'Under the Dome' Premiere Recap: Trapped in a Mysterious Bubble
'Under the Dome' Premiere Recap: Trapped in a Mysterious Bubble
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Are you ready to spend the summer trapped in a bubble? No, I'm not talking about Big Brother 15 (which premieres Wednesday at 8pm on CBS), but rather the network's other big summer series, Under the Dome.

Based on a Stephen King story, Under the Dome has everything you could want in a fun summer mystery. There's a small town full of characters with secrets and an unexplained phenomenon (the Dome) that puts everyone in danger.

The best part of the Under the Dome premiere is how effortlessly the script introduces more than a dozen major characters in a single hour. Everyone is a distinct person with their own secrets hiding under the surface.

Welcome to Chester's Mill

Before the Dome goes up the show introduces us to everyone with a little moment to tell us what we need to know about the main characters.

Barbie (Bates Motel's Mike Vogel) is first seen in the woods burying a dead body. He's your basic hit man hiding the evidence of a man who couldn't pay off his debts.

Duke (Lost's Jeff Fahey) is the police chief of the small town who knows everyone and Linda (Natalie Martinez) is his hard-working deputy who recently married a firefighter named Rusty (Josh Carter) who, like many people in the town, goes to neighboring Westlake for a big parade.

Big Jim (Breaking Bad's Dean Norris) is the likeable town councilman who knows how to keep his constituents happy.

Junior (Alexander Koch) and Angie (The Secret Circle's Britt Robertson) are a couple of kids who we first meet having sex. Junior has dropped out of college because he's very much in love with Angie and wants to spend the rest of his life with her in Chester's Mill. She has dreams of leaving this town behind, and for her, this was just break-up sex. He's a little bit violent and a whole lot creepy. Angie's brother is a somewhat nerdy teen named Joe (Colin Ford) and their parents are both out of town.

Julia (Twilight's Rachelle Lefevre) is the new editor of the local newspaper (in a town where even the crazy cat lady gets her news from the Internet) who begins investigating a large shipment of propane tanks that have been coming into the town in the past few weeks.

Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) and Alice (Samantha Mathis) are a sophisticated, interracial lesbian couple driving through town to drop their teenage daughter Norrie (Mazkenzie Lintz) off at a summer camp for troubled kids.

Phil (Nicholas Strong) is the DJ of the town's local radio station and Dodee (Jolene Purdy) is his wacky, no-nonsense engineer.

Here Comes the Dome

As Barbie is leaving town he gets distracted by a cop car, causing him to swerve off the road onto a cow farm. While he checks the damage the animals freak out, a earthquake shakes the town and Duke's pacemaker goes a little wonky. Then, with a crash, the Dome comes down.

How do we know there's a Dome? Because a cow was standing in the middle of the line and is now sliced in half, long-ways. We see half of the cow fall down as the bloody inside is pressed against the Dome from the outside. It's the most awesomely disgusting thing you'll see on network TV all summer.

Barbie checks out the half-cow and reaches his hand out before getting a little static shock from touching the Dome. Joe comes outside (it's his family's farm) to observe the invisible fence and study it. Together they see birds with broken necks falling down and a plane in the sky that hits the Dome and comes crashing down around them. The rest of the town just sees it as a plane exploding in mid-air.

Barbie sees a fire truck coming towards them and he immediately rushes into the street to stop it from crashing into the Dome. It does and Linda's husband is among those on the other side. Not only is there an impenetrable, invisible, electrified Dome, but it's soundproof so the two sides can't hear each other at all.

Duke and Linda arrive and we quickly learn that similar accidents happened at all the roads leading out of town, so the invisible wall is enclosing all of Chester's Mill. Also, all the power and phone service is down, as are all radio stations outside the Dome. They are completely isolated.

Julia and Big Jim also show up to get the full story. Julia stays behind with Barbie after Linda commandeers her vehicle and the two of them explore the edge of the Dome, ultimately finding a woman whose hand was chopped off by it.

Big Jim then rushes to the radio station to make an emergency broadcast warning everyone about the Dome. As he does, Junior flips his switch blade, contemplating slitting his wrists, but the broadcast makes him stop. On the road, Carolyn, Alice and Norrie are driving away, ignoring the warning, only to see a giant truck smash into the Dome from the other side and collapse into itself. It's another absolutely beautiful visual effect.

The Stars Are Falling in Lines

At the halfway point of the episode, things get weird. And I'm not talking about the Dome. Norrie has a seizure and starts mumbling about how "the stars are falling in lines." This is obviously going to be very important, because the same thing happens to Joe later in the episode when he starts to investigate how to shut off the Dome. I'm guessing it has something to do with the science behind the Mosquito, an alarm with a certain frequency that can only be heard by young people. Either that or this show is somehow a prequel to TNT's Falling Skies, where the aliens only take and assimilate the kids.

At the hospital Angie bums a cigarette from Barbie and she flirts a little bit with him. Junior sees them and repeatedly flips his switch blade while getting more and more jealous. That's definitely one of those trademark Stephen King mannerisms to indicate a troubled mind.

Barbie goes back to his car to get his gun and Junior follows him like the psycho stalker that he is. A potential fight is broken up by Julia's arrival. That's good for Junior, because he literally brought a knife to a gun fight. Since Barbie has no place to stay, Julia invites him to her place which still has power because of a back-up generator. Her husband, a doctor, has been missing all day, and as Barbie walks through Julia's house we learn why: Her husband is the dead guy Barbie was burying at the start of the episode.

If that's not bad enough, Junior goes to Angie's house and kidnaps her, locking her away in his dad's fallout shelter where no one can hear her scream. He thinks he's doing her a favor and that one day she'll thank him. If this is how crazy Junior is in the pilot, I can only imagine what psychotic things he'll do in the future.  Oh yeah, and his dad is Big Jim.

More Town Secrets

At the radio station, Dodee uses her tech skills and is able to hear some sporadic signals from the outside world, most notably one that talks about the "Dome" over Chester's Mill. If there's one flaw with the pilot, it's the underdevelopment of the radio station storyline, but there's only so much you can squeeze into a single hour.

Later that night Duke meets up with Big Jim to talk about what to do. Big Jim wants to take charge of the situation, but Duke is wary of letting him run the show. Big Jim then refers to the propane that's been coming into town, and Duke says that it has nothing to do with this. They never actually say what's going on, but clearly the town's leaders have been keeping a big secret from the people regarding this propane, and while they think it has nothing to do with the Dome, I doubt it's that simple.

The episode's final cryptic secret comes as Duke and Linda have a conversation at the edge of the Dome. He has tried to keep her protected from the truth, but now he wants to come clean. "Maybe we're being punished," he says about the Dome. He touches the electrified wall and continues to explain himself.

"A little over a year ago I was approached about..." That's all he gets out before he starts to have chest pains and then his pacemaker seems to explode from inside his chest. That's how the episode ends, with the camera panning back to show the outside world talking about the unexplained phenomenon as we see the Dome covering the entire town.

What was Duke approached about? What is the propane for? Where did the Dome come from? Why does it cause teens to have seizures? Why are the stars falling in lines? Will Barbie sleep with the wife of the man he killed? Is Junior the creepiest teen in TV history? Are interracial lesbians the new go-to minority catch-all for TV shows (see ABC Family's The Fosters and Pam and Tara on True Blood)?

Find out the answer to some of these questions by staying tuned to Under the Dome all summer Mondays at 10pm on CBS.

Watch every episode of Under the Dome season 1 now on Amazon Prime. Completely free for 30 days>>> 

(Image courtesy of CBS)