Thursday, September 5, 2013

Under the Dome, Season 1, Episode 11: Speak of the Devil

The Children of the Dome are all gathered in the barn watching the pretty light display, trying to interpret the dots and looking at the pretty monarch butterfly chrysalis before Norrie finally loses her shit a little about them being “guardians of some secret cosmic mystery.” Yeah, you were the one who was pushing to include Junior the skeevy kidnapper in your circle and now you’re upset?

In response to which, Joe suggests telling Julia – because we desperately need to make this protagonist relevant somehow.  Since she saw the hallucination that said the monarch will be crowned they decide the Dome must trust her (and apparently the opinions of the big shiny thing cutting them off from the rest of civilisation is something they should rely on).

At which point Norrie and Joe leave Angie and Junior alone. Seriously? And Angie offers to make Junior breakfast. Under the Dome this is very very not ok. Junior reminds everyone how creepy he is by getting grabby with Angie and talking about how they’re fated to be together forever. He starts to kiss her and Angie pushes him away and reminds him of the whole kidnapping thing – and that as soon as the Dome comes down she’s gone and he’ll never see her again. To which Junior storms outside (into a brewing storm) because he’d rather they all be stuck in the Dome than be separated from Angie. He calls it love. I call it restraining-order-and-mace.

Jim did come into the police station to talk to Linda about the propane and he pretty much admits everything – they kept the town afloat by selling propane to a drug dealer, Max. But, hey, it’s a good thing they did because without that vast propane stockpile they’d have no power. Linda points out the Dome saved his arse – because without it, Jim would be in gaol. Instead Jim tells her to focus on the real criminal – apparently he means Barbie. He tells Linda about Barbie being Max’s gambling enforcer/collection agency and how Peter Shumway disappeared the same time Barbie showed up.

Uh… so did a lot of people. See, a little thing called the Dome happened and lots of people could no longer return home. Why, at the same time Joe and Angie’s parents disappeared as well! So did Linda’s fiancĂ©, most of the fire department, all the town’s doctors… My gods, Barbie must be a mass murderer!

Barbie and Julia are finding their relationship a little tense given the whole murdering-her-husband thing. But Julia decides they need to go to Peter’s grave and seek closure so their relationship can go forwards! I try to fit the fact that Julia went from “zomg he killed my husband” to “I need to seek closure so we can move on to a new life together” in about, oh, 16 hours? This graveside bonding is delayed by Max turning up at Julia’s door and shooting her.

Barbie rushes downstairs, radios Linda and calls for help – he needs a ride to get Julia to the clinic (on Linda’s side of the radio, Jim is muttering lots of dire warnings about Barbie).

Unfortunately someone has stolen the petrol from Linda’s police car and she comes to stuttering halt and has to force Phil to stop (hey Phil, how’s life out of the plot hole?) to give her a ride. With the delay, Joe gets to Julia and Barbie before Linda and Barbie grabs him to drive them to the clinic (so he can stay with Julia and keep pressure on her wound).  They screech off into the storm with Joe saying that the Dome is angry with them.

They get to the clinic just as the tornado touches the ground. Barbie hurries to treat Julia for her bullet wound as the clinic nurse is called away to another storm disaster. Barbie knows what to do as he’s seen similar injuries in the army. We have a typical “zomg she’s dead!” moment before the plot armour kicks in and the heart monitor starts beeping again.

Jim emerges from the town hall and we see the storm is becoming weird – but he’s distracted from it by Max arriving. He confronts Max about shooting Julia – apparently Max did it because Barbie told her no. She makes a threat about going after people Jim cares about if he steps out of line – just as Junior comes through the door. Time for some not very-veiled-threats.

Jim takes Junior to his hidden bunker stash of guns and stuff to warn him about Max and how she’s trying to destroy him and the town. Junior offers to help, asserting that he’s a man and he can – but Jim is insistent he handle it alone. We even have a touching, loving moment between father and son, aww it’s all sweet and bonding. Until you remember they’re both evil anyway. Jim tells Junior to stay in the house and leaves him with a gun.

Where he remains all paranoid until Angie knocks on the door. Yes, Angie and Junior forced together again, to tell him that his abandoning the Minidome has angered their Domey Master and the massive storm is all their fault (a little narcissistic there aren’t you?) Junior is a little sceptical about being able to control the weather (Angie, you’re making Junior look like the reasonable one. Really). He only agrees to come when Angie turns “we need you” into “I need you.”  As they leave together, the storm calms.

At the radio station, Dodee checks the radio to see if lightning fixes anything. I’m not technically minded so I’m going to assume that makes sense. It works and she can hear the military outside – including them saying that they recognise Barbie – and they’ve been looking for him.

And in the clinic Joe says that Barbie saved Julia just like he saved Joe. Barbie is here to save them all. Oh gods, really – how did the actor even get through that line without cracking up? Barbie is the Monarch! Well that should confuse Barbie.

Max, walking along the lakeshore ready to go to her island sees something floating in the water – her mother’s body (allowed to drown by Jim) and sees her bound wrists.

Outside the clinic, Barbie meets Jim and they decide to stop Max – but Barbie wants to take her alive (damn it Barbie, don’t make me agree with Jim), he accuses Jim of only seeing things through the lens of kill or be killed – and that while Barbie wants a future, Jim wants a kingdom. Jim protests he loves the town but Barbie says he loves power. Barbie will work with Jim to bring down Max – then he will work to knock Jim off his throne. Barbie and Jim go to the factory where Barbie makes some preparations

The Children of the Dome meet up again, with Joe filling them in on Julia and Barbie – and his Monarch theory (though he and Junior disagree about what stopped the storm). They decide to follow the pattern of lights and go touch the big Dome where it indicates.

Linda arrives at Julia’s to find everyone gone and a bloodstain on the floor – and Phil gasps that he “never thought he’d go this far” making Linda suspicious and start asking questions about Barbie. Phil tells Linda that he thinks Barbie killed Peter for his gambling debts – and Linda follows that that Julia found out (and then Barbie shot her and called Linda to help rush her to the hospital?). She can’t find Barbie at the clinic but Phil tells her about the cement factory, where Linda goes, alone.

Barbie and Jim walk into an ambush and Max tells Barbie about Jim killing her mother – Barbie doesn’t have a lot of sympathy, they’re both as bad as one another. Max still trying to get in with Barbie, Barbie not impressed and her slightly tearful “I trusted you” whine doesn’t really earn any sympathy.  Which is when Barbie’s little device cuts the power, he uses a flare and takes Max’s gun. Holding everyone at gun point. They take them to the surface, Barbie dramatically tells Max it’s over and walks away – and Jim shoots Max and her henchman. Jim points the gun at Barbie – and Barbie hits him in the chest and takes it off him – nice try Jim, but you lack the training.

Of course, this is when Linda arrives. And Jim blames the deaths on Barbie, of course. Linda tries to arrest Barbie and he hits her and makes a run for it.

Jim goes to the radio station with Dodee and Dodee tells him that he heard the military was looking for Barbie. He goes on the radio and calls Max a respectable business woman and blames Barbie for killing Max, her lackey, her mother and trying to kill Julia. And he wants to catch Barbie, try him and execute him.

The Children of the Dome get to their position and touch the Dome together. On the other side of the Dome a hallucination appears – Jim and his body suddenly starts bleeding from wounds to the chest and stomach – and blood stained knives appear in the hands of the Children of the Dome. Junior jumps back from the Dome and as soon as his hand leaves his dad disappears and so do the knives.

The Dome is sending you a message kiddies, I think you should obey this one (only because I don’t like Jim). Angie and Norrie think that the Dome will come down if Big Jim dies – if they kill him.

Much as I can understand Linda wanting to find out what Jim, Duke and Coggins were up to, I find myself almost having to agree with Jim here. His drug dealing was unacceptable, he should be in prison, bad man, bad man indeed – but so utterly irrelevant to the current situation.

At what point are the CoD going to decide that playing Simon Says with the Dome may not be the best idea? Are they actually contemplating murder because the Dome says so?

And I hate hate hate hate hate how the Dome is forcing Angie and Junior together. Forcing them to be alone together. Forcing Angie to chase after Junior. Forcing her to say things like “I need you” to her stalker and kidnapper. I hate this. Kill him, cut off his hand already.

I’m glad the dubious and awkward Max storyline is over. I don’t like Jim but at least his running for the throne makes more sense and uses established characters.

I think Linda is a little under-used and not living up to the potential that we saw in the first episode. She would have made an awesome protagonist, trying to hold her town together, discovering the truth about her mentor, fending off Jim’s attempts to seize control, wondering if she can trust the strangers in town, trying to keep things running; that would have been a far more interesting story than Barbie, Julia, the romance, the dead husband and the random Max popping up deciding she wants to set up a crime paradise and throwing in some desperate, needy unrequited love for Barbie. While I know humanising villains isn't a bad thing, I'd much rather have had Max the capable and tough crime boss who came about from her humble roots with her mother than Max, the tearful lip trembling after the hot guy who she can't have.

They let Phil out of the plot box because he was briefly useful. Unlike Carolyn who must have Taken To Her Bed, because this woman just fell off the planet. And does anyone even remember Ben? Where they all just used in the initial episodes so we could all point and say “wow this show is so inclusive!” and then they all sloooowly disappeared. We need a trope name for that one – Cheshire Cat Minorities maybe?