Thursday, August 22, 2013

Under the Dome, Season 1, Episode 9: The Fourth Hand

Julia takes Barbie to see the Minidome. But when they get there there’s no egg and no Minidome – there’s a crater instead. The mystery of the missing Minidome is left to Julia because Linda calls Barbie with reports of gunfire

They’re excitable people in Chester’s Mill. And well armed. The combination is not a good one.

Barbie arrives at the shooting, an older man has been grazed by a bullet. His neighbour, Ted, shot him; apparently some “freak” knocked on his door and started ranting, he fired a warning shot which the freak ignored and accidently hit his neighbour. Oopsie. Another wave of hysteria also follows but is quickly quelled.

Can someone tell me why Linda wasn’t able to handle this by herself? Except for ensuring Barbie has a role in the storyline and remains as protagonist?

They go check on the man who is ranting and raving about the Dome putting voices in his head. Linda recognises him as a drug addict called Larry; he’s on a new drug called “Rapture” which Linda’s never heard of. And it was sold to him by the dead Rev. Coggins and now he wants more.

So it’s off to Coggin’s mortician/vestry – yes he was mortician and preacher. Able to fulfil all your death needs (and, since he deals drugs, that probably includes killing you). Inside one of the coffins they find drug making paraphernalia, much to Linda’s shock which tells you she’s not a church goer because anyone who watched Coggins for more than 10 minutes must have suspected him of using SOMETHING. Anyway they find is recipe which includes liquid propane which Linda finds a little odd; Barbie comments that Chester’s Mill is overflowing with the stuff.

At the Diner in town Jim’s all full of himself though Angie says “I hear Barbie got the water flowing”. Uh-oh Jim, Barbie’s stealing your thunder. Jim’s quick to say lots of people got it going before blowing his horn about making a deal with the farmers for townsfolk to swap goods and services for food. What, he needed to set up a deal to instigate basic trade? Angie’s happy though because she wants the Diner to stay open – her diner. Yes she wants Jim to give it to her. Something Jim will have to think on.

He leaves – and Junior arrives. Angie tries to kick him out of her diner, again saying she isn’t sick… right before she collapses into a fit and chants “the pink stars are falling, the pink stars are falling in lines.” Just like Norrie and Joe.

She wakes up in the backseat of Junior’s locked police car and duly panics. But he lets her go once she gets home – don’t you dare try to redeem Junior, Under the Dome, don’t you dare!

Norrie and Joe, speaking to each other again, are chicken catching. He’s not very good at it for a farm boy. When they return home Julia tells them about the Minidome being gone and asks if they moved it (seriously, how does she expect them to do that? The US military cannot even slightly adjust the Dome, but 2 kids who can’t catch chickens moved one?) After a brief acknowledgement that Norrie is grieving and Carolyn is also grieving in the plot hole never to be seen again, they all decide to find the Dome.

But first Angie returns home to let everyone know she’s joined the Pink Star Seizure Club (sounds like an 80s electronica band). And everyone focuses on her monarch butterfly tattoo (like the cameras panning onto it every 5 seconds weren’t hint enough for us to pay attention? And is it just because I’m British or does the word “monarch” not instantly make anyone else think of butterflies either?) though Joe points out that Angie’s butterfly tattoo isn’t actually of a monarch butterfly so it’s a red herring or the Dome failed entomology. Plan B is to borrow Dodee’s energy sensor thingy, though Julia, desperately struggling to be relevant, decides she best be the one who talks to Dodee.

Dodee is filling on for Phil while he recovers from his bullet wound in Carolyn’s plot hole. Anyway her sensor thing stopped working after Norrie and Joe touched the Dome – and Dodee still doesn’t trust the kids because… reasons (main one being if she did trust Joe and Norrie, Julia would be come irrelevant).

And Jim comes home to find a woman in his house – her presence is shocking apparently. The music says so anyway. She’s Max who was coming to see Jim (apparently not something she does often) and got trapped in the Dome. She was coming to investigate their little drug dealing business (for which Jim provides the secret ingredient – and, yes, “Rapture” is their product) arrangement – namely problems with Duke and Coggins which are now, eh, “resolved”. She’s been squatting, waiting for the Dome to go and since it hasn’t gone she’s now looking at exploiting the crisis.

Jim meets with Barbie and Linda and Jim is concerned about the number of guns in town and suggests confiscating guns – to which Linda brings up the second amendment. Sure they have no due process or anything remotely resembling a society – but guns, damn it! Jim raises the question as to whether they’re American any more given the fact that they’re pretty much cut off from America and acting more and more like their own country. He suggests floating it as voluntary which Linda can hardly object to. Barbie volunteers to help – so he can keep an eye on Jim

Jim goes on the radio with his offer – also throwing in extra food and propane for people who hand in their weapons. Max listens to him while driving and hides her own gun with an evil smile.

At the Diner, the gun hand in is a huge success with loads of people handing in their massive stores of weapons; though Jim is upset that Ted (from the beginning of the episode) isn’t handing in his. Since Ted is a gun collector Jim decides to go collect them – using the excuse that Ted is unstable after his wife and kid crashed into the Dome and died. Barbie decides to “back him up”.

