Written by Senora Bicho
The ninth season of Dallas is one of the most controversial in soap opera history. Even if you never watched the show, you more than likely have heard about one of television’s most infamous cliffhangers, and I don't mean “Who shot J.R.?”
Dallas is the story of the Ewing family and all of those who are lucky or unlucky enough to come into contact with them. Ellie Ewing (Barbara Bel Geddes) is the matriarch and her sons John Ross “J.R.” Jr. (Larry Hagman) and Bobby (Patrick Duffy) managed their oil empire. J.R. and Bobby were always battling with J.R. being the ruthless businessman who only cared about success at the expense of everyone else’s failures.
Season Nine starts with the Ewing family mourning the death of Bobby who, after reuniting with his ex-wife Pamela (Victoria Principal), was run down at the end of season eight. There is instant scheming to take over Bobby’s position at Ewing Oil that carries on for several episodes, and a rival oil company looks to take over the business.
In addition to the aftermath of Bobby’s death, there are other interesting storylines throughout the season. J.R. becomes the target by a mysterious and beautiful femme fatale and an excursion to Colombia results in a kidnapping. Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) is J.R.’s wife and their relationship is one heck of a rollercoaster ride. In addition to battling J.R., she battles a serious drinking problem. Pam finds a new romance and weds. Jenna (Priscilla Beaulieu Presley) who had an on-and-off relationship with Bobby tries to move on with a new beau. Ray and Donna Krebbs (played by Steve Kanaly and Susan Howard) have to make a decision about their unborn baby and suffer a tragedy.
While this season involves lots of drama, scheming, and mayhem, in the end what happens to the characters really doesn’t matter. Why? Because it was all a dream. In the last episode of the season Pam wakes up and finds Bobby in the shower, which startled all of its viewers. The following season opener revealed Pam had been having a bad dream.
In addition to the 31 complete episodes, there is also one special feature “Seasons of Change.” This featurette discusses the departure and return of Bel Geddes, the changes that were needed in order to compete with Dynasty, and the reason behind making the season a dream. The show had lost its central conflict with the loss of the good brother Bobby battling the bad J.R., so they needed a way to bring him back after killing him.
Even though this season’s storylines aren’t part of the series’ continuity, the episodes are still entertaining and worth watching if you are a soap fan. J.R. is fun to watch and can always be counted on for good one-liners. Since soap operas are always so over the top and mostly ridiculous, it all being a dream doesn’t make this season any worse than other shows. It can just be viewed as a standalone season and enjoyed for what it is.