Under the Dome: “Curtains”

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Grade: D

Airdate: 9/16/13

There are many different types of cliffhangers that can be used in television shows and there are certain times when one should be used and another should not. For instance, leaving a character literally hanging off a cliff is one to use between two commercial breaks. Having someone be shot and struggle for breathe is one to be used between two episodes. Having a character confess to a crime they didn’t commit to save a another character is one to be used between two seasons.

Having Barbie’s (Mike Vogel) fate resting on if Chester’s MIll’s biggest whack-job Junior (Alexander Koch) is or is not going to pull a lever to hang him, would be a cliffhanger to be used between two commercial breaks. But, sadly that is how Under the Dome decided to end season one. For a show that used the summer slump to gain popularity too quickly and then crack under the pressure, that is not a good way to keep fans interested until next summer.

Of course, that was just how the episode ended. Everything was pretty normal for the show; bad dialogue, slow pace, spastic lunacy and a few interesting bits of information.

The butterfly hatches as Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) and Joe (Colin Ford) say things like, “Guys, it’s hatching.” Kids, just shut up and let Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) deliver all the exposition to Linda (Natalie Martinez). You aren’t allowed to talk either, Linda. Neither are you, Julia (Rachelle Levefre). Just let Angie (Britt Robertson) do the talking. That talking, of course, is Julia saying she must find Barbie and Angie annoyingly agreeing.

The butterfly probably overhead the dialogue, so it started smashing itself against the mini-dome and causing black spots all other that dome and the big dome. The spots then take over and both domes are totally black. Linda continues to be the world’s worst police officer — behind Junior — by declaring the mini-dome as police property. Norrie and Joe just let her touch it so she gets knocked out. They have to then convince crazy-for-this-episode Junior to hide the mini-dome with them. The drive off to Chester’s Mill’s most popular place to do shady shit: the cement factory.

Across town, Angie is breaking into the police station and breaking Barbie out of jail with Julia. Barbie beats the crap out of two guys, while still being handcuffed. They get a message from the rest of the Pink Stars gang and join them at the cement factory. They all touch the mini-dome it glows white then explodes. The butterfly then flies to Barbie because the show has been telling us that he is the monarch. But, then the egg freaks out until Julia picks it up and the butterfly flies to her because she is the monarch? What? That isn’t even a good plot twist. It just makes no sense.

Junior then decides to go nuts for a bit, turn on everyone, and tackle Barbie as the rest flee with the egg. Out in the woods, Norrie asks the egg what to do and Alice (Samantha Mathis) appears behind them. She gives us one of the few interesting pieces of information saying she isn’t Alice. “They” are still getting used to communicating and put the dome their to protect them. The egg must be kept save or Chester’s Mill is doomed. So they are aliens? Butterfly people? Good television writers? Whatever, not enough to get me back next year.

Big Jim (Dean Norris) has about this third stand-off with Barbie this episode and then sends a message over the radio telling the Egg Gang that they have one hour to give up the egg or Big Jim is going to hang Barbie on the cliche scaffolding, gallows that was just built outside town hall.

Julia decides, as the monarch, it is her decision and she sends the kids away. She goes to the lake and drops the egg inside right was Big Jim and Junior are about to hang Barbie. Big Jim took a moment out of this episode to see his wife’s wonderful artwork and also think the Rennies are chosen to protect the town. The egg lights up the lake and sends lines of pink stars up to the dome. It then starts glowing white, just as the mini-dome did before it busted. Junior is about to pull the lever to hang Barbie and Big Jim is yelling at him to. And the episode just ends.

And so has summer television. I could not be happier. Goodbye, Under the Dome. I will most likely not see you again. I’m going to go watch Bones now.

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Under the Dome: “Exigent Circumstances”

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Grade: C-

Airdate: 9/9/13

This episode of Under the Dome would have been good if it was a silent film or possibly in a foreign language I know nothing about. Again, the dialogue and how the lines was delivered was terrible save for Britt Robertson and Aisha Hinds, who were just OK. How this show can make so many good actors bad? I don’t know.

