"We interrupt our regular programming to bring you this special news bulletin. In a bizarre turn of events, Bobby Ewing, one of the owners of Ewing Oil Company, has been rushed to Dallas Memorial Hospital after being struck by a car driven by his ex-sister-in-law, Katherine Wentworth. Miss Wentworth, still wanted by police after skipping bail for the shooting of Mr. Ewing last year, was declared dead at the scene of the accident. Mr. Ewing is currently undergoing surgery for massive internal injuries. The incident occurred at the home of Pamela Barnes Ewing, Mr. Ewing's ex-wife." "Oh, Bobby, it was awful! When I woke up, I thought that you were dead." "What?" "I had a nightmare. A terrible nightmare. I dreamed that you were here, and you were leaving, and Katherine was in her car, and she was waiting, and... and when we started to leave, she tried to run me down, but you pushed me out of the way, and then she hit you, and she crashed into a truck, and she was killed. And then we took you to the hospital, and you died!" "Hey, Pam, I'm right here. And I'm fine." "But there was so much more then, Bobby. It seemed so real. There was Sue Ellen, and there was Mark, and I was married." "Hey, you are going to be married to me, just as soon as we can." "I was so frightened. Oh, I love you so much." "Honey, it's over. None of that happened. We're together, and I love you. And I'm getting you all wet."The most ludicrous and infamous story premise of all time on a television show was not that Gilligan routinely ruined the castaways' plans for leaving the tropical Gilligan's Island, or that the crew of Lost in Space's Jupiter II repeatedly crash-landed on planets with identical scenery due to the asinine bumbling of Dr. Zachery Smith, or that Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, could use their bionic limbs to lift heavy objects without breaking their ordinary human spines. No. The most outlandish contrivance in the history of television was not in a science fiction, fantasy, or situation comedy series per se. It was the cliffhanger of the 1985-6 season of television's most popular prime-time serial, Dallas, the 1978-91 saga of the Ewings of the Southfork ranch in Texas.
Millions of North Americans were tuned to their local affiliates of the CBS or CBC television networks when, in the final scene of said season, Patrick Duffy is shown in a bathroom shower, nonchalantly saying, "Good morning," to Pamela Barnes Ewing (Victoria Principal), despite the supposed fact that his character, Bobby Ewing, Pam's former husband, was killed exactly one Dallas season (i.e. 31 episodes) earlier.
For persons who were in Timbuktu or on the Moon and not privy to the events surrounding Duffy's departure and subsequent return to his popular role as the principled and trustworthy younger brother to the deceitful "Man People Love to Hate", J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), here is what happened. Toward the end of the 1984-5 season of Dallas, Duffy decided to quit the role of Bobby, which, he felt, was becoming predictable and dull. Rather than write the character out of the television series by having him leave Dallas or disappear in some far-flung place, the Dallas "literary team" was instructed by Duffy to give to Bobby a heroic, self-sacrificing end. Bobby was to be mortally wounded in the act of saving Pam's life from the speeding car of Bobby's unwanted, obsessive lover and Pam's murderous half-sister, Katherine Wentworth (Morgan Brittany), who is herself killed when her car crashes into a gardener's truck. Later, in a hospital, surrounded by his loved ones, Bobby expires after imploring them to be good to each other and to be a family. So ended Dallas' 1984-5 season.
It is notoriously difficult to resurrect a character who is shown to die on a hospital bed, with medical instruments clearly registering his death, and is then buried in a fully attended funeral. Duffy did not intend to return to Dallas, and for the season that followed, every effort was invested into continuing storylines without even the possibility of a return from the dead by Bobby.
Dallas' viewership declined in the 1985-6 season, and prevailing belief at CBS was that the loss of Bobby was the cause for the television show's decreasing popularity. However, it was more likely that the season's international intrigue, including a Colombian adventure and a fracas at a masquerade party in Martinique, was not what Dallas viewers expected or wanted. They wanted to watch the interpersonal trials and tribulations of the rich folk in Texas' major city, which had characterised the television show through most of its prior history.
In reaction to the drop in ratings was a purging of the Dallas production staff near the end of the beleaguered season, including the chief writers and executive producer Philip Capice, and Hagman urged his personal friend, Duffy, to rejoin Dallas. Tabloid newspapers abounded with speculation on the capacity in which Duffy would reappear. Perhaps Bobby had been secretly resuscitated and "spirited" away from his family for a year? Or maybe Bobby had a hitherto-unknown twin of less virtuous character? No one broached a dream contrivance until a few weeks before the Dallas 1986-7 season premiere. It was too wild even for the tabloids, until suddenly the prospect of the entire Bobby-less season never really happening began being deliberated in those same tabloids.
So, the dismissal of the entire 1985-6 season as a Pam Ewing dream came not as the complete and wonderful surprise intended by the Dallas production team. Viewers were expecting it as a possibility, and the least appealing one of those aforementioned.
Dallas teased viewers in the end credits to the 1985-6 season finale with a notation of, "Starring Patrick Duffy as..." and again with the 1986-7 season opener by showing no pre-credit preview, but instead a recap of Pam opening the bathroom shower door and seeing Bobby, and by superimposing Duffy's screen credit on a rather haughty-looking Duffy to suggest that maybe Duffy would not be returning as the humble and personable Bobby.
After a commercial interval that was quite protracted on Canada's CBC television network, the 1986-7 Dallas season opener resumed, and when Pam told to Bobby that she had just had a weird dream, collective fretting could have caused the entire North American continent to jerk. The audience felt cheated because the finale of the 1985-6 Dallas season contained exciting events, including two bombings, that were now cancelled. "None of that happened," Bobby facilely told Pam, who has found him in her bathroom shower "the morning after" he and she bedded in the concluding episode of the 1984-5 season. And nothing more was said, by Pam or by anyone else, about her 31-episode "nightmare". People were not willing to hearken back to storylines more than a year old and see them unfold in a different direction. Ratings plummeted. Bobby's return did not achieve the desired resurgence of the television programme's popularity.
Despite its faults, the 1985-6 season logically followed its predecessor. Bobby's death was mourned, and Pam was reunited with Mark Graison (John Beck), to whom Pam was engaged to be married near the conclusion of the 1983-4 season but who was believed to have perished in an aeroplane explosion after learning that he was terminally ill. For most of the 1984-5 season, Pam believed Graison to still be alive, at a clinic somewhere for some experimental treatment for his affliction, and was very close to finding him in Hong Kong, only to be devastated to discover another man in what she expected would be Mark's hospital bed. However, it was shown to the viewer through a mysterious telephone call of a staff member at the Hong Kong hospital that the man in the hospital bed was a decoy and that the not-shown person on the other end of the telephone wanted Pam to be disappointed and to cease her search for Graison. The implication was that the unseen man on the telephone was Mark.
Graison's return from the dead in the 1985-6 season was plausible. He was in remission from his disease due to the tentatively successful treatment that he received in Hong Kong, and he did not want for Pam to find him there because he did not wish that her hopes for a future with him be raised and then dashed should his condition deteriorate, but upon learning of Bobby's death, he decided to reenter Pam's life to help her to cope with her loss (she and Bobby did in fact decide to remarry the evening before Bobby was killed). And Mark's timing is perfect, for Pam is being pressured on two sides (by J.R. and by rival oil company Weststar's president Jeremy Wendell, who is in alliance with Pam's pushy brother, J.R.'s eternal enemy, Cliff Barnes) to sell the Ewing Oil stock (30 percent ownership of the company) bequeathed to her son, Christopher, by Bobby, to one of them. J.R. is livid at the prospect of Pam ("that Barnes woman") having influence in his business if she decides to retain the stock and act as executor of Christopher's inheritance (i.e. part of Ewing Oil). To discourage Pam from maintaining this position, he inundates her with paper work when she is still grieving and blaming herself for Bobby's death. The scene at the end of the Oct. 11, 1985 episode wherein Pam, in emotional distress, turns and finds Graison standing lovingly in front of her, is truly tear-jerking.
Here is an episode-by-episode account of the events of the 1985-6 Dallas season, after September, 1986 now referred to as "the Dream Season" by the viewing public.
"The Family Ewing/"Rock Bottom"- 2-hour season premiere (Sept. 27, 1985) Bobby is dead, and the Ewing family struggles with its bereavement. Jenna Wade (Bobby's ex-fiancee) is in shock and must be sedated, and Pam blames herself for Bobby's sacrificial demise as her brother, Cliff, and Cliff's new wife, Jamie Ewing Barnes (first-cousin to the Southfork Ewings), console her. J.R. snubs his other brothers, Gary and Ray, when they offer to help him temporarily at Ewing Oil in the wake of Bobby's death. He has always been contemptuous of both of them and replies that his "only" brother is dead. J.R. continues to push his estranged wife, Sue Ellen, into an alcoholic tailspin so that he can have her declared an unfit mother of John Ross Ewing, then divorce her and be granted sole custody of the boy, while he aligns with model Mandy Winger. Bobby is buried in his favourite childhood place on the Ewing estate, beside a tree house where he and Gary as boys pretended to be businessmen and near a pond where Bobby liked to swim during his youth. After the funeral, J.R. remains alone at the gravestone to say good-bye to Bobby... Bobby's will stipulates that Pam will act as executor of son Christopher's estate and will thus have control of Bobby's 30% share of Ewing Oil, which is an intolerable situation for J.R.. Despite the efforts of her former lover, Dusty Farlow, to stop her from drinking, Sue Ellen binges in a bizarre library-bar, from where a man offers to escort her to her home by driving her car. Gaining possession of Sue Ellen's purse and car keys, the man steals her car, leaving her to wander on foot the sordid streets of Dallas. Still in a state of grief, Pam drives her automobile super-fast on a Texas road, nearly collides with a tractor, and stops. Another unscrupulous man preys upon Sue Ellen, offering vodka to her and inviting her to join him in a shabby motel room, where he snatches her wedding ring as she lays unconscious on a bed and abandons her to be found on the following day by a coarse maid. Staring at herself in a mirror, Sue Ellen says that J.R. is right about her, that she is disgusting. Later, again on the streets of Dallas, Sue Ellen is enticed into drinking with a group of vagrants. "Those Eyes" (Oct. 4, 1985) Police find Sue Ellen, but because her purse was stolen, she is without identification and is placed in a "drunk tank" jail cell with a horrendous group of drunk-and-disorderly, belligerent females. She fitfully tries to open the jail cell door and then falls to the floor in convulsive alcoholic shock. J.R. visits Pam at Pam's stately home and proposes that Pam relieve herself of the burden of administering Christopher's inheritance at Ewing Oil by selling Christopher's shares to him. Though animosity between J.R. and Pam has not diminished, Pam is pensive about J.R.'s proposition. Jenna decides to remain at the Southfork ranch with her daughter, Charlie, for the near future. Ewing matriarch Miss Ellie and her husband, Clayton Farlow, worried about Sue Ellen, contact police and are guided to the detoxifying ward of the County Hospital, where they discover a baggy-eyed and frenzied Sue Ellen on one of the beds. Miss Ellie agrees to J.R.'s plan to commit Sue Ellen to a sanitarium for problem drinkers. J.R. encounters Dusty at the hospital's detoxifying ward, and the two men exchange fist-punches. Seeing the demented look in Sue Ellen's eyes causes J.R. to remember Sue Ellen as she was when he first met her. Jeremy Wendell of Weststar suggests to Cliff that Cliff persuade Pam to sell Christopher's shares in Ewing Oil to Weststar, and if Wendell can persuade a Ewing to sell another ten percent share of ownership to him, he will own enough of Ewing Oil for it to become a Weststar subsidiary and will reward Cliff's favour by appointing Cliff as Chief Executive Officer and J.R.'s boss! Naturally, this idea appeals to Cliff. J.R. consigns Sue Ellen to Meadowlark Sanitarium. "Resurrection" (Oct. 11, 1985) Pam decides to return to work at Barnes/Wentworth Industries and is welcomed back there by Cliff. However, she is reminded of Bobby when she sees a picture of him on her desk and again experiences debilitating sadness. Wendell meets with Miss Ellie and Clayton to proclaim his wish to buy Ewing Oil and to this purpose asks to purchase Miss Ellie's 10% ownership of the company. Ewing Oil has always been the focus of family infighting, and Miss Ellie, weary of the strife, is tempted by Wendell's "sales pitch" and says that she will consider it. Wendell mentions that he is going to extend a similar offer to the remainder of the family. Miss Ellie advises J.R. to give serious thought to Wendell's proposal, but J.R., adamant that his father's legacy remain a Ewing property, seeks to secure for himself enough Ewing Oil shares to stop Wendell. He is unsuccessful in acquiring Ray's 10% share as Ray tells to J.R. that he will follow Miss Ellie's lead if Miss Ellie chooses to sell to Wendell, but Jack Ewing, J.R's cousin and Jamie's brother, who endeared himself to J.R. in defending the Dallas Ewings' sole entitlement to Ewing Oil against Cliff and Jamie's challenge- in exchange for a ten percent share in the company, promises not to sell his fraction of Ewing Oil ownership to any non-Ewing buyer (e.g. Wendell). However, Jack also assures Cliff that he would side with Jamie (Cliff's wife) if Jamie wanted for him to do so. Pam perceives that she is being followed and of this suspects J.R., who is increasing pressure upon her to sell Christopher's Ewing Oil shares to him. She is angry at Cliff when Cliff obliquely states his wish that she sell the shares to Weststar. Pam's feelings of sorrow and anxiety reach a climax, before the man who is really following her, Mark Graison, arrives at her home, and she faints in his arms when she sees him. "Saving Grace" (Oct. 18, 1985) Mark explains his reasons for staying away from Pam until now, tells her that he is in remission, and agrees to stay indefinitely in Dallas to help her. Cliff confers with Wendell in downtown Dallas while Wendell eats ice cream. Wendell is curious about Jack, of whom Cliff refers as being in agreement with Wendell's plan to purchase Ewing Oil. Later, Jack tells to Cliff that he does not appreciate Cliff's hasty conclusion about his intentions concerning Ewing Oil and shirks further contact with Barnes or Wendell. Mark and Pam join Cliff and Jamie for dinner, and Cliff is overjoyed that Mark is alive. Treatment of Sue Ellen has begun at the sanitarium. Dusty tries to assist, but Miss Ellie tells him that she wants no involvement by him in Sue Ellen's recovery. J.R. employs a private detective to investigate Jack's background, and Jack's apartment is searched by a phantom figure. Jack discovers the intruder but is unsuccessful at identifying him or preventing his escape, and Jack and Jamie suspect the fight for control of Ewing Oil as the cause for the mysterious visit. Jack is developing a fondness for Jenna and Jenna's daughter, Charlie. Ray cautions Jack about J.R.. From a talk with Wendell, J.R. realises that Cliff and Wendell are working together in Weststar's bid to own Ewing Oil. Mark goes to the Ewing Oil offices and confronts and punches J.R. for J.R.'s treatment of Pam, after learning from Cliff about J.R.'s attempt the previous year to preoccupy Pam on a false search for Mark in the Caribbean. He informs J.R. that he will do everything within his means to ruin Ewing Oil. "Mothers" (Oct. 25, 1985) Sue Ellen's mother, Patricia Shepard, comes to Dallas after hearing about Bobby's death and learns from Miss Ellie that Sue Ellen has been committed to a sanitarium, and though accommodating Patricia at Southfork, Miss Ellie is not particularly pleased to see the rather overbearing and un-empathetic Patricia, who asserts her right to aid Sue Ellen. J.R. nominates Bobby for Oil-Man of the Year, the award to be given at the annual Oil Barons' Ball. When Jack accuses J.R. of involvement in the intrusion upon his home, J.R. denies responsibility and suggests that Cliff or Wendell was the culprit. Mark reunites with his friend and doctor, Jerry Kenderson, who agrees to lead a new research facility on unusual blood diseases, funded by Graisco. Someone takes photographs of Jack while Jack is accompanying Jenna, Charlie, and Donna at a shopping