Christopher's petition for annulment was rejected! Ann's long-lost daughter hates her guts! Sue Ellen lost the election! It was an eventful return to Dallas on last week's two-hour season premiere. After five months off the air, the Ewing clan & Co. wasted no time answering some of fans' biggest burning questions from the first season finale, and raising some new ones for Season 2 (Mondays at 9/8c on TNT). Although she did her best not to spoil what's to come, we turned to showrunner Cynthia Cidre for answers:
1. Could Elena and John Ross be the real deal? It wasn't a complete surprise to see brokenhearted bad guys John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) hook up in the premiere, but where will their romantic entanglement will lead to? "I think they're very much cut from the same cloth. It's out of convenience and scheming against the same people, having the same enemy and it's also a little bit more than that," Cidre says. "[Their relationship] has some huge ups and downs too because neither is willing to be hurt." But two of those people John Ross and Rebecca are both scheming against are their respective exes, Elena (Jordana Brewster) and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), whom they still having feelings for. "People heal, and 15 episodes is a long time. They don't carry the torch forever," Cidre says. "Who [Rebecca] ends up with is fun."
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2. Can Christopher and Elena make it work? Despite the (many) odds against them, "Christopher and Elena are grounded and stable," Cidre says. However, expect things to get complicated for Elena now that John Ross knows she owes quite a bit of debt to Sue Ellen (Linda Gray). "That will definitely play out in a huge way," Cidre says. "It's something that John Ross can manipulate to get his way, and he will get allies to help him do that."
3. Will Ann be able to get her mojo back? In the season premiere, Ann (Brenda Strong) was elated to learn that her long-lost daughter Emma (Emma Bell) was alive and in Dallas. Too bad her daughter wanted nothing to do with her — which left Ann in a fragile place. "That will change. We knew her as a fighter in Season 1 and we haven't abandoned that," Cidre says. However, there will be "a few hiccups" ahead for her and Bobby (Patrick Duffy). Apparently, their recent marital problems and Emma's presence are "related, and there will be a huge climax before things settle down," Cidre says. "You can't put a story point that way in their lives — of finding a child she hadn't seen in 20 years — and have it not have repercussions."
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4. How much of Emma will we see? Cidre was tight-lipped about what kind of interactions Emma will have with the rest of the Ewings, but says Emma's story "will be an integral part" of the Ewing clan. "She is going to have some personality too by the time we're done with Emma Brown," Cidre adds. "There will be a lot of healing, and a lot of heartache before healing."
5. What's the deal with Harris' mom? As if Ann's ex-husband wasn't bad enough on his own — seriously, how was Ann ever married to that guy? — Bobby learned that it was in fact Harris (Mitch Pileggi) and his mother Judith Ryland (Judith Light) who took Emma as a baby and raised her in secret. But why? "This is a little bit over the top, but the way I had pictured it was if Norman Bates turned that rocking chair around, if Norma Bates stood up. So that was the character," Cidre says of Judith. "It's not apparent yet in the early episodes of where all of that comes from, but by Episode 9 or 10, you start to get a little more backstory." Adds Cidre, "Emma is sort of the child they never had. It's a little sick sounding, but at its most basic, it's probably true."
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6. How will the show say goodbye to J.R.? After the unfortunate passing of Larry Hagman in November, many of the questions surrounding Season 2 have been related to exactly how his character will go out this season and the aftermath of his death. "J.R. was such a delicious and iconic character that we couldn't just kill him by natural circumstances. It had to be bigger than that, and more fun that, and at the same time, it has to be emotional and a proper goodbye to both J.R. Ewing and Larry Hagman," Cidre says. "I think we came up with something pretty good. A little bit of it will be revealed in Episode 8, and then we will take the rest of the season to reveal a mystery."
Dallas airs Mondays at 9/8c on TNT.