then orders them to keep the news from Jock. She asks Ray to pick up Pam from the airport and break the bad news to her...and Lucy tears up and offers to track down Sue Ellen. Miss Ellie says she'll take care of that, then says she has no idea where the uppity southern belle could be.
Ray leaves for the airport in a wood panelled station wagon. I wonder what happened to his blue truck.
Sue Ellen and Cliff are drinking and giggling over food and drinks. He asks her what she's doing for the rest of the day...and when she shoots him a come hither look, he says it would be a shame to waste her good mood. She tells him that JR is expected to return from New Orleans this afternoon, and he shrugs and says, "Planes are late" and urges her to call the ranch to tell them she'll be busy for the next few hours. Mmm hmm..
Ray has told Pam the distressing news, and she's walking stiffly toward the station wagon, zombie-like, with a stricken look on her face. Ray tells her she's going to have to stop looking so freaked out by the time they reach Southfork, 'cause Miss Ellie has ordered everyone to act like nothing's wrong in front of Jock.
Sue Ellen calls Southfork and gets a decree from Miss Ellie to come home immediately, so she cancels her afternoon romp with Cliff and rushes home.
Pam enters the house looking tearful and dazed. She confirms to Miss Ellie that Ray told her the news, and the two women hug. Miss Ellie urges her to dry her eyes before Jock sees her, then heads to the study to see if there's any word from the search party.
Miss Ellie calls Bert and asks him if the search party has located the plane yet. He tells her that the choppers are still searching - but that the storm is making it rough.
Sue Ellen enters the house, loudly complaining about being summoned home...and Pam quickly steers her over to a sitting room and tells her to shut it so she can explain what's going on. She tells her that Bobby's/JR's plane disappeared off the radar, then tries to comfort her with a hug, but Sue Ellen isn't interested in being bonded with and bitchily shoves her away. Miss Ellie enters the room to report that the searchers aren't able to see too much 'cause of the storm...then scrunches her face in misery and says she can't bear the thought of losing both of her sons.
At dinner, the Ewing womenfolk struggle to make light conversation for Jock's benefit. Pam talks about her trip to New York and says she was too busy to do any sightseeing - and Jock snorts derisively and retorts, "I think you'd do better travelling with Bobby than Liz Craig. You'd have a much better time." Pam politely says she didn't have a bad time, 'cause she enjoys her work so much...and Jock nosily asks her if she and Bobby had a fight over her change of plans. Miss Ellie tells him it's none of their business, but Pam openly admits that, yeah, Bobby was a bit miffed when she told him she wasn't able to fly to Louisiana. Jock says it's probably why he missed this afternoon's meeting, and Pam quietly replies, "He wouldn't do that." Miss Ellie tells him that JR and Bobby decided to stay in New Orleans because of a bad storm...and when Jock asks why they haven't called, she says the phones are down. Jock mulls that over, grunts something unintelligible, then says he's off to the study to do some paperwork.
Lucy tries to get in touch with Gary by calling the casino where he used to work. Sue Ellen overhears the conversation, snatches the phone away, and slams it down. She snarls, "Wait until we know they're dead, at least!" and Lucy's like, "WTF? They're his brothers!" and Sue Ellen haughtily tells her that Jock will be the one to decide if he wants Gary at Southfork. Lucy gets mad and calls her a money grubbing whore, so Sue Ellen calls her a brat and tries to smack her - but Lucy blocks her hand and smugly retorts, "That's right. I'm a Ewing brat. A born Ewing." She mocks Sue Ellen's insecurity about not having a little brat of her own...then says if JR turns up dead, she'll never get to be the Grand Dame of Southfork. It's sad when such lofty dreams have to die.
Miss Ellie gets a call from Ken Jackson of the Dallas Press, who just got the news that JR's/Bobby's plane has been reported missing. Miss Ellie snarks, "No comment!" and slams the phone down...then calls Ray and orders him to lock down all access points to the ranch, particularly from nosy reporters.
Jock is in the study smoking a cigar when Miss Ellie enters the room. She takes away his cigar, forbids him to pour himself a brandy, and barks at him to follow the doctor's orders.
Ray gathers all the ranch hands together and orders them to set up blockades and stand guard so that no pesky reporters are able to trespass onto the property. He makes it clear that they're not to shoot any interlopers - thanks for clarifying the no murder policy, Ray - and emphasizes that the main goal is to keep them away from the main house.
