31/Oct/83: EMERALD POINT N.A.S: Episode 6 v. 02/Nov/83: DYNASTY: The Hearing (2) v. 03/Nov/83: KNOTS LANDING: ...And Never Brought to Mind v. 04/Nov/83: DALLAS: Check and Mate v. 04/Nov/83: FALCON CREST: The Wages of Sin v. 05/Nov/83: THE YELLOW ROSE: Sins of the Father Minor Trend of the Week #1: Girls committing perjury. At Casey Denault's court martial on EMERALD POINT, his fiancée Hilary pretends not to have had an affair with the murder victim, while Kay Mallory claims that she (Kay) has. Over at the Carrington custody hearing on DYNASTY, Sammy Jo bears false witness against ex-husband Steven, claiming that he was having all kinds of affairs with men while they were married. While bad girls Hilary and Sammy Jo acquit themselves convincingly, good girl Kay copes less well. In fact, not since Claudia Blaisdel at Blake’s murder trial has anyone in Soap Land fallen apart so completely on the witness stand. Whereas Claudia’s plight was genuinely moving, watching Kay cave in so easily under cross-examination - not only does she admit to lying under oath, she also blurts out that Hilary was the one having the affair and that she herself is secretly in love with Casey Denault - is laugh out loud funny. (In fact, this week’s EMERALD POINT is its most enjoyable ep so far.) Towards the end of this week’s DYNASTY and FALCON CREST, Judge Kendall gets ready to deliver his ruling in Danny Carrington's custody case and Judge Leeds prepares to pass sentence on Julia Cumson. The night before the respective hearings, whilst Danny’s father Steven and Julia’s son Lance anxiously await the verdicts, the women in their lives prove to be more pro-active. Claudia shows up at Steven’s door with a suitcase and an excited smile on her face. “I’m not going to let you lose your son, Steven,” she announces. "I can stop Blake. I’ve got the answer!” Lance, meanwhile, lies awake next to his wife Melissa. “I’d rather be anywhere than in that courtroom tomorrow,” he broods, unaware that Melissa has secretly being visiting his mother in jail, encouraging her to seek the death penalty. Soap Land's legal issues don’t end there. Only five weeks after Gary Ewing was acquitted of killing Ciji, his half-brother Ray and mother-in-law Lilimae are both arrested, more or less simultaneously - Ray for the murder of Mickey Trotter on DALLAS, Lilimae for the attempted murder of Chip Roberts on KNOTS LANDING. Whilst Ray’s wife Donna has to fight her way through a swarm of reporters outside the DALLAS hospital, Ben Gibson is on hand to shield Val from the press at the KNOTS LANDING police station. In the midst of the chaos surrounding them, Lilimae and Ray both remain calm, apparently indifferent to the consequences of their actions. As far as they are concerned, running down Chip and pulling the plug on Mickey’s life support system were the right things to do, irrespective of the law. “Chip is a killer,” Lilimae insists. “I only did what needed to be done.” “What mattered was Mickey and all the pain he was going through,” declares Ray. “I did what I had to do.” Val and Donna are as shocked by their loved ones’ attitudes as much as by their actions. “Who appointed you judge and jury?” Val asks her mama. "Nobody has the right to play God!” despairs Donna. Meanwhile, it’s all JR and Abby can do to keep a straight face. In fact, they don't even try. “That half-breed Ray Krebbs got himself arrested,” JR gloats over drinks with Katherine Wentworth. "With any luck, he’ll be in jail for ten to fifteen years.” “I’ve always known that beneath that 'batty little old lady' exterior there beat the heart of a killer,” laughs Abby when Laura tells her about Lilimae. The reactions of Pam and Gary Ewing are also interesting. Gary receives notification of his divorce from Val in the same scene that he hears about Lilimae’s arrest, but still feels compelled to rush to Val's side. Pam, divorced from Bobby an episode and a half ago, has a similar urge to be with the Ewings following Ray’s arrest. Neither of their current partners approves. "Gary, you’ve gotta stop jumping every time these people snap their fingers,” insists Abby. “Why is it every time I feel you’re free of the Ewing family something happens that pulls you right back?” Mark Graison asks Pam impatiently. While Pam resists the urge to visit Southfork, Gary heads straight for the police station where he finds himself surplus to requirements and is left making awkward conversation with Ben. Where Lilimae and Ray both seem resigned to their fates, FALCON CREST’s Julia is practically suicidal. “My whole life is turning into one enormous nightmare,” she sobs. "I don’t even want to live.” She seizes upon Melissa’s suggestion of the death penalty as if it were a light at the end of the tunnel. Has any Soap Land character ever been in such a grim place? Indeed, the death penalty element means there’s a much darker vibe to Julia’s story than there is to any of the other current murder cases in Soap Land, of which there are five. (DYNASTY is the only show where no one is presently charged with either murder or attempted murder.) Paradoxically, FALCON CREST also provides the most tender courtroom moment of the week. When Angela Channing - ordinarily one of Soap Land’s most