Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Under the Dome, Season 2, Episode 13: Go Now

Last episode of the season – and very appropriately named at that (I was chanting it before I even started watching).

So we have lots of people missing dead and dying and the dying Pauline pulls out a vision to tell Julia that the Dome did choose her (aaargh) and there’s a man who is chosen as well who doesn’t know who he is yet (shall we guess?). She is quickly moved to the school so Sam can work on her stab wound. Sam, Junior and Jim take her. Norrie, Hunter and Jo go to check if the wifi signal is up since the Dome shrinking and big craters opening may have helped make a hole and Julia and Barbie run to help some random guy in a barn who got on the wrong side of some falling farm machinery.

They try to save him to which the Dome declares “hell no, this person is DEAD!” and throws in some electricity as well. Be told humans, the Dome is killing that man (no doubt Julia will forget this in 10 seconds when she decides the holy Dome needs praising).

Pauline is taken to the school but Sam quickly points out there’s little he can do – while he and Jim look for help, Junior and Pauline have a good bye moment; all Pauline cares about is Junior (it’s the Dome’s will! Yes she works it in there). Also Pauline wants Rebecca to euthanise her because Jim “won’t let her go.” Since you’re dying of internal bleeding Pauline, I think what Jim will allow or not is beside the point

Having found no signal, Norrie briefly considers spending some time with her mother (that would be Carolyn for everyone who has completely forgotten about her since she’s so utterly absent) and maybe this whole idea that the Dome is on their side is so ridiculous it doesn’t even deserve to be laughed at. Alas, Jo treats her like she’s being hysterical rather than the only person on this show actually speaking sense. Instead they decide to investigate the huge sink hole Melanie was sucked down. Sense doesn’t last long around these parts. They find purple lights and butterflies so decide they may have a way out of the shrinking Dome and hurry back to Barbie (bravely jumping over the Chasm of-you-have-to-stretch-a-bit).

Barbie decides the spelunking butterly and glowing-hopefully-not-radioactive-rocks are their greatest chance to escape. Time to gather the town and head down into the great unknown and Jo finds Norrie crying – grieving for the mother she will leave behind (Jo actually suggested she join her still living mother which would have given Carolyn some screen time – so it’s belated grieving instead). She reflects on what she now sees are ridiculous reasons why she was being taken to a secure school in the first place, how her priorities have changed and Jo drops in with “the Dome Wills It!” Norrie continues to not give a damn about the Dome’s will. She’s the last person in Chester’s Mill who hasn’t succumbed to the Dome cult. Which is a shame because otherwise this scene is an excellently well presented scene of some dramatic and very belated grief.

Pauline doesn’t even want to try to live because DOME WILLS IT. Rebecca loads her up with happy drugs before Sam and Jim return with saline and she dies in Jim’s arms. And Jim notices the drugs in Rebecca’s hand. Rebecca explains it was the Dome’s Will. (Alas, Rebecca has fallen to the Dome cult). Jim isn’t a fan of the Dome’s will when it doesn’t will what he wants it to will. He knocks Sam unconscious and attacks Rebecca with a hammer, killing her.

Seriously Under the Dome?

Sam is alive to explain everything to Junior. And Jim goes on the rampage because the Dome won’t resurrect Pauline.

The rest of the gang get on the bus to leave and we see Carolyn (get back in your plot box, Carolyn, it’s safe there!) – who has to virtually beg Norrie to come with her (Barbie steps in and Norrie listens). Once they reach the tunnel, Barbie begins leading the evacuation while Julia, in the surface, gets a call for help form Andrea the hoarder

Being Julia, she investigates this alone. Of course she does. Julia becomes Jim’s prisoner and Jim murders Andrea. Julia makes a run for it, getting slammed into furniture and Jim gets a knife in the foot (because, of course, being a villain he doesn’t kill his enemies quickly).

She runs and finds Sam and Junior in the woods – Sam helps Julia to safety (her leg wound is set to “painful” today – how severe it is changes depending on the plot demands) while Junior confronts his dad with a gun. When Jim advances, Junior shoots him in the shoulder. Then leaves him with the non-lethal wound and runs off. Of course.

To the escape tunnel – and, of course, the teeny-tiny chasm gets wider and scarier (and Julia’s leg has now been set to “near amputated” for plot reasons) which traps Julia. Babrie wants to come back and help Julia, but she’s sure that Barbie is the second chosen one and needs to lead the people to safety (oh, for the love of spiky things and flame throwers, was there ever, in any way, even slightly a chance that the Male Monarch would NOT be Barbie? Seriously?).  Junior is also trapped on the other side of the chasm – so is Jim. If all three of them die in the Dome collapse I will not be sad.

Barbie goes to lead his people home – and oh gods I wish this show was more subtle than that, but no, after some glowing butterflies they reach a cave in – which is opened by the touch of his blessed hand (no, really) and Melanie appears surrounded by white light to declare they can follow her home.

There is not enough snark in the world.

And so concludes the second season of Under the Dome. It is over, it ends, the suffering finally ends. This show is a hot mess in so many ways, so take a deep breath while I take deep and immeasurable pleasure in ranting about each and every one of them. And, oh yes, this moment is all that has kept me going through 13 episodes of this mind bogglingly awful show.

Firstly, story and world wise we know nothing. Not one damn thing. The Dome, the Egg, the 4/7/8/7/9678.56 hands, reincarnating Melanie, butterflies, random tunnels, Zenith, the role of Acteon Energy, what Hunter’s group is actually doing and why, Pauline’s visions, Melanie and Barbie being related; nothing has been explained. Not one damn thing. There’s been zero attempt at it – crap just happens and I think the writers are just making it up now. Admit it, it’s a drunken game of mad-libs! There can be no coherent plot behind this mess.

Which leads to the random events. Beyond a “meta” plot which is picked at random from a hat, translated into Serbo-Croatian and back to English 11 times through Babblefish then presented as a script, we then have randomness just to fill up more time. Shrinking Dome, Spinning Dome, Dusty Dome, Magnetic Dome, Noisy dome, Acid Blood Dome – Random Domeyness filled far too much time and achieved nothing, some extras died, no-one cared the group didn’t adapt, change or learn.

Which leads to the next problem – the plot is awful but it is a positive stellar compared to the steaming elephant turds (we’ve gone way beyond bullshit here) that counts as characterisation on this show. These characters make no sense and I loathe all of them. Every last one. The Dome shrinking them into something resembling smooth pate would be the ultimate happy ending on this show. The Dome has been in place for 2-4 weeks and in both seasons people have lost their ever loving mind. Jim became a villain of almost cartoonish proportions. Phil became… I actually have no idea what Phill became, a salivating Jim fanpoodling terrorist who didn’t even come close to making sense. Lyle went off on religious mania with added stalking and murdering, while Julia went off on hippie religious mania. Rebecca decided genocide and artificially creating plagues was a great idea, Sam got into the murdering fun, Junior yo-yos his personality so fast he must have psychic whiplash oh and Julia and her husband’s murderer play house before dead hubby’s body is even cold.

And this is nothing compared to how everyone treats each other. Does anyone remember Sam killed Angie? Anyone at all? Because everyone seems to get past that awful quickly. And Rebecca’s fun genocide – anyone care? No? Bygones? Junior’s kidnapping of Angie is so brushed over by the show that even the audience is expected to get behind him and Melanie’s romance. And Jim’s… well Jim’s everything? Seriously why wasn’t this man locked in a cage and regularly smacked about the head and shoulders with a large haddock? When you consider Jim and Rebecca running free, locking Phil up looks all kinds of skeevy. What do you actually have to do on Under the Dome other than be Black to be considered a threat? I expect next season to begin with everyone baking Jim a cake (made by Laura, the Black woman who appeared after Rebecca died) for being such a good friend.

Then there’s the Dome worship. Words cannot encompass how much I loathed this. EVERYONE fell for it by the end, even Rebecca (which has that oh-so-not-wonderful tone of yet another faith vs science debate in fiction where faith was proven right and science so silly and closed minded – AAAAARGH) was talking about the Dome’s will. This Dome has been tormenting you all and killing random people. Not once, not one single time, has it performed one benevolent act. Even if the Dome were directing things, why would anyone assume a positive motive? Why would anyone be eager to obey? How come the only one who considers REBELLING against the Dome is evil Jim? What is wrong with these people?!

I understand nothing about them. Not how they act, not what they believe, not how they are treated. It makes no sense. None.

Now let’s hit the marginalised people because there’s more shit to add to this midden. Phill, Dodee, Alice, Linda, Rebecca, Pauline, Angie and Andrea. Women, POC, Lesbian; they all belong to one or more marginalised groups and they’re all dead. And it’s not like they were over-represented on the show to begin with – not just in terms of numbers but in terms of screen time and activity. Barbie, Julia, Jim, Junior, Sam, Norrie, Joe and Melanie have all dominated the show (and take “white saviour” to quite literal levels): only Rebecca comes close to matching them and she was a constant sidekick.

None of these characters were developed. Dodee and Alice died as a plot device with no real stories of their own. Phil was a characterisation mess, a lackey and a disaster. Linda was killed off in one of the most dismissive, hand-waving manners I’ve seen (though Tara in True Blood still takes the prize for dismissive death) and almost instantly was replaced with Rebecca in a classic T-Dog chain. If that weren’t nauseating enough, Melanie steps straight into Angie’s shoes, complete with being the special hand and forging a relationship with Junior (only now we’re all forgetting the kidnapping thing). Carolyn has survived, but that’s all she’s done. She’s survived by being nearly completely absent all season – she’s certainly not been involved in her daughter’s life (or bereavement).  She exists in the credits and little else.

I try to be fair in a review and mention at least some positive. But I also insist on being honest in reviews - so I have no praise at all. I cannot say anything good about this show without lying