Under the Dome
Episode 10: Let the Games Begin
By: Carlos Uribe
Under the Dome is a series about a small town that is trapped under a literal dome.
It's a bit funny that the narrative might have sped up a little bit since the beginning of the season but it's still moving very slowly. Take this week's mythology episode. The three characters (Angie, Joe, and Norrie) basically decide to spend their time looking for the fourth hand. They decide that this fourth person is someone who has had seizures. That's basically their only qualification. Amazingly, the town has only had one person beyond those three who has ever had seizures. That's before the dome even went down. Really? How small is this town? That fourth person is really obvious and should come as no surprise when it turns out to be Junior. The show practically revealed this last week when it showed us the painting and told us, for all intents and purposes, that he was a part of it. Angie decides it's him because of the painting and he had a seizure when he was in the tenth grade. I'm not sure why but none of the characters have really stopped to realize what this means. The dome, that has only been down for about a week in the show's time, has been influencing their lives for a long time. It's one thing for a crazy person (Junior's mom) to predict the dome coming down but it's quite another for Junior to actually be getting seizures. I'd say the mythology behind the whole dome is slightly interesting but it's frustrating that the fourth hand had to belong to Junior. It was a telegraphed twist from last week and I'm still very hesitant to include him in the whole big picture. The show does get some credit for letting Joe and Norrie know that Junior had kidnapped Angie, even if Colin Ford really struggled to sell that he was angry. That kid can do awkward and smart well but he certainly struggled with rage. Joe basically reacts like how you would expect him to do: he attacks Junior as soon as he sees him but he's quickly subdued. It's not even a fair match. The four finally touch the dome at the end of the episode only to have the egg project pink stars around them. I guess we kind-of understand what the seizures were saying but what does it mean? I don't know but I'm hoping it's the dome's way of telling the town to kill Junior. Obviously that makes no sense but that's how strongly I want him out of the picture despite the writer's insistence on keeping him relevant.
I did lose a little respect for Julia this week when she finds out that Barbie killed her husband. Julia gets involved in Linda's police investigation into the propane. The two of them manage to get into the sheriff's safety deposit box in the bank after finding the key in Duke's hat. By the way, as soon as they mentioned his hat, I knew it was going to be in there. This show really needs to stop telegraphing it's moves a mile away because it removes any surprise. At the safety deposit box, they find a signed confession from the sheriff about his involvement in the propane drug deal. The deal was simple. They would supply Maxine with the propane she needed to make her drugs. In return, she would keep their town solvent and the drug supply outside Chester's Mill. I'm not entirely sure how this plan works when any other drug lord could come rolling into the town and set up a market. The sheriff names the reverend and Big Jim as his accomplices. The reverend is dead but Big Jim's involvement comes as a shock to Linda. Naturally, she's interested in bringing him in. During the investigation, Julia decides to check her husband's safety deposit box. You'd think she would have gotten to this earlier when he first disappeared and she found out his financial troubles. She notices a life insurance policy and remembers that her gun had gone missing. Her husband didn't take any bullets which could only mean one thing. He was going to get himself killed by attacking the collector. This way, Julia could collect the life insurance policy. She figures out that Barbie killed her husband. Now she might understand what happened but that she's still considering having a future with Barbie is a bit of a stretch. He lied about killing her husband. He could have easily disarmed the guy without ending his life. He still ended his life. He then slept with her. Which is twisted by itself. You'd think she'd need a lot more time to even process this information.
Just as Julia figures out the truth, Barbie decides to come clean. He's been blackmailed into helping Maxine out with her underground entertainment business. It's a bit odd that the writers felt like they basically had to remind us that's what she was doing every time they were together. We get it. She plans to run adult entertainment and somehow make a profit from it. What does Maxine want him to do? Participate in her illegal fights. She sets him up with someone who has a grudge against him but he throws the fight at the end. She's happy because she predicted he would do this and had been the only one to bet against him. That's a big gamble but it worked for her. She keeps trying to blackmail him but Barbie has had enough. He decides to tell Julia the truth. The real question is what happens when Maxine tells the entire town what he's done? Julia might be cool with sleeping with her husband's killer but surely the town is going to feel insecure once they know what he's done before the dome even went down. As for the whole underground entertainment complex? I get that it's illegal but that's the kind of thing you would expect to prop up in a situation like this. I'm not entirely convinced on why this is such a big deal. So what if she profits? She needs to have a bigger plan beyond hosting street fights and other gambling games because illegal casino really isn't a very devilish plot. She's supposed to be the big bad so hopefully she's up to something beyond setting up the black market. Something that will hopefully be revealed soon.
While Barbie fights for Maxine, Big Jim tries to find her insurance policy. He manages to figure out (with Barbie's help) that she wasn't living in an abandoned house. She owns a real estate company and she happens to own a house on an island within the dome. Big Jim heads to the house only to find a caretaker. The caretaker pretends to know nothing but it's only an obvious ploy to drop his defenses. He does and she's pointing a gun at him. The next thing you know, Big Jim turns things around and puts her on a boat. I'm not sure what his plan is but when she falls overboard, he allows her to drown because her hands were tied. I'm not sure how killing off your opponent's mother is going be any help. If anything, it's just going to piss Maxine off. Big Jim is supposed to be a villainous character but surely he isn't stupid. Maxine's insurance policy is gone, Big Jim knows Barbie's secret, and Maxine is probably going to be angry at him. I'm pretty confident that the town is going to learn about the secrets of at least one, if not both, of these characters very soon. Anyways, the plot had some good scenes but it doesn't make a lot of sense because it ended with a murder that doesn't really play into Big Jim's agenda.
Let the Games Begin is an okay episode of Under the Dome. The mythology stalls for a large part as the characters try to find the obvious fourth hand. It's a bit frustrating, if predictable, that it belongs to Junior. The cliff-hanger ending is cool. Linda getting to the bottom of the drug plot is good if a bit slow. Julia finding out her husband was killed by Barbie is disappointing because she's willing to agree consider having a future with him. The whole Maxine plot moves forward a bit when Big Jim makes the questionable choice to kill Maxine's mom. Overall, the show has some good elements but they keep getting overshadowed by the weak decisions made in the writer's room.
Junior's mother is a terrible painter. Her work looks like something a kid would do.
Propane doesn't seem like a safe, or smart, ingredient to put in a drug.