If you watch only 10 minutes of Under the Dome post-premiere, make it the opening 10 of this episode: after weeks of belabored torture scenes, Junior finally gets his face smacked in by Big Jim. As a matter of fact, Dean Norris’ snarling councilman has a pretty good night overall: while the rest of the episode gets tangled up in its weaker, soapier elements, Big Jim emerges as a pretty credible anti-hero.

High Drama

With respect to those soapy elements, I suppose it’s my duty to relay that Barbie and Julia are an item now. It really is a good match: he’s pretty, she’s pretty, neither of them have much personality, they’re under a dome — I get it. The Joe and Norrie relationship continues, as they continue to smooch around the dome looking for its magical brain battery. Oddly enough, they find it, with the implication being that Norrie might be able to communicate with it.

Alice and Carolyn, two characters whose names I have to look up every time they appear onscreen, are given their own awkward romance scene as well. Points for trying, but with almost no characterization beyond diabetes and San Francisco stereotypes so far, there isn’t much emotional resonance to their tight-lipped kiss, either. The whole encounter is a pretty blatant attempt to stack the emotional deck for later when Alice is suddenly killed off.

In light of her demise, I offer this eulogy: Goodbye, Alice. You were a woman, and you were also married to a woman. We knew you were smart, because of your glasses. You were a psychologist, but you were also an inexplicably capable medical doctor. You sired a daughter with a man, but you didn’t keep in contact with that man. Honestly, I’m not sure that you had much of a relationship with your daughter, either. You stopped taking insulin and died, and that’s everything there is about Alice.

Big Jim Blows Stuff Up

Enough of that nonsense, though, Big Jim is on fire tonight. Right off the bat, he’s smacking Junior in the face and calling him sick. After that, we have a little bit of Big Jim trying to trade propane for water, because he’s a sleazy politician but he gets things done. His coup de grace, however, comes when some dumb schmucks try to steal his propane. Big Jim responds by chugging whiskey, shooting a truck full of propane and blowing it up. I have found which character I am rooting for.

If this is what Big Jim will be doing for the rest of the show, I’m in. Sure, he’s had a fondness for the drink, and sure, he’s dabbled in some light murder, but tonight is his coming out party. Get that boring, blonde Barbie with his preciously checkered past out of here; Chester’s Mill needs a leader who has no hair, swills liquor and makes things explode. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind one bit it Barbie got Ned Starked by the end of the season, and I’d be extra satisfied if Big Jim did the deed himself. With this many bad actors and uneventful plot lines, a Big Jim takeover is looking pretty good to me.

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(Image courtesy of CBS) 

Ted Kindig

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV