DALLAS: CONUNDRUM {SERIES FINALE} (TV)

Summary

The finale of this series of night-time dramas about the wealthy Ewing family of Dallas, Texas.

J.R. is alone in his house, reflecting on his recent troubles. He contemplates shooting himself but is suddenly visited by a strange otherworldly man calling himself “Adam.” J.R. believes him to be some sort of “angel;” Adam offers to show J.R. what the world would be like if he never existed. Suddenly J.R. finds himself in the Ewing Oil building. Adam explains that the building now belongs to an insurance company. Without J.R. around to inherit the company, it was given to Gary, who mismanaged the company and drove it into bankruptcy. Losing the company was too much for Jock and Miss Ellie, who died as a result.

Now Gary works as a lawyer for the rich and powerful, making a great deal of money in the process. Adam takes J.R. to see him and tells him that Gary never married in this timeline. J.R. also discovers that Sue Ellen became a successful newscaster and soap opera actress had he never existed. Adam shows him Jason Ewing, the third Ewing brother had J.R. never been born, who works as a sleazy real estate tycoon. To J.R.’s horror, Jason has turned Southfork into a cheap development complex. Adam takes J.R. to visit Sue Ellen on her last day as a newscaster, as she wants to move on to star in a film. However, she finds out her agent lied to her about the film part and she throws him out. J.R. is surprised to find her happily married to Nicholas Pearce. Adam unsuccessfully tries to convince J.R. that she is happier without him.

Adam takes J.R. to see Bobby, who is now living in Las Vegas. He has been divorced from his wife and can only visit his three children once a week. Adam tells J.R. that without his influence, Bobby never grew out of his “hustler” days and simply “drifted” along with his life. Afraid to see anything else about Bobby, J.R. returns to the regular timeline. J.R. questions what he’s been shown, not believing that it’s real. Adam shows J.R. how Kristin fared without him: she has become a highly successful con artist. J.R. also bears witness to Gary and Valene meeting for the first time in this timeline, indicating that they are attracted to one another.

At last, Adam convinces J.R. to see how Bobby’s life has fared. Bobby is deeply in debt and doing anything he can to pay it off, even prostituting himself. At home, his wife screeches at him about his money troubles and threatens to take a job in Japan, leaving him. Bobby goes to see Carter McKay, who in this timeline owns a casino. Bobby owes McKay $50,000, and has 48 hours to deliver it. J.R. is also taken to see how Cally ended up; without his influence she fell into a miserable life with her abusive husband. When he goes too far, J.R. witnesses Cally shoot her husband with a shotgun; Adam tells J.R. that Cally will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Afterwards, Adam shows J.R. the life of Cliff Barnes. Without J.R. around, Cliff never entered the oil business and instead went into politics, becoming Vice-President of the United States of America. During a party for his daughter, the president suffers a stroke, leaving him as the new acting president. Adam says that Barnes goes on to become a great president; J.R. balks at this. Bobby returns home to find all his things are gone and his wife has left. He calls Jason but the phone is answered by his wife Bootsie, who invites him to fly out east to visit. Adam tells J.R. that Bobby plans to borrow the money he needs from Jason.

Meanwhile, J.R. discovers from Adam that Ray Krebbs never discovered that Jock was his father, and thus never became a part of the Ewing family. Instead, he worked in the rodeo for a time until he was permanently injured. Since then he has worked various odd jobs, earning little. However, Ray’s life is not without its positives: J.R. witnesses a surprise party thrown by Ray’s wife and children; they share genuine warmth and love towards one another, something J.R. feels he never experienced himself. J.R. is happy for Ray.

Jason refuses to lend Bobby the money he needs and they argue. Bobby is permitted to spend the night, while Jason goes on a trip to Austin. That night, Bootsie attempts to seduce Bobby as revenge against Jason; he has grown increasingly distant from her as his success has grown. Bobby turns down her offer but they think of another scheme: stealing money out of Jason’s safe to give to Bobby so he can pay off his debts. Bobby returns to Las Vegas, but instead of going to McKay he goes to see his ex-wife: he gives half of the $50,000 to her to care for his children. When he sees McKay, he bluffs that he won the lottery and offers him double or nothing on a game of chance. Bobby wins the game and gets away unscathed. However, Adam tells J.R. that Bobby will gamble away the remainder of the money, leaving him broke again.

J.R. still doesn’t seem to understand what difference he’s made in his family’s life. Adam implies that he is not an “angel” as J.R. had previously thought, but may in fact be a demon in service to the Devil. J.R. awakens in his bedroom, his gun once again in his hand. Adam appears in his mirror, urging J.R. to kill himself. Bobby pulls up and looks around for J.R. In the hallway, Bobby hears a gunshot and opens the door to J.R.’s bedroom. The episode ends as Bobby, wide-eyed, exclaims: “oh my God.” Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: CBS
  • DATE: May 3, 1991 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:35:29
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 101099
  • GENRE: Drama, night-time serial
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, night-time serial
  • SERIES RUN: CBS - TV series, 1978-1991
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Larry Hagman … Executive Producer
    • Leonard Katzman … Executive Producer, Director, Writer
    • Ken Horton … Co-Executive Producer
    • Cliff Fenneman … Producer
    • Mitchell Wayne Katzman … Co-Producer
    • Frank W. Katzman … Associate Producer
    • John Rettino … Associate Producer
    • Howard Lakin … Supervising Producer
    • David Jacobs … Created by
    • John Parker … Music by
    • Jerrold Immel … Theme Music by
    • Patrick Duffy … Cast, Bobby Ewing
    • Kimberly Foster … Cast, Michelle Stevens
    • Larry Hagman … Cast, J.R. Ewing
    • Howard Keel … Cast, Clayton Farlow
    • George Kennedy … Cast, Carter McKay
    • Ken Kercheval … Cast, Cliff Barnes
    • Sasha Mitchell … Cast, James Richard Beaumont
    • Cathy Podewell … Cast, Cally Harper Ewing
    • Barbara Stock … Cast, Liz Adams
    • Sheree J. Wilson … Cast, April Stevens Ewing
    • Mary Crosby … Cast, Kristin Shepard
    • Linda Gray … Cast, Sue Ellen Ewing
    • Joel Grey … Cast, Adam
    • Steve Kanaly … Cast, Ray Krebbs
    • Jack Scalia … Cast, Nicholas Pearce
    • Ted Shackelford … Cast, Gary Ewing
    • Joan Van Ark … Cast, Valene Ewing
    • Kim Johnston Ulrich … Cast, Bootsie Ewing
    • Leslie Bevis … Cast, Jeanne Lawrence
    • Patrick Pankhurst … Cast, Jason Ewing
    • Barbara Rhoades … Cast, Judy
    • Richard Lineback … Cast, Eb
    • James Callahan … Cast, Mr. Smith
    • Anthony Addabbo … Cast, Jeff Peters
    • Katherine Justice … Cast, Alice Kingdom
    • Tricia O'Neal … Cast, Barbara Barnes
    • Rosalind Allen … Cast, Annie Ewing
    • Denise Gentile … Cast, Courtney
    • Katherine Cannon … Cast, Beth Krebbs
    • Teri Ann Linn … Cast, Kimberly Kavanaugh
    • Henry Poppe … Cast, Wally Ford
    • Jerry Potter … Cast, Bartender
    • Tony Auer … Cast, Ted
    • Edson Stroll … Cast, Charlie Haas
    • James Newell … Cast, Walter Kingdom
    • Robert Neches … Cast, Bob
    • Brioni Farrell … Cast, Alice Anne
    • Virginia Watson … Cast, Secretary
    • Dan Livingston … Cast, Edgar
    • Sylvia Brooks … Cast, Carol
    • Deborah Marie Taylor … Cast, Debbie
    • Christine Joan Taylor … Cast, Margaret
    • Gregory White … Cast, Kleever
    • Stephen Held … Cast, Young Man
    • John Mueller … Cast, Harry
    • Kim Delgado … Cast, Stage Manager
    • Wayne Chou … Cast, Houseboy
    • Conor Duffy … Cast, Little J. R.
    • Kate Horton … Cast, Little Ellie
    • David Katzman … Cast, Little Bobby
    • Kenyon Moad … Cast, Cally's 3 Year Old
    • Mike Simmrin … Cast, Andy
    • Nicolas Read … Cast, Cliff, Jr.
    • Michael Gonda … Cast, Cally's Kid #1
    • Jonathan Gonda … Cast, Cally's Kid #2
    • Tim Eyster … Cast, Jock