In the finale of Dallas‘s superlative second season, everyone ends up where they were all along. Time is a circle, my friends.
Season two of RHOD barreled forward at a truly impressive clip, so it was a bit surprising when we got to the finale and the show slowed down to dwell on the past. We revisited old storylines the season seemed to have forgotten: Stephanie’s mansion with the pool in the living room, Brandi and Bryan’s attempts at baby number three. We saw people regressing to old behaviours — Mark’s attempts to ply Cary with expensive accessories showed us nothing has really changed in their marriage, and while Dee literally handing off the keys to Ultimate Living to her daughter was a nice image, you’d be naïve not to remember she cost D’Andra her future at the Department of Energy with a similar scam ten years back. We met LeeAnne’s mom and got a glimpse into her literal past, including a joint therapy session to hash out some of her childhood abandonment issues.
All of this looking back was nice, if a bit sleepily paced at times. But at its core, season two of The Real Housewives of Dallas was a love story, between two women who were fated never to make it work. On the one side, LeeAnne: raw, impulsive, dark, but honest. Painfully earnest to a fault. On the other side, Brandi: duplicitous, whimsical, desperate to please. Theirs was never a relationship of reciprocal love. LeeAnne loved Brandi like she loves everyone in her life, throatily and with every fibre of her being, but Brandi’s heart belongs to Stephanie — the woman in the cast most like herself, but effortless (maybe more accurately, the woman Brandi would like to be). LeeAnne is a tool Brandi used to get Stephanie’s attention, then found herself unable to discard. There’s not an exit strategy for a lover like LeeAnne, who does nothing in half measures. Any breakup is guaranteed to be messy, especially for someone like Brandi, who only knows how to tell people what they want to hear, whose thirst for drama and attention means she can only pluck up the nerve for betrayal in the most public of settings. That Brandi’s tide changes are strategic could only wound LeeAnne, who traffics in crimes of passion.
In a way, it makes sense that the Dallas finale spent so much time circling back to the past. LeeAnne and Brandi, the story of the season, ended up right where they started — not at the beginning of S2, with LeeAnne as a shaky Brandi’s interim support system/unwitting patsy, but at the beginning of the entire series. LeeAnne, desperate for some sort of acknowledgment from Brandi that she’s clearly not destined to get (not sincerely, anyway, and not when it doesn’t suit Brandi’s agenda). Brandi, wilfully ignoring LeeAnne’s humanity not out of any real dislike but because it’s socially expedient, because she wants in with someone who dislikes LeeAnne, so LeeAnne becomes more useful as a component of that puzzle than a potential friend.
This is a reading of the situation, I admit, that privileges one side over the other. It assumes a high level of reckless self-involvement from Brandi, and it ignores a lot of hard truths about LeeAnne (she really needs to stop threatening to kill people, for example). But that’s what I took away from this finale. I wondered why they incorporated LeeAnne’s mom so comprehensively into the show in the eleventh hour, and by the end of the episode, I knew. This is a story about LeeAnne getting abandoned, again.
Told you so.