mall. J.R. meets Mark at Mark's polo grounds and attempts to "mend fences" with Graison so that Graison will not influence Pam to sell Christopher's Ewing Oil shares to Wendell, and Mark replies that he will not attempt to sway Pam one way or the other. Ray advises Jack not to pursue Jenna romantically because Jenna needs time to recover from Bobby's death. After Pam informs J.R. of her intent to sell the shares of Ewing Oil bequeathed to Christopher by Bobby to Weststar, J.R. considers leaving Dallas, accompanied by John Ross, if he loses control of Ewing Oil to Cliff and Wendell, and Miss Ellie bows to the memory of her late husband, Jock Ewing, family patriarch and founder of Ewing Oil, and decides not to sell her 10% share in the business to Wendell. "The Wind of Change" (Nov. 1, 1985) Sue Ellen is released from the sanitarium and stays with her mother, now with her own residence in Dallas. Patricia is intent on mending the marital rift between Sue Ellen and J.R.. The people secretly photographing Jack are Angelica Nero of Marinos Shipping and her assistant, Grace, who regard Jack as essential to their mysterious business aims, and they plan to use J.R. and Ewing Oil, of which Jack has 10% ownership, to gain suasion over Jack. Miss Ellie tells J.R. of her resolution not to sell her 10% Ewing Oil share, but J.R. retorts that her choice is at this stage immaterial because due to the imminent purchase by Weststar of Christopher's 30% Ewing Oil ownership from Pam, "outsiders" will now own a portion of the family business- and J.R. cannot be a party to such an arrangement. He proclaims his wish to sell his 30% fraction of Ewing Oil and with the proceeds of the sale build a new oil company away from Dallas. Miss Ellie, during a visit at Pam's home, expresses her concern that the Ewing clan is disintegrating, which gives Pam pause for thought. At the Oil Barons' Ball, J.R. is unpleasantly surprised to find Sue Ellen in attendance with her mother at Miss Ellie's table, Bobby is posthumously declared Oil-Man of the Year, and Pam announces that she will retain Christopher's shares in Ewing Oil and act on his behalf as co-President to J.R.. Donna and Ray Krebbs learn that Donna's unborn baby has Downs syndrome and are devastated. "Quandary" (Nov. 8, 1985) J.R. and Pam's first confrontation involves Pam's use of Bobby's office. Mark is displeased about Pam's decision on assuming Bobby's duties as co-President, and he and Pam quarrel. Ray is unenthusiastic about Donna continuing her pregnancy of a defective foetus, but Donna is adamant that the baby be born and loved regardless of any abnormalities. Donna and Ray watch a group of handicapped children play soccer, and Ray starts to share Donna's sentiment. To pique J.R.'s curiosity, Angelica propositions Cliff with a joint offshore oil-drilling venture with Marinos Shipping. Word of this reaches J.R., and as Angelica has hoped, J.R. contacts her and requests a meeting, at which J.R. invalidates Barnes/Wentworth and suggests that Ewing Oil would be a superior choice for partner in the co-venture. Angelica meets Jack and Jenna, who have come to the same restaurant where she is dining with J.R.. For the time being, Mark and Pam have a truce where Pam's work at Ewing Oil is concerned, and the two passionately make love. "Close Encounters" (Nov. 15, 1985) J.R. asks a hesitant Jack to work at Ewing Oil and invites Angelica to the Ewing Charity Rodeo, where Angelica can again see Jack. At the rodeo, Jack and Ray participate in a bareback bronco riding event, applauded by Jenna and Donna; Dusty performs in several events and wins the All-Round Cowboy Award, presented to him by none other than J.R.; and a rejuvenated Sue Ellen competes with Jamie and Jenna in a barrel race. Patricia is annoyed by Dusty's reciprocated attentions to Sue Ellen and interrupts a conversation between J.R. and Mandy. Sue Ellen calmly confronts Mandy with a question: why is Mandy still the "other woman" in J.R.'s life if J.R. is committed to her as she claims? So many "other women" have been in J.R.'s life and invariably abandoned. Angelica mingles with the Ewing family, and Pam, also in attendance of the gathering and learning that J.R. is interested in dealing with Angelica, insists that she, as J.R.'s "partner", be involved in any business between Ewing Oil and Marinos Shipping. Angelica reluctantly concurs and later says to Grace in regard to Pam, "I didn't count on her." Angelica convinces Jack to drive her in his car to the hotel at which she is staying and appeals to his manners as a gentleman for him to accompany her to the door to her room. Jack is curious about Angelica's obvious interest in him. At the rodeo, a violent steer strikes a fence near which Donna is standing, and the fence hits her in the abdomen. Ray rushes Donna to hospital, where doctors are only able to save Donna's life by removing the foetus, which is not advanced enough in development to survive. "Suffer, the Little Children" (Nov. 22, 1985) Donna becomes bitterly withdrawn after Ray tells her that she lost their baby. J.R. assures Pam that he would not engage in collaboration with Marinos Shipping if doing so were harmful to Ewing Oil and promises to provide her with full information on Marinos Shipping's co-venture offer. He then informs Angelica that he will see to it that Pam will not interfere in Ewing-Marinos business. Still living with her mother, Sue Ellen refuses Dusty's invitation to co-habit Dusty's apartment. She does not want to commit to any man at this point in her life, though she appreciates Dusty's companionship. J.R. senses Angelica's interest in Jack and deliberately arrives late for a lunch with Angelica and Jack, in the hope that the two will establish a rapport that would be helpful to J.R. in J.R.'s scheme to use Jack's involvement in the alliance with Marinos Shipping to assure that Jack (and Jack's 10% Ewing Oil shares) will be in his "corner" in his struggle with Pam for control of the family business. When he does eventually join Angelica and Jack, J.R. needles Angelica with his doubts about Angelica's motives vis-a-vis the co-venture. Later alone with Angelica at Angelica's hotel suite, J.R. seduces Angelica (and vice versa) while J.R. demands answers concerning Angelica's choice of Ewing Oil as an offshore oil-drilling partner and the nature of her fascination with Jack. Patricia and Miss Ellie agree that John Ross is the best thing to result from J.R. and Sue Ellen's troubled marriage. J.R. assigns Pete Adams, a private detective, to investigate the reclusive Dimitri Marinos and his executive business director, Angelica. Sue Ellen initiates legal separation from J.R. and files a petition for full custody of John Ross, sparking a confrontation with a furious J.R.. "The Prize" (Nov. 29, 1985) Sue Ellen has a nightmare (that is, a nightmare within a nightmare, if the Pam's dream premise is accepted) that J.R. pursues her and John Ross and removes the boy from her arms. Telephoning from Athens, J.R.'s detective, Adams, suggests that J.R. refrain from dealing with Angelica while he probes some strange activity at Marinos Shipping's Greek headquarters. Angelica learns about J.R.'s hire's enquiries and arranges through her Greek contact, Nickolas, to detain the investigator. J.R. and Sue Ellen separately talk with John Ross about their battle for custody of him, and the boy, confused and distraught, hides in Bobby and Gary's tree house, to be found by Miss Ellie, who tries to allay his anxiety that he is the focus of his parents' mutual animosity and may be required to choose one over the other. Angelica tells J.R. that Jack, unbeknown to himself, is the illegitimate son of Dimitri Marinos from Jason Ewing's wife and will inherit ownership of Dimitri's assets when the ailing Dimitri dies. J.R. deduces that Jack is only half Jamie's brother- and not his cousin, and Angelica declares that the deal between Ewing Oil and Marinos Shipping depends upon Jack's uninformed compliance with her. Pam announces to Angelica that she is at this juncture opposed to Ewing Oil's undertaking with Marinos Shipping on the basis of it being too extensive an investment, and Angelica confers with Grace on the option to eliminate Pam. The custody trial judge individually interviews John Ross, J.R., and Sue Ellen (in a weird fading sequence with an unseen questioner) and decrees that Sue Ellen, despite her history of alcoholism, will have custody of John Ross. "En Passant" (Dec. 6, 1985) Displeased with the judge's custody decision, J.R. orders his lawyer to file a petition for appeal- and tries to influence the slated appeal judge by promising to provide a job for His Honor's son at Ewing Oil. Pete Adams is still a captive of Angelica's man, Nickolas, in Athens, and Grace moves to intercept an envelope (that contains revelation of sinister intent on Angelica's part) mailed from the detective to his agency partner, Sam Barker. Posing as a secretarial replacement, Grace works for Barker until the envelope is delivered, then secretly confiscates it. Nickolas forces Adams to telephone Barker with a falsely favourable report about Miss Nero's stewardship of Marinos Shipping. An increasingly withdrawn Jenna rebuffs Jack, who expresses his attraction to her. Sue Ellen reconsiders assuming custody of John Ross due to the effect that the separation from J.R. and from Southfork would have on the boy. Pam's independent advisers persuade her to consent to Ewing Oil's collaboration with Marinos Shipping, and Pam, J.R., Jack, and Angelica meet to formalise the deal. Mark and Jerry successfully open Graison Research to find cures for rare blood diseases. "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" (Dec. 13, 1985) Sue Ellen decides to return to Southfork for John Ross' sake, and Patricia chooses to leave Dallas now that her daughter seems to be in a settled position again. Realising that he has no future with Sue Ellen, Dusty Farlow bows out of Sue Ellen's life, informing Clayton of his intention to part with Dallas. Clayton begins to experience financial problems with his oil industry holdings. J.R.'s detective, Adams, is arrested by Greek police- and henceforth silenced- on charges fabricated by Nickolas. "Curiosity Killed the Cat" (Dec. 20, 1985) Pam receives a package from Matt Cantrell, a childhood friend of Bobby's. The content is an emerald, with a note written by Cantrell stating that the emerald is the first return on an investment made by Bobby prior to Bobby's death. Bobby's secretary, Phyllis, provides Pam with the details of Bobby's funding of Cantrell's quest for emeralds in Colombia. Mark, annoyed by Bobby's continuing presence in Pam's life, cannot pretend to be enamoured with Pam's excitement regarding Bobby's friend. Sullen with his rejection by Jenna, Jack does not attend an arranged luncheon with J.R., Pam, Angelica, and Grace, and J.R. must explain Jack's absence to Angelica, using the improvised excuse that Jack is attending to some unavoidable business with Ray and Clayton, Jack's partners in a ranching project. Barker recognises Grace when he sees her with J.R., Angelica, and Pam, and Grace acts quickly to prevent Barker from revealing her secretarial ruse to J.R.. A day later, J.R. learns that Barker was killed in an automobile accident. Donna visits a care centre for disabled children and is invited to become involved in helping them- and Ray is less than enthusiastic about her interest. Miss Ellie senses that Clayton is worried about something. Mark invites Sue Ellen to work for Graison Research as a fund-raiser, and Sue Ellen realises that gainful employment is precisely what she needs for a sense of self-worth outside of her troubled marriage. Mandy catches J.R. in a lie regarding his whereabouts. Knowing from Cliff that J.R. was at Angelica Nero's hotel room on a night said by J.R. to have been spent at home with John Ross, Mandy vows revenge and agrees to funnel information about Ewing Oil to Barnes. "The Missing Link" (Jan. 3, 1986) Cliff uses information provided by Mandy regarding J.R.'s offshore oil drilling plans in which a secretly purchased instrument from Barnes/Wentworth Industries is crucial, to scuttle J.R.'s covert buying strategy and thence complicate Ewing Oil's union with Marinos Shipping. J.R. suspects Pam of telling her brother about Ewing Oil's need of Barnes/ Wentworth merchandise now withheld by Cliff from J.R.'s "middleman" purchaser. Matt Cantrell arrives in Dallas and meets with Pam to request her endorsement and capital support in the Colombian emerald mine, and Mark's irritability concerning this is nearing a boiling point. Miss Ellie learns about Clayton's troubles, and when Clayton begins to sell his assets to cut his monetary losses, Miss Ellie decides to purchase them anonymously. Angelica is fuming when she learns that Jack has left Dallas and not provided an address where he can be contacted. Jamie is critically wounded in an accident while observing the goings-on at Barnes/Wentworth Industries. J.R. sees Mandy sneakily perusing his oil-deal papers. "Twenty-Four Hours" (Jan. 10, 1986) Cliff maintains a vigil at Jamie's bedside while friends fill a Dallas Memorial Hospital waiting room. Jamie goes into hemolytic shock as her body adversely reacts to transfused blood lacking the rare antigen variant in hers. It is determined that Jamie is in mortal need of a compatible blood donor. On the premise that Jack's blood will match that of Jamie, the Barnes and Ewings initiate an intensive search for Jack. Although J.R. believes that Jack is not a complete blood relation to Jamie and will not be able to help her, he is determined to locate Jack for his own purpose with Angelica. So, J.R. goes on television with a message about Jamie's condition and with a $25,000 reward for anyone with knowledge of Jack's location. Cliff is mystified by J.R.'s seemingly altruistic action. Jenna, blaming her rebuff of Jack for his absence, remembers Jack's mention of a secluded cabin retreat and goes there with Ray to successfully find Jack, who has been incommunicado and has not known about the emergency with Jamie. Jack arrives at Dallas Memorial and donates a sample of his blood for analysis, and to J.R.'s astonishment, the blood type is identical to Jamie's. Jack and Jamie are truly full brother and sister. Jamie starts to recover after a transfusion of blood from Jack. "The Deadly Game" (Jan. 17, 1986) J.R. confronts Angelica about her deception concerning Jack's lineage, and Angelica has no choice but to tell J.R. the truth, that Jack is a close look-alike of Dimitri Marinos, and that Jack is needed to substitute for a very ill Marinos in a public appearance. J.R. is not pleased with Angelica's prior untruthfulness but still wants to profit from the Marinos offshore oil wells and agrees with some apprehension to Angelica's insistence that Jack not be told about the planned substitution of Marinos until he and J.R. are on an aeroplane to Martinique, which is where Marinos is scheduled to attend an oil industry conference and a party- a masquerade party. Cliff and Jack watch over Jamie during her recuperation. Sue Ellen attracts the amorous eye of Jerry Kenderson at Graison Research. Pam decides to visit the emerald mine site in Colombia, and Mark angrily refuses to go with her on her chase of Bobby's dream. Cantrell is in conspiracy with J.R. to preoccupy Pam with the mine, which is really anything but certain to yield the desired gems; hence, Cantrell is on J.R.'s payroll. "Blame it On Bogota" (Jan. 24, 1986) Knowing that Mandy is acting as a spy for Cliff, J.R. laments to Mandy that the emerald mine has been projected by experts to be the most promising one in the Western hemisphere, and as J.R. has expected, Mandy reports this to Cliff, who eagerly involves himself as a partner in the emerald mine endeavour, with which Cantrell has beguiled Pam and inflamed Mark, who warns Cantrell that Pam's investment in the mine had better reap dividends. Jack becomes romantically involved with Grace. Miss Ellie approaches the Ewing family banker to request a large loan, with her 10% of Ewing Oil ownership as collateral, and the banker, though complying with Miss Ellie's request, expresses his concerns to J.R., who wants his mother's banking monitored to determine where she is spending the money. While covertly talking with Matt in a park while Matt feeds popcorn to pigeons, J.R. states his intention to Cantrell to use Pam's disastrous investment in the emerald mine as proof that she is unfit to administer Christopher's 30% share of Ewing Oil. Matt and Pam fly to Bogota and trek to Los Gatos, where an "emerald-yielding" mountain is. Sue Ellen reassures Mark about Pam's love for him and remarks that Pam is simply honouring Bobby's memory. "Shadow Games" (Jan. 31, 1986) J.R. fumes when he learns that Clayton is the receiver of Miss Ellie's borrowed funds and confronts Farlow with this information. Clayton now knows that Miss Ellie is