Sue Ellen is boozing it up in the living room when Pam enters. She urges her sister-in-law to quit drinking, but Sue Ellen pours herself another drink and starts rambling about how much she looooves JR['s money] and how cushy and pampered everything in her life is, purely 'cause of who she married. [Well duh, Sue Ellen. That is the general premise of the show.] She tells Pam she had lunch with an attractive man today - then wonders if he only found her attractive 'cause she's JR's wife. Considering that it was Cliff...yeah, probably. Pam half-heartedly says, "That's not true" then tries to get her to go upstairs and into bed. She urges her to hold out hope that JR and Bobby are coming home - and Sue Ellen chuckles drunkenly and accuses her of liking the Ewing money and privilege just as much as she does, and says she wouldn't want to go back to being ol' Miss Barnes again. Pam gets angry and snaps, "I'm not going to listen to your disgusting self pity about your finances" and Sue Ellen shoots her the stink-eye and growls, "How dare you talk to me like that!!" then suddenly breaks into laughter and asks her how many men paid her bills before she hooked up with Bobby. Pam gives her a hard face smack across the face (awesome!!) and yells back that she's always paid her own bills and worked for a living - just like she's doing now. She yells, "What did you ever do?" and Sue Ellen starts weeping and whimpering about how she'll lose everything if JR dies and leaves her without a Ewing heir to desperately cling to. She then grasps Pam's hand, and Pam squeezes it back.
Miss Ellie lumbers downstairs and tells Ray she just tucked Jock into bed and watched him drift off to sleep. Ray tells her he's handling the reporter/trespassing situation...but a few seconds later, Ken Jackson from the Dallas Press raps on the door and asks them for a statement regarding the downed airplane. Bwahahahaha! Nice work, Ray. Miss Ellie asks Ken how he got onto the ranch, and he tells her about a secret, unguarded trail he had knowledge of. She admonishes him for having no respect for a family's grief, calls him a vulture, then asks Ray to bring her the shotgun (!). Ray obediently retrieves it and hands it to her, and she warns the reporter that anyone on her land without an invitation is a trespasser, then orders him to get lost before she goes completely postal and starts firing. She then needlessly screeches at the top of her lungs, "GET OUT! GET OUT!" as the reporter flees. When she goes back inside, she sees that Jock is standing on the stairs glaring at her, his eyes brimming with tears. Miss Ellie winces and goes, "You heard..?" - bwahahahaha! - then explains that she was afraid to tell him that two of his sons may have perished in a plane crash. Jock growls, "When are you going to understand, woman? That I'm all right." [Except that you're not all right, Jock. Also, it's weird to call your wife woman.] The two then run into each other's arms and start weeping. Miss Ellie tells him it's not certain that JR and Bobby are dead, and that there's still a good, nay excellent chance that they'll be found alive and well before the end credits start rolling.
Jock orders Ray to join the search party, then tells him he used to teach JR how to signal for help if he was ever marooned near a swamp: three of anything. He therefore urges Ray to keep an eye out for three shots, three flares, three mirror flashes, three shrieks for help, etc. He then gets choked up and asks Ray to bring his boys home, dead or alive, and Ray solemnly promises.
Miss Ellie informs Pam that Ray will be joining the search in the morning...then admits she's scared that the news will be bad. Pam urges her to not to think the worst, and Miss Ellie gets a faraway look in her eyes and reminisces about her boys' childhood, blah blah... The two women hug, and Miss Ellie assures her daughter-in-law that she hasn't given up hope.
The next morning, Ray is flying a chopper around the swampy area where the plane reportedly went down...but so far he hasn't spotted anything.
Jock finds Lucy on the patio fixing breakfast. She acts all sunny and happy until he tells her to cut the shit 'cause he knows about JR and Bobby. She casts her head down and says sorry, then says he should probably call Gary and let him know that his brothers could be dead. Jock says he doesn't want to waste a moment's time on his black sheep of a son...and when Lucy reminds him that Bobby and JR are his brothers, he snaps, "I don't want to hear anymore about it, Lucy!" What a malevolent dick.
Ray is still flying around his chopper, visibly frustrated by the fruitless search. But a few minutes later - is it? could it be? - he spots plane debris! The camera zooms in on the crash site, and we can hear JR and Bobby talking excitedly about being rescued. Hurray! JR yells, "Over here!" and Ray spots them and is all, "Woo hoo!" He radios ground control to let them know that the Ewing brothers have been found alive. No word on the pilot, however.
Ray calls Jock and tells him the good news. Jock tearfully says, "Bring them home" then starts weeping with joy.
Ray ferries JR and Bobby back to Southfork in his station wagon. They climb out the car looking bloodied and banged up, which makes me wonder why Ray didn't immediately rush them to a hospital so they could be checked out for any internal injuries. Miss Ellie rushes out of the house, followed by Sue Ellen, Pam, and Lucy. They stare at Bobby and JR for several seconds before Pam runs over to Bobby and collapses against him in a happy hug. Sue Ellen and JR hug awkwardly...and when Jock emerges from the house, JR gives him a respectful nod and says, "I remembered, dad." From this I think we're supposed to assume that the rescue hinged upon JR sending out some type of [unspecified] SOS message. Jock says he's proud of both of them, and gives each of his sons a manly hug. As the men go inside, Miss Ellie happily says it's good to see all that hugging among Ewings. Sue Ellen walks toward the house saying, "JR might need me" and Lucy chuckles and quips, "She wishes" then gets reprimanded by Miss Ellie. Bobby pops back outside and urges Pam to come in, and she smilingly walks over to him.
Still no word about the fate of the pilot.