Recap: An exhausted, but grouchily invigorated Jock is presiding over the elaborate setting up of the 14th Annual Ewing Rodeo on Southfork. Ye haw!
Inside the Ewing mansion, Sue Ellen rebuffs JR's attempt to give her a sensual shoulder massage...and he gets miffed and says it's insulting that, despite his patience and understanding, she clearly can't stand the feel of his touch on her bare skin. Sue Ellen snidely retorts that it's soooo flattering to be desired by him after so many years of neglect - but that it's far too late for him to play the role of faithful husband and loving father.
Lucy flounces around the ranch as she excitedly surveys the rodeo set-up. She says hey to Ray, but he just grunts that he's busy and has no time to talk.
Bobby tells Miss Ellie that Pam went into town to spend time with Digger, who recently suffered some kind of attack. When he remarks that Digger has been pretty rough on his body over the last several decades, Miss Ellie stares concernedly into space and says, at a certain point, everyone's body betrays them, regardless of how healthily they've been living. As Bobby chews on that prophetic nugget, Sue Ellen breezes into the room and complains about all the pre-rodeo ruckus, and asks Bobby if she can get a lift with him into Braddock so she can do some shopping.
Ray checks the mail, gets a letter from Donna Culver, and heads back to his hovel to add it to the pile of unopened letters from Donna he's been storing in his drawer. He picks up a newspaper clipping that contains an article about Donna Culver reconciling with her husband (must have been a slow news day in Dallas), contorts his face into an expression of bitter anguish, then angrily crumples the clipping and throws it on the floor.
Bobby and Sue Ellen arrive in Braddock. He tells her he has about two hours worth of work stuff to do, and arranges to meet her at the downtown diner at noon.
Over at Ewing Oil, Alan Beam is updating JR on the progress of their Cliff Barnes for Congress scheme. He says the best way to progress with this subplot would be for someone close to Cliff to nudge him in the direction of quitting the OLM so he can run for office, and JR grins evilly and suggests he insert himself into Cliff's life in order to get that accomplished. Alan looks puzzled, yet intrigued by the soon-to-be fleshed out challenge.
Pam is visiting Digger at Cliff's apartment when she notices a flyer for the Ewing Rodeo laying on the coffee table. She asks Digger if he's planning on crashing the event so he can see Baby John, then implores him to not cause trouble. Digger assures her he won't be the cause of any more Barnes-Ewing feud fueled drama, then says he's starving and would like to go out and get some lunch.
Sue Ellen enters the Braddock diner, accidentally dropping her packages on the way in. A handsome cowboy appears out of nowhere and helps her pick everything up, then gazes up at her all smitten-like. The diner manager rushes over, snarks at the cowboy to get lost, then apologizes to Sue Ellen for allowing someone beneath her station in life to directly interact with a Ewing wife. Sue Ellen assures him it's fine 'cause he was being helpful, then directs her attention to the cowboy, who holds up a Ewing Rodeo flyer and asks her if she's this Mrs. Ewing. When she grimaces and nods, he introduces himself as Dusty Farlow, then says he's planning to compete in the Ewing Rodeo and will likely see her at the ranch. A few seconds later, Bobby enters the diner, gets introduced to Dusty, and smirks knowingly at the obvious attraction between Dusty and his sister-in-law.
Kristin gushes to JR about the Ewing Rodeo being "so big!" and loooves that the Ewings do everything "in a big way". As the two gaze appreciatively at each other, Kristin spots Sue Ellen glaring at her from across the lawn. She poutishly complains to JR about how annoying his wife is with her haughty superiority, airs, and graces - but is quickly chided by JR for criticizing his wife. He snappishly reminds her that, regardless of who he's hitting the sheets with at any given time, his first loyalty will always be with his wife and spawn.
Dusty has arrived at the Ewing Rodeo, and is hanging with a group of cowboys when he spots Sue Ellen milling around a few yards away. He smiles and politely tips his hat to her, and she smiles back.
During the rodeo's opening Bronc Riding event, Pam tells Bobby she's worried that Digger is going to show up at Southfork and make a scene about Baby John being his bio grandson. Bobby says they'll handle the situation if it arises, then urges her to not ruin the day by worrying so much.