the mysterious buyer of the assets that he has been selling to stay solvent, and despite some initial anger, Clayton is deeply touched by Miss Ellie's concern for his financial welfare. Jenna is more and more self-blaming, self-pitying, reclusive, and brusque over her loss of Bobby. Dimitri Marinos' death gives Angelica further impetus to instigate the impersonation of Dimitri by Jack. Angelica donates 1 million dollars to Graison Research at a fund-raising auction organised by Sue Ellen, whose new, self-assured persona appeals to J.R.. In Los Gatos, dissident miners overpower Matt and kidnap Pam. "Missing" (Feb. 7, 1986) Matt telephones J.R. with the grim report. Because Pam's peril as a kidnappee was not part of J.R.'s plan, he confers by telephone with Cantrell, telling Matt that at all costs Pam must not be harmed. J.R. orders Cantrell to wait until J.R. is already on an aeroplane to Colombia before contacting Mark. Knowing that his telephone link with Cantrell has been monitored by the Los Gatos police (who are privy to the kidnapping and are expected by Mark and Cliff to help), J.R. realises that to keep his involvement in the emerald mine adventure secret from Mark, Cliff, and Pam, he must go to Los Gatos and persuade the top policeman, Luis Rueda, to cooperate. Mark and Cliff are aghast at Pam's abduction and fly to Colombia. "Dire Straits" (Feb. 14, 1986) J.R. bribes Rueda to maintain the secrecy of his connection with Cantrell and to spare no effort to find Pam and departs Colombia shortly before the arrival of Mark and Cliff. After a fisticuffs between Mark and Matt, Mark and Cliff reluctantly agree to allow Matt to deliver ransom money to Pam's captors in the Colombian jungle. Cantrell is successful, and Mark and Pam are reunited. Mandy confesses to J.R. that she has been betraying him to Cliff, and J.R. replies that he has known this for some time and could never have confidence in her again. Charlie overhears Miss Ellie, Clayton, Ray, and Donna discussing the possibility of placing Jenna into an establishment for mental therapy. Grace beds with Jack as per Angelica's instructions. Corrupt-to-the-core Rueda is really the orchestrator of the kidnapping of Pam and benefits both from the ransom and from J.R.'s bribery. Through research with a stack of videotapes, J.R. learns that an old acquaintance, Alex Garrett, was at one time connected with Marinos Shipping. "Overture" (Feb. 21, 1986) Still in Los Gatos, Matt is obliged to show the emerald mine to Pam, Mark, and Cliff, and there is not much to see. Cantrell maintains that the mine will, when fully developed, yield jewels, but Cliff is sceptical. Pam has complete trust in Matt, as too now does Mark- because Graison is grateful for Cantrell's role in Pam's release from danger. Pam offers to relieve Cliff of Cliff's financial endorsement of the mine, and Cliff accepts the offer. Despite his dishonest alliance with J.R., Cantrell is determined to mine emeralds at the Colombian site. Through Donna's work at a centre for disabled children, the Krebbs are becoming close with a deaf and partly mute orphan named Tony Crane. Jenna's state of mind continues to worsen, and despite the urging of the Ewing family, she refuses to see a psychiatrist. Although tempted by J.R.'s invitation for her to come with him to Martinique, Sue Ellen rejects it. Garrett steadfastly declines J.R.'s urgent request for information on Marinos Shipping. "Sitting Ducks" (Feb. 28, 1986) Pam, Mark, and Cliff return to Dallas, and Pam and Mark go to Southfork to obtain Christopher, who was staying with Miss Ellie while Pam was in Colombia. Garrett reconsiders his evasiveness and telephones J.R. with a warning that Angelica may be a threat. Hurried to board an aeroplane for business purposes, Garrett arranges to meet with J.R. in Martinique before the masquerade party. J.R. and Jack fly to Martinique with Angelica and Grace, and to his bitter dismay, Jack is finally told about the plan for him to impersonate Marinos at the oil industry conference, at the masquerade party, and then on the Marinos yacht departing Martinique. Though furious with J.R., Angelica, and Grace for not telling him about this until now, Jack agrees to cooperate with his associates. J.R. and Jack do not know that Angelica and Nickolas are not really in the late Dimitri Marinos' favour but have suppressed news of Marinos' death and plan to succeed Marinos in the seat of power after the company owner and founder (his impostor, Jack, to be precise), is killed, along with his "friend", J.R. Ewing, in an explosion on the Marinos yacht, the blast triggered in secret by Angelica and Nickolas and intended to look like an accident caused by a faulty fuel system on the yacht. The dastardly pair test-detonate their explosive, unbeknown to J.R. and Jack. "Masquerade" (Mar. 7, 1986) While Pam is at Southfork to collect John Ross to visit with Christopher, she has a tete-a-tete with a vitriolic Jenna, who argues that she (Jenna) was the only woman that Bobby really loved, that she was cheated from marrying him, and that while Pam has Mark Graison, she has nobody. Pam retorts that Bobby was instead going to remarry her, but Jenna did not know this and calls Pam a cruel liar. Grace is privy to what Angelica and Nickolas are planning and decides to warn Jack and J.R. that they will be in mortal danger on the Marinos yacht and urges them to flee Martinique. J.R. wants to talk with Garrett, who is overdue but has telephoned J.R. and agreed to meet J.R. at the party. J.R. replies that he and Jack will briefly appear at the masquerade party and then exit. While Angelica introduces Jack as Dimitri to oil industry executives, J.R. confers with Garrett, who confides to J.R. that Dimitri was near death three years ago, and a codicil to his will eliminated Angelica from Marinos Shipping. Garrett believes that Angelica gained control of the helpless Dimitri's affairs by repeatedly forging Dimitri's signature. Angelica and Nickolas suspect Grace of betraying them, and Angelica chooses a Plan B. She orders her henchman to sniper-shoot Jack with a crossbow while Jack/Marinos is about to speak to the party crowd. J.R. detects Jack's would-be assailant and rushes to push Jack away from of the crossbow's aim. In full view of every party attendee, Angelica points a pistol at Jack and J.R.. "Just Desserts" (Mar. 14, 1986) Angelica is unable in the ensuing commotion at the masquerade party to fire an effective gunshot at Jack and J.R. and opts to flee while she can. She "executes" Grace for Grace's betrayal of her plan, and Jack and J.R. find Grace's body. Nickolas is caught and forced by Garrett and the Martinique police to sign a confession to altering the codicil to Dimitri's will to reverse Dimitri's decree that Angelica is not entitled to a position of supreme power in the business. Pam tells Mark about her upsetting encounter with Jenna, and Mark visits Jenna at Southfork and proclaims to her that he and she are opposite sides of the same coin, the second choices of Pam and Bobby, that what Pam said about Bobby's decision to remarry Pam was the truth. After Mark departs Southfork, Jenna vividly recalls the day before Bobby's death, on which she sensed that Pam was still Bobby's first choice and decided to suspend her own marriage engagement to Bobby, a fact that Jenna has been refusing to remember. Finally, she realises that she had already essentially lost Bobby before Bobby's death and is able now to cope with the loss of her beloved. Jenna apologises to Pam for her bitter and intemperate remarks, and the two women whom Bobby loved embrace, each promising to support the other. Martinique police are not entirely convinced of Jack and J.R.'s innocence in Angelica's plot but agree to allow them to return to Dallas, where J.R. acts to secure agreement with Garrett (by Dimitri's will now the magnate of Marinos Shipping) to ownership of the oil yielded by the Marinos oil wells. He also claims to Sue Ellen that being close to death from Angelica's gun has caused him to prize more highly the things that he has in life, including her. Pam decides to finally separate herself from Bobby's legacy and to allow J.R. to buy Christopher's shares in Ewing Oil. Now assured of majority control of the company, J.R. looks at the portrait of his father, Jock, in the Ewing Oil office, and says, "Daddy, it's all mine. Finally." "Nothing's Ever Perfect" (Mar. 21, 1986) Jack and Jenna agree to start again as friends. J.R. jubilantly