This was an action heavy episode, so it had less lines for people to struggle through than normal. The “previously on” reminded us that everyone was shot last week and Murder Barbie (Mike Vogel) is on the loose. The episode opens with Big Jim (Dean Norris) addressing a crowd about the Fugitive Barbie situation and Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) is just there. Disappeared for five episodes? Nobody disappeared for five episodes. Big Jim is pretty much turning Chester’s Mill into a police state and declaring himself Hitler– he passes out red armbands later.

The Pink Stars gang, minus Junior (Alexander Koch), is having a stumble-through-dialogue session in the barn when Carolyn walks in. She sees the mini-dome and promises to help protect it. She and Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) finally have the family moment I have been waiting for since Alice died six episodes ago. They were cute and their dynamic was one of the best parts of this episode.

Junior left the gang again this episode and is conned by his dad to watch over Julia (Rachelle Levefrve) and make sure she doesn’t tell anyone Barbie didn’t shot her. Shot-’em-up Barbie finds Angie (Britt Robertson) outside the barn and they agree to go break Julia out of the hospital to save her from Big Jim. Of course, Junior is there. Angie is able to distracted him because he was about the IQ of your average goat. Barbie gets Julia into an ambulance and has Angie drive her away as he gives himself up to Linda (Natalie Martinez), which seemed like a stupid and unnecessary move. Angie ends up getting Julia to safety and she wakes up and remembers she was shot by a woman.

Big Jim has the not-subtle Nazi references doing a house-by-house sweep looking for Killer Barbie. Norrie and Joe (Colin Ford) take the mini-dome and hide it at Skater Ben’s house, because it was already check? That detail was never explained. But, to distract them Carolyn decides to stand up to the Nazis and not let them into the barn. After they grab her, Norrie and Joe arrive and attack. Big Jim then decides to arrest the kids because he knows there is an egg that they are hiding.

Big Jim then has stand-offs with Norrie, Joe and Barbie as they are locked in cells in the jail. He keeps going on about how it is a lawful investigation. I’m glad Norrie finally laughed about that. Big Jim then black-mails Barbie into saying he will confess to all the murders that happened in the past couple episodes, including Dodee’s this episode — it was Big Jim, surprise surprise. Big Jim releases Norrie and Joe to Carolyn and promises he will stop looking for Julia. But, he does convince Linda to tail the kids because they might have a way out of the dome.

At the end of the episode, Big Jim takes Barbie in front of the townsfolk to confess. Norrie, Joe, Carolyn, Linda and Skater Ben crowd around the mini-dome as it makes an unpleasant noise and seems like the butterfly is going to hack. All episode, Joe had been thinking that was going to mean the monarch would be crowded. Barbie then says he pleads not guilty to all the murders. So, Barbie is the monarch.

There was a lot of action this episode and that made it better than most because it meant no dialogue. The plot line was interesting enough to just barely convince me to come back for the season finale next week. Maybe I will watch it on mute with subtitles and see if it is better.


Under the Dome: “Speak of the Devil”

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Grade: C

Airdate: 9/2/13

C is the only grade I could have given this episode of Under the Dome. It was very average. I am starting to think it is a good premise trapped in a bad show. The dialogue got even worse with week, being bad for both the bottom rung of Joe (Colin Ford) and Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) all the way to Big Jim (Dean Norris) at the top. Come on show, if Dean Norris can’t even make your lines sound good it’s time for new writers.

The episode opens with the pink star gang staring up at the constellations that the mini-dome created last week. Apparently, it also created some LSD fumes because everyone sounded like they were tripping. They decided Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) might be the monarch and Joe runs off to tell her. Junior (Alexander Koch) and his spastic lunacy then decides to leave the gang because Angie (Britt Robertson) will not be his girlfriend.

Meanwhile, Julia answers her front door and Max (Natalie Zea) is there. But, she might as well had been a terminator because she said something that had about as much meaning as “Are you Sarah Connor?” and then shots her in the chest. What? Barbie (Mike Vogel) and Joe find her and take her to the hospital. I would say rushed her but the show does take the time to tell us Joe has his temps but not his license and plug in their electric car. Obviously, Julia isn’t going to die. The show has been renewed for a second season and Alice was the emotional season one death. I’ve decided Carolyn has gone to visit Ruby in the Land of Lost Characters.

While this is going on Angie goes to track down Junior and it is storming inside the dome. This was one of the interesting point elements surrounded by terrible dialogue and Julia’s anti-climatic and temporary death. She dies just as Angie and Junior are screaming at each other. The tornado is about to touch down but it goes away as Junior saves Angie from getting hit by a flying bench and Barbie brings Julia back to life.

The pink stars gang is convinced the dome was trying to tell them something. Joe thinks Barbie is the monarch and the tornado was contacted to Julia’s life. Angie told Junior the dome was creating the storm because he left and it stopped when he come back. Because it is conveient for him to be a nut at that moment, he believes her.

Big Jim is causing all sorts of trouble this episode. First, he tells Linda (Natalie Martinez) that Barbie is the real danger to Chester’s Mill, not him and the propane smuggling drug ring. He then runs into Max, who says she shot Julia because Barbie crossed her and will do the same to Junior if Big Jim does. Nobody is really evil in this show, just sometimes threatening psychos.

Big Jim decides he is going to kill Max and enlists Barbie’s help. They go to where all shady things in town happen: the cement factory. Max, her bodyguard and the bad dialogue find them. They make all kinds of threats to each other, which don’t matter because Barbie is able to disarm them. He plans to take them to Linda, but then Big Jim just shots them. So, Big Jim kills the only villain the show had but instantly fills her shoes by threatening to shot Barbie. He is quickly able to disarm him too, but Linda shows up right when Barbie has a gun to him.

He is forced to knock out Linda and run away. Good idea, Barbie. Haven’t you been paying attention? Running from the police is just going to end up with some sort of police officer shooting you. Big Jim then goes on the radio tells everyone that Barbie shot Julia, killed Max, her friend and her mom that he let drown last episode. And he says Barbie will have a fair trial but says he will get the death penalty. Sure, Jim and isn’t the towns entire criminal justice and legal system made up of Linda and Junior/ the two biggest idiots in town?

Earlier in the episode, the pink star gang figured out that mini-dome had created a star map of big dome. But, four stars are in a line and out of place. The gang goes there and all puts there hands on the dome at once. Big Jim then appears outside the dome. He starts bleeding from four stab wounds and the gang finds themselves each holding a knife. Junior freaks and runs to find daddy. As Angie and Norrie agree that Big Jim must die and they have to do it.

If it was in a better show, the plot would be getting really good. But for every cool plot twist there is Max delivering lines like, “He said the one word a woman never wants to hear: no,” and long linger shots to show us all the phones are Microsoft produces.


Under the Dome: “Let the Games Begin”

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Grade: B-

Airdate: 8/27/13

After a rather sad showing in the past couple weeks,  I was anticipating this episode of Under the Dome to suck so I made up a drinking game to go along with it.The episode might have been the best of the season. The drinking game is not needed to make the episode enjoyable. But if you would still like to play, scroll to the end of the post.

I’m going to go with Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) pulled a Romeo and Juliet and offed herself after her true love died, because there doesn’t seem to be any other logic explanation to why she hasn’t been in the last three episodes. Surprisingly the teenage and twenty-something story line was actually good and the adult story line was just ridiculous this week. Joe (Colin Ford), Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) and Angie (Britt Robertson) all slept by the mini-dome and awake to find a caterpillar inside it near the egg. Joe said the caterpillar will become a monarch butterfly. They head out to find anyone else who has had pink star seizures.

Later on, Dodee (Jolene Purdy) appears and touches the fourth hand spot on the mini-dome. And because she is over the age of 23, she is zapped and flung across the room. The seizure trio finds her and takes her to the hospital. Dodee doesn’t remember anything and Angie asks the nurse if anyone else has had seizures and the nurse said not since Angie’s 10th grade dance. Surprise, surprise that was Junior (Alexander Koch). Angie is forced to tell them that she was kidnapped by Junior for about six episodes while Joe and Norrie were too busy with their angst to look for her. After some argument, they decide to go find Junior.

