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TV Recap

'Dallas' season two Battle Lines review: Preposterous, bonkers and fun

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Season 2, episode 1 | Aired Tuesday, Jan 29 2013 at 21:00 GMT on Channel 5

The death of Larry Hagman hangs over the start of season two of the rebooted Dallas. But I don't want to dwell too much on the passing of the great man - there will be time to celebrate Larry's finest Stetson-doffing work in the coming weeks as his final episodes air.

Instead, I want to celebrate the return of Dallas. The TNT/Channel 5 remake had me hooked last year and not just because of the hilarious twists and hammy acting from Jesse Metcalfe. Dallas was a reminder to TV execs of how fun TV can be, how drama doesn't have to always be grim and gritty.

Dallas, new cast including Jesse Metcalfe

© Rex Features / TNT/Everett


[The cast of Dallas]

Was the first season at times preposterous and bonkers? Yes. Was it in my top five shows of 2012? Darn tootin'!

And season two kicked off in style this week, bringing everything that I loved last year and throwing in extra stare-offs, Jeremy Kyle-esque DNA drama and a healthy dollop of evil John Ross. What other show could possibly kick off an episode with the gambit, "Love is for pussies"? Only on Dallas.

If the show is to continue without Hagman at the helm a lot rests on his TV son's ability to step up as the ultimate panto villain. Without JR around to cackle and double cross, his offspring needs to work extra hard on that goatee beard, his wonderfully coiffured hair and his slippery womanising.

And in episode one, John Ross (Josh Henderson) more than matched his father's antics. Doing deals with his trousers around his ankles, brazenly chatting up brides on hen parties, minute-long pouting stare-offs with his rivals, double-crossing his entire family for revenge. And all of that in just 40 minutes.

Despite having seven bells of crap kicked out of him in prison last season, John Ross appears to have learned nothing and is seeking revenge on his cousin Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and is willing to do anything to break up his relationship with the ever-fickle Elena (Jordana Brewster).

Even if that means teaming with the dastardly Cliff Barnes and his even more dastardly daughter Pamela/Rebecca (we're not sure yet what we're supposed to call her).

Dallas, first look, TNT

© TNT

Dallas S01E03 - 'The Price You Pay': Josh Henderson as John Ross Ewing

© Channel 5


[Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe]

Pamela/Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) is not going to let Christopher have an annulment without a fight and despite their whole marriage being a fraud, she believes that she's got a leg to stand on and wants a 30% share of Ewing Energies. And with John Ross sidling up to her, she may just get her way.

Alongside the John Ross, Rebecca/Pamela, Chris Ewing, Elena quadrangle of sex, lies and curious divorce law rulings, the second key strand to the season two storyline is Ann Ewing's (Brenda Strong) reconnection with her long lost daughter.

Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi), a TV villain who knows how to ooze sleaze out of every pore on his bald bonce, blackmails Ann into giving back secret recordings that she got of him in season one. In return, he tells her where to find her daughter.

Of course being an evil sod, this isn't a fair deal. Not only does Harris take the return of the recordings as a chance to screw over Ann's pal and aspiring politician Sue-Ellen, but he also sets her up for a fall with her daughter. All prepared for an emotional reunion, Ann is left in hysterics after her baby girl shuns her with a chilling steeliness ("I was hoping I'd never see you again"). Was that really Ann's daughter? And if it is, how has she been turned against her?

Dallas S02E01: 'Battle Lines'

© Channel 5


[Dallas season two - Julie Gonzalo as Pamela Rebecca Barnes]

Outside of the plot twists and 'serious' acting, there was plenty to revel in for those who enjoy the soapy antics of Dallas from a rubbernecking perspective.

Jesse Metcalfe talking with a look of incredible confusion about methane, gasoline and rigs. Check! Terrible double entendre while splashing around in a swimming pool ("You need to come up with something big!"). Tick!

JR dishing out clichés and being a misogynist ("Vengeance is a dish best served cold"). Damn straight! Skimpy bikinis and six packs. Plenty of them! And ludicrous fighting talk ("You're out of your mind and you'd better come at me with everything you've got because I'm going to take you down"). By the dozen!

Dallas S02E01: 'Battle Lines'

© Channel 5


[Dallas season two - Jordana Brewster as Elena]

If I had to pick one highlight from the episode it has to be the exchange between Christopher and his ex-wife Rebecca, where she reveals her true identity.

"My father, he likes to call me by my first name," coos the sly vixen. "My aunt's name... Pamela... My full name is Pamela Rebecca Barnes.

"I'm Cliff Barnes's daughter!" DUM! DUM! DUM!.

Christopher's deadpan stupid response to this fairly self-explanatory revelation, delivered with the sort of dim-witted conviction that only Jesse Metcalfe can master, is the chucklesome: "You're what?" Brilliant.

Only in Dallas.

What did you think of the Dallas season two premiere? Let us know below!

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