Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Under the Dome

Under the Dome
Episode 7: Imperfect Circles
By: Carlos Uribe

Under the Dome is a series about a small town that is trapped under a literal dome.

Spoilers Ahoy!

The week's crisis on Under the Dome happens when a pregnant lady touches the dome and her water breaks. She's a month early, her husband is away, and the clinic is closed. Rachel steps up to help her because she's a good person. An obstacle comes up when the two bad guys who tried to rape Angie steal the car's gas but Barbie is able to help them get to Joe's house. This is because Alice has basically become the town doctor. Let's remember that Alice is only a psychiatrist. She was only able to help out in the meningitis outbreak because she had a year's residence. It makes sense that she would be able to diagnose and treat that disease but it's questionable that she would have sufficient experience delivering a baby. It doesn't help matters that Alice is low on her insulin supply, which makes her weak and unreliable. There's a moment where she almost passes out but she's able to recover in time to save the baby during a complication. The little baby is born, she's named Alice, and then the person who gave birth to her dies. Yeah, it's that kind of a week. It's an okay story but I never really cared much about the pregnancy lady considering we meet her just this week. It would have been interesting to see how she had reacted to the dome because her fears about the pregnancy would definably rise as time went on. I have no idea if we'll see her again because I believe she was introduced just for this week. The weekly crisis lacks the emotional punch it needed to really work because she was so new. As for Alice? Her death had very little impact. We had barely known this psychiatrist as most of her time on this show has been spent on plot rather than actually developing her. Her death makes sense considering the shortage of insulin but it was a little quick considering we had just spent the last episode trying to save her. The weekly medical crisis was solid but it's conclusion does make the town's predicament worse as one of their only medical professionals has just passed away. This is going to pose a problem in the near future.

While Alice was delivering a baby in her last moments, Norrie and Joe were trying to find the center of the dome in an effort to communicate with it. The two manage to find a tiny dome within the dome that is covering some kind of egg. Is it an alien egg? That's very likely. It's a big reveal and this is the moment where the show can finally click together or completely fall apart. The way the show handles this mystery, the ultimate reveal, and the actual answers are going to determine if Under the Dome is forgettable or whether viewers will be coming back for it's second season. It has the potential to be a disaster. The mystery could be dragged on too long or it could be overused to generate conflict between characters. The reveal could be a disappointment which makes it frustrating. The answers could be over-the-top ridiculous or stupid or both. That's the bad scenario but there's also a good one. The mystery could be properly utilized, the reveal can be satisfying, and the answers could reveal a smart mythology. I wouldn't be surprised if that's when Under the Dome really goes from being a middling drama struggling to stay together to a cohesive whole because it might be the narrative engine to push everything together. I could also be wrong. Oh, and the egg starts to glow at the end of the episode and gives Norrie a vision of her mom before she dies. This allows Norrie to be there before her mom passes away. I guess that's nice but it's two ways that the writers use to build up the mystery of the egg and the dome. This is fine as long as it's not just mystery after mystery. We're going to need some answers eventually.

The show was having a medical crisis and building up the mystery of the dome. It's a pretty busy episode but it adds another weekly crisis. Linda and Junior have to go after the two brothers who killed Rose and almost raped Angie. This is basically a stupid move on Linda's part for two reasons. The first is that she's bringing along the ex-boyfriend of the girl they tried to rape. The second is that she told him that this happened in the police car. She shouldn't be surprised that his reaction was to shoot them rather than apprehend them. Their able to find the two in the north of town in yet another abandoned part. There's a shoot-out, Linda shoots one in self-defense, and Junior shoots the other in cold blood. It's unclear if Linda realizes that Junior killed in cold blood but at least they don't have to deal with the brothers. The plot suffers more problems beyond Linda's stupid decisions and that it's a little repetitive. Anyone remember the deputy who (accidentally) shot the other deputy and how Linda had to hunt him down with Big Jim and Barbie? I sure did and this kind of felt like a repeat. The people chasing him might be different but it's an identical premise. I'm hoping that the show is able to find more original ways of showing that people are losing their minds than having them constantly kill someone before going on the run.

The final major plot of the evening dealt with Big Jim trying to maintain control over the town. The farmer who has the water well realized he could have all the petroleum he needed if he just put a man he controls on it. This leaves him with the water supply, the food supply, and the oil. He would have the whole town under his thumb. Big Jim can't have that so his solution is to just blow the man up. I'm starting to think one shouldn't mess with Big Jim. He's not going to give up to the farmer without a fight. I can't wait because so far I'm more interested in his desire to control the town. The final plot has to do with Angie. She's able to free herself from the shadow of Rennie family this week when she goes to bury Rose. It's not known if she plans to reveal what happened to her but she's keeping it quiet for now. Junior tries his best to apologize to her but she understandably doesn't want anything to do with him. Let me just say that it's great Angie is finally given SOMETHING to do other than be held captive even if that something wasn't particularly compelling. Oh, she returns home at the end of the episode but she doesn't seem to mind that strangers are shacking up at their places. I guess she's just happy to be back home. I don't know but her reunion with her brother just felt weak. The show isn't really selling that their siblings but I guess it doesn't help when Joe largely forgets she exists most of the time. I know I would be freaking out a lot more if my sister had been missing but he didn't even seem to care that much.

Imperfect Circles continues Under the Dome's tradition of being entertaining despite it's middling quality. It has been slowly improving since the pilot but it's not really that great of a show yet. It's possible that the (alien?) egg might be what finally allows the series to focus and improve. The pregnancy and Alice's death had very little impact while Linda and Junior having to follow the two criminal brothers was repetitive. Big Jim trying to maintain control over the town is so far the best part about this show. Angie is finally given something to do other than being held captive so that's good. Imperfect Circles is as imperfect as the circles the title mentions but it does show signs of improvement down the road.

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