That story line was actually good. The rest is why I am glad I played the drinking game. Barbie (Mike Vogel) and Big Jim (Dean Norris) are trying to find what dirt evil-hottie Maxine (Natalie Zea) has on them. Jim decides to go to one of her properties on the lake. Wait, there is a lake inside the dome? So shouldn’t have water ever been a problem. Whatever, Barbie goes with Maxine to the cement factory where she was created a fight club, gambling, bar that seems to be a mix between Datak Tar’s fight club in Defiance and The Hob in The Hunger Games. Really, this much post-apocalyptic stuff is created in– as Maxine points out — eight days? Lost didn’t even become barbaric this quickly they were on a deserted island.

Big Jim and Barbie’s story lines are pretty pointless from this point forward. Big Jim finds Maxine’s mom across the island. She is just an exposition character to tell us that Chester’s Mill isn’t as nice as it seems. Of course, it isn’t. Has anyone ever been to a small town before? Big Jim kidnaps her and then she jumps off his boat and might have drowned because…her hands were tied together. Swim with your legs? No, okay just drown then. Barbie refuses to help Maxine by throwing his cage fight and she says she can blackmail him because she knows he killed Julia’s (Rachelle Lefevre) husband.

But, over in the story line Julia has with Sheriff Linda (Natalie Martinez) this episode, she already knows. Linda finds out from stuff left in safety deposit boxes that Duke was paying off Maxine to keep drugs out of the town. Julia finds a life insurance policy for her husband. Back at the boarding house, Barbie comes clean about killing her husband, Julia said she already figured it out and she is totally cool with it.

Angie, Joe and Norrie bring Junior to the barn and they all put their hands on mini-dome. The egg goes nuts and projects pink stars all throughout the barn. The episodes ends with Junior asking what the hell do the pink stars mean.

Overall, I actually liked this episode. The adult story lines were laughable in an enjoyable sort of way. The society dissolved pretty quickly and Linda, the cop, just invites Julia, the journalist, to come along for her secret fact-finding mission. Cop of the year, Linda. The kid story line was actually good, save for the predict element with Junior. Angie was in every scene Norrie and Joe had together and Britt Robertson can actually act so it made them seem better. Only three episodes left, hopefully they are all this good.

But if not, maybe this drinking game will help.

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Drink whenever:

  • A dead character is mentioned.
  • Joe and Norrie stumble through dialogue.
  • Someone drinks alcohol.
  • Big Jim and Barbie have a tense conversation.
  • Anyone hugs or kisses.
  • Junior is holding a fire arm (drink again if Linda gave it to him)

Or alternatively, just drink anytime someone says “dome.” It is a lot. Or for a super advanced level, just make that another rule.


Under the Dome: “The Fourth Hand”

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Grade: D+

Airdate: 8/19/13

I don’t know if it is the painfully slow pace, the poor dialogue or the Sheriff not knowing anything about drugs, but I have almost completely lost interest in Under the Dome. Mixed in with all the terrible-ness is always a few actually interesting clues about why the town is trapped in a dome. But, it’s not really enough to keep my interest. And this is all on top of the fact that I only kept watching the show after Alice died two weeks ago to see how her family reacted to it. Her daughter Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) just struggled through some lines like always and for some reason her wife Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) has not been in the last two episodes.

The episode opens with Julia (Rachelle Leferve) taking Barbie (Mike Vogel) to see mini-dome, but mini-dome is missing and has been replaced with mini-crate. Barbie then gets called by Sheriff Linda (Natalie Martinez) to come help with a crazy guy who broke into someones house. After Linda tells us she knows nothing about which drugs make you hallucinate and hear voices, the druggie tells us he got a drug called Rapture from the evil preacher. When they go to his house they find a recipe which includes propane. Linda’s lack of police knowledge was killing the realism for me, but she goes to finally look into the propane stockpile on the edge of town.

Angie (Britt Robertson) seems to be playing into the possible monarch role and requests the deed to the diner from Big Jim (Dean Norris). He leaves after giving her a “sure, kid” answer and his crazy son, Junior (Alexander Koch) comes in. But, his crazy is cut short by Angie having a pink stars seizure.

Big Jim gets back to his house and there is a hot chick there that delivers all the poorly written exposition we need for this episode. Big Jim, Sheriff Duke, creepy preacher and hot chick were working together to get the propane into Chester’s Mill, use it to make Rapture and then sell it around. Barbie was also working with hot chick but not the others. So, nothing sci-fi about the shady stuff in town it is just regular shady stuff.

