Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Under the Dome, Season 2, Episode 5: Reconciliation

Melanie wants to talk to Sam – so it’s Barbie’s job to track him down and, preferably, fill Julia in on the whole Melanie revelation.  Big supernatural revelations are derailed so Barbie and Julia can talk about the genocide, Barbie now claims he was only listening to Rebecca and Jim so he could prepare to stop them. Which then turns into love triangle pouting – because if she thinks badly about Barbie she’s going to think worse about Sam.

Sam is at his house and pulls out some papers from a hiding place James and Lyle missed (presumably the missing pages from the journal) – James is still around searching though. He rambles about his mother’s prediction and his belief that Lyle killed Angie and the bemusing information that James’s mother told him to trust Lyle. The rambling bring Sam up to date on everything, including the fact that his sister, Pauline, is alive.

They mope about this, think about finding Lyle, talking to Pauline and who knows what else. But Sam decides they need to find the missing journal page – which he has. But he doesn’t want James to know he hid it so he suggests they search Lyle’s place, again, where he plants it. The missing pages show a picture of Angie. Another shows four people’s hands touching something (the Dome, the egg, etc). Sam explains Pauline ranted about “four hands” who would be the Dome’s protectors. Quite why anyone WANTS the Dome protecting is beyond me. Apparently the Dome will fall without the four hands – is that a bad thing? James helpfully tells Sam (who has “real killer” written all over him) who the other three hands are – Norrie, Joe and him.

They go looking for the other hands and Sam decides they need a drink – which isn’t a great idea since he’s a recovering alcoholic (so we’re told anyway). Sam only pretends to drink though as he tanks James up

Once James is drunk and asleep, Sam plans to suffocate him with a pillow (Go Sam! Go Sam! Go Sam!) alas James wakes up and talks about Sam being the only family he has left and he just can’t kill him. Aaaaaaargh, sooo close.

In the diner there are definite tensions between those furious with Jim and those who believe in him. And Carolyn has been allowed out of her plot box to play lawyer for Jim’s trial.

In the cells, Jim is blaming Rebecca for it all going wrong and her not even going through with the plan, Rebecca is responding with logic – the minute she saw how lethal the virus was it would have been even more ridiculous to go through with the plan.

While that’s pending Julia is trying to organise a more peaceful way of dealing with their issues – including asking people to voluntarily share their food. Um… genocide isn’t the answer but this isn’t even an attempt at an answer. The trial begins and the crowd pushes and shoves angrily at each other. One angry man pulls a gun and tries to race to the podium – Phil shoots him. And he dies, DRAMATIC MUSIC!

In the bathroom, Rebecca is shaken – she’d run to the dead man and has blood on her hands. Julia is not very sympathetic since him or any of the people of the town could have died under Rebecca’s plan. Rebecca decides to tell Julia that Barbie was innocent – he wasn’t involved despite Jim’s lies.

She goes on to confront Phil – Barbie had disarmed Wendel, the dead man, there was absolutely no need to kill him (the town has put Julia in charge apparently so she doesn’t accept “I don’t listen to you”). She’s also not impressed with Lyle escaping while Phil was sheriff and he’s still on the loose; because he’s supposed to do so much with his grand staff of… what? Him and James? Barbie arrives to help intimidate Phil and Phil quits – but calls them drunk on power and relies on Jim to be back in power soon. Julia wants to make Barbie sheriff, because military is such a great idea? Barbie isn’t a fan of the idea since the town is kind of vicious.

Rebecca tries to talk out her issues with Jim, about being hurt by seeing the reality of death; Jim is not sympathetic or helpful and is mainly concerned with getting her back on side. Drunken Phil arrives and Jim tries to ingratiate himself by saying how wrong it was for Phil to be fired – and how he’s the best sheriff ever (hey, from Jim’s perspective he probably is – all he’s ever done is play Jim’s yes-man). Phil is even willing to agree with the whole deadly virus plan – he doesn’t think Jim is innocent, he’s happy to support even the genocide Jim. He accuses Julia of making him a scapegoat… How can you be a scapegoat for a crime you did commit? Ugh I’d blame the booze but this is pretty commonplace of the show’s reasoning. Jim doesn’t let Phil release him because he needs to win the town over.

Melanie, Norrie and Joe go to the Dome to see if touching it gives them more visions. Well that’s one thing to do when supplies of hallucinogens dry up, I guess. It doesn’t work though. Norrie and Melanie snarl at each other and Norrie says she’d happily trade Melanie’s rotting corpse for her mother back which is pretty awful, unnecessary and out of the blue – Melanie leaves and Joe leaves with her, calling Norrie a “real bitch”. Really do we have to have this nasty sexist love triangle with spiteful girls and the boy calling it out in misogynistic terms? Isn’t the plot fraught enough without this mess in the middle of it?

Joe runs after Melanie to comfort her which involves kissing, which Norrie then sees and more snarling follows which then turns physical with Joe trying to separate them. This is all broken up by them deciding to go to the school to check their blood for… who knows? In case Zombie Melanie’s blood is different from Joe’s?

