Following several of the most misbegotten episodes of the series to date, “Going Home” pulls Under The Dome out of its downward spiral with an hour featuring some actual intrigue and forward plot movement. That’s not to say that the episode is entirely free of forehead-slapping moments, but at least it’s not the kind of random collection of complete nonsense we’ve grown accustomed to in recent weeks. (For a large segment of the viewing audience, I realize this comes as something of a disappointment.) For the most part, however, “Going Home” follows a linear, generally coherent progression of events, which feels like quite an accomplishment at this point in Dome history.
Realizing that many Chester’s Millers (notably Junior) won’t accept Uncle Sam as Angie’s killer without physical evidence, Barbie resolves to retrieve the body from the bottom of the bottomless pit. (I know, I know, but bear with me.) As he lowers himself over the cliff, a force pulls at him and he must cut his rope to prevent Julia and Rebecca from following him over the side. As it turns out, there is a bottom to the bottomless pit, but it’s outside the dome. Barbie finds himself in a playground in Zenith.
He’s not the only one to escape: You didn’t think we’d be rid of Uncle Sam so quickly, did you? (Actually, I kind of did, but whatever.) Sam tracks down his sister Pauline and learns that Lyle has also made his escape from the dome, although he mostly just sits in front of a window saying “Melanie” over and over. Pauline delivers a huge exposition dump about how she knew the dome was coming and left Chester’s Mill in hopes it would follow her. (So she moved to a larger city? In hopes it would get trapped under the dome instead? I dunno, Pauline, maybe move to a cabin in the middle of nowhere instead?)
Barbie, meanwhile, goes back to his own apartment, which proves to be a terrible idea because bad guys have been watching it for three weeks waiting for him to return. Seems he was supposed to do a job with them after running his errands for the late, lamented Maxine, but sometimes you just get trapped under a dome, you know? Barbie’s friends aren’t buying it, and after taking a few punches to the face, Barbie is back on the case, trying to steal some R&D secrets from Aktaion Energy. Instead he leads Hapless Goon #3 to his father’s house for an awkward reunion, during which Barbie asks dear old Dad to get him back to the Dome.
Speaking of which, the stuff happening under said sphere is about as dopey as usual. Joe finally has an actual good idea and pilots a drone down into the pit; he loses it, but does get some visual evidence that the pit bottoms out in Zenith. Big Jim creeps around trying to ooze menace, but the thrill is gone. His “Dome’s Chosen One” act has grown decidedly thin, and it may be just about time for Dean Norris to depart for greener pastures. I hear AMC has a new show about a sleazy lawyer in Albuquerque, and Norris might be a perfect fit for that.
It looks like Melanie and Junior are hitting it off, and I guess by this point we’re supposed to have forgotten all about the creep who locked his last girlfriend in a bomb shelter. This version of Junior stays up all night guarding his pals from danger. Generally, though, this is a streamlined episode, without a whole lot of Chester’s Mill townsfolk drama. The egg does make another appearance, and the explanation for the sudden appearance of the tunnels is, as always, IT’S ALL PART OF THE DOME’S PLAN. (I sure can’t wait to finally hear this plan. It’s quite elaborate!) For the first time this season, though, I’m actually curious to see what happens next. Considering what a mess the past few episodes have been, that’s got to count as progress.
- Joe was the president of his school’s robotics club, because of course he was.
- “How come you didn’t tell me you were going to fake your own death?” I’m pretty sure that’s the first rule of faking your own death.
- Big Jim holds a candlelight memorial for Barbie, the guy he was going to hang in front of the entire town a week earlier. Because Dome!
- So what exactly were we looking at in the last shot of the episode? I rewound it three or four times, and I’m still not sure. A hatch? Whatever it is, it has a handprint on it, which must be...significant.