Recap: Sue Ellen takes a cab home from downtown Dallas...and when she encounters Jock and Bobby on her way to the house, she needlessly explains that she was just at a routine doctor's appointment. Once she's out of earshot, Jock asks Bobby if Sue Ellen looks at all as though she's been drinking, and Bobby shrugs and says she looked just fine. Jock shakes his head and grumbles about how baffling he finds the antics of the gentler sex: Sue Ellen and her alleged boozing, and Miss Ellie spending so much of her leisure time in a boring quest to save a city park from a low-income housing development.
Cliff is getting settled in his new office at the DA when an associate, Lyle Sloan, drops by to welcome him to his new workplace. Cliff snarks at him to get lost and reminds him that he was the prosecutor who tried to pin Tina Louise's murder on him in Season 2. Lyle tells him not to take it personally 'cause to him it was just a case, then tosses a file folder atop his desk and says he figured he might be interested in stirring up trouble with this cold case: human remains from around thirty years ago found buried on Southfork. Cliff perks up at the prospect of using this dated homicide to torture the Ewings, and starts sifting through the file.
Miss Ellie and her Save Mimosa Park! coterie of old lady supporters are imploring the City Planning Commissioner to do everything in his power to stop Matt Devlin's nefarious plan of building low income housing for the working poor. A few seconds later, Matt arrives and chides the ladies for holding these meetings on his property, and Miss Ellie reminds him that he doesn't yet own Mimosa Park, and sassily adds that he never will if she has anything to say about it. One of the ladies announces that they're going to lunch and invites Miss Ellie along, but she declines and says she needs to be getting home. Matt says he'd be happy to give her a lift to Southfork...and will use the opportunity to talk her out of protesting his housing project.
JR sleeps over at Kristin's condo, and after an all night fuckfest she serves him a plate of caviar and says it's the only food she had in the kitchen. JR chuckles and tells her that if she were ever rated in the art of man pleasing she'd get an A, but an F in anything kitchen related. She coquettishly retorts that she'd happily learn how to cook if she had a man to cook for, and JR cackles at the implausible visual of her laboring over a hot stove. She purrs, "I'd do it for you" and starts hand feeding him caviar, and he's all, "Whoa, honey" and says she's moving a little too fast with all her 'I wanna be your second wife' talk. Kristin disagrees and reminds him that they have everyone convinced Sue Ellen has fallen off the wagon, then says that Step 2 of their plan will be to figure out how to get her to actually take that first drink. JR tells her to leave that piece of the puzzle to him, and urges patience 'cause he's pretty sure his mama and daddy wouldn't appreciate him replacing Sue Ellen with her sister so quickly...'cause ick. Kristin pouts, "I don't wanna wait. I want you now" and JR checks his watch and decides he has time for a quick romp before heading into the office...and the two start going at it.
Matt Devlin drops Miss Ellie off at Southfork, and Jock quips about how surprised he is to see the two "enemies" driving around together and acting so chummy. Matt chuckles and bids Miss Ellie farewell and tells her he'll work on the list (?) they discussed in the limo.
JR enters his bedroom and is immediately pelted with perfume bottles by an enraged Sue Ellen, who angrily accuses him of rifling through her drawers. JR "explains" that he was merely looking for empty booze bottles to confirm his unfounded accusations about her reemerged drinking habit, and Sue Ellen denies falling off the wagon and accuses him of wanting to lock her away in a sanitarium so she's out of the way before she can launch a bitter custody battle. JR scoffs that she's not only a drunk but a paranoid drunk, and she hisses that he's rotten to core and vows to do everything possible to keep him away from her precious baby.
Lucy gets a phone call from her lit teacher Greg, who somehow thinks it's appropriate to ask one of his students out for a dinner date. She declines 'cause she's about to have dinner with her family, but agrees to get together with him for lunch the following day.
JR heads downstairs to enjoy pre-dinner drinks with the family and tells everyone it's pretty clear that Sue Ellen needs to be locked up in a sanitarium asap. Bobby says he hates the idea of forcibly locking up anyone, not least 'cause it's blatantly illegal, and Miss Ellie concurs and urges JR to wait a bit longer and see what happens. A few seconds later, Pam gets a call from Cliff, who informs her that Digger is back from Galveston and went on a crazy drunken bender...and Pam's all, "Ack!" and immediately rushes off.
Cliff is straightening up his apartment when Pam arrives. He tells her that Digger got fired from whatever job he he was working in Galveston [that was a pretty fast firing] ... so apparently he got on the first bus back to Dallas, stormed Cliff's apartment and drank everything he could find, then ripped the place apart looking for more booze before passing out in a puddle of his own vomit. Cliff blames the Ewings for tormenting Digger when it was revealed that he (Cliff) wasn't Baby John's bio dad, then vows to make Jock et. al. pay for everything they've done to his hopeless wino of a father. After that nonsensical pronouncement, Cliff opens his briefcase and pulls out the DA file on the thirty year old remains found buried on Southfork and contemplatively looks it over. He calls up Sheriff Washburn and tells him he wants to meet with him in the morning to discuss the homicide on Southfork - while ominous dun! dun! dun! music plays in the background.
