Thursday, July 11, 2013

Under the Dome, Season 1, Episode 3: Manhunt

Joe, ben and their friends review the video on Joe’s phone of Barbie tackling rogue cop Paul after he lost his shit and accidentally killed Freddie. Also the kids really really miss texting. There’s a little more Barbie hero worship as well. And they raise an important question – what do they do with Paul?

Norrie joins them at the fire and asks Joe if she can use his house generator to charge her phone – and if she can stay at his house (both his parents are trapped outside the dome and his sister has been kidnapped and doesn’t live there anyway). Joe asks about her mothers, but she denies all knowledge.

Barbie’s hitching a lift with Julia and commenting on how she’s brave and daring and reckless and determined to find the truth so she can bring the dome down and see her husband (who Barbie killed, unbeknownst to her. Awkward!). To the police station where she tries to interview a busy Linda, someone throws a bottle at Paul and Jim steps forth to make another speech putting himself in charge.

In the police station Paul feigns illness to make Linda check on him – she goes into the cell, he hits her, takes her gun, locks her in and runs off, screaming that the Dome is making people crazy and is going to kill them all.

The next day at Jim’s house he drags Junior over the coals for not helping with the fire and rants on about all the opportunities he gives Junior (whether Junior wants them or not). He sees that Junior has bruises and cuts on his face and Junior tells him that Barbie attacked him – to which Jim says he’s hiding behind his dead mother’s  skirt and needs to toughen up. Yeah, nice bloke Jim. And, sadly, looks like it’s going to be a while before he dies.

Junior goes to see Angie who he has kidnapped in a bunker with more believe that it’s the Dome that has made her not like him, not the whole kidnapping thing. She asks if anyone has tried going UNDER the Dome, through the old cement tunnels (which are closed off and dangerous) and suggests Junior go check – because if he gets them out they can start over. I don’t know whether she thinks it’s a viable option or is just hoping Junior dies in the tunnels. And Jim goes to see Rev. Coggins in hospital to call him a fool.

Julia and Barbie continue their sorta-flirty conversations where they both masterfully avoid each other’s questions – and Barbie seems to avoid being seen by Phil, the DJ.

Jim finds Linda in the cell and lets her out. She gathers her weapons to go looking for Paul with Jim constantly trying to get her to stop and listen to him and basically accept his authority. Linda cuts him off and makes it clear he’s not the boss of her.

At the Diner the town faces the growing horror of having no bacon (that’s it – I’d be rioting. Well, maybe not, so long as the coffee supplies last). And Carolyn is worried about Norrie going missing, especially after the seizure Norrie had. Alice is out looking while Carolyn asks the locals if they’ve seen her and has to sharply welcome people to the 21st century who question whether Norrie can be her daughter. Turns out Norrie is going to a local “private” school (a reformatory) and the homophobic patron adds a nasty comment about them “praying the gay” out of her. Rose fails dismally by coming, putting her arms around Carolyn and taking her to get a drink rather than handing Carolyn a sharp object and inviting her to let rip.

Rose lets Barbie know she knows where he’s sleeping (small town, getting smaller, lots of gossip) and Jim swaggers in to be centre of attention again, gathering a search party of armed civilians to hunt down Paul (oooh amateurs with guns on a manhunt! This sounds like great fun!). And he introduces himself to Barbie – noticing his bloody knuckles and trying to get him to answer some questions – he fares no better than Julia. Barbie gets pulled into the search party; him, Jim, and the 2 homophobes. Jim thinks he finds the trail in the woods, but Barbie can see it’s fake and points the real path.

This clues Jim into the fact that Barbie is military but more questions are interrupted by them finding Paul and having a firefight. He shoots one of the extras-whose-name-I’m-not-remembering-because-this-show-already-has-way-too-many-damn-characters in the leg and runs off telling them not to follow.  The extras go back to town and Jim wants to go on and “take him out.” Barbie calls a pause – do they want to bring him in and kill him to which Jim says “it doesn’t make a difference to a guy like you” which Barbie takes offence to

Meanwhile, Julia finishes a broadcast with Phil on the radio station and sees Junior going past. She tries to ask him questions per Phil’s suggestion that he might have some insight as Jim’s son, but Junior refuses to answer any questions and generally acts suspicious – so Julia follows him down the cement tunnels. He thinks he finds a way out  - but no, the Dome extends down into the tunnels as well. Proximity to the Dome makes the batteries in his torch explode. Julia tries to warn him – which draws attention to her. Junior accepts her explanation but he is still very very very creepy. He losses it and pounds on the Dome before panicking and worrying that they won’t get out, that they’ll get lost in the dark or the Dome will have destabilised the tunnels and they’d collapse on them.

Julia calms him down with a pretty awesome method for getting out – following the flame that flickers towards where the oxygen is coming in. Junior starts beating himself up about how he’s screwed up and his dad’s harsh words and Julia reassures him by telling him how she screwed up, trying to take down a politician in Chicago with evidence she didn’t check which turned out to be forged. She has screwed up but didn’t let it stop her.

As they make it to the exit, Junior blames to the Dome on Barbie, which Julia dismisses as simple scapegoating. But Junior says Barbie attacked him and asks why Barbie is here when they know so little about him.

At Joe’s Ben has invited many girls round to take advantage of the electricity to charge their phones and Norrie makes up a fake father and dodges around her pluralisation of “moms”.  The house quickly becomes full of teenagers using his electricity for all kinds of shiny electronics, much to Joe’s annoyance. And Ben encourages the budding connection between Joe and Norrie – but advises Joe not to mention the seizure he has (duplicate to the one Norrie had).  Norrie and Joe join forces to confront a bully but the generator blows before it can come to anything – but I think Joe makes an enemy.

As the night closes in, Barbie wants to call off the hunt – he doesn’t want to finish it just so Big Jim can prove to everyone what a big man he is. Jim tells an anecdote from school about how he crushed someone’s pelvis and Barbie thinks this is further proof he doesn’t want to be on Jim’s team

And then Paul arrives, having heard Jim’s rantings he thinks Jim is going to try and kill him and wants to kill Jim first. Until Linda comes up behind him and shoots him. Linda saves the day. Oh Jim that’s gotta sting. They take his body to the morgue and Jim takes a chance to rebuild bridges with Linda since she’s so very not impressed with him particularly since it’s clear that Linda is going to be in charge of the police.

Julia takes Junior home – and he asks that the day be kept secret and to be called James – he doesn’t really like Junior. They pull up just as Barbie and Jim are walking in. Tense show-downs follow and Jim makes a comment about Barbie supporting the team (his team of course)

At the police station Linda grieves as she removes the name plates from the lockers of the dead police. And Jim and Junior have a little push and shove, Jim continuing to treat Junior as a child, calling him Junior and giving him milk while Jim drinks whiskey. Just in case Junior’s treatment at the hands of his father makes you sympathetic – he goes down to see Angie, his kidnap victim, and turns on the creepy. She doctors his bloody knuckles from beating on the dome and takes the chance to steal a pair of scissors from the first aid box.

At Joe’s, Joe and Norrie struggle to rebuild the generator – and Carolyn comes in looking for Norrie. With Carolyn right there, Norrie doesn’t maintain the fiction and tells Joe she’s one of her moms. They share a moment – and then the lights come on and both Joe and Norrie have simultaneous seizures with duplicate ramblings about falling stars.

At Julia’s, she notices Barbie’s bruised knuckles but, again, he avoids answering any questions. So when he’s in the shower she searches his things and finds a map with something marked.

Ok is the Dome ACTUALLY affecting people’s minds? Because I can picture people being driven to desperation, I can even picture people worrying and even panicking. But it’s been 2 days and Paul has completely and utterly lost his shit in an epic manner. Isn’t that a bit soon?

The characters are beginning to develop a little more and I’m beginning to get the feel for the story, the vast cast, who is going to matter and the major feel of the events. I’m intrigued and curious – I think I’d prefer a little more focus on the weird seizures and the Dome itself than Big Jim’s attempt to take over the town (I think part of this could be my own version of snobbery – or because I’m used to reading/watching media that has big world shattering events so the continued machinations of a man to take over a small rural town feels slightly anti-climactic. But then, that’s because I haven’t fully absorbed how closed the setting is). I’m moving towards intrigued – I’m curious about Barbie and Linda is awesome.

In this episode we had some definite homophobia but I think it worked. We’ve said before that we don’t expect writers to produce worlds with no prejudice in them – not only is it inaccurate, it glosses over the real world prejudice marginalised people face and can “clean up” the marginalised experience to sanitise it for privileged viewing. Sadly, same-sex couples do face a lot of arseholery from people questioning their parentage nor is it unusual for children of same-sex couples to feel they have to hide the fact among groups of strangers. My regret is that, when Carolyn was about to chew the homophobes a new one, Rose decided to take Carolyn away from the situation, however kindly. It made Carolyn seem like the problem and the homophobes the ones to be accommodated. I’m interested to see how this develops if either issue is revisited.