‘Dallas’ Episode 2 Recap: J.R.’s Up to No Good, Lucy Stirs Up Trouble & Pamela Resorts to Blackmail
Pamela gets more than she bargained for trying to bond with scheming Lucy.
Soaps.com is having a ball revisiting primetime shows from the soap past and making recommendations of what to watch while we’re all in self-isolation. We couldn’t get enough of the oil-rich Ewings, in particular manipulative J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), so we decided to check out Lessons, the second episode of Dallas’ first season. Before you read, refresh your memory with Dallas’ pilot episode recap and settle in for another wild ride with the Ewing family.
The episode opens Jock Ewing’s (Jim Davis) troublemaking teenage granddaughter, Lucy (Charlene Tilton), setting flame to a mysterious letter, while very much in love Bobby (Patrick Duffy) teaches Pamela (Victoria Principal) to ride a horse. After breakfast, J.R and Bobby head off to work. While saying goodbye, Bobby and Pam practically make out, while J.R. and Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) barely touch, hinting at trouble between J.R. and his stately wife. After, Pam bonds with Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) as she commiserates about Lucy ditching school every day. She thinks it’s because Lucy’s father Gary, ran away, making everyone else spoil her.
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Later, Pamela receives a call from Lucy’s school who claims they have sent dozens of letters to Jock. Pam promptly heads to the stables where ranch foreman Ray (Steve Kanaly) is making out with Lucy in the haystacks. After blackmailing Ray to stay away from Lucy – otherwise, she’ll tell Bobby about his and Lucy’s affair – she blackmails Lucy, threatening to tell Jock about the school calling. Seeing Pam means business, Lucy complies. At school, Pam persuades one of her teachers, Mr. Miller (Paul Tully), to tutor Lucy in math. Later, as Pam waits to pick Lucy up, classmate Roger Hurley (Jeffrey Byron) chats Lucy up. On the way back to the ranch, Lucy continues to rebel, hurling new clothes Pamela bought her out the window – and then later cutting them up.
Turns out Lucy chopping up the new clothes is part of a scheme – the next day, she runs out of Mr. Miller’s office, claiming he assaulted her, with the torn clothes to prove it. Meanwhile, creepy Roger watches it all and later reports the incident to Pam. Pam doesn’t believe it and decides to investigate. Lucy turns the tables on Pam and uses the incident to convince Pam to hide the letters – in exchange she will recant the accusation against Mr. Miller. After dinner, Lucy makes a date with Roger.
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Meanwhile, at the office, Bobby reads over meeting notes for an important oil association. He observes J.R. seems to have a lot of pull with association members. J.R. evades Bobby’s questions and reminds Bobby that while he was out hustling and being charming, J.R. was learning the business. J.R. announces that what he does at Ewing Oil is his business and his alone. It’s a pivotal scene because Bobby observes how all J.R. wanted – even as a kid – was to run Ewing Oil. It hints at the depths J.R. will go to stay in power.
Later, Lucy gets in the car with Roger for their date, where it’s revealed Roger participated in her plot against Mr. Miller. They head off to the new nightclub that’s opened in Braddock – the same nightclub Bobby decides to take Pam, and even more coincidently, Ray and his date. While Lucy tries to convince Ray to get rid of Roger, Bobby spies the two in an embrace! A fight ensues and he punches Ray’s lights out. Ray feels the fight was more about Pam. Meanwhile, Pam connects the dots and figures out Roger was involved in the setup of Mr. Miller. She then threatens him (a third person!) with blackmail, telling Roger she will reveal his role to Jock if he doesn’t leave Lucy alone. Outraged, Lucy calls Pamela out on her tactics, greatly upsetting Pam. Bobby successfully manages to convince Lucy that Pam really cares for her. The night ends happily, with Lucy finally accepting that her new Aunt really does care.
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The second episode of Dallas neglected business storylines, in favor of exploring Lucy and Pam’s characters. It was a touching episode, but the show is at its best when the oil business is part of the main story – and more importantly when J.R.’s machinations are woven into the other plots. For example, while all this was carrying on with Lucy, I was wondering “what is J.R. up to?” Well, I, and other curious readers, won’t have to wait long to find out – next episode’s preview J.R. in the throes of an affair, Sue Ellen unraveling, Jock tangled up in shady business and J.R. accusing Pamela of spying! There’s clearly twisty drama to come as big as the size of Southfork.