As Ray readies himself to bronc ride, Lucy tells him she's concerned about how depressed he seems lately and asks him if she's done something wrong. Ray says he's bummed about the current situation with Donna Culver, aka the lady he briefly canoodled with during the Outsider episode...then later learned she was married, but was A-OK with leaving her old, rich husband. He tells Lucy he recently read in the newspaper that she decided to reconcile with the old man...and that he's so bummed about it he can't bring himself to read any of the letters she mailed to him. He stares wistfully in the distance and says he may get around to reading them one day, then shakes off the pain of his lost lady love and says he needs to focus on his imminent bronc ride.
Dusty is the next bronc rider, and his stunt double manages to stay on the bucking horse for at least eight seconds...as does the stunt double for Bobby, who's introduced as "one of the best cowboys in the country". That title, being announced at a Ewing Rodeo, seems wildly nepotism-laden, but OK.
Jock tells JR he's worried about Miss Ellie, but JR breezily assures him she's fine, and adds that the trust fund he asked him to set up for wife #1 is in the works.
Digger arrives at the rodeo, heads straight for the bar, and orders a - phew! - club soda. Miss Ellie greets him warmly and says he's welcome to stay for the rodeo festivities - but only as long as he remains sober and behaves himself.
When JR notices Alan Beam arrive, he quickly summons Kristin over and asks her if she's clear on Step 1 of their nefarious plan. She contorts her freakish lips into a sultry grin and assures him she is.
JR runs into a sour looking Sue Ellen and implores her to at least pretend as if she's having a good time at the rodeo. She responds by stretching her lips into a wide, fake smile, then wanders away from him. She accidentally bumps into a passerby and spills her drink all over her pants, and Dusty appears from out of nowhere to hand her a cloth. After a few seconds of flirty banter, the two agree to head over to the barbecue and get something to eat.
Over lunch, Dusty tells Sue Ellen he's moved around a lot on account of his general restlessness, and that he really enjoys competing in rodeos and earning prize money. He then gazes into her eyes and dreamily says he feels like he can talk to her about anything. JR, meanwhile, is guzzling a drink and glaring over at their brazen flirting.
The rodeo has now progressed to the Calf Roping event...and after Dusty's remarkable calf tying performance, Jock remarks to Bobby that this Dusty fella really knows his stuff and reckons that he's a skilled enough cowboy to win the top rodeo prize. Ye haw!
Lucy tiptoes into Ray's hovel, notices the crumpled newspaper clipping on the floor, and opens his drawer and finds the pile of Donna Culver's unopened letters. She picks up the most recent one and opens it - just as Ray bursts in and demands to know what the hell she's doing in his place. She tells him to quit feeling sorry himself, then says that from what she could glean from the one letter she opened, Sam Culver is dying of cancer, and Donna pity-reconciled with him so he wouldn't be alone during his final days. She also professed her love for Ray, despite the fact that the two only hooked up for part of one episode, nine episodes ago. A newly buoyed Ray sits down in his easy chair and picks up the phone to call Donna...and looks delighted when she answers and is all, "Hiiiii Ray!!" LOL.
Bobby readies himself for the Calf Roping event...and by the looks of it, his stunt double does a fantastic job lassoing and restraining the poor animal in record time.
Dusy ambles over to Sue Ellen and tells her that Bobby Ewing is a damn fine calf roper, and that he may well win the top rodeo prize. Sue Ellen scrunches her face disdainfully and says, "The Ewings like winning" ... and when Dusty rejoins that he too enjoys winning, Sue Ellen shoots him the stink-eye, says, "I don't even know what the word means anymore", and storms off, leaving Dusty staring after her confusedly.
JR makes it clear to Alan that he wants as many bystanders as possible to witness the contrived spectacle that he and Kristin are about to unleash on the unsuspecting rodeo guests.
Digger tells Miss Ellie he's been off the sauce ever since his role got recast, and Miss Ellie applauds his sobriety, and expresses relief that he's finally moved on from blaming Jock for every bad thing that's ever happened him during the last forty years. She says she finds the ongoing Barnes-Ewing feud worrying [not to mention tedious for viewers] and wonders where it will end...then swiftly changes the subject and asks him why he decided to come to Southfork today. He says he'd like to see her new grandson, and Miss Ellie beams at the mention of the tot.
