Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Under the Dome, Season 2, Episode 8: Awakening

Jim is looking all menacingly and alternately caresses a Bible and a gun which is probably a very bad sign. He’s also declared himself the new sheriff.  He drives over to Rebecca to give her a radio and play “I’m the nice sheriff keeping everyone safe.” After his behaviour last episode, she’s not buying it. So goes for apologetic and claiming he’s changed (again) with more “the Dome has chosen me!” rhetoric. And for some unknown reason Rebecca actually seems to be falling for it.

Barbie is outside the Dome and poking his wealthy and powerful father to try and get him back to it. But apparently they can get a signal into the Dome – that elusive email contact Joe etc found. It’s still there, only the military has firewalled it… rather than trying to establish any kind of contact with the people inside at all to try and find out what’s going on. Apparently. Anyway, Barbie’s dad Don, being the rich and powerful man he is, can get that firewall dropped if Barbie wants to email Julia (of course, chances are she won’t think to check). So Barbie writes a message to Julia via Joe’s email – and includes a coded message about how to get out of the Dome…

Why the code? “All you need is a leap of faith”? Why not “just jump down the chasm!”?

Under the Dome, and in a totally unrelated and fortuitous coincidence, Joe and Norrie are making a video blog hoping that the signal will one day return and/or one day people will find the videos off their long dead corpses (not something Norrie is a fan of). And he does get the email on his phone (they haven’t used the phone on the show before but why not? And he keeps his wifi on even without a signal).

They get the email and run to Julia who is suddenly all suspicious – they don’t even know it’s Barbie (sure he knows about the egg which… 5 people know? But now she’s suspicious? The woman who was all “the Dome wants me to do this!” and “how can you be suspicious of zombie girl!” is cynical NOW?! Really? Really really?)

Anyway, they go back to the school and the signal is gone. They all debate whether or not they should jump off a cliff (I’m all for these characters plummeting off a cliff. Any cliff, I’m not fussy) but Julia is super suspicious without further confirmation. So they decide to send a message down the cliff (they suggest a message in a bottle which gives me an inappropriate mental image of some kiddie in Zenith being taken out by a flying bottle to the head).

Back in Zenith, Lyle has stopped chanting “Melanie” over and over and is now chanting “in the cards” over and over. Sam doesn’t care –he’s out of Chester’s Mill and happy to restart his life, Pauline’s not agreeing with that since she’s worried about Junior. And to get to junior and save him she’s decided that Sam has to give a new, experimental drug to Lyle who she thinks may know something (for reasons) even though the doctors say that it’s not appropriate for Lyle. I… can’t even begin to unpack the wrong here.

Barbie, meanwhile, is lurking in the playground hoping Julia will launch herself into the abyss and join him (also talking to children who have not been told not to talk to strangers and somehow not being mistaken for a paedophile by wary parents). He is seen on CCTV though and the shocked CCTV operator runs his face through facial recognition software (Zenith has facial recognition software on their CCTV?) to confirm, to his shock, that Barbie is, well, Barbie.

CCTV guy decides to follow Barbie and isn’t very good at it and is quickly caught by an unsympathetic Barbie. CCTV guy is less than reassuring when he recites pretty much Barbie’s life to him, including that he just escaped from Under the Dome – this is supposed to calm Barbie down? Apparently Barbie being in the Dome is a big secret Barbie doesn’t want to spread for REASONS.

CCTV guy also thinks Barbie’s dad knows Barbie was under the Dome and that ol’ Don has edited the email he sent to Julia – since it now tells Julia to bring the egg when she jumps and, yes, CCTV guy does know the text of it. Hey this now explains Julia’s inexplicable suspicion – it’s protagonist insight!

Junior finds his dad has now named himself sheriff and it’s all ok because Jim assures him the Dome speaks to him and he’s changed. Anyway Rebecca calls Jim because someone’s destroyed the windmill for whatever reason. Jim decides this is a message for him and, alas, Junior says what we’re all thinking “not everything is about you.”

They then get a call that someone has set fire to a car, which Jim decides is also aimed at him because he sells cars and it’s near the advert for his old business. Anyway they decide to make a list of all the people who may be angry with Jim (Junior snarks this may take a while, damn it Junior stop making me agree with you!) The list is pretty long and even then Junior snarks at how incomplete it was.

Over to Zenith and Barbie is now working with CCTV guy to hack his dad’s computer. It’s all tense because he doesn’t know when house security will show up (house security is going to give him grief over being in his dad’s office). They go to which is apparently CCTV guy’s website about how the government is doing a big naughty conspiracy about the Dome – and I assume CCTV guy gets remote access to Don’s computer.

Y’know, Barbie has just trusted a complete stranger with keys to his dad’s castle, as it were. Daddy issues be strong with this one.

Barbie realises his dad did change the email – and that he knows about the egg and wants it. His dad wanting something is enough that Barbie is sure he can’t let Julia jump for freedom (again, daddy issues be strong with this one).

