Dear Under the Dome,
First and foremost: What the hell? After last week, I thought we were cool. I thought we were going to try to make this work. You built up tension. You set up some great storylines I was excited to follow through on. You kinda made me give a shit. And then you manage to turn a panic-inducing doomsday scenario into the worst episode of your meh-inducing five-show existence so far.
You start off with images of butterflies surrounding the Dome. It’s a nice thought, echoed by Joe, that maybe this Dome is a cocoon for Chester’s Mill, a shell that’s waiting for a metamorphosis to take place so the town can re-emerge as the beautiful butterfly it truly is. But in order for a change to take place, stuff has to happen. And the minor conflicts—Julia bringing daily news to the radio, Barbie tip-toeing around a murder and Junior having the same stupid back-and-forth with Angie—isn’t inspiring any on-screen changes for characters. If anything, the Dome has frozen their own progress in time.
So you try to move forward by bringing visitors—family members, friends, boyfriends, grandmothers—to the edge of the Dome. This is where they’ll unknowingly say what the U.S. government believes is a final goodbye. Here’s a scene that has the potential to tug at our heartstrings, but in order to do that, we’d have to base this off of some pre-established connection to any character that shows up. We’ve already gathered in episodes one, two, three and four that character development and acting weren’t your strong suit, so after an episode like last week, we might hope for a strong, action-packed push forward.
Nah, that wouldn’t work. You should probably do the exact opposite of that.
Instead, we’re introduced to all sorts of people we never knew we were even supposed to care about, like Dodee’s mom, Julia’s sister and Linda’s boyfriend (you really laid it on thick with the gross-factor when the two shared a steamy kiss through the Dome. Not your classiest move.)
In this period of time, we gather tons: Norrie has a biological father, Linda’s boyfriend now knows his brother is dead and Julia’s sister shows a letter from her M.I.A. husband that says he’s “sorry.” Julia then sheds a single tear and walks away from her sister, who she is related to—by blood—with all the gratitude of someone signing off on a UPS package they know is filled with office supplies. Under the Dome, I can’t care if you don’t either.
Barbie, our sorta hero, then banks on the opportunity and interacts with a soldier outside of the Dome, who casually informs him that a massive bomb will be deployed in an attempt to shatter the barrier. The town—including a flirtier, wine-sharing Julia and Barbie—flees underground to brace for impact, and the indestructible Dome stands as just that. Really the best part of the episode was this explosion, which at least pried a Beavis and Butthead-style exclamation of “Woah. Cool” out of me.
But when the credits roll, we’re not far from the same place we were as in the opening sequence. As I’ve said before, you’re at your best when things are moving fast, which is maybe the polar opposite of King’s written version. The truth is, when we’re going nowhere and your characters are left to fend for themselves, being around you is downright painful. Please don’t hurt me again next week.