Saturday, July 18, 2015

Under the Dome, Season 3 episode 5: Alaska

James finds that sexy while using the pod goo is super-awesome – but Christine becomes more worried by the purple crystals in the tunnels are going out. She asks for James’s unquestioning loyalty and, of course, the man who has so many issues about never being his own person and constantly being dominated by his father agrees. Why wouldn’t he?

In the worst character pairing of all time (I will call this Team JUST DIE ALREADY) Jim is telling Julia all about the infection and trying to convince Julia about the camera with the damning evidence about Christine on it. Except it’s missing and Julia, actually showing sense, isn’t willing to take his word. I think this is because she psychically knows that trusting him would be the right decision so does the opposite (looking back on the last three seasons this explanation makes way more sense than Julia actually making an actual reasonable decision).

She still goes along with his plan involving traps and diversions. This allows Julia to snoop and steal a file called “Alaska”. Well try to. She gets captured until Jim rescues her. With a gun to evil guy’s head she makes him show the camera footage (now all fuzzy).

They question the guy and find that his company has found a broken egg before – one with a vast amount of clean, safe energy. Well clean – except for it infecting the scientists with pod-people alien cells making them act as a group and commit suicide together all at the behest of the leader. They need to find that leader who will be chief podperson

Julia points out pod-person in chief is their employee, Christine, and they learn she’s an anthropologist and she and Eva just disappeared. Evil guy also claims he wants to help her. Uh-huh. But he claims they are working on a treatment, a cure. Nor does he know what the leader will do or whether it’s even safer to split them up.

All this gun pointing seems to have put them all on the same team. Well, sort of – gun pointing still happens and they still want to know where the egg is.

Barbie and Eva, meanwhile are all couply and Barbie tells Eva that silly paranoid Julia thinks Eva and Christine are lying. Eva, however, would utterly fail as a professional poker player though and completely fails to reassure him. Instead saying she just can’t answer that. Romance tip – if your lover asks you “are you lying about who you are?” and you answer “I can’t answer that” then you’re going to need way more than an Agony Aunt to fix that

 In town Hunter is all happy and chipper about the food supply they’ve processed but becomes grim when he realises Happy Sunny Norrie is back to Snarky Norrie. Hunter is super suspicious but they try to put him off the scent by claiming to be on a mission from Christine the Great Leader

It’s nice to see them free but I have to say them lazing around and being all couply feels sweet but also hella lazy. I mean people are struggling to survive and patch things together and they taking a time out? I do like their loyalty oath to each other – Norrie takes it a bit far by throwing in that she’d rather be die than become a “glazed-eye freak!”

 Sam and Abbie are also happily couply and sexual though Sam still has a whole lot of loyalty to Christine which means he’ s not quite ready to dive into sex and booze 24/7

 Christine continues the oh-so-sensible tactic of recording all her incriminating thoughts (seriously, why is she doing this?) revealing that destroying the Egg has removed their power source which is why the crystals are dying. This will dry up the purple happy goo – but it will also cause the Dome to “calcify” and not let in air. Barbie barges into her office and nearly catches her mid-evil-exposition. He demands answers but a convenient disaster helps distract them

See, last episode a builder said “don’t remove that beam, it’s load bearing.” While James, who was a builder in the Dometrix, said it totally wasn’t and Christine supported her minion and they removed the beam. Turns out ACTUAL builder was right (shocking) and part of the roof has collapsed, hurting several people. Actual builder Pete rightly blames Christine.

Christine decides to dish out orders on how to fix it but Pete is really not willing to take more inept orders from her. Barbie decides to calm him down (which is uncalled for – he should be angry at her) and Christine angrily orders Barbie to kick Pete out – but Barbie’s pod-peopleness is also damaged and while he’s calm about it, he’s also clear he’s not taking orders from her. And he goes to Peter to ask the actual builder advice on what to do. Christine is not a happy bunny. Barbie and Pete bond over mutual mistrust of Christine and their army history. With a side order of sexism, of course.

They plan to coup against Christine but all doesn’t go smoothly – as Barbie finds evidence of deliberate sabotage in the roof. Alas, he shares his suspicions with Christine – who decides that Pete needs to be “dealt with”

Sam also comes to the ruin and asks James what happened – and again we see the pod-peopleness fading in those who disobey her orders, he’s shocked that Christine would back James up on what to do when she has no idea about construction.

Christine tries to ask Eva why Barbie isn’t on the team any more but, instead, Eva wants, again, to know why they’re lying. Christine’s patronising attempt to silence her doesn’t win Eva over – Christine offers to explain everything in the cavern

She catches up on Sam and finds he’s been drinking, she actually has the audacity to blame him for people standing around when the ceiling collapsed. She easily throws that one back in her face and joins the rebellion – walking away from Christine despite her protests.

Christine is not accepting all this authority – and goes to Abbie to do the best she can to tear Abbie down and her self-esteem over her daughter (damaged from Abbie’s drinking while pregnant). Christine cruelly exploits Abbie’s pain and vulnerability to push her towards suicide.

Step 2 is for Christine to meet Eva in the caves and tell her she has been implanted with Egg-life to make her a doubleplusgood podperson and be a mother to Barbie’s child. Eva doesn’t like this sale’s pitch – but Christine has James capture her so she can be forcibly covered in podpeople goo. Eva becomes a good little podperson, like James: and James has apparently become just like her. Unfortunately for Christine, they don’t have enough goo for everyone

She orders Hunter to go fetch Joe and Norrie. Neither of whom want to be herded like cattle (Norrie’s speech is pretty snarkily epic). When Hunter tries to physically drag her off the roof where she and Joe are, he ends up falling off onto the brick path.

Sam returns to Abbie to find her dead from suicide.

Christine then goes to Pete and warns him that the big bad Barbie is out to get him, even though she pleaded with him not to (I also think Christine was behind the sabotage). She tries to turn Pete against Barbie to kill him first (which would force Pete to act in self-defence).

Barbie is called in to get Hunter and they bring in to the town hall on a stretcher – he’s live but can’t feel his legs. Hunter claims Norrie pushed him even while Joe and Norrie deny that happened. James rallies the pod people against them – and Norrie and Joe try to run surrounded by pod people who wall them in.

Julia has returned to her damn fool ways and decides to camp in Christine’s office, with a gun, and confront Christine. Kidnapping her and taking het to the lake, the plan is to force Christine to take the cure – and Christine is open and gloating about ending humanity

Barbie gabs Eva for medical help for Hunter – while she’s staring pod-person-like at the skies. But when they run back a bomb knocks them down. Pete has been wound up and is aimed at Barbie. He attacks Barbie with a baseball bat demanding to claim, among other things, “Barbie’s girl”. He also hits Eva. Of course Barbie kills him and then Barbie and Eva kiss and declare their devotion

At the island it turns out that Evil guy is shockingly, evil. They capture Rennie – and threaten Jim’s dog to try and make him co-operate. Jim confesses that he broke the egg for the sake of his dog. Am I supposed to find it sweet that he’s so devoted to this dog after being so abusive to humans? Evil guy intends to experiment on Jim.

I think the rebellion against Christine is interesting in some ways because it’s really a battle of authenticity vs content. Sam, Norrie, Peter and Barbie are not, on the whole, nice people. They’re probably much nicer and even much happier when they are/if they would become joyful podpeople. But instead their defiance is one of authenticity – being who they are, who they really are, even if that doesn’t mean me happiness or being a pleasant people. This even applies to Sam whose self-assessment is clearly destructive, an inaccurate summation of addiction and his own self-sabotage self-assessment. But it is still HIS self-assessment – hopeless, inaccurate, highly damaging, but still his.

But it’s also very gendered. Sure there are women who have freed themselves from pod-peopleness, but most of the overt defiance of Christine comes from men bucking against a woman who dares to give them orders: Sam, Barbie and Pete.

Even Christine’s lash back seems to hit women first (though not entirely – viciously attacking Abbie through her addiction and her disabled child to drive her to suicide. Forcibly kidnapping Eva to have her enslaved with goo. Even Hunter’s fall focuses on Norrie. This is who she intends to get these rebellious men back in order – through the women they care about. Even Peter and Barbie being set against each other involves Eva

I think it says everything that not only was I not surprised by Carolyn not leaping from her plot box to fight for her daughter, but I even forgot Carolyn was in this show to do so until after the episode ended

So Under the Dome has settled on a plot – alien invasion it seems