At breakfast the next morning, Pam tells the Ewing clan that Digger is very sick - and JR smirkingly asks, "You mean drunk?" then snidely adds, "That's been going around." Jock tells Miss Ellie he hopes she can spend the day with him, but she's like, "No can do" 'cause she's far too busy sorting out the Save Mimosa Park! conundrum.
Cliff grills Sheriff Washburn about the homicide evidence he collected on Southfork. The sheriff gets all defensive and says he found no indication of any wrongdoing - not counting the bullet that was lodged inside the victim's skull - and that his best estimate is that the victim met his untimely end around thirty years ago. Cliff looks over the items that were found buried with the remains, in particular a belt buckle conveniently inscribed To HM, With love, RB. Sheriff Washburn says he has no idea who HM was, and has zero interest in looking into it...so Cliff says in all likelihood the victim was a Southfork employee, and orders the sheriff to get him the relevant employment records from Southfork. Sheriff Washburn snarks that he's going to need a court order for that, and Cliff promptly produces the required document. After a sassed Sheriff Washburn stomps out of the room, Cliff gets on the phone with a local anthropologist and tells him to meet him at the morgue 'cause he has an urgent project he needs him to start working on asap.
Bobby returns home and finds Sue Ellen hanging with Baby John near the swimming pool. When he's like, "What's new?", she comes right out and tells him what's new is that JR wants her locked away in a sanitarium so he can have sole custody of Baby John. She tears up and says she can't live with JR anymore and desperately wants a divorce...and Bobby's all, "Wha-a-a-a?" and says he totally bought into the facade she was perpetuating to make everyone think that she and JR were living happily ever after. He tells her he's shocked - shocked! - that JR is trying to make her look like a hopeless drunk, then urges her to be open about her reasons for leaving JR...and not play games, 'cause JR's so much better at that sort of thing. Sue Ellen squeaks, "What about the baby?" and Bobby says that abandoning her spawn to be raised largely by Miss Ellie [and face the same kind of negligent upbringing that Lucy endured] is a choice she may have to make.
Miss Ellie remains stubborn in her determination to save Mimosa fucking Park. A befuddled Matt Devlin asks her how on earth she hooked up with an oil man like Jock Ewing...and Miss Ellie chuckles and concurs that, indeed, her sainted daddy hated oil drilling and considered cattle ranching to be the be-all and end-all of life. Matt suggests they have lunch together so they can continue beating this boring subplot to death in an effort to reach a compromise, but Miss Ellie declines and says she needs to rush home for no particular reason.
Sheriff Washburn stops by Southfork to give Jock a heads up that the Dallas DA's office (meaning Cliff Barnes) is poking around the cold case involving the remains they found on Ray's plot of land during the Mother of the Year episode. Washburn complains that Cliff is making him do his job by obtaining Southfork's employment records from thirty years ago...and when Jock scrunches his face in puzzlement and says he doesn't think his accountant has paperwork that goes that far back, Ray offers to search ye old shed for any decades old ledgers.
Pam drops by Cliff's apartment to check on Digger and is alarmed to find him in his bedroom, passed out face-down on the floor with an empty bottle of booze next to him. She races over to the phone and calls for help.
Bobby storms into JR's office and demands to know why he cut back production on the east Texas oil field that he (Bobby) recently reactivated. JR says he doesn't feel the need to drill in east Texas 'cause of all the oil pumping Ewing Oil is currently doing in Asia, and Bobby threatens to tattle to Jock and put him on the spot about who's better suited to be running the company. JR backs off and agrees to give him the green light to set whatever production levels he wants in east Texas, and Bobby snaps, "Fine!" and storms out.
Cliff is back in Sheriff Washburn's office...and Washburn, Cliff, and Deputy Newly are poring over Southfork's old ledgers, looking for employees' names with the initials HM. Cliff deduces that the victim was most likely a foreman named Hutch McKinney, and Deputy Newly stares contemplatively into space and recalls that Hutch was a douchebag with a nasty temper, and was publicly fired by Jock at a local saloon. Cliff perks up at that and asks Newly if he thinks that Jock might have killed him, and Sheriff Washburn snappishly warns him that that kind of question is waaaaay outta line.
Pam and Cliff are hovering concernedly over Digger, who's laying unconscious in a hospital bed. Pam tearfully relays to Cliff that the doctor told her earlier that Digger's body can't take anymore alcohol abuse...and Cliff grasps Digger's hand and implores him to fight, then promises to exact revenge on the Ewings for everything that's ever gone wrong for the Barnes family during the last forty years.
Sue Ellen is in a therapy session with Dr. Ellby, nattering about her refusal to let JR break her. She says she had planned to sneak away in the night with Baby John, then decided against that 'cause she figured JR would never let her get away with it. She resigns herself to the reality that she's going to have to depart Southfork alone and leave her hapless baby in the care of Miss Ellie and Pam - until such time as Dusty can use his wealth and influence to help her get sole custody of the tot. Dr. Ellby shakes his head in frustration and points out that, despite months of intensive therapy, she still hasn't gotten past her obnoxious 'I'm just a helpless Southern belle'-esque reliance on a man's strength and financial resources to sort out her life's problems, and she just shrugs and is all, "Well duh. Your point is..?"