In response to a bystander getting shot during the break-in, Big Jim decides to call for a gun collection program, in which residents can turn in their guns for food and propane. Big Jim seems to be turning the monarch possibility into more of a dictator possibility. He ends up taking all the guns and puts them in his bomb shelter instead of at the concrete factory like hot chick told him to.

Angie arrives back at the boarding house and tells Joe (Colin Ford), Norrie and Julia about the seizure. They tell her about theirs and she is a little freaked. Norrie then sees her butterfly tattoo, but Joe then tells her it is not a monarch butterfly because it isn’t orange. See that is one of the little clues. I still think that is important. Hey Carolyn, want to come downstairs and increase the acting ability by tenfold? No? Great.

Meanwhile, Junior, who only seems to be crazy when it is needed for the story, later takes Angie to his house and shows her a painting his mom did shortly before she died eight years ago. He said it come to her in a dream and it is Junior standing on a hill looking up at falling pink stars.

Norrie and Joe get back to the house after searching all over for missing mini-dome and find it in the barn. Angie joins them and said that Joe brought it back there in the middle of the night, but he was in some zombie-state. They all put their hands on mini-dome and it glows blue. Norrie thinks they are like keys and another hand print appears. They need to figure out who the fourth person in. That was sort of an interesting clue, but Junior was in that painting and is the only other teenager/early twenty-something character on the show so I’m guessing him.

This show did start well. I don’t know what happened. Maybe it is me, not the show. It reminds me a lot of Lost, which I watched most of then lost interest. It has the same concept of a bunch of people being trapped in one place by some supernatural power. And yeah, the supernatural stuff is interesting but everything else is just a bunch people being stuck together. Of course, Lost did have good dialogue, casting, acting and actual chemistry between its couples. Carolyn and Alice were the only ones with chemistry, but the show ended that for some reason.


Under the Dome: “Thicker than Water”

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Grade: C-

Airdate: 8/12/13

I am slowly losing faith in Under the Dome. I am hardly ever a person to stop watching a show after a character I like dies  because I like to see how all the other characters react to it. But for some reason Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) was not in this episode to react to her wife dying last week, instead we are given her daughter, Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) stumbling through her lines and acting only on her teenage angst.

But with that disappointment, my prediction from last week that Angie (Britt Robertson) joining Joe’s dome-time boarding home would mix stuff up and it did. Apparently, she is the screw up of the family and Joe (Colin Ford) spent all week looking for her, or you know never. Angie also decides to re-open the diner because everyone is running out of food. She also cheers up Norrie and helps her cope with her mom dying. She had the best character development this episode, but was not part of the major story line.

Hick-villain Ollie is still hogging all the water. He makes it clear that he is going to use his water power to steal Big Jim (Dean Norris)’s job. Ollie is pretty much a crotchety old man this episode yelling “get off my lawn” at everyone who comes near his well. But, he also has like 20 hick farmers with guns so it’s a little dangerous.

Sheriff Linda (Natalie Martinez) finally wised up and took Junior (Alexander Koch)’s gun away. But during one of the townie vs. farmer spats, Junior switches sides and joins Ollie. Big Jim, Linda and Barbie (Mike Vogel) come up with two different plans to steal the water back. Big Jim wants to go in like a guerilla militia, with the crazy amount of guns that are in this town. Barbie with his endless ninja skills, which include baby delivering and grave digging, cooks up a plan to blow up the well to make the water go to the other well.s.

They do both the plans and of course Barbie’s works. Big Jim’s ends up in a stand-off with Junior. Luckily, his crazy makes him shot Ollie and not his dad all because of a lying story about how his mom died. I would have cared about that story line more if we had actually meet the character, you know like Alice. Where was Carolyn? Anyway, that story line ends with Barbie telling Big Jim that he needs to watch his back because he might take his job.

