I am still reeling from Pamela’s take no prisoners attitude from last week’s episode when “Boxed In” begins. The theme from this week’s show appears to be “in the land of opposites”. Emma and Ann are transported to a small ranch in a secluded location. Emma, who is typically cold-hearted and self-serving, is apologetic to her mother, stating that being taken hostage is all her fault. Ann has tried in vain to get Emma to feel a human emotion and now finds herself encouraging Emma to stay strong. She tells her that they are stronger together than apart. Mama Ryland, who is as tough as nails, becomes frail and is unable to cope with the thought of losing Emma. Luis, who is actually at fault for the women being held hostage, is in the kitchen making breakfast for them – as if they are treasured guests. I immediately wonder where the enslaved women are who would normally be cooking for the drug cartel overlord and serving the needs of the men. It’s the only stereotype not played out. The answer comes later. Ann, hoping too hatch an escape plan, goes to the bathroom. She looks out through the bars on the window and realizes that Luis’ men are throwing lye on a truck full of dead women – presumably discarded when they were no longer useful to the cartel. Way to go on not missing a single bad guy stereotype.
Nicolas confesses everything to Elena after reading about Hunter McKay’s death. He fears for her safety. Elena, being Elena, only puts all of the pieces together after Nicolas gives them to her and now she wants to warn the Ewings (er, evil evil Ewings) and just about anyone who will listen. What is it that Elena wants, here? Does she want to get the company back for the Ewings? Does she now think they are no longer the vile people who stole her father’s land and destroyed her family? Does she simply hate the cartel more than she hates the Ewings? Who will save Elena from herself?
Christopher flies to Mexico to try to figure out if Lucia can tell him where Nicolas is hiding out. Considering the fact that Christopher couldn’t walk around the city without being picked up by Lucia’s bodyguards, how is it possible for him to meet with her this time without being killed by the cartel? He tells her that despite her protestations that her husband is a good man and a good father, he is off with Elena, leaving her and the boys to fend for themselves. Lucia contacts Nicolas to find out what’s really going on and he lies, again. He tells her that he is not with Elena. He wants her to be careful.
Luis makes himself comfortable on the couch with Emma and Ann. He is all kinds of creepy moving in close on Emma. He stops and takes a phone call that leads to him become furious – the trucks were stopped. He grabs Emma as Ann screams and fights to stop him. He leads Emma into what appears to be a dungeon/basement . He calls Mama Ryland – who tries to reason with him by telling him that she warned him that moving so many trucks would cause someone to take notice. He pretends to kill Emma as Ann listtens from upstairs the Rylands listen on the phone. He tells them to remember that feeling because the next time it will be real if the Rylands don’t figure out how to get the trucks moving.
Ann and Emma are reunited in the dugeon-like basement. Ann, clinging to Emma while sitting on top of a filthy mattress, tells her that everything will be all right. Luis makes sure the women feel not one moment’s sense of peace by telling them, “That’s what they thought, too”, pointing to a bloody cage with handcuffs chained to a wall riddled with bullet holes. This is where I begin to wish the writers trusted the audience more. We get it. These are truly miserable excuses for human beings. We got it when they killed Drew. We got it when they killed Candance. Ditto on the Hunter McKay hanging. Drug kingpins who terrorize. Dead innocent women piled in back of a truck being covered in lye. If there is anyone watching who doesn’t know just how disgusting and brutal the cartel is, heaping image upon image of their depravity won’t make a difference.
I’m sorry, folks, but the optics are not good, here. A Mexican drug cartel wants to overthrow the Mexican government. Where is the Mexican government to help foil this plot? T he CIA knows all, but the Mexican government has not been able to figure it out? The mentioned partnership seems weak. Why were they not able to warn the Ewings? Where are the Mexican Federales to meet with the Ewings, too? Where is the plot about the attic leases? We were told that the leases would make the company untouchable as a powerhouse. We learn, tonight, that Nicolas is selling Ewing at bargain prices to bring money in for the cartel, in addition to the doubled shipment of drugs. The writers aren’t just jumping the shark on this one, they are chumming the waters and jumping in with the shark.
More people, who aren’t part of the Mexican government, get involved. Bobby tries to get his friend, the Senator, to help save Ann and Emma – “two Americans” whose lives are at risk because of the CIA doing business with the cartel in the sting. He wants the government to solve the mess it created. He is told that U.S. Government has to weigh the risk to two citizens against the security of an entire nation – they cannot risk helping save the two women. The Senator will talk with his colleagues and see what he can do. Bobby comes up with a plan of his own.
He heads to the state capitol to talk with politicians on the railroad commission about a near breach at a Ewing pipeline near the border. I’m assuming they believe that despite the fact that he no longer owns majority stock in his own company that he still gets to speak on behalf of Ewing Global. He offers to shore up the safety of the pipeline and run an emergency drill to test readiness in the event a real breach occurs, but his plan requires wide scale evacuation of the South Texas region – clearing train tracks for miles on both sides of the border. Yeah, the CIA would never find that suspicious. He wants the government on both sides of the tracks working together. They fall for it – despite the financial cost to the state and the short notice. Bobby, and Sue Ellen, realize that without CIA immunity, he is looking at years in prison, if not a life sentence if caught.
