In Stephen King’s Under the Dome, which other than the title and the idea of a dome over a city bears no resemblance to the CBS series, both Big Jim (Dean Norris) and Junior (Alexander Koch) made too many visits to the Psychos R Us store. In the CBS series, Junior’s transformed from a guy who kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and held her hostage in a cellar to an upstanding member of the town who is quite possibly the most reliable police officer left standing. And for most of season one and nearly all of season two, Big Jim has been a pain in the butt who more often than not makes bad decisions but normally has the best interests of his town at heart. However, with the season two finale of Under the Dome, Big Jim’s lost his hold on sanity and has gone…pardon my language…batsh*t crazy. There really is no other way to describe the manner in which Jim snapped upon finding the love of his life, Pauline the psychic painter, dead when he believed there was no way the dome would ever allow her to die.
Of course, after seeing Rebecca (Karla Crome) standing in the corner still holding the syringe she used to put an end to Pauline’s suffering, Jim had every right to go a little crazy. But he took things to a whole new level by killing Rebecca with a hammer (Crome really nailed that emotional exit) after she told him Pauline asked her to do the humane thing. Jim’s killing spree didn’t end with Rebecca as he decided that since the dome didn’t save his woman, then he was going to kill everyone who mattered to the dome because…well, just because. Never question any character’s’ motivation in Under the Dome; it’s a pointless exercise that will only lead to an increased level of frustration as well as tension headaches.
Meanwhile, Barbie (Mike Vogel) easily convinced everyone to follow him down into the crater that’s opened up under the town. Only one adult questioned this but didn’t follow up with any further questions once Barbie said he’d used the tunnel/cave/whatever it is to exit the town before. Now, most normal people would immediately respond to that disclosure with an expletive-laden demand for further information. But not in this town…no, they just follow Barbie who, if you recall, was once about to be hung in front of these same townspeople before the dome stepped in and shut down the execution, blindly into the abyss.
Back to Big Jim – he went on a rampage and held Andrea (Dale Raoul, who also died during the final season of True Blood) hostage in order to get Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) to come to her rescue. Jim killed Andrea and then set his sights on taking out Julia (side note: at this point in viewing the episode I cheered out loud with great enthusiasm). Unfortunately, she survived and ran through the forest to get to Barbie’s group which was busy doing their best lemming imitations and climbing down into a hole.
Julia ran into Junior and Sam (Eddie Cahill) and told them Jim just killed Andrea. Sam knows Jim also killed Rebecca and Lyle so he took Julia at her word, not that anyone in this town ever stops to actually think things through. When Jim appeared on the scene Junior told him, “I’m not your son anymore. I’m not going to let you hurt anyone else,” right before firing a shot into his dad’s shoulder at relatively close range, a shot which incredibly didn’t even knock Big Jim down.
Back in the pit, the group ran into a dead end. The exit has caved in and hundreds of glowing butterflies appeared on the ceiling before fluttering their way out of the cave over the heads of all the townspeople who, of course, didn’t react at all to this new development. Whoa, cool effect but what does it all mean? It means that Norrie, who thus far into the episode had been way less annoying than usual but who I still want to see at the top of Jim’s hit list, had an opportunity to yell at the wall, begging whoever/whatever is controlling the dome to tell them what’s going on. In response, a single butterfly returned and landed on the wall and Barbie decided to put his hand where the butterfly landed. Don’t ask why. And then…drumroll please…the wall cracked open and the twice dead Melanie appeared looking all luminescent and saying, “Follow me. We’re going home.” Fade to black.
Will there be a season three? CBS hasn’t revealed any plans for another season of Under the Dome nor have they announced that season two’s finale will be the series’ finale. However, other than the fact that we didn’t get an answer as to the origin of the dome, it would be okay to end the series’ run after these two seasons as escaping from the dome was really the whole point all along – and the survivors seem to have done just that. Or maybe they’re all dead and Melanie’s leading them to heaven or wherever. Nothing about Under the Dome made a lick of sense so don’t expect Melanie’s arrival and subsequent demand to be followed to add up to anything logical.
Under the Dome has taken itself so seriously and yet it’s one of the most nonsensical primetime shows to ever survive more than three episodes. The rules constantly changed, new characters popped in to fill the slots left by those killed by the dome itself or by one of the good folks who survived the initial landing of the dome, and the dialogue was atrocious. Conclusions were jumped to by characters who had no business knowing what was happening or why but who only knew what was going on (a rumbling noise means the dome’s shutting down, a crack in the dome means a wi-fi signal is now accessible, etc.) because that’s the direction the episode needed to go in. Logic be damned, on with the show!
This is a show loaded with characters who lack basic human emotions other than anger. When someone close to them dies, they mourn for a minute and then move on. No one really seems to be concerned about their predicament other than a small group that does all the worrying, wondering, exploring, and analyzing of the evidence for the entire town. The rest apparently just hang out in the local stores and wait for someone to tell them what to do (like crawl into a hole in the pitch dark under the dome that is shrinking on an hourly basis).
Under the Dome did however save the best for last, with this season two finale easily that best episode of the show’s run. It was more focused than usual, less about the dynamic teenage duo (Norrie and Joe), and Jim was allowed to let his loony flag fly. If there’s a season three, I hope that Jim survives being shot by Junior and each episode concentrates on him methodically checking names off his list of people to kill in order to piss off the dome. Maybe the season three finale could be a final showdown of Jim versus Barbie in a no holds barred fight to be the last man standing. Sure, it has nothing to do with the dome but who cares? It would be fun to watch.
-By Rebecca Murray
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