After last week’s relatively straightforward episode, Under The Dome is back to doing what it does best: burying its few promising developments under a pile of expository gibberish, inane plotting, and pointless nonsense. With the action now split between the title location and the outside world, the happenings under the dome are more thinly conceived than ever. Big Jim has appointed himself sheriff, which is (as Rebecca astutely points out) an interesting career choice given the recent history of the position. As always, loyalties turn on a dime. “This new Big Jim,” Rebecca says. “You’re serious?” She must not be paying much attention, since this has to be at least the fifth time Big Jim has proclaimed himself a new man with only the best interests of the town at heart.
Even though it was just last week that Big Jim was breaking into Rebecca’s house, sneaking up behind her, and speaking in low, menacing tones, she’s cool with him now, because that’s just how the people of Chester’s Mill roll. Jim’s next mission is to win his son back to his side, which he accomplishes thanks to several acts of vandalism seemingly aimed at hurting Big Jim. (That giant windmill he built single-handedly in five minutes? Destroyed.) The culprit comes as some surprise to those of us who assumed DJ Phil had been shot dead a few episodes ago, because why would a show keep a character like Phil alive? Apparently just so he could make an implausible return appearance (looking pretty fit for a man who took a bullet in the chest three days earlier) that brings Big Jim and Junior back together.
In Zenith, Barbie hasn’t convinced his father Don to bring him to the dome, but dear old dad does agree to send an email to Julia, care of Scarecrow Joe. Barbie wants Julia to take a leap of faith, but Don adds a line to the email telling Julia to bring the egg with her. Later, Barbie is sitting in the park waiting for Julia to fall out of the sky when Hunter the Hacker spots him on a surveillance camera. Hunter recognizes him as Barbie from the dome and tracks him down and tells him his father added a line about the egg to the email and wait just one goddam minute here. How the hell could Hunter possibly know that? Even if he hacked into the email, how would he know the line about the egg didn’t come from Barbie? I realize getting worked up over a plot hole on Under The Dome is a waste of energy, but they aren’t even trying here.
Anyway, it turns out Hunter works for Don at Aktaion Energy, but he’s a double agent willing to help Barbie get close to the dome with a fake ID and thumbprint. In just a few weeks, the military has assembled an impressive array of fences and checkpoints, but Barbie uses the old hanging-from-the-bottom-of-the-truck trick to get close to the dome for a rendezvous with Julia. (She has time to yell at the dome while she’s waiting.) He’s almost immediately captured, but not before scrawling NOT SAFE OUT HERE and DON’T J on the dome. How long will it take Julia to figure out that means “don’t jump”? I shudder to think. (And anyway, it’s not like it’s exactly safe inside the dome, where there’s a new Biblical plague hitting every 48 hours or so and the food will run out sooner or later.)
The other major events concern the three original Hands outside the dome, as Pauline and Uncle Sam are able to rouse Lyle from his stupor with an experimental drug. Not much really comes of this, however, except that Pauline never got the chance to send her last postcard to Lyle -- the one with the red door. (This is presumably the hatch-like thing we saw on the ground at the end of the last episode.)
I’m mildly intrigued by the conspiracy elements involving Aktaion Energy and the Hounds of Diana, mainly because the new split-focus format reduces the number of “Who is friends with Big Jim today?” scenes we have to endure. I wish I had more faith that these elements were going to pay off in any kind of interesting way, but it’s not as if Under The Dome has gone out of its way to reward our faith up until now. More than ever the show feels like a very poor man’s Lost, but that still beats the dreary crisis-of-the-week format any day.
- “Welcome to my vlog!” “Video blog?” Thanks for clearing that up, show.
- Exposition Joe was in rare form tonight. “He’s our friend, too! I met him before anyone!”
- The “Make Me an Offer” billboard was the most enjoyment I’ve gotten from Big Jim in ages.
- Traffic lights are still operational under the dome. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation.
- Houndsofdiana.com is a real website, no doubt filled with very helpful clues.