To some more drama – someone decides to bomb the volunteer food drive. Barbie is mildly hurt but he and Carolyn manage to help one wounded before Barbie plunges back into the burning building to save Julia. He saves her (she’s not injured, is free to move but couldn’t push aside a box that Barbie moved with one arm. Oh dear Julia). Outside they also realise the bomb has destroyed most of their food that they were conveniently gathering in one place.

Phil is there to blame all this on Julia for being so inept and Jim would totally save them all (he blames the explosion on a faulty generator). Julia gets all Angsty on Barbie’s shoulder, I’m guessing they’re a couple again now. Julia gets all suspicious about bottled water.

Barbie goes to accuse Jim but even he draws the line about destroying the food supply – and then realises Phil may have done it.

Meanwhile, Carolyn discovers that Phil has horded a load of food elsewhere (Barbie found empty boxes in the store). She quickly realises the only reason people would move food is if they knew the explosion was going to happen. Phil tries to grab her which doesn’t go well for him, but she’s grabbed from behind by one of his cronies. She’s held at knife point while Barbie arrives for the inevitable rescue, taking down Phil’s followers and shooting Phil in the shoulder.

Anyway the town’s worries about supplies are some what alleviated by Julia meeting with happy Andrea and her stacks of bottled water – the woman also keeps bringing food to the diner with few explanations. Turns out her dead husband was a survivalist and has supplies enough to feed the whole town for quite some time.

They celebrate with a feast. Phil still hates her. Julia takes advantage of the gathering to call on the whole town to forgive Jim and Rebecca. Oh gods, really? REALLY? The man who was willing to slaughter half the town? How can he ever be trusted out and about? Jim, probably having little choice, hails Julia’s leadership. Rebecca thinks they should give Julia a chance, but Jim seems to regard that as a betrayal

Back to Sam and James – James recovers from being drunk quickly – on the back of a random picture Pauline painted they find an obelisk and the number 1821, Meredith’s locker number.

Joe tries to make up with Norrie, professing his love for her. Norrie isn’t impressed – “I love you” does not absolve kissing another girl in front of her. While Melanie consults Rebecca about her blood sample – she analyses it but is distracted by Sam and James messing with the lockers. With the back of 1821 removed, they now find there’s a tunnel. A big one

Rebecca’s upset over the dead man (and the symbolic blood on her hands) is a decent message about people who say things and plan things without ever having to confront the consequences of their decisions. Rebecca is happy to make a plan that would result in most of the town dying – but when seeing the baby last episode (nearly assured to die) and the body this episode, reality is a much harder thing to deal with. Would that more people who have the power to make decisions that will kill hundreds had to confront the bodies afterwards.

Phil’s treatment is appalling – he only appears briefly, he’s Jim’s crony (but we’re never given any reason to see why Phil should support Jim) he’s given a Job which is clearly outside his skill set (the man is a DJ or engineer, he’s not police) – and then held responsible for everything that happens while he is in this ill-suited position? And through that his only characterisation is, still, Jim’s Crony. His whole existence now seems to revolve around Jim as some kind of saviour.

I’m also going to assume that both Phil and Carolyn are going to return to the plot box for at least 3 episodes (Carolyn got, like, 3 lines!)

I’m slightly depressed that the plot line that is actually closest to finding anything out that is relevant rather than the endless internal squabbling, is the one lead by Sam and James.

Another note – Sam is supposed to be an alcoholic, that’s how he’s been characterised. Even James seems to think Sam drinking is a problem. But then he just stops drinking when the Dome comes down? He even made a reference to his drunkenness in the first episode. And now he can pour shot after shot into his glass to get James drunk but not let any past his lips? The show needs to work out whether he was actually an alcoholic or just pretending, because having this magically cured addiction is not ok.

I have a theory – the Dome realised that a huge number of really annoying people were all gathered in one place – and helped seal them off from the rest of us. Some innocents were trapped but it kept some really aggravating people contained.

Every time I see Julia fall into Barbie’s arms I have this little voice tell me “hey, 3 weeks ago Barbie murdered your husband – he told you about it last week.”  I am actually totally done with Julia. I’m tired of her love of the Dome. I find her embracing Barbie creepy. I find her ridiculous hippy naivety ludicrous and frustrating and utterly impossible traits for a leader. There’s no middle ground on this show – it’s Jim’s genocide, or Julia’s “let’s ask everyone to share” rather than, say, pooling resources and rationing. There’s stone Melanie for existing or Julia’s assumption that there’s nothing suspicious about mysterious appearing girl at all. There’s mob justice or Julia’s “let’s just forgive attempted genocide” AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH

I’d like to think it’s a crafty, Machiavellian plot to stop Jim’s supporters – the fact he has a dangerous and fanatical armed following willing to bomb people both suggests they need diffusing. But I don’t think Julia is that cunning – she never has been before

Jim is a terrible leader for this town because he’s brutal, selfish and power crazed. But Julia is equally terrible because she’s Moonglow Flowerchild  who even 10 years olds would look as being naïve. And why is this concussed naivety held up against the reasoning logic of Rebecca – to logic’s detriment!