Caught doing what, you ask? Transporting drugs across the border. This plot becomes more and more convoluted. What happened to the Ryland trucks at the border? Are the trucks impounded? Where are the extra drugs coming from? Are the drugs being taken from the trucks to the trains? If the government on the U.S.side isn’t on board with this plan, how does this mystery train just slip its way through? Are we to assume the Mexican government, fighting for its life, will allow this to happen? It’s not keeping an eye on the Mendez-Ochoa cartel and the border?
Well now! Someone finally mentions the leases, again. Pamela, who is on board with trying to save Emma and Ann, joins Jr. in meeting with the Sheik’s family. We know that in an earlier scene Pamela told Jr. that she is only with him until she can recoup her losses. This is a win-win, for her. They are trying to get the Sheik’s backing in getting control of Ewing Global, again. Jr’s integrity is called into question while Pamela’s integrity is deemed unassailable. John Ross is called dishonorable and inept. Pamela opens up about the cartel and mentions the 70-cents-on-the-dollar sale of Global stock and wants a loan for a 75-cents-on-the-dollar bid to buy it all at once.
The Sheiks’ son, Prince Nasir, admires her loyalty to her family but tells her that he’s been burned by the Ewings before. Her response is that he’s never been burned by a Barnes. He calls her Mrs. Ewing, she corrects with “Ms. Barnes, and better yet, Pamela.” The Prince insists on being called Nasir. There is a gleam in the royal Prince’s eye that emasculates John Ross where he sits. Of all the things the writers have done wrong with the Mendez-Ochoa cartel storyline, it was all worth it for this one scene. To hear Pamela say she was with her husband as a wife the last time and is now there as a businesswoman? I could kiss the writers.
A charmed, smiling, Prince Nasir tells Pamela that he can hear the integrity in her voice. It is clear that he trusts her. He will speak with his father and let them know what he decides. He gives John Ross a disapproving look and tells him that he doesn’t know how he pulled it off but that he’s lucky to have a wife like Pamela. I’m thinking that by the time Elena ends up in her “Who’s the Daddy?” drama with John Ross and Nicolas, Pamela will be a free woman!
Lucia is loading an SUV preparing to leave with the children. She is a much softer version of the woman who came to Dallas to scare the hell out of her lying husband. She is caring toward her staff, worried about their safety. She is about to leave when another SUV arrives. It is a man carrying an envelope. He tells her that she was right about where her husband was hiding out and that she knows her husband well. We see pictures of him with Elena, when Lucia says that she doesn’t know him as well as she thought, clearly reflecting on Christopher’s earlier comments that Nicolas was protecting Elena but leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. She now knows Nicolas lied when he said that he was alone, not with Elena.
Bobby meets with Ryland and Judith at the airport. Ryland informs him that Luis will meet him to talk about their transit plans. Judith grabs Bobby’s hand to thank him for his help. Still frail and broken, she tells him, with her son at her side, that Emma is all she has. Bobby tells her that he feels the same way about Ann. Another act of gratitude is taking place. Jr. is thanking Pamela for pulling off the impossible. She tells him she did it for Ann, and for her own legacy (in reference to the company) that nothing has changed between them, and walks away. What a difference a year makes. In the last year, John Ross thought of his wife as a trophy, one he loved, but did not value. His mistress was the key to his success. He’s no JR Ewing, this one. I love the writers breaking him down and making him more complex, rather than serving him up as a paper version of his father. Even the great JR had moments when he faltered and had to take stock of his life.
Next is an act of vengeance (perhaps?). Lucia shows up at South Fork, much to Christopher’s surprise. She gives him a speech about the importance of the family in Latin America, and that the sanctity of the family matters so much that husbands are given room to indulge their impulses. She tells Christopher that she knows where her husband is. Since we cut to the next scene, she is presumably telling Christopher since she is seemingly done with the man who didn’t take the sanctity of their family seriously.
Last, Luis invites Ann and Emma to dinner, as if they have a choice. He brags about his cooking skills and mentions that the farm boy down the road brings him fresh vegetables every day. He notes that he’s not as good of a cook as El Pozolero (which causes a reaction from Ann). She says that she’s lost her appetite. He tells her that he knows she must have heard about his boss who is renowned for dissolving his enemies in a stew of acid. Ann asks if he has to terrorize them, which he claims he’s not doing. She tells him that it is exactly what he is doing, which causes him to show Ann respect for her courage.
Just then Bobby arrives and shares his plan with Luis, regarding the trainers and the drugs. Bobby tells Luis that the cartel will be able to transport more drugs than they could have imagined in one shipment and that Luis will hero to his bosses, unless Luis has to clear the plan higher up. Luis takes the challenge but he will only allow Bobby to choose one of the hostages to take back – something Bobby didn’t count on. There has to be another plan. No way would Bobby trading a massive drug shipment for Ann and Emma. How can he come back from this?
I guess we’ll find out next week, during the two-hour finale. I’ll see you then!