announces to his family that Pam has offered to sell Christopher's 30% share of Ewing Oil to him. J.R. arranges a bank loan for the purchase of Christopher's Ewing Oil share. Jenna visits Bobby's grave site to say good-bye to her lost love. Nickolas is in Zurich (which, despite being in snowy Switzerland, has hotels with huge, ceiling fans that cast a counterclockwise rotation shadow) after having gained his release from the Martinique authorities by testifying against Angelica, and is stabbed to death by Angelica (by one of her hairpins!) in his hotel suite. Next on Angelica's list for revenge: Jack and J.R. Ewing! "J.R.'s Rising" (Apr. 4, 1986) J.R.'s jealousy over Kenderson's interest in Sue Ellen results in a confrontation, with a threat by J.R. that Jerry will suffer the same fate as every other man who bedded Sue Ellen. Kenderson is not intimidated by J.R. and tells so to Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen is flattered by J.R.'s jealousy. Tony has mixed feelings about Ray and Donna adopting him. J.R. and Jack learn about Nickolas' murder, and J.R. feigns complete disinterest. "Serendipity" (Apr. 11, 1986) J.R. has hired his personal corrupt policeman, Detective Harry McSween, to investigate Jerry Kenderson and Mark Graison to see if either man has a past indiscretion that J.R. may use against Jerry if Jerry contests J.R.'s reconciliation with Sue Ellen. Mark learns that his past is being probed and confronts and threatens J.R.. Another favourable development in J.R.'s life: Sue Ellen has decided to allow him another chance at a complete marriage with her after overhearing Miss Ellie tell John Ross of how Jock may have been ruthless and less than honest but did everything that he did to protect the birthright of his sons. Sue Ellen sees parallels of this with with J.R.'s conduct and is inclined to forgive J.R., who has been estranged from Mandy for some time. Pam and Mark hear that a cave-in at the emerald mine in Colombia may have killed Matt. Jamie comes to J.R.'s office to urge J.R. not to cause trouble for Cliff, and J.R. replies that so long as Cliff does not complicate J.R.'s affairs, Cliff is safe from any nefarious deeds on J.R.'s part. Using the alias of Andrea Barrett, Angelica enters the United States and drives a car toward Dallas. She is stopped on a Texas highway by small-town police for speeding, arrested for not registering her gun, and later released. "Thrice in a Lifetime" (May 2, 1986) Matt Cantrell not only survived the cave-in at the emerald mine but has somehow managed to find a strata of the valuable gems and triumphantly returns to Dallas to spurn J.R. in person and to tell to Pam the good news. Angelica puts her plan to destroy J.R. and Jack into motion by hiring a gum-chewing explosives expert to construct two bombs to be concealed inside Jack's sports car and within a briefcase which Angelica intends to be in J.R.'s possession. J.R.'s reconciliation with Sue Ellen continues, and Cliff scoffs when informed of it. J.R. is an incorrigible philanderer and only wants Sue Ellen when he does not have her, Cliff comments. Kenderson is also sceptical of J.R.'s new commitment to Sue Ellen but agrees to Sue Ellen's wish that he accept her decision to return to her husband's bed. Ray and Donna's hopes for adopting Tony depend on Ray's involvement in the mercy-killing of Mickey Trotter being presented in its proper context at the adoption hearing, through the testimony of Ray's aunt and Mickey's mother, Lil Trotter. Lil does not know if she can endure another recounting of the sad events in Mickey's hospital room in 1983. Ray invites Tony to Southfork to view the grand estate, where Tony quickly endears himself to Charlie and John Ross. Ray is in the process of building a new house for his family, which he expects will include Tony, with whom Ray and Donna have learned to communicate using sign language. "Hello, Goodbye, Hello" (May 9, 1986) J.R. is on the verge of financial ruin when the Marinos oil wells in which he has invested millions of dollars are capped by Garrett, who is now Marinos' President. He finds moral support in Sue Ellen's arms. While at a Graison Research fund- raiser dinner with Sue Ellen, J.R. is conciliatory with Cliff and Jamie and declines to talk business with a new acquaintance, and Sue Ellen is impressed with the kinder, gentler, less selfish J.R.. Miss Ellie and Clayton discuss Clayton's mysterious, new stable-hand, Ben Stivers, who has a manner comparable to that of Ellie's supposedly deceased former husband, Jock. Ellie is not yet fully cognisant of this, however. Ray's aunt Lil appears at Tony's adoption hearing to speak on Ray's behalf concerning the euthanasia of Mickey Trotter in 1983, and Ray and Donna are granted adoption of Tony. McSween's investigation into Mark and Jerry's past uncovers a college prank of Mark's that resulted in a death for which Mark was never prosecuted because his powerful father prevented a trial. J.R. is happy to have something to use against Mark should the need arise. After receiving a portfolio from Mandy showing her in various seductive poses, J.R. visits Mandy to tell to her that their relationship is ended and that he only loves Sue Ellen. In the parking garage of Mandy's apartment building, J.R. is confronted by a gun-pointing Angelica. "Blast From the Past" (May 16, 1986) Angelica forces J.R. at gunpoint into his car and orders him to drive the car while she, his unwanted passenger, proposes a deal: a generous sum of money in exchange for the papers that she has forged in Garrett's name, which J.R. believes to be authentic in implicating Garrett in dishonest business affairs. J.R. needs something to blackmail Garrett into uncapping the Marinos oil wells in which Ewing Oil has millions of dollars invested and thinks that the documents provided by Angelica will give him "leverage" with Garrett. So, rather than report Angelica to police, J.R. agrees to meet Angelica at a later date to make the exchange. He does report his encounter with Nero to Sue Ellen, who implores him to notify the police, but he maintains that Angelica has something that can save Ewing Oil from financial collapse and that he cannot yet act against her. Miss Ellie invites Ben Stivers into the main Southfork house, where she shows to him pictures of the family, and she senses an ineffable connection between herself and Stivers. Mark and Pam are married in an outdoor ceremony attended by the Ewing and Barnes clans, and the nuptials proceed without disruption. However, Angelica's gum- chewing stooge secrets a bomb in Jack's car, and she primes her own timed explosive in a briefcase containing the forged "Garrett" papers. J.R. meets with Angelica at the Ewing Oil offices on a sunny Sunday morning. After exchanging briefcases (money for the papers) with her, he dupes her into confessing her guilt in Grace and Nickolas' murders, which is heard through intercom by McSween, who, with his men, arrests Nero. Angelica rants about J.R. and Jack being as good as dead. When J.R. telephones Jack to alert him about Angelica's threat, Jack hears an explosion and finds that Jamie has perished while inside his detonated car. J.R. scurries out of his office and down an elevator at the same time that a worried Sue Ellen arrives at the lethal locale in another elevator, and Sue Ellen is the apparent victim of Angelica's bomb, which explodes in what is implied to be- or may be- J.R.'s office. Wreckage rains onto the street at the base of the Ewing Oil building. Pam awakens in her bed, is surprised to find her partner not laying beside her, hears the sound of running water, goes to her bathroom shower, and opens the door. Inside the shower is Bobby. "Good morning," he says.So, the storylines in the 1985-6 season are numerous. Many of them do not directly involve Pam, and yet, when Bobby steps out of the shower at the start of the following Dallas season, the viewer is told that everything that happened from that point in Dallas time at which Bobby and Pam went to bed together, i.e. the night before Katherine's act of vehicular murder, the contents of 31 episodes from the last segment of the finale of 1984-5 to the closing scene of 1985-6, had been a dream that Pam ostensibly had in a single night.
Strangely, the entire 1985-6 season does have a dream-like quality evident when viewed years after the dream pretence later applied is public knowledge:
1) The slow-motion scene of Bobby's lethal impact by Katherine's car.