His dad arrives then just while CCTV guy is mining the computer (something he can’t do without displaying everything on screen, it seems), so Barbie does a terribad awful job of distracting his dad. After which Don takes Barbie to his business, Acteon energy, to say that the company is involved in all kinds of business and it has been hired to monitor the Dome. They found the way to get a wifi signal in, sold it to the military and dubiously kept the option for themselves as well. And they’re going to send another despite how risky it is because Don cares about Barbie. Uh-huh

And takes him to see their IT wizard Hunter – who is, to no-one’s surprise – actually CCTV guy. They send and email and it gets through the Chester’s Mill right before Julia decides to drop a paperweight on some poor, unsuspecting child. The email is nicely coded to prove to Julia it’s really him and to tell Julia that he doesn’t want her to jump (why not get the whole town jumping? WHYYY? You could leave Jim behind and let him be emperor of nothing)

So Julia is going to go to the coded location. Completely alone of course. On the way Jim uses his new sheriff position to be nosy

Barbie confronts Hunter as he leaves work (slamming him into something which is Barbie’s way of saying hello). He’s not thrilled that Hunter kept the whole working for Don thing secret. Barbie decides that Hunter will help him get into the Dome – and if he doesn’t Barbie will let the military know about the whole dubious breaking down of the firewall thing.

Meanwhile, Sam and Pauline have stolen the untested drugs to give an unsuspecting and unconsenting patient. They don’t care if it kills him because they’ve decided it’s not worth him living as he is (the fact it may be temporary – since it’s lasted, what, 2 days? – or that there may be treatment or he may actually be quite happy are all irrelevant to them. This post is relevant here). For added reassurance, Sam’s hands shake badly when handling the needle. It works and Lyle becomes lucid again and they lead him out of the hospital. Sam, again, makes the attempt to leave but Pauline stops him because she still wants him to come with her to the Dome and find answers for the last 25 years…. Of which I don’t think anyone actually had any questions. I mean “what’s been going on for the last 25 years” would be… nothing?

Anyway, Lyle isn’t very helpful but Pauline does remember one more psychic post card she drew but didn’t send – a red door. Which they now have to find.

To the Dome – outside the Dome this time – well, outside the restricted area, with military and a team of protestors (why protestors? Just because apparently). Barbie has a whole fake identity which gets him past the massive security around the Dome. He then stows away on a military transport heading the 16 miles to the Dome.

Once there, he runs into the woods around the Dome – but walks through a laser trip wire while doing so.  

In town Rebecca and Junior find out that Jim is very very unpopular indeed and Jim is attacked in his office. By Phil. Seriously, Phil? Is he just randomly attacking people now? Is that the only time he’s allowed out of the plot box? He takes Jim hostage, handcuffing him to the prison bars. Phil claims that it was Jim’s plan to have him burn the food (which seems likely) and that Jim just left him to take the blame.

Alas, Junior and Rebecca arrive to rescue Jim (ugh) and even worse Junior, the one person who was actually resisting Jim, decides that they can all work together now. Oh this show. Jim goes outside and sees a helicopter fly overhead

On the inside of the Dome, Julia waits for Barbie and curses out the Dome. Barbie finally arrives but only seconds before the military. He hurriedly draws a message on the dome wall: “Not safe out here.”

Wait… it isn’t? Why isn’t it? Since when is it not safe? What has anything Barbie’s seen implied it was not safe?

He adds “don’t J” before the soldiers grab him. This is all watched by Jim.

I’m not entirely sure why Barbie is being so cloak and dagger this episode and the last one. I mean, there’s no suggestion that the military is involved in the Dome (they bombed it after all), why not use his father’s huge connections to just say “hey I was in the Dome, I got out, I think I can show the others how to get out and give you all the information I know about what’s going on in there.”

Similarly, I can’t understand why the military wouldn’t try to establish some kind of contact with the people in the Dome, especially since they can now get a signal through. Even if not for altruism, then simple curiosity over this massive thing would, you’d think, lead them to try.

I don’t get the cloak and dagger here. Ok, I get that there may be a secret conspiracy Up To No Good so maybe that’d explain the military not getting in touch (except, no, because it does them no good to be so in the dark) but I don’t get why Barbie and Julia would assume one.

Even after all Barbie has seen, I don’t see why he thinks that Julia is safer inside…

How many times does Jim get to play the “I’m a new person!” card and be believed. In two weeks, no less!

Also, I still do not remotely understand why “the Dome speaks to me” or “the Dome has plans” is remotely a good thing. Why is anyone assigning positive motivation to the Dome? The Dome has plans? Yes! It plans to keep you imprisoned and regularly risk your lives because of that imprisonment and random crap it decides to throw at you for funsies! It has plans in the same way small children who enjoy pulling the wings off flies have plans. Having plans is not a good thing!

And why are they making JUNIOR the voice of reason?! AAAAAAAAAAAARGh, every time you make me agree with Junior, Under the Dome, I feel dirty and need to take a shower.

I also want to know how Jim can just make himself sheriff with no protest – the man tried to unleash a plague on the town! What does this man have to do to be discredited!? Especially in an episode where it emphasises how much everyone hates this man!