Last week, Under the Dome
gave us a couple of promising setups: the dome was beginning to speak through the teenagers, and Big Jim discovered Angie locked up underground. Unfortunately, this episode fails to live up to its potential, instead just giving us another terror of the week plot filtered through some of the show's corniest writing yet.
Joe and Norrie kick off the hour with the discovery that monarch butterflies have swarmed a wall of the dome. This attracts Barbie's attention as well, so all three of them are on hand when the military buses in civilians to visit with their loved ones. That's one of the nice things about the dome's subtle omnipotence: in a town of several sprawling acres, the dome always guides them together for major plot developments.
Forget butterflies, though: the far more interesting realization is Big Jim's discovery of Angie locked up underground. Rather than free her and turn in his son, Jim mutters a bit, leaves her chained up and continues to grant his psychotic offspring more power.
The unexplained flood of civilians prompts a visitor's day in Chester's Mill, sparking a laundry list of soap opera twists: Norrie's biological father shows up to claim her, Officer Linda has to tell her fiance (I guess she has a fiance) that she let his brother die (I guess that was his brother) and the military is revealed to be launching a missile at the dome -- Barbie is so badass, you see, that all enlisted men and women know who he is and are perfectly comfortable sharing classified information with him.
Much Ado About Nothing
As the town prepares for the military strike, Big Jim finally sets Angie free. She heads back to Joe's house, where she finds Junior waiting for her with a gun. Inexplicably, they share a nice moment. It's about that time that the missile hits, doing -- surprise -- absolutely nothing. Another existential crisis down. The one lasting development occurs in the last 20 seconds of the episode, as Big Jim casually murders the reverend by pressing his hearing aid against the dome.
A new pleasure is emerging on Under the Dome: as Dean Norris, the show's most capable actor, is given increasingly unbelievable material to work with, his performance is becoming delightfully hammy, in the spirit of, say, a bald, growling Nicholas Cage -- this isn't a New TV Golden Age show, but there's some enjoyment to be had in its overwrought execution. I'm an especially big fan of his snarly put-down of the reverend: "You'd better check your hearing aid, because that's not even a word!"