2) The nightmarish scenarios of Sue Ellen in a "drunk tank", Pam's capture in Colombia by the mercenary emerald miners, Jenna's prolonged gloom over Bobby's death, J.R. finally gaining sole personal control of Ewing Oil, Sue Ellen returning to J.R. after all of the turmoil that she has been through- two times- because of him, and the climactic bombings that destroy Jack's sports car and the Ewing Oil offices and supposedly kill Jamie and Sue Ellen.
3) Pam's absence in most scenes, yet her seemingly constant presence, particularly when Mark, Jerry, and Sue Ellen say, "Love to Pam," and she is not in the scene.
4) Sue Ellen's drinking spree in a bar that looks like it doubles as a library- surrealism at its best.
5) The underexposed foreground/overexposed background outdoor filming during almost the whole season, yielding a hazy whiteness distinct from the crystal-clear photography at the start of the 1986-7 season- after the dream.
6) Several odd angles, including a glance at Southfork's balcony from high above it and a view from below of Sue Ellen "boozing" with the vagrants; a through-the-fire perspective of Jenna and Jack (which is very interesting indeed in that Jack's final scene in the 1985-6 season is through the flames of his bombed car!); a rather voyeuristic pan of the camera to a bathtub where J.R. and Mandy are trysting; a backseat angle (and no one seated there) of Clayton and Dusty in the front seats of Clayton's car while the two are discussing Sue Ellen's sanitarium situation; and many in-a-mirror camera perspectives.
7) Strange indoor lighting, with daytime light shining into Cliff's apartment at night, and nighttime lamps illuminating J.R.'s office in the middle of the day.
8) The sense of unreality in: Pam's gardener cutting her lawn when it looks yellow and evidently not in the growing season; Mark's return from the dead not generating the level and duration of surprise among Dallas society that one would expect; Mandy's sudden change from being guarded about involvement with a married J.R. to being eager to have J.R. as her lover in any capacity; the whole Marinos storyline, with Marinos as an overly appropriate name for the founder of a marine-based company- and Angelica Nero (Barbara Carrera) also being a peculiar name (there was nothing angelic about Nero of Rome, and Angelica herself is anything but an angel; she is essentially a demonic lady, Katherine Wentworth reincarnate!), and Angelica and her cohorts miraculously finding Dimitri's look-alike (Jack) in a world of five billion people!
9) Use of montage to liken Sue Ellen to a horse! Yes. When in "The Family Ewing" Dusty punches Sue Ellen and carries her over his shoulder out of a bar, the scene change is to a cowboy leading a horse out of a stable. Then, in "Rock Bottom", Sue Ellen runs away from a bag lady, and the next visual is of Charlie riding a horse. In "Mothers", Patricia says to Sue Ellen that she did not raise her daughters to, "...run third." She, "...raised winners." A scene of racing polo ponies at Mark's polo grounds immediately follows this. Finally, "Close Encounters" opens in a horse stable, with Sue Ellen among the mares and stallions, waiting to speak to Dusty.
Some of the dialogue lines in the season are priceless in the "dream season" context:
1) Cliff, in reference to the emerald mine: "Bobby's dream. It's turned out to be Pam's nightmare."
2) Pam, concerning a sample emerald that Matt has presented to her: "Oh, this makes it so real! Up until now, it was just a dream."
3) J.R. to Pam: "Why don't you do us both a favour? Let me run Ewing Oil. I'd sleep better at night, and I know you would."
4) Kenderson to Sue Ellen: "I want to wake up with you."
5) Mark to Pam in regard to Mark's reaction to Pam's decision to assume Bobby's duties at Ewing Oil: "Let's sleep on it."
6) Angelica's early reference to Pam: "I didn't count on her," which is interesting in that Pam's "waking up" does erase Angelica's revenge upon J.R..
Nevertheless, the "Dream Season" notion is impossible to accept without several, unpleasant grains of rock salt. The unpalatability of the dream "solution" to the Duffy return is not only due to the negating of Pam's reunion with Mark Graison. Ray and Donna's adoption of hearing-impaired Tony was another appealing storyline eliminated by the dream premise, and the bombings were cliffhangers in their own right, for which viewers waited for months to see the outcome, but which never "really" occurred.
Moreover, the dream pretence does not explain several things. A murderous woman was shown following Bobby to Pam's house the day before Pam's dream supposedly started. Unless Pam was already aware that she or Bobby was being stalked by this woman, how would she have dreamed that Katherine would act against her and Bobby the following morning? Does she has a capacity for sensing danger which manifests itself in her dream? After the dream, however, the stalker disappears- and is not seen at any time in the 1986-7 season.
What happened to Dusty Farlow, who was present late in the 1984-5 season and early in the 1985-6 season to try to help Sue Ellen to survive her alcoholism, and then, after the dream, disappears without trace or mention? Jack Ewing only came to Dallas a few episodes toward the end of the 1984-5 season. It is unlikely that Pam met him, and even more unlikely that he would become a key figure in her dream. Further, unless Sue Ellen and Pam had a meeting off-camera before the dream, how would Pam have known that Sue Ellen was "falling off the wagon" and that Dusty Farlow had very recently come back to Dallas? And people like Angelica Nero and Tony Krebbs supposedly are figments of Pam's imagination. She dreams about people who do not exist. Rather unusual, if not unlikely.
The Jock Ewing-like Ben Stivers character who entered Pam's dream near its end is played by the same actor, Steve Forrest, who would appear after the dream as Wes Paramlee, a man claiming to be Jock. Unless Pam is prescient, how could she have known that a seeming Jock was going to come to Dallas? More to the point, when Parmalee does arrive in Dallas and claims to be Jock (which is refuted with evidence found by the Ewings), why does Pam not mention dreaming about Stivers, of whom Parmalee must remind her?
Before the dream supposedly started, it was early spring, with trees not yet in full bloom. Yet, after Pam's awakening, the trees surrounding her home are all amply leaved.
How does Pam know what Jack's apartment looks like? Granted, the audience is not privy to when Jack acquired his Dallas residence, i.e. whether it was before or after the start of the dream, but if Jack had moved into the apartment before the dream's commencement, Pam could not know its layout and decor unless she had been inside of it, and no such scene existed in the final episodes of the 1984-5 season. Besides, Jack's ex-wife, April, would, after the dream, inhabit an apartment identical in structure to Jack's in the dream. And how is Pam cognisant of Jack's taste in sports cars (Jack buys the same red sports car after Pam's dream as he does in the dream)?
Unless Bobby tells Pam about Ewing Oil's "dealin's", how has she learned that Jack obtained 10% ownership of Ewing Oil in an agreement with the Dallas Ewing brothers only days before the commencement of her dream? How does she know the exact dialogue of Jenna and Bobby's last conversation prior to Katherine's murderous act, enough to accurately reconstruct this conversation in a flashback on Jenna's part in the dream? And what of her consciousness of J.R. and Mandy's secret plan to formally bond once Sue Ellen is confined to a sanitarium?
Sue Ellen attends meetings of an Institute For Advanced Awareness on Pam's recommendation some episodes prior to "the Dream Season". Perhaps Pam acquires extra-sensory perception in Institute sessions not shown on camera before her 31-episode slumber!
There are alternative explanations for the dichotomous 1985-6 and 1986-7 states of affairs (most of them, anyway). Maybe Pam does not dream the 1985-6 season; rather, everything that happened after Pam awoke to find Bobby in her bathroom shower, all the Dallas storylines from 1986-7 to 1991, are a dream. This prospect is palatable (it certainly accommodates the downright ridiculous events of the series' finale in 1991, wherein J.R. does the It's a Wonderful Life thing with a Satanic sidekick and seems to shoot himself on a diabolical directive) in that there are nowhere near as many problems of continuity as there are the other way around- and the dream is of indeterminate length (it could be the tortured imaginings of a comatose person, Pam or someone else- Sue Ellen maybe, after the explosion of Angelica's bomb- over several years of stasis).
