After 39 episodes covering the most eventful four weeks in the history of Chester’s Mill, we find ourselves Domeless. Many questions raised over the past three seasons still remained to be answered in this final hour, but let’s face it: most of them were stupid and long-forgotten. The only real question left was whether Under The Dome could deliver one last head-scratching episode chock-full of ridiculousness. On that score, “The Enemy Within” delivered the goods, although anyone hoping for a truly satisfying resolution (and surely no one still watching dared hope for that) was instead left with the seeds of what may, in the fullness of time, in this age where no TV show ever truly dies, someday sprout into AfterDome.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. When last we checked in with Chester’s Mill, Barbie’s daughter had grown overnight into the spitting image of her mother in a bad wig (and, people keep telling us, with Barbie’s eyes). Dawn, as she calls herself, is the new queen of the Kinship, intent on bringing down the dome and letting their alien influence spread worldwide. In order to make this happen, Joe needs to complete work on the transmitter that will beam the signal created by the amethysts into the dome, shattering it before it completely calcifies and they all suffocate. (My friends, I am really going to miss writing sentences like that.)
The first half of the episode mainly consists of a lot of running around. The Resistance members are locked up but then released, except for Julia and Big Jim, who escape with the aid of trusty dog Indy and a dumbass redshirt guard. Junior and Sam fight over who will be the Alpha to mate with Dawn (boy, what a treat for her either way it turns out), and Junior prevails by running a shank of rebar through the most useless character this show ever produced—and yes, that’s saying something. Joe gets the transmitter running, but once the amethysts are in place, it becomes clear that one more note is needed to complete the signal. The show pretends to remember the stuff about the Four Hands and the pink stars as Norrie is set to become the eighth note, but Joe sacrifices himself for her and, at long last, the dome comes a-rumblin’ crumblin’ down. (Actually, it just sort of winks away with a few more flashes of purple CGI.)
Surprisingly, this happens with nearly half the episode still remaining. The survivors are rounded up by the military, with the Kinship sent into cold storage until they can devise a real cure and the Resistance members forced to sign false statements attesting that their time under the dome was merely the result of an Aktaion experiment gone awry. (This turn of events produces what I hope was an intentionally hilarious moment when Barbie’s interrogator reads his debriefing, which summarizes the entire series in a few absurd sentences.)
Cut to a year later—for real this time. Norrie is a sharpshooter in the Army, because remember that one time she shot a gun and was good at it? Hunter is working with the NSA. Barbie and Julia are motorcycling around the country, having adventures. He’s just about to propose to her when Congressman Big Jim shows up with his aide Lily. It seems Dawn (thought dead when Barbie tricked her into falling into a pit) is on the loose in the outside world. The episode, and the series, ends with three little kids, presumably Dawn’s students, finding another egg.
It’s a bet-hedging wrap-up, one that could have led to more Dome if CBS had decided to pick up the show for another season. As it stands, the show died as it lived: making almost no sense. None of the stuff about the Monarch ever amounted to anything, and the last-minute attempt at making the Four Hands relevant was laughable at best. The initial concept from Stephen King’s novel—the idea of a town cut off from the outside world and what would happen once the inhabitants ran low on resources—was never seriously explored and all but abandoned by the second season.
And yet…those of us who stuck with it to the end will miss it a little, won’t we? Not in the same way we’ll miss other beloved favorites that expired this year like Mad Men and Justified, but as a delivery system for weapons-grade nonsense, Under The Dome has had few competitors. (Gotham, maybe.) So on this final night of dome, let’s remember the good times: Deputy Dumbass being crushed to death when the dome turned into a giant magnet. Sheriff DJ Phil thinking he’s jumping to freedom and instead impaling himself on a stalagmite. Big Jim killing several dozen people but still finding a dog who loves him. Those terrible, terrible paintings. Skater Dude and Norrie’s dead mommies and Natalie Zea’s fight club and that time Mare Winningham lived out on the island but drowned after two episodes. I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed every minute, but spending these past three seasons with you has been my pleasure.
- “Would you say that’s an accurate summarization of the events?” Fuck if I know.
- “The Enemy Within” was the title of the classic Star Trek episode featuring William Shatner’s tour-de-force performance as both the good and evil Captain Kirks. This was…not that.
- Not that it really matters now, but Joe is not dead after all. Now that there’s been a real time-jump, his crazy growth spurts would have been a bit more understandable next season…but there is no next season.
- Did I mention that Big Jim stabbed Junior to death? Normally that would merit more than a Stray Observation, but things got so hectic at the end, I couldn’t find room for it.
- CUT MY COW IN TWO PIECES