devious characters - is asked at Julia’s sentencing hearing why her daughter should be shown leniency, she is surprisingly sincere. “I'm her mother,” she replies simply. "It wasn’t too many years ago that I held her in my arms. She isn’t evil and terrifying - she’s ill." The moment where Julia asks to be sentenced to death is chilling. When she is instead condemned to life imprisonment in a maximum security prison "without the possibility of parole" it really does feel like a fate worse than death. Angela’s anguished reaction underlines the awfulness of it all. That we should find ourselves caring at all, either about Julia - whose identity as a killer still doesn't really make sense - or Angela - arguably the coldest, most consistently cruel character in all of Soap Land - is a testimony to the pulpy potency of the genre, FALCON CREST in particular. The dysfunctional relationships between Steven and Blake in DYNASTY and Julia and Angela in FALCON CREST aren’t the only parent/child conflicts to spill over into the courtroom. On this week’s YELLOW ROSE, having already been viciously beaten by his father Jeb’s cane earlier in the ep, coke-addicted buffoon Lenny Hollister is arrested for both murder and the importation of illegal drugs. This leads to a public outburst at his indictment. “I’m here because I wanted a way out,” Lenny shouts at his father’s retreating back. "I wanted a way out from all of your tender lovin’ care!" Minor Trend of the Week #2: Divorced couples winding up in bed together. On DYNASTY, Fallon and Jeff fly to Montana to investigate Adam’s past. Plane trouble obliges them to spend the night in a hotel. Over dinner, the wine flows, one thing leads to another and they end up in each other’s arms. On KNOTS LANDING, a disturbed Lilimae turns up at Gary’s ranch in the middle of the night looking for Diana. Gary drives her back to the cul-de-sac. He then stays to comfort Val, one thing leads to another and they end up in each other’s arms. While Kirby waits patiently at home for Jeff, whiling away the hours playing Beethoven’s "Moonlight Sonata" on the piano, Abby packs a suitcase and walks out on Gary. Her secret hope is that by forcing the issue, he will ask her to marry him before his Ewing Oil inheritance comes through. This episode of KNOTS concludes with a week still to go until the battle for Ewing Oil finishes. On the following night’s DALLAS, however, that same fight is over by the end of the ep. The disparity can be explained away by the narrative time jump that followed Mickey’s relapse on last week’s DALLAS. On FALCON CREST, Richard Channing is in a parallel situation to Abby. Just as JR tipped Abby off about Gary’s inheritance, Richard has had a sneak preview of his mother’s will. In a reverse of the situation set up by Jock’s will on DALLAS, Richard's inheritance is contingent on him and half-brother Chase becoming friends. While Abby only has a week to get Gary to marry her, Richard has the same length of time to convince Chase of his sincere desire to call a truce between them. As well as helping Abby to land Gary, JR also gives his blessing to Katherine Wentworth in her perusal of Bobby. (“Pretty soon you’ll have him all to yourself,” he assures her.) If he’s not careful, he'll end up with two ruthless sisters-in-law. Richard Channing’s efforts to impress his brother (first he writes a sensitive article about Julia, then he offers Maggie a job at the Globe) pay off as Chase grudgingly agrees to bury the hatchet just in time for the reading of the will. At the end of this week’s DALLAS, an equally reluctant Bobby agrees to his father’s posthumous request that he and JR “put your arms around each other and work that company like brothers.” On THE YELLOW ROSE, Colleen makes a similar appeal for sibling conciliation, urging Chance to tell Roy that he is his half-brother. “There’s no way me and Roy are ever gonna wear the same harness,” insists Chance. “OK, so you got the short end of the stick,” Colleen acknowledges. "You did the hard time - you got left on a doorstep while your brother came home in a blue blanket, worked with your hands while your brother went to college. So what? Maybe Roy did it have it better, but he didn’t have it any easier." In the same week that JR and Bobby agree to run Ewing Oil together, and Pam and Cliff join forces at Barnes-Wentworth, another long-term business partnership commences, as Karen and Abby discover on this week’s KNOTS that they are co-owners in “a fourplex on the coast near Lotus Point”, left to them by Abby’s uncle. While JR initially uses Bobby’s post-divorce depression to try and trick him out of his rightful share (“When he comes out of that funk of his, he’ll find that I have fifty-one percent of Ewing Oil”), Abby attempts to take advantage of Karen’s preoccupied state to buy her off. However, Bobby ends up trumping JR in the contest while Karen sees through Abby’s ruse. She then gives Abby's emissary, Laura, a blistering telling off that puts the final nail in their friendship. There's also some bittersweet reminiscing in this week’s Soap Land. “I was fifteen when I met her,” recalls Gary of Val on KNOTS. "When she smiles or turns her head a certain way, I get a glimpse of exactly the way she used to be.” While Jeff describes Fallon as “the first girl I ever loved” on DYNASTY, he also thinks she’s changed for the better. "I’m really impressed with the way you’ve turned out,” he tells her, "a lot different to the girl-woman I married.” Conversely, for Sue Ellen on DALLAS, the Bobby Ewing of today doesn’t quite measure up to the one she first met. "JR’s kid brother - you were so sweet and dashing and handsome,” she tells him. “You’re still quite handsome, only the sweetness has gone - and the naiveté. I see a sadness in you now.” She goes on to compare him to young Peter Richards. “Life is important to him, Bobby - not business, not deals, but life … If he doesn’t look for the things that are important to you, then maybe he’ll grow up to be as wholesome as he is right now.” The same theme is touched upon elsewhere in this week’s Soap Land. “If this is what Falcon Crest does to people, I say we get out,” Lance tells his grandmother. A more pragmatic note is sounded by Greg Sumner on KNOTS. “Power not only corrupts, it also gets things done!” he insists. “It’s hard to fall out of love,” laments Holly Harwood as she and Bobby say their goodbyes on this week’s DALLAS. “You know what hurts? There’s someone out there who’s gonna end up with you - and it won’t be me.” This rueful admission echoes Janet Baines’ to Mack in last week’s KNOTS: “Some stupid part of me thought that it was OK for us not to be right, as long as you weren’t right with someone else.” Janet and Holly manage to walk away from Mack and Bobby with their feelings hurt but their dignity intact. Each is a rare example of a Soap Land woman who can experience unrequited feelings for a man without needing to strike back in some way, e.g. commit perjury or murder, or destroy his marriage or business empire. Chip Roberts follows in the wake of Mickey Trotter and Chase Gioberti to become Soap Land Memorial Hospital’s third coma patient of the season. Eerily, he loses consciousness without warning, without even closing his eyes, midway through a conversation with Diana. They’re discussing their idealised future in New York - the fantasy destination of so many Soap Land dreamers - when he begins muttering about “the trees on the mountain … I thought there were trees”. He then abruptly lapses into a trancelike state. The image of a tree as a kind of final resting place recurs on both DALLAS, when Ray suggests to Lil that Mickey be buried on Southfork ("There’s this corner up above the meadow beneath this big old tree. He used to go up there whenever he wanted to be by himself. I just keep thinkin’ how much he might have liked it if we laid him to rest up there”), and on THE YELLOW ROSE where Big John, having taken a bullet in the gut from the bad guys, suddenly dies in Chance’s arms following their horseback escape. Chance’s eyes fill with angry tears, before the final shot of the scene shows the two men from a distance, slumped in the shade of a tree, horse munching quietly on the grass beside them. John’s unexpected demise seems to break the rules of TV grammar in a similar way to Sid’s on KNOTS LANDING: He can’t die now - they’ve already eluded the bad guys! They’ve just been quipping and laughing! It’s not even the end of the episode! As gorgeous as KNOTS LANDING and DALLAS often appear this season, they don’t look anywhere near as striking as this week’s YELLOW ROSE. Some of the cinematography is quite unique. Viewing THE YELLOW ROSE, I get the same excited can-this-really-be-as-good-as-I-think-it-is? feeling as I sometimes do when watching New DALLAS, or as I did when I first stumbled upon other hidden (at least to me) gems of the soap genre: PEYTON PLACE, KNOTS LANDING Season 11, the final year of FALCON CREST. The end of this YELLOW ROSE instalment, its fifth, has an air of tentative resolution about it, strongly reminiscent of the end of DALLAS’s fifth episode, “Barbecue”. Back then, Bobby and Pam decided to leave Southfork in the wake of a tragedy, Pam’s miscarriage, and it was only an appeal from an unlikely source, Jock, that persuaded them to stay on. An uneasy truce between Pam and the Ewings was forged, which paved the way for the rest of the series. Following Big John’s death on THE YELLOW ROSE, Chance announces that he too is planning to leave. This time, it’s Roy, who has been openly suspicious of Chance since Episode 1, who asks him to stay. Turns out he has already intuited that he and Chance share the same daddy: “Man should take what God gave him, Chance ... You and me have got the same blood in us, the same damn stubborn streak … This is your range too.” "I figured you knew,” Chance replies. "Seems like there oughta be more to this somehow.” Damn straight there oughta be. Roy merely sensing the truth about something so significant robs THE YELLOW ROSE of the kind of Big Revelation Scene on which the primetime soap genre traditionally thrives. However, it is also another instance of THE YELLOW ROSE subverting Soap Land convention and being all the stronger for it. And this week’s Top 6 are … man, it’s a close one ... 1 (4) THE YELLOW ROSE 2 (5) FALCON CREST 3 (1) KNOTS LANDING 4 (2) DALLAS 5 (3) DYNASTY 6 (6) EMERALD POINT N.A.S Thanks! Which of the shows are you re-watching?