Another possibility, or a pair of possibilities, is straight out of science fiction and therefore must come across as very far-fetched, but then so too is a 31-episode dream transpiring in one night.
On the night that Bobby and Pam sleep together at Pam's house, with Katherine outside and priming to attack in her car, the Earth passes through a rift in the fabric of space-time and is temporally split into two. Or perhaps there are two parallel Earth worlds that have always existed and on which outcomes become different sometime in 1985; a decision or an action or a combination of those somewhere in the flow of events is different on the two worlds, and an alternate time line results.
Going with the space-time warp idea, i.e. the Earth passing through such a warp and henceforth becoming two temporally distinct units, one Earth proceeds through time with the events of Bobby's death and the 1985-6 season occurring exactly as happens in the episodes. Another Earth is in temporal limbo for approximately a year, and it reemerges from limbo and resumes its orbit of the Sun at the point in time in 1985 at which it slipped into the rift, while the other Earth is a year ahead. The two Earths are in separate dimensions of time. On Earth 2, Pam was particularly sensitive to her counterpart's experiences on the Bobby-is-dead Earth 1 and dreamed about some of them during the year in limbo. Certain biological functions (the ageing process, some head-hair growth) continued, but everything else on Earth 2 was suspended. Katherine does not act against Bobby and Pam on Earth 2, and everything from 1986 to the television series' end only happens on Earth 2. As to what happens on Earth 1 after the 1985-6 season, fans of Dallas can speculate. Presumably, Jamie and Sue Ellen are killed by the bombs, and the aftermath of these awful events may have been J.R. finally quitting the oil business out of responsibility for what happened to Jamie and Sue Ellen. As posited in later episodes of the 1985-6 Dallas season, J.R.'s has long-latent redeeming qualities, and what more than the death of his wife could bring them fully to surface?
And the concept of two worlds always existing parallel to one another but the pair of them diverging and going in different time lines in 1985 would follow nearly all of the premises above stated.
Some problems do arise, however:
1) Jack's statement to Ray in the Earth 1 season that he was never married, which is contradicted by the appearance of April on Earth 2. Assuming both Earths were one before the time/space disturbance, Jack had to have been married before coming to Dallas prior to the terrestrial split into two temporal units. Either he is lying to Ray to avoid talk about a failed marriage and to prevent anyone from trying to contact the ex-Mrs. Jack Ewing, or it could be that the scene in question does not really happen on Earth 1 and is just a dreaming Pam on Earth 2 inventing a history for the strange man, Jack, in her bizarre dream of the events on the other Earth.
2) Jenna's pregnancy on Earth 2 and no corresponding condition on Earth 1, despite the point of conception being before the time-split. Maybe she is pregnant on Earth 1 but miscarries without even knowing it in her grief following Bobby's death. This would also account somewhat for Jenna's exaggerated period of depression.
3) Angelica Nero and her entourage never appear on Earth 2, and nor does Matt Cantrell and others. It is possible that Bobby's survival on that Earth precludes these people from coming to Dallas and involving themselves in the machinations of J.R., and the Jock impostor may not wait as long to enter Ewing life and chooses a different alias.
4) Dusty's disappearance on Earth 2 is still not explained. Neither is Katherine's. However, it is reasonable to infer that Dusty leaves Dallas when he learns that Sue Ellen has voluntarily stopped drinking and has decided to ruin J.R.'s affair with Mandy by involving Ms. Winger in a series of lingerie advertisements. As for Katherine, maybe Bobby and Pam remained inside Pam's house for a longer time on Earth 2, and Katherine abandoned her vehicular murder plan.
5) Donna's foetus has Downs syndrome on Earth 1, and her baby is undeformed on Earth 2, despite the time of conception being the same (i.e. before the Earth's passage through the phenomenon). It could be that the time warp affected Donna's pregnancy on Earth 1 to cause the Downs syndrome.
Such manipulation of data does strain the credibility of an already absurd application of science fiction to a floundering prime-time serial. It is tempting to simply dismiss Dallas from the mid-1980s onward as television at its worst, and the Bobby-returns, year-backward adjustment of storylines the most shameless ratings ploy of all time and an insult to the viewers. No matter how one looks at it, the Dallas series' continuity was subverted by the dream-negation of a whole season, and only a purely Twilight Zone, science-fiction or fantasy explanation (the time-split phenomenon) can resolve the discrepancies to a satisfying extent, with some liberties required with particular situations.
Some of the paradoxes in this science fiction pretext could be better resolved by having the Earth's- or parallel Earth's- split occur earlier, before Jenna and Donna conceive foetuses. Just about everything, apart from the pregnancies, would unfold on both Earths in the same way until the night that Pam has her dream of Earth 1's events. A possible time for the division of Earth (or divergence in outcomes in the parallel world notion) would be before Jenna is separated from Bobby by her wrongful jail sentence for the murder of Renaldo Marchetta.
One thing is for sure. The two-Earth, one-Earth's-year-in-limbo scenario is the only way of explaining how Pam's hair is considerably longer after her dream than before, how J.R.'s hair is greyer, and how John Ross and Christopher are noticeably older.
Dallas entered the realm of the fantastic with a 31-episode dream sequence and Pam forecasting things (e.g. the Jock impostor storyline) in her sleep. Why, then, should Miss Ellie's appearance change from Barbara Bel Geddes to Donna Reed and then back to Bel Geddes not be acceptable as a science fiction device? A shape-changer in addition to a time-space rift. Why not? There are several familiar faces from Star Trek (1966-9) on Dallas! Not to mention some from The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-8), Space: 1999 (1975-7), Lost in Space (1965-8), V (1983), Moonraker (1979), and Man From Atlantis (1977-8)!
It is interesting to note each of the anecdotal connections to science fiction and cosmic space in the 1985-6 season of Dallas. Marc Singer, player of Matt Cantrell, is remembered as the lead actor in the V television miniseries. The school for disabled children is named Woodgrove. Charles Woodgrove was the pseudonym for Space: 1999 producer Fred Freiberger when he penned scripts for that television show. Alan Fudge portrayed a psychologist at Meadowlark Sanitarium. He had been Patrick Duffy's co-star in television's Man From Atlantis. Another of the Meadowlark personnel was enacted by Bibi Besch, Dr. Carol Marcus in Star Trek II- The Wrath of Khan (1982). 1986 being the year of Halley's Comet's passing of Earth, the writers of the Dallas episodes in early 1986 opted to refer to "the comet" in one of Ray and Tony's conversations. Tony draws a picture of a cowboy amid stars and planets, while a Solar System map is situated on the wall behind the head of Christopher's bed.
Perhaps this sensitivity, delineated in the latter part of the preceding paragraph, to phenomena of the cosmos, something virtually absent from any other season of Dallas, was a product of a grandiose event that altered Earth passage through time and space. It certainly underscores the drastic scenario of a night's dream of a year's events! As the saying goes, anything can happen in Texas!
Dallas (1985-6) Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (Jenna Wade), Victoria Principal (Pamela Barnes Ewing), John Beck (Mark Graison), Jenilee Harrison (Jamie Ewing Barnes), Dack Rambo (Jack Ewing), Deborah Shelton (Mandy Winger), Jared Martin (Dusty Farlow), Barbara Carrera (Angelica Nero), Marc Singer (Matt Cantrell), Merete Van Kamp (Grace), George Chakiris (Nickolas), George O. Petrie (Harv Smithfield), Barry Jenner (Dr. Jerry Kenderson), William Smithers (Jeremy Wendell), William Prince (Alex Garrett), Alejandro Rey (Luis Rueda), Martha Scott (Patricia Shepard), Steve Forrest (Ben Stivers), Shalane McCall (Charlie Wade), Omri Katz (John Ross Ewing), Debbie Rennard (Sly Lovegreen), Joshua Harris (Christopher Ewing), Solomon Smaniotto (Tony Crane Krebbs), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), James L. Brown (Harry McSween), Morgan Woodward (Punk Anderson), Terrence E. McNally (Sam Barker), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Fern Fitzgerald (Marilee Stone), and Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing).