It’s always one step forward, five steps back for Under The Dome, so it shouldn’t come as much surprise that the show would follow its best episode of the season with one as insultingly bad as any in its history. At least it had a hilarious ending, but we’ll get to that later.
First up is the long-awaited reunion of Big Jim and Pauline. At first Big Jim is upset about that whole faking her own death thing, but after a visit to her creepy painting shed, he realizes she was right about everything all along. Big Jim gives her his usual “I’m a good man now, because dome” spiel, but she’s not buying it any more than anyone else is these days. Pauline’s real plan is to get Junior, get out of the dome, and get far away from Big Jim, but she wisely declines to share that with him.
Rebecca the Science Lady has noticed the leaves are turning, even though it’s summer, and theorizes that the dome’s micro-climate is accelerating. Everyone does their best cold acting for about 30 seconds and then forgets about it, but I have a feeling they’ll get another chance next week. Julia has a tearful reunion with the newly-returned Barbie, who has forgotten all about that “Don’t Jump” business and has a new plan, which for lack of a better term, we’ll call “Jump.” His idea is to go first off the cliff and promise the delivery of the Egg to his father once everyone else in Chester’s Mill has followed him out. Julia decides she should be the first to go, but then Big Jim shows up and announces he’ll be the first to go, what with him being the dome’s chosen boy.
It’s almost impossible to keep up with the parade of crazy that follows, but here are a few highlights. Barbie figures out that Melanie is actually his half-sister (and technically his older sister, even though she’s now half his age) in yet another plot development cribbed straight from the Lost playbook. Junior starts having visions of Angie (we missed you, Britt Robertson, yet we hoped you’d escaped for good), who talks him out of putting an axe through Sam’s head. The Egg goes crazy down in the bomb shelter, causing Pauline to lose her mind and create another terrible painting I wish I could have used as the header image for this review. It’s a beautiful thing: the dome cracking in half while Pauline, Big Jim, and Junior all scream in terror. Big Jim tries to grab the Egg, but it throws him across the room. Joe and Norrie come to get the Egg (which they’ve found with the assistance of an Egg-detector built by Hunter the Hacker), but Big Jim leads them back to the cliff at gunpoint.
Because the writers have abandoned any notion that they know what they’re doing with Big Jim, it turns out his plan is to just throw the Egg off the cliff. This causes an earthquake in the cave and throughout Chester’s Mill, which in turn causes Sheriff DJ Phil’s jail cell to fall apart, allowing him to escape. It’s a good thing, too, because I seriously doubt anyone would have remembered he was down there. He’s the character the show keeps forgetting about, but that’s all over now as Phil has heard about the escape plan. He rushes to the cliff, jumps over the side, and...whoops! The cave has now sprouted a bottom, and Phil has impaled himself on a stalagmite. RIP again, Sheriff DJ Phil. Your death was not in vain, because I laughed for a good 30 seconds after it happened.
“The Fall” is a disastrous episode in just about every conceivable way, wiping out any good will generated by the Zenith storyline over the past few weeks. With the exit sealed off, we’re no doubt headed back to crisis-of-the-week territory next week as the domers try to figure out how not to freeze to death. Granted, the show is called Under The Dome and not Some People Under A Dome And Some People Outside It, but why revert to the same played-out formula with only three episodes left in the season? In a way, Big Jim is the perfect representative for the show as a whole. He keeps saying he’s changed, but he just can‘t help himself.
- Melanie (in the shelter with Junior): “I’ll tell her you locked me down here.” For some reason, Junior doesn’t find this hilarious.
- Diner Lady needs to know where Big Jim stands before agreeing to jump off the cliff. Someone buy this woman a clue.
- Joe sure loves him some Hacker Hunter. He’s smart, too!