Cliff orders two of his investigators to comb Southfork for any trace of the weapon that was used to kill Hutch McKinney. A few seconds later, Lyle enters the room to admonish Cliff for tying up so much of the DA's resources into a thirty year old murder case when they have far more pressing work to focus on - but Cliff's all, "Blah blah blah" and says he's determined to solve this heinous crime. Once Lyle is out of earshot, Cliff calls his anthropologist buddy, who tells him he's still working on the project (aka a grisly looking head bust of Hutch McKinney) that was needlessly requested.
Lucy tells the family that she's off to meet her date in a downtown restaurant...and Jock shakes his head disapprovingly and says it's improper for a young lady to not be picked up by her suitor. Lucy reminds him that they're not living in the '50s, assures him she'll be fine driving herself to the restaurant, and happily scampers off. Jock growls at Bobby that he's looking forward to the day that his nitwit of a granddaughter finds someone substantial to marry, then expresses his general dismay about "the women in this family runnin' around with themselves". Miss Ellie, who somehow refrains from telling her crotchety crust of a husband where he can stuff his misogynistic 'tude, asks Bobby how Digger's doing, and Bobby tells her he's in the hospital...while Cliff is on a misguided vengeance-seeking rampage. Jock scoffs at Cliff's general idiocy and derisively says that Digger Barnes never once took responsibility for the epic failure that became his life. Fair point. JR enters the room and reports that Sue Ellen is once again skipping the nightly Ewing family dinner - but claims that he's doing his best to work things out with her. Bobby snappishly retorts that it doesn't look as if he's trying hard enough, then chides him for trying to make it look as though she's fallen off the wagon when he knows she hasn't...and JR's all, "Wha-a-a-a?" and pretends he has no idea what in blazes Bobby's talking about.
Cliff returns to Digger's hospital room, where Pam has been sitting all day, keeping vigil. At Cliff's urging, she agrees to take a break and lay down on the couch in the waiting room while Cliff sits with Digger.
Sue Ellen hovers over Baby John's crib and tells the tot she's meeting up with Dusty tomorrow, and that he's scheduled to fly into Forth Worth from San Angelo tomorrow. She coos about what a wonderful stepfather he's going to make, and says sorry in advance for abandoning him until she can arrange to get sole custody. Baby John cocks his little head and bleats, "Mama..?" and Sue Ellen tears up, and picks him up for one last baby-mama cuddle.
Cliff's anthropologist buddy has reconstructed the murder victim's likeness in the form of a head bust, and Cliff looks impressed and says he's going to take photos and give them to his investigators to hand out to people who may have known the victim. (Not sure why this is necessary when Cliff has already IDed the victim as Hutch McKinney, but OK.)
Sheriff drops by Southfork to give Jock a heads up that pesky Cliff Barnes refuses to let sleeping dogs lie and is determined to solve the thirty year old Southfork murder. After he heads out, Ray enters the room to solemnly inform Jock, JR, and Bobby that Cliff's investigator uncovered a .38 Colt service revolver that was likely used in the killing Hutch McKinney. Jock scrunches his wrinkly face worriedly and instructs JR and Bobby to call in whatever favors they can in order to get this murder investigation squelched...and when they're all, "Wuh?", he admits that the .38 revolver was, in fact, his gun.
JR and Bobby work the phones to put pressure on the DA to shut down the murder investigation, but don't have any luck.
A Dallas old-timer named Merdo Ferris, who knew Hutch McKinney back in the day, stares at the anthropologist's head bust and calls it spooky. He recounts for Cliff the night he witnessed Jock Ewing storm into a saloon to bitchily fire Hutch and warn him to leave Southfork or he'd kill him.
Sue Ellen enters the love nest apartment in Fort Worth that she and Dusty have been sharing, and is puzzled when there's no sign of him.
Over lunch, Matt Devlin remarks to Miss Ellie that she's been very quiet today, and she says it's 'cause she wants him to offer a solution to the Mimosa Park stumper. Matt says he'd much rather talk about them, then comes right out and confesses that he's fallen hopelessly in love with her. Miss Ellie blushes, then moans, "Nooooo.." and says she'd better hightail it back to Southfork, pronto.
Sue Ellen is lounging in her love nest when the TV show she's watching is interrupted by a local news bulletin reporting the crash of a private plane in which the pilot, one Dusty Farlow, is presumed dead. As the news camera pans across the smoldering wreckage, Sue Ellen gets a spacey look on her face, then wanders over to the bar (that either she or Dusty thought was a good idea to stock with large bottles of booze) and starts guzzling.
Bobby arrives home and is horrified to find Sheriff Washburn at the ranch reading Jock his rights as he places him under arrest for the murder of Hutch McKinney.
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!