I think I’ve pretty much lost patience with Under the Dome. This week’s episode, in which the people of Chester’s Mill finally graduate from static grumpiness to an all-out riot, once again establishes a major threat and improbably wipes it out without a trace by the end of the hour. The characters are once again bound by insane plot conveniences rather than believable motivations, and the questions that arise from new information about the dome are still a long way from justifying all the dumb stuff that keeps happening.

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Riot in the Streets

After last week’s “mother of all bombs” hit the dome and failed to appreciably change anything, the townsfolk of Chester’s Mill start to get antsy. The town’s supplies are further compromised when a truck driver swerves into the water tower while trying to avoid Alice, who’s suffering an apparent diabetic amnesia fit. The town succumbs to an economic breakdown, as traditional currency is set aside in the ensuing fuel panic. Big Jim takes this opportunity to try and take even more power, brokering a deal with a local farmer while the town riots.

And oh, how they riot: with all the hoopla going on, the citizens of Chester’s Mill begin a crusade of theft and murder. Even Norrie and Joe get in on the action, as they wander around breaking into houses to find insulin for Alice. The radio people, meanwhile, keep on espousing goofy jargon, the upshot being that they might be able to find the dome’s power source with a science gun. The journalists meet the kids in the street, and the radio crew realizes the signal was coming from them.

Stupid Decisions

Angie’s relationship with Junior takes an idiotic turn early in the episode, as she ends her idiotic time sitting lovingly with him by idiotically smashing him in the face with a snow globe while he’s staring right at her. Idiotically enough, it works: she runs off into the woods, and catches up with a folksy innkeeper who promises to help her. Unfortunately, the riot spills over into her inn, and two punks murder the innkeeper before presumably raping Angie. Summer fun indeed.

In the end, everything is fine once it begins to rain inside the dome. Big Jim literally yells, “Hey, rain, it came out of nowhere, alright!” and the riot just ends. Julia theorizes that the dome is helping them now, which seems pretty stupid to me. She also insists that the radio team keep their readings on Joe and Norrie secret, so I’m sure that will go over well. Big Jim promises to look after Angie in exchange for her silence, a strategy that he apparently did not consult Junior about: the episode ends with Junior walking in on their negotiations.

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Until we get some more explication of the dome’s ability to control events inside, I do not accept hacky contrivance as one of the dome’s powers. High concept premises always walk a fine line, but for me it boils down to this: I buy the possibility that the dome hacked into Nancy’s diabetes-weakened mind and walked her in front of a truck; I do not buy that that truck crashed into the town’s only water supply, nor do I buy that it stopped a riot with rain.

Incidentally, I also don’t buy Linda’s assertion that sparks are visibly flying between Barbie and Julia; there isn’t enough electricity between the three actors to power a potato clock. But there they are, kissing in the rain at the episode’s conclusion. As the rain comes down and the water begins to rise, Under the Dome goes off the deep end.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Ted Kindig

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV