Thursday, August 15, 2013

Under the Dome, Season 1, Episode 8: Thicker than Water

It’s night and a noise wakes up Big Jim. He instantly reaches for the gun he keeps by his bed and heads downstairs to find… Junior. Jim doesn’t lower the gun, since he kicked Junior out last episode. Jim accuses Junior of stalking Angie – and, in a moment of shocking hypocrisy, he criticises Junior for killing the Dundee boy who hurt Angie. Jim didn’t like him and doesn’t defend him – but doesn’t agree with Junior to be judge, jury and executioner. It’s not Junior’s job to decide who needs to be punished

That’s Jim’s job.

He accuses Junior of not being in his right mind – says he sounds like his mother did “before the end” and disowns him and kicks him out. Junior leaves – but warns Jim never to talk about his mother like that again.

Outside the McAllister house, Barbie digs a deep grave for Alice (Julia remarks on how good his grave digging is – yes, all the better to bury your husband with!)  and they reflect on the new baby at the same time as a death – circle of life time. Inside, Angie isn’t impressed by Joe’s lack of shopping – and being too goody-goody to join in the looting. To the diner for food! They try to bring Norrie but she’s isolating herself with grief and anger

At the diner there’s coffee, Julia – and Jim arrives remarking on Angie letting herself into his diner. She has a good come back about Junior doing the same thing the night before. Jim placates her and agrees to talk to Ollie about getting food delivered to the Diner so she can restock it and open it up – but he also adds that pretty soon they only way they’ll get food is from the ground and they need to be smart. Angie catches the fact Jim is looking for the long haul, expecting the Dome to be around for a while.

At one of the tables, Joe draws the Minidome and the egg within – but hides it from Julia. In the woods, the Minidome glows.

Jim goes to see Ollie, secure in that he now has the propane – but Ollie is happy to grow crops without his modern irrigation systems rather than make a deal with Jim. Oh he won’t starve people – but he won’t share food until the town removes Jim so he can step in his shoes.

At the police station Linda and Barbie walk in on Junior playing with the big guns – which is worrisome. And no she doesn’t trust him after the whole killing thing – and she’d fire him if she weren’t short handed. Glad to see there’s some sense there. He’s on probation. Which is when Jim arrives to say he needs Linda and Barbie – ignoring his son.

Jim wants to use Eminent Domain to claim Ollie’s well. And he wants to use the police to back it up – Barbie is not a fan of this plan. They drive off, Jim still ignoring Junior – and are met by an army of Ollie’s men and Ollie not accepting that Jim’s authority counts as the authority of the town. And he tells Linda that he doesn’t recognise her or anyone else’s authority if they stand with Jim (maybe he doesn’t – but calling Linda “sweetheart” should get him shot anyway) and that he won’t be giving food to the town either. He shoots one of Linda’s deputies in the knee – Linda draws her gun but Barbie gets her to lower it.

And Junior join’s Ollie’s team – and takes Jim’s gun at Ollie’s instruction. Ok – Ollie’s officially the bad guy now – and that’s saying something when you’re opposite Jim.

Back at the police station, Jim says all the farmers back Ollie because they need his well, if they get the well, they win their allegiance and Jim is ready to go back, guns blazing. Linda and Barbie are not fans of Under the Dome: The Civil War. Jim storms up, but Barbie has another idea – there were over reservoirs and wells in town before Ollie’s, but they all dried up when Ollie dug his well. Destroy Ollie’s well and all of these other water sources start flowing again. Apparently. I’m kind of bemused that the town let some guy get away with digging a well that sucked up all the water in the area.]

Jim has gathered a small army in the Diner (including Phil whose dad was a marine and taught him how to shoot). Linda and Barbie present their alternate idea but Jim is more focused on killing Ollie – using the plausible excuse of blowing up the well contaminating the water supply. Linda stays to delay Jim while Barbie heads off to blow up the well himself (Barbie being nicely snarky about Jim “not giving us his blessing”)

Ollie, meanwhile, works on Junior and reveals that Junior’s mother didn’t die in an accidental car crash – it was suicide. Junior decides that he wants to be the one to kill Jim

Can we kill Ollie, Junior and Jim?

Barbie infiltrates Ollie’s farm and quickly cobbles together explosives from the fertiliser and other stuff Ollie has lying around.

Back at the McAllisters, Norrie has decided that Alice died because they touched the Minidome since it happened at the same time. And she blames Joe since it was his idea to head to the centre of the Dome. Bad things happen when they’re together – so she, and Carolyn, will leave when Carolyn is ready to move.

Joe goes to mope around the grave and Julia swoops in for a reassuring pep talk which probably didn’t need a “women say a lot of things they don’t mean.” Grieving people now, that I could get behind. People who are hurt and angry, say things they don’t mean - definitely. But women? No, bad, bad, bad, especially from Julia who is supposed to be one of the more pro-active characters on the show and especially when we have Jim trying to dominate Linda and Junior kidnapping Angie because “she didn’t mean what she said.” Nope nope nope.

Anyway, Joe pours out his lovesick heart – and spills about the Minidome and egg.

He leads Julia to it and they see the egg is now glowing bright pink (I’d say purple, Joe says pink). Julia touches the Minidome – and a hallucination Joe appears, visible only to Julia and announces “the monarch will be crowned”. Joe worries that her seeing him may mean he’s going to face bad stuff like Alice.

At the house, Angie talks to Norrie about why she’s in Chester’s Mill, the girls school (or reformatory) she was heading to (which Angie knows well) and directing her anger at her dead mother now. Angie has a collection of snowglobes from places a friend (possibly Junior) has visited that she once swore she would go see – and now she’s in a giant snowglobe and can’t go anywhere. And she thought of Chester’s Mill as a prison – except now she really knows what one is (which could mean the Dome or Junior kidnapping her). They have a nice, cathartic time throwing snow globes at the Dome. They have a great time until they reach Los Angeles – and Norrie collapses in tears, blaming herself for her mother’s death.

Jim leads his army to the farm while Linda tries to talk him out of doing anything ridiculously foolish. And fails – Jim realises Barbie isn’t with them so leads the attack straight away – let the firefight begin. Random farmers are shot, someone tries to stop Barbie and gets squished for it and Phil gets shot. Damn, I wondered why he had been shoe-horned into this scene. But he says he’s ok and gets up with Linda’s help. He was shot in the torso. I think “ok” may be an exaggeration.

Barbie blows up the well while Jim looks on, stunned and annoyed. Without the well, everyone retreats, no longer following Jim into battle because they’ve got no reason to. Jim loses his army. While he’s ranting, Junior appears and hits Jim in the head with his gun, knocking him out. Jim is dragged before Ollie before Ollie’s army leaves as well – they were fighting for the well, not Ollie.

Ollie leaves Jim to Junior – just as Junior wanted. Junior confronts Jim about his mother’s death and Jim tells him. She had been “unsteady” for a while, she ran out after an argument. She deliberately pointed the car at a tree and sped at it. Jim covered it up with Duke’s help. He lied to Junior, he claims while crying, because he didn’t want Junior to know that she had chosen to leave both of them. He tearfully apologises to Junior, calling him son, and when Ollie points a gun at Jim, Junior shoots Ollie. Junior gives Jim back his gun and, presumably, lets him go.

1 down. 2 more to go. What, I’m supposed to feel fuzzy and sad for Jim because he cried?

Julia and Joe return to the McAllisters and see Norrie standing over the prepared grave. Norrie runs to Joe, hugs him and apologises.

Jim returns home for a drink – and Barbie pays him a visit. 5 people died in his battle. And they’d be alive if Jim had listened to Barbie – his plan worked, the town has a reservoir again. Good news – but Barbie accurately pinpoints that it’s not good news for Jim. Jim wanted the well – under his control – so he could control the town. Jim refuses to respond to that but warns Barbie he doesn’t want to make an enemy of him – Barbie “there’s two sides to that coin, Jim.”

Linda finds Junior in one of his holding cells and he tells her about Ollie’s death and claims his joining Ollie was a “trojan horse” manoeuvre.

Barbie returns to Julia and she asks what Barbie thinks “the monarch will be crowned means” and the camera shifts to a close up of Angie’s butterfly tattoo (a monarch butterfly?)

While Jim’s shunning of Junior is, in many ways, the ultimate hypocrisy considering the people Jim has killed to hold onto his own power, it also shows that Jim, even while protecting Junior, is fully aware of the extremity of what Junior has done. Killing a competitor for power– or to protect oneself (which, at a stretch, you can apply to Jim’s victims) is evil, but starkly different from obsessing over a woman, imprisoning her and trying to force her to love you.

Of course, I’d like to think that Jim’s disgust is entirely based on his horror of what Junior has done-  but it seems to be equally based on both his fear of how Junior’s actions hurt his own power and his own revulsion for Junior being potentially mentally ill or “sick in the head.” Apparently an issue that his wife had.

Julia’s words to Joe would have been all kind of messed up anyway – but considering what has already happened on the show… yeah, this is not a good message to be sending

Norrie’s grieving process is very real – I like it because it isn’t pretty, or neat, or fair. What I don’t like is that Carolyn seems to have lost her “mother” label – Norrie used to refer to her “moms” now she talks about Carolyn. And while I respect Carolyn’s grief – the fact Norrie is falling apart and her mother isn’t there adds to this sense that Carolyn isn’t Norrie’s mother.

I’d like a timeline for Under the Dome. Because it feels like, maybe, 2 weeks have passed and they’ve already degenerated into outright civil war.

I am glad that Jim’s power grab is becoming more and more obvious – now it remains to be seen if Barbie is going to step into Jim’s way or whether Jim can continue to manipulate for power around him. I’m actually kind of sad that it’s Barbie leading the charge here – since he has been so avoidant for so long and Linda has been the one challenging Jim from the first episode.