Saturday, August 15, 2015

Under the Dome, Season 3, Episode 9: Plan B

It’s another episode of Under the Dome, the series that proves to us, week by week, that there is no god – because any merciful and/or wrathful deity would have wiped us all out long before now.

So war has been declared, Barbie is leading his merry pod-people to kill the rest of the Resistance (and, while they’re evil, their goals including killing Julia and Jim so they can’t be all bad). But they don’t know where the Resistance is hiding in a funeral home. Barbie has the house they were staying in burned down in a tantrum – and Christine seems quite panicky that her enemies didn’t stand still to be killed. In between her tantrum she also collapses in pain, clutching her stomach. Eva ruses in confused at the strange star mark on Christine’s stomach – but Christine is far more excited that her amethyst has declared that Eva is pregnant.

Apparently she’s carrying the new Queen. Eva tells Barbie who is all thrilled and shiny about it. Christine has also ensured there are guards to protect her – which, of course, makes Barbie all the more gung-ho.

Christine is having to adjust her plans – including now needing Joe alive. Sam has also vanished but Christine’s main concern is the Dome. She has Junior take her there where the dome is calcifying, meaning it will no longer let in air (I wonder if the plant life within would be sufficient for oxygen?) which will kill everyone unless she can get Joe to bring it down (yes Joes is involved for reasons.) This is, of course, all due to the broken amethysts and the Dome not having enough power – the same thing that is causing Christine to be faint and weak.

Until she has sex with Junior. Sex hormones helps heal aliens, apparently – though she does point out she is dying still and Junior totally needs to have sex with many people. I’d ask why but, really, this show is past why now.

So it’s time to pick out women for Junior – but in doing so Christine earmarks 12 girls that she needs for undefined purposes. Sadly unsurprisingly, the one time Junior has ever argued with Christine is in claiming one girl he is determined will be his.

Christine picks out one girl, Harriet, to be Eva’s midwife (no, Eva does not get a say). She’s also sending Eva off with said midwife, bulldozing over Eva’s objections.

The resistance is still puzzling over the blueprint to Christine’s evil masterplan. Norrie is still grieving and, really, hanging out at a funeral home is really not helping with that. Julia is worried that Norrie would blame them for blowing up her mother – but Norrie is firm and clear, the one to blame is Christine. Also Julia totally needs to get Barbie back – because let’s make grieving for Carolyn all about Julia and Barbie.

Hunter has cracked Christine’s convenient incriminating voice recorder (because like any villain she feels the need to monologue, but proving herself even worse than most, she chose to record it in case she forgot her triumphant evil gloating. What does she do, play it back on a night “I really need to cackle more. Definitely needs more cackling.”?) We finally have a reason for the recordings, kind of, they’re to guide the new queen (except very little of what she’s recorded so far would be considered guidance). Julia, of course, is horrified that Barbie and Eva are having kiddies.

I’m vaguely amuse that between mind control, the various Dome shenanigans et al, it’s the idea that Christine is planning on a baby that gets a shocked reaction

Hunter has a moment of doubt – he’s worried that he’s not actually contributing to the Resistance because he’s disabled – and Jim (of all people) points out that the hacking and technical skills he’s used for them have been utterly invaluable and none of them could have matched it.

The next plan of the resistance is to try and figure out Christine’s master plan with research… at the library. I question exactly what kind of books their library stocks that they expect to find answers to an alien master plan there. What they’re actually looking for are books about sound because… ugh reasons. They’ve decided sound is involved. While taking books they run into podpeople and have to run from them – right into Sam.

He offers to help them escape and they go with him having little choice, but they don’t exactly trust him. They still take him right back to their headquarters and Hunter has found new research – including a guy called Hektor who is apparently the real head of Acteon. Given the givens, I’m not sure why this is relevant information.

They show Sam her little diagram which Joe has now decided is a way to bring the Dome down based on random guesses because why not. He’s also sure the Dome can be destroyed from the inside by sound which he has discovered by random guessing. Of course he tells all this to Sam who is a full on pod-person (this is my expression of immense shock by this revelation. Truly).

So when Norrie and Hunter, after a really nice moment together talking grief and loss and his accident, go looking for them they find Sam and Joe missing with a clear sign of a struggle.

Jim then goes to Julia to try and convince her to kill Eva and Barbie which will solve all the problems. Of course Julia won’t have anything menace her precious Barbie (Eva she is less concerned about) and wants to bring him back. Jim tells her he tried the emotional connection thing with Junior and it didn’t exactly go to plan (I still put that down to Jim usually being an arsehole). Julia guesses that pain is the key – since Carolyn and Hunter both broke through with pain as well as emotion. If that doesn’t work then she’ll try murder plan B.

Which is when Barbie calls her on the walkie talkie to say how he’s totally realised she’s right and he’s all brainwashed – clearly play acting (and moving to Barbie we see Eva is with him as he spins his story). Julia agrees to a meeting and Barbie prepares his knife.

She arrives at the location and holds Barbie at gun point – and asks him to disarm before she puts her gun away. Then walks closer. Julia, unless you have picked up Kung Fu while we weren’t looking, Barbie does not need a gun to kill you. He spins his lies, she appears to believe him, I’m already clearly some space so I can headdesk appropriately and she injects something into his neck when he tries to take her gun. Jim is also there. At last, a teeny tiny display of intelligence!

Captive, Barbie tries to convince Julia he’s totally on her side. Both Jim and Julia respond with sarcasm.  I approve. Time to torture Barbie back to his senses!

It doesn’t go to plan with Barbie happily dancing on all their sore spots. She still won’t kill him. She does have a new interesting track though – drawing on all the badnaughty killing he’s done in the past (including murdering her husband) and pointing out that with her he was moving on and past that while the Kinship wants him to be that person again.

This also fails and after more of his poking her sore spots he manages to escape. Oh well done. So now she has to run from him. You had one job Julia. She points a gun at him but just lets him take it off her because she can’t shoot him (one job!). He points a gun and she says “I love you” and kisses him. Please no, that cannot work. This isn’t Once Upon a Time. That cannot work

Of course it works. He kisses her and the music gets all dramatic.

Jim has gone to the town hall to kill Eva, killing her guards but then hitting a snag – because Eva is super woman and holds her own – he has to leave when she screams which summons Christine who explains super-womanness is due to the baby.

They take Eva to her barn – and Junior is angry that his chosen girl, Charlotte, is among the 12 sacrificial victims (they’re dressed in white robes, holding candles and Christine says “they won’t feel a thing” so, yes, I call sacrifice).

Jim goes back to the Resistance to find Julia missing (because she’s a damn fool) and Joe missing with the recorded and crystal diagram (because Joe and Norrie are damn fools) and for once I actually pity Jim for the company he keeps rather than the people Jim is inflicted on. Jim has Norrie and Hunter pack because they have to leave before the Kinship arrive – but too late, the Kinship are there, forcing a last stand

Hey, question – so we know the Dome is all part of some weird alien invasion shit, fine. But what was season 2? Or season 1 for that matter? The Dome magnetised… for reasons. It summoned butterflies. It did a whole load of really really random stuff. Was there a reason for that, or were the aliens playing random madlibs?

And don’t say “to make them desperate”, the whole pod-people thing hasn’t really relied on emotional vulnerability – actually the opposite, the more insecure and sadpanda someone is, the less podpeopley they are: hence James needing to “move on” and Sam needing to be forgiven.

But I have praise to Under the Dome! Yes, it can happen! It would have been easy to present Hunter’s survival as just being charity – and perfectly acceptable to say “we don’t let people die and they don’t have to be useful to be allowed to live and be worth keeping” which contrasted Joe and Norrie with how the Kinship regarded Hunter: just because the Kinship didn’t see any value in Hunter didn’t mean he shouldn’t live. Then we have Jim adding that new level that, even with that established, Hunter is still a valuable member of the team and isn’t a “burden” the others support. I think it’s important to do both: both establish that just because someone is disabled it doesn’t mean they cannot contribute and be a valued asset while at the same time avoiding the idea that a person HAS to be an asset to be worthwhile.

I am not impressed by Julia’s true-love’s-kiss breaking alien woo-woo – considering the emotional bonds that have utterly failed to do that in the past. Away with these shenanigans