When they arrive someone, presumably Ted, takes a shot at them. Barbie goes round the side with his laser-site sniper rifle while Jim goes inside to calmly talk to the visibly troubled Ted, sat surrounded by his arsenal. And holding a grenade. Jim blocks Barbie’s shot (hey, 2 for 1 Barbie) while he tries to talk to Ted through his grief and loss. It doesn’t quite work and he pulls the pin on the grenade – Jim leaps on him, takes the grenade and puts the pin back. This serves as talking him down and they take Ted to the clinic so he doesn’t do anything drastic. And Jim thanks Barbie for not accidentally shooting Jim.

I’m not thanking him.

They return to the Diner where Jim tells Barbie he can tell Linda he was on the level (he realises they’re suspicious of him) and Max arrives. Jim struggles to justify her presence or how she knows about the gun plans – and she kisses Barbie. They know each other.

Jim and Barbie snipe at each other until Max speaks up and talks about cutting Barbie in on her plan; Barbie tells her the plan: 1) take away the guns so the opposition are disarmed 2) bring in blackmarket booze/drugs/gambling to keep everyone amused in a lucrative fashion. He guessed her plan entirely – she takes this as a sign he gets it. Barbie doesn’t want any part of it so she threatens to reveal his secrets – and Jim’s while she’s at it just to remind everyone who is boss. This woman’s life expectancy just got a whoooole lot shorter. She’s apparently anticipated this and prepared for their secrets to be revealed should anything unfortunate happen to her.

Linda heads to the propane warehouse to see if there are more drug making shenanigans going on. There she meets Ms. Grinnel who has been complaining about shenanigans from the place since before the Dome went up. And that Duke knew about her complaints but ignored them. She checks the old CCTV tapes and finds that Duke was meeting at the warehouse with Max.

And Angie goes to Junior asking why he thinks the Dome made her sick. Stop! STOP! Under the Dome, do not even try redeeming this man! Angie follows him, by herself, out to his mother’s studio – a very isolated building. Angie needs to watch more horror films. But apparently, before Junior’s mother died, she painted bad paintings of her dream of Junior on a hill with pink stars falling around him.

Junior quickly makes it creepy – how Angie and his mother can see the future and how he must be part of it because she painted him and now Angie’s talking about the pink stars and isn’t that so wonderful!

Julia is all pouty about not finding the Dome and spending time with Barbie, being “grateful for what she has”, though he has his own load of angst now

Junior goes to Jim’s and finds him in the shelter stocking all the guns.

Without the energy sensor from Dodee, Norrie and Joe decide to use the dog to find the Minidome, since it sensed it earlier when they last saw it. Julia comes with them but gives up when they spend all day without finding anything. Norrie and Joe return to the farm – and the dog leads them to the Minidome and egg – in the barn.

Angie joins them and tells them that Joe brought the Dome and Egg – the night before he had a Dome-possession moment. They take this to mean – like possessed Joe shushing the camera – that the Dome wants to keep this private hence the hiding in the barn. So no telling Julia.

They touch the Dome and their hands glow blue. Norrie guesses that their hands are the keys – and a fourth hand print appears with no-one touching it. They need the fourth hand to open the lock.

I like Angie standing up to Jim and making demands. Yes it is a damn poor substitute for an actual justice system making Junior and Jim accountable for their crimes. But Under the Dome she can’t get that – but she is getting what she can, no justice but at least something tangible for what she endured.

Carolyn grieving? I accept that. I actually want to see it. Carolyn becoming hermit lady who is never to be seen ever again especially when she has a daughter (who has stopped referring to her as “mom” which really bothers me) who could probably use some support or mutual bonding in their grief is very annoying and rather de-legitimising of Carolyn’s motherhood. Also if we have another episode of Norrie just referring to Carolyn rather than us seeing her I’m going to assume that a) Aisha Hinds has got another gig and b) Norrie has killed Carolyn and is eating her organs.

Gun control is used by nefarious people to control you for malicious purposes! This episode is brought to you by the NRA.

Frankly, the people under the Dome should be collating property publicly, looking at their leadership situation and since a large number of people in this town are awfully excitable and inclined to lose their shit on a regular basis, yes, putting their guns away. Into LINDA’S hands.

Barbie and Julia are the main characters in this show… but they’re so boring. They’re both pretty lacking in character or storylines beyond their very predictable romance compared to nearly every other character. So the writers keep shoe-horning them in to other storylines. Sometimes Barbie works because of his combat ability (even then Linda calls for him when he’s not necessary) but Julia is just either coincidence or pure, random nosiness.

Max is coming in town to set up her corruption ring – and really? You don’t even know if currency will ever be relevant again, Jim’s already de facto leader. What’s the point of this? What does she actually hope to gain?

Junior and Angie just need to not share any screen time ever ever again. No Angie trusting Junior. No Junior being a nice guy and certainly no Angie deciding Junior was right. No, no never. And he sure as hell better not be the fourth hand.