Saturday, July 11, 2015

Under the Dome, Season 3, Episode 4: The Kinship

I’m sure somewhere someone is developing a calendar where each new week is heralded by my predictable quite despair every time another new episode of Under the Dome is perpetrated.

Jim is on his little island so he doesn’t inflict his awfulness on anyone else, and continues to watch the video of Christine and her egg. She also helpfully talks to James, trying to get him on side, within easy binocular view of his island. She may also be trying to seduce him

Then men in black kidnap Jim. I never thought I’d say it, but go Men In Black!!!

Alas they don’t kill him but they do hold him in strange quarantine (complete with plastic curtain walls and hazmat suites). The sinister figures inject him with stuff. I am still totally on the side of the sinister figures.

It seems Jim isn’t contagious, and Jim recognises one of his captors as Malik, a guard who was outside the Dome who has now got in. Alas, Malik is a terrible interrogator and quickly lets Jim gain control of the situation and warn them that yes, the egg is infectious but he isn’t the infected one (actually this is a great interrogation technique and far more effective than torture, letting the blowhard speak. But he could have tortured Jim a little).

Malik listened to me! He starts beating on Jim and preparing to torture him. Jim pretends to give in straight away – but attacks when he’s released and manages to hold Malik at knife point. What, seriously?!

He tries to hold Malik hostage and Malik’s boss just has him shot. He's not a valued employee. Jim runs 

In town Julia and Barbie are still neck deep in relationship issues. Julia is suspicious – and for once she’s actually right (I know, this is pretty cannon shattering, having Julia actually be right). She’s suspicious of Christine and her oh-so-convenient timing. And doesn’t get Barbie suddenly feeling like they should go to town (the pod people are summoned!)

Christine, who really doesn’t understand how you do the secret plotting thing, is gloating about how her mastery of the pod people is going wonderfully into a Dictaphone. In an open office. Which anyone can walk in – in fact Sam does.

Her slightly less nefarious plan involves finding places for everyone to sleep since houses have been destoyed. This involves recruiting James because he’s a builder – or was in the Dometrix and apparently they keep whatever skills they learned there (hey, in less than a week they all absorbed a year of knowledge? The Dometrix could be amazingly useful! We could send the writers in there for 50 years and they could learn, well, to write.) Starting with tearing down Jim’s office for sleeping space – and more gropy seduction.

Eva realises her terrible hiding place is terrible and the camera has been stolen. She tells Christine and further adds that Christine is super-duper freaky pretending to be a therapist because the Dometrix decided she was one. Christine throws back that Eva is still reeling from a completely fictional relationship so put down those stones and check your own glass house. But Eva isn’t following – she thinks they should be honest and has lots of conflicted feelings

Christine decides that either Jim or Julia took the camera and with a 50/50 chance she chooses the wrong one – curse your Murphy’s law (actually this shows how little she knows Julia. Stealing the camera would have been an act of competence so clearly not something Julia would do)

Julia and Barbie worry about the food shortage (again, can I point out the Dome has been down for 3 weeks. How teeny tiny is this town’s food reserves? It had FARMS for crying out loud!) when they run into Eva – Love Triangle Awkwardness strikes, proving that even this terrible show can actually get worse. Thankfully the Dome agrees with me and sets a tent on fire so they can play hero and point out how unsafe the camp is with all the tents together. Christine swoops in to tell them about her plan for dorms in the town hall – and Julia speaks up because she’s leading this town damn it. They need food

It backfires because Eva is an expert in finding food (for reasons) and therefore she and Barbie have to wander off alone to tour the town, gnawing on various things (or various parts of Barbie) to see if they’re edible (or tasty). Julia looks like someone run over her kitten.

Norrie and Hunter are being all sweety pod-peopley together (hey we just stood around like zombies last night! And this was a good thing!). Of course this romance simply needs to have more conflict so Joe finds them kissing. Oh love triangles, how I hate you so.

Julia decides to sneak round looking for incriminating evidence and finds Christine’s incriminating voice recorder. Christine takes the whole snooping entirely under her belt as perfectly natural – but she still wants her plotting recorder back. Christine and Julia have one of those nice smiling conversations where both parties make it clear they will totally shank the other and leave their rotting corpse in a ditch for the raccoons to eat.

Love triangle news – Eva and Barbie talk relationships and fake history while hunting food. Which they find in large amounts and shenanigans lead to him lying on top of her

While working on the dorms, Norrie worries about Joe while Hunter worries that he’s not getting laid. Which backfires because his blatant push for sex and not giving a damn about Norrie as a person drives her away.

Christine hunts down Joe to try and talk him into becoming a good little pod person. She also wants him to forgive Sam so Sam can become a good pod person as well.

Sam goes to check on one of his support group, Abbie, and finds her hanging herself. He stops her from actually killing herself. She’s lost her daughter – and it’s not just the Dome, her daughter was already taken by social services due to her alcoholism.

In an interesting twist, one of the builders wants to move in before the dorms are finished. James is against that, he wants everyone to move in at once so there’s not favouritism – the very antithesis to how his dad worked. He’s accused, basically, of being Christine’s lap dog (with added sexist commentary on Christine) and less than his dad.

Julia catches up with Joe and finds he is also talking about “the Kinship” and about forgiving Sam, completely downplaying the fact he’s a murderer. He’s turning into a pod person! Join us Julia! You may actually have a good idea!

Actually if Julia joins the hive mind do you think she could destroy it by her mere presence?

But Julia compares Christine’s ID badge with the Acteon logo they’ve found and realises who Christine actually works for.

And James decides the best way to settle an argument about whether a column is load bearing or not is a) ask Christine (and while the sexism is repellent the point that she isn’t a builder would be relevant which is what makes the sexism even worse – there’s a relevant point just covered in bigotry and destroying it) or b) hit it and see.

Julia meets up with Barbie and tells him all her many suspicions and it turns into a big love triangle argument – and Barbie ends it violently slamming her against a wall. Julia cuts the argument and demands he leave which he does, taking a gun with him.

Barbie goes to see Eva – who has taken a pregnancy test. Which is negative (thank GODS! That drama is not needed). Eva cries and hugs him – and he doesn’t leave

And Julia takes her own gun and rows out to Jim’s island. She runs into Jim who is on the run – and she shoots his pursuer

Joe waits for Sam who never shows up – instead he’s busy having sex with Abbie to convince her life is good.

Joe goes back to the dorm to be moody at Norrie who apologises and Joe tells Norrie about his being ready to forgive Sam, this massive thing he didn’t want to do – and Sam didn’t even show up for. Norrie is incensed and it seems to cut some pod-people bullshit – the very idea of having to forgive Sam after Angie and then him not even showing up outrages her. Some of Norrie’s old anger returns and Joe is overjoyed – she realises something was wrong with her

Love triangle slayed. She slammed him against the wall and they have sex (though I do kind of love the “I have lots of condoms” PAUSE “that’s overkilled”).

Christine has more plotting – the goo from the tunnels and she takes her special minion. James with her – and spreads good on his lips before kissing him and having sex with him (her reflection in the purple crystals shows something inhuman).

Sinister haz-mat guys may be conducting terrible experiments on the residents of Chester’s Mill! Yay… I mean… booo. Bad, naughty haz mat guys. Very bad. Obviously I condemn them and am definitely not hoping they slaughter a huge chunk of the cast. No. Not at all.

I know that Christine isn’t a real therapist but I still feel the need to shout down this whole idea that in order to move on with one’s life, one must forgive those who wronged you, even did terrible things. There are many ways you can deal with such a person and put them in your past – you can ignore them, remove them from your life, condemn them as a vile person you never have to deal with. Forgiveness is not a necessity – and it’s toxic that culturally we have embraced the idea that forgiveness is always good and always necessary which, in turn, means we pressure victims to forgive whether they’re ready to, whether it will help them and generally for no good reason.

And can we call bullshit on Malik, an obvious trained soldier and a much bigger, stronger man being taken down by Jim. Really?

Malik lasted all of 10 seconds. Well, if he gets a T-dog chain similar to the epic one Eva’s currently occupying I guess a new Black man will be along soon: but not lasting for a great length of time, just ask Phill. Or most of the POC: Linda, Ben, Dodie, Phill, Rebecca – only Carolyn has actually lasted any time but that’s because she has her own little camp in the plot box. Seriously, we’re 4 episodes in and she’s had less than 5 minutes of screen time.

Now we have the show trying to convince me to be Team Julia and Jim since they’re the only non-pod people. Can I be Team Acteon?

We’ve already seen that the goo is supposed to change personalities, and even without the goo we know that the pod people are, well, pod people. Which makes Christine having sex with James – especially after smearing goo on him – rape and there’s no way the show will acknowledge that. It also puts a shaky light on Barbie and Eva’s relationship – without pod-people woo-woo would they be together? Would they consent?

I did like Norrie and Joe though – because we had (the more conventionally attractive) Hunter constantly pressing Norrie and it was clear he wanted sex and cared little for Norrie. He saw romance as a coin with which he bought sex from her. Contrast that with Joe and Norrie and sex happens only after Norrie is back to herself, the personality that Joe loves. And there’s a lot to be said about the battle and valuing of Norrie’s real personality, even if it is abrasive and even if Norrie is, herself, less happy and her fake pod-people happiness.