Alan pretends to inappropriately flirt with Kristin as the two launch Operation Faux Public Argument. She smacks him hard across the face and screeches, "How dare you!" ... and a few seconds later, JR rushes over to "intervene". When Kristin fake tattles on Alan for insulting her, JR orders him to leave the ranch immediately, and berates him for his lack of respect for women. Alan dutifully retorts, "I'm gone! I've had enough of all of you!" - a reaction that unwittingly turns Lucy on, and prompts her to scamper after Alan. She flirtily introduces herself, then coquettishly adds, "I'll see you around" ... and makes it clear that her uncle has no say about who she dates.
Dusty asks Sue Ellen if she knows the people involved in the weird spectacle they just witnessed, and she points out her sister and husband and wryly says she doubts that her sister's "honor" was in need of defending. Heh. JR ambles over, gets introduced to Dusty, and tells his wife's handsome new suitor that Texans are protective, nay possessive of their women and often take a special interest in who they're spending time with. An unfazed Dusty's like, "I know, I'm a Texan too", then tells Sue Ellen he's off to compete in the next rodeo event - but that he'll see her later. Sue Ellen smugly points out to JR that he has no leverage against a guy like Dusty, and that there's nothing he can deprive him of...and JR snarks, "If you mean yourself, I'm not so sure."
Next up on the rodeo agenda is the Bull Riding event...and Dusty's stunt double is able to last just over eight seconds on the bucking beast and remain a strong contender to win the top prize for Best Rodeo-er.
Kristin tells Sue Ellen that her brazen flirting with Dusty is becoming a spectacle, and Sue Ellen does her best to not laugh heartily when she points out that she (Kristin) has already supplied the rodeo crowd with enough dramatics for one afternoon. She then applauds Kristin for figuring out JR in far less time than it took her: his pathological need to have what someone else wants/has.
Pam gets worried when she sees Digger chatting with Miss Ellie and rushes over to scold him for crashing the rodeo. Miss Ellie assures her it's all fine, and that she and Jock were about to show Digger their new grandson.
Dusty tells Sue Ellen he doesn't actually need the cash prize that comes along with winning Best Rodeo-er, 'cause he comes from an uber-wealthy ranching family in San Angelo. Sue Ellen's all, "Wha-a-a-a?" and looks put off by his equally-as-rich status to the Ewing family and moodily says they probably shouldn't hang out anymore 'cause people are starting to talk. Dusty scrunches his face confusedly and says it almost seems as though she liked him a lot better when she thought he was just a poor, "of no account" cowboy...then is able to coax her into admitting that she genuinely likes him a lot.
Ray bounds over to Lucy and smilingly tells her that after his illuminating phone chat with Donna Culver, he's finally learned to trust again. Lucy's all, "Yippee!" and gives her ex-lover/future uncle a happy squeeze.
Up in the nursery, Digger cradles Baby John while Jock gruffly lays it on thick about how the tot "is a Ewing through and through". When Digger opens his mouth to object, Bobby swiftly interjects and says, "What do you think, Digger? Doesn't he look like a Ewing to you?", and Digger shuts his mouth and just quietly stares at the baby. Miss Ellie concurs that the baby is definitely JR's [and not Cliff's] boy, not least 'cause he looks just like JR did when he was an infant. Digger's like, "Yeah, OK...whatever", hands the baby back to Jock, and rushes out of the nursery. He exits the house, goes straight to the bar, and orders a stiff drink...and when Pam and Bobby follow him out and look on anxiously, Digger quickly guzzles the drink, snaps, "It's only one!", and storms off.
Dusty tells Sue Ellen that despite her general aura of bitchy moodiness, he really really likes her and can see how unhappy she is in her shitty marriage...and when she stares back at him longingly, JR storms over and demands to have a word with her in private. He steers her inside the house, up to their bedroom, and creepily orders her to smile for her husband. When she reacts by smacking him hard across the face (!), he pushes her onto the bed and snarls at her to pretend he's her new cowboy suitor. She snarls back about how much he disgusts her, then says if he wants a marital rape type roll in the hay, he should talk to her sister, who would likely be more than willing to oblige. JR snaps, "Maybe you're right" and derisively adds that he's wasted enough time on her. As he climbs off of the bed and storms out of the room, Sue Ellen hears someone on a blow horn announce that Dusty Farlow has won the award for Best Rodeo-er.
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