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.


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.