Back at the boarding house, Norrie gets mad at Joe and thinks them touching mini-dome killed her mom. So, she bonds with his sister for most of the episode. Joe goes and bonds with Julia (Rachelle Leferve). He takes her to mini-dome and when she touches it she sees a hallucination of Joe, who tells her, “the monarch will be crowned.” Julia seems to be a little unnecessarily freaked at everything even when it doesn’t make any sense. Egg?! What egg?!

At the end of the episode she asks Barbie if he has any idea what it means. I thought it was about the conflict between Big Jim and Barbie and who was going to be the leader of Chester’s Mill. But the show pulled its only interesting plot twist and reminded us that Angie has a monarchy butterfly tattoo.

That plot point might be the only reason I am tuning in next week. The show’s overall plot is sort of fading and the character development seems to be getting lost but Angie is doing well.


Under the Dome: “Imperfect Circles”

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Grade: B-

Airdate: 8/5/13

This episode was at about the halfway point of Under the Dome’s first season, so I’m not really expecting anything too great. Compared to the previous six episodes, this one seemed to be a lot of the same. Junior (Alexander Koch) is insane and his dad, Big Jim (Dean Norris) doesn’t seem that worried about it. Sheriff Linda (Natalie Martinez) is still going to try to follow the law and pretend that everything thing is fine even though bad guys keep going on the run until they are simply shot by a sorta Sheriff Deputy. And hick-villain Ollie (Leon Rippy) is using his farm and well to make himself a ruler in the town.

Really only two important things happened in this episode. Joe (Colin Ford) is too busy with turning his parent’s house into a boarding home and spending time with his girlfriend, Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) to think about his “missing” sister. But in Joe’s defense, Angie (Britt Robertson) was freed from Junior’s dungeon and took all episode to finally find her brother. Anyway, Joe and Norrie struggle through some bad dialogue with an occasional well timed line. Joe uses his dome map to find the center of the dome. And there is another dome with a black egg looking thing inside it. The teen lovers try to talk to it while touching it at the same time. All that happened is that Norrie’s mom, Alice (Samantha Mathis) appears in the woods with. She thinks that means she is in danger so they rush back to Joe’s Dome-time Boarding Home.

Alice is over in the episode’s other main story line. Julia’s (Rachelle Lefevre) neighbor that we’ve not meet before touches the dome outside of Julia’s house and goes into labor. She thought she saw her deployed Navy husband on the other side, much like Norrie saw Alice so I’m guess that’s important somehow. Julia gets token pregnant chick into her car only to get ambushed by the murder brothers from last episode. Luckily, Barbie (Mike Vogel) is there to save them and radio’s Linda and Junior to go after them. Linda kills one in self-defense and Junior kills the other as he begs for his life. Yeah, Linda is good, Junior is bad.

The clinic is closed for some reason. So, Julia and Barbie that the pregnant chick to Alice and Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) who are having a cute moment in the living room of their daughter’s boyfriend’s parents’ house. Alice is getting sicker because of the lack of insulin but starts to deliver the baby anyway because she is a medical ninja with hipster glasses.

The pregnant chick is annoyingly freaking out and carrying on about how she doesn’t want to bring a baby into the dome because anything is going so terrible. To drive that point home, across town Big Jim is blowing up part of the propane storage as a way to get back at Oliie for hogging everything.

Alice gets too sick about halfway through the delivery and Barbie takes over and does a little too well for someone with no medical training. After the baby is delivered, Norrie and Joe arrive. Norrie runs upstairs and Carolyn tells her that Alice had a heart attack. They go sit on the bed with her and Alice says everything is happening a reason and Norrie and Carolyn need to look after each other. Norrie runs off after she dies and Carolyn has a tearful moment. Norrie goes to yell at the dome and while she does the black egg thing in the mini dome at the center has a bunch of red lights run through it.

The show is doing all right. It is keeping the mystery alive with the discovery of mini dome, Junior and Big Jim are keeping the dangerous dude vibe alive. Alice was a likable character from the start, so she was the perfect candidate for the shows emotional first season death, but I’m not saying that was the best decision. Alice and Carolyn were the only couple that was a couple before the dome and they had an interesting family element going with Norrie.

Angie is with the rest of the cast now so hopefully that makes for some interesting situations next week. And Linda, how many people is Junior going to have to kill until you decide to take away his rifle?