Under the Dome "Going Home" Review: Dome Break!
Hi, Under the Dome fans (are those a real thing?)! Tim is currently out in the wilderness building a dome out of broken bottles and bubblegum so he can properly research the effects of caterpillar plagues, blood rain, and rappelling into Dome-built tunnels on one's psyche. Talk about commitment to his art! Unfortunately, his absence means that we're covering the show a little differently this week, with Jen and I filling in to try and make sense of "Going Home."
The first thing you should know is that pretty much everything I know about Under the Dome, I learned from Tim's reviews; until "Going Home," I'd never watched a single episode. So I knew right from the start that I was going to have plenty of questions. And now that I've seen the episode, I have even more questions—most notably, "How the hell does Tim watch this show every week?" And "How did Dean Norris go from playing Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad to playing a guy who thinks a dome—A DOME—wants him to do stuff?" And finally, "How is this a real show?" But we'll have to ponder those some other time, because right now we have plenty to discuss that's specific to "Going Home." Let's get to it!
KAITLIN: Okay, so apparently Sam died last week after jumping off a cliff in the tunnels, and now Barbie wants to prove that Sam killed Angie by showing the people of Chester's Mill the scratches she left on him when he whacked her. Sure, that makes total sense, since it's not like Sam would've gotten scratched up when he FELL TO HIS DOOM, but whatever. The more important question is, "Why did Barbie think he'd be able to find Sam's body at all, given that he saw Sam disappear in to the Darkness but didn't hear him go splat?" This is a show that birthed a lady from a lake, right? If the tunnels appeared out of nowhere just like the Dome did, wouldn't they be equally weird and not conform to normal tunnel standards?
JEN: Basically the first thing to understand about this show is that you have to ignore questions like, "Why can we assume that this tunnel—which was dug by the Dome, as Joe so helpfully suggested—conforms to normal tunnel standards?" and "Why was Rebecca the Science Teacher so surprised that her compass went all wacky even though the Dome's been magnetic since the season premiere?" and "If it's a really long tunnel, why is it so odd that a laser pointer doesn't reach the other side?" and "How the hell did Julia and Rebecca the Science Teacher possibly hold on to Barbie for as long as they did?" Logic has no place here.
But anyway, yeah, Sam jumped last week after admitting that he killed Angie, and Barbie was determined to retrieve Sam's body because the only way that people would believe Sam was a killer was if they saw the scratches that Angie clawed into him. But as we now know, Barbie won't be finding Sam's body, because Sam is alive! And so is Barbie! And they're both out from under the Dome!
KAITLIN: Don't forget there's a third person who made it out from under the Dome! When I heard that Lyle was out in the "real world," I was really hoping we'd learn that he was hiding his true identity by masquerading as a country singer named Dwight Yoakam. So I was kind of bummed to discover that he was just sitting in a room at the psychiatric hospital repeating the name Melanie over and over and over again. Definitely a missed opportunity.
But going back to Barbie, I guess I don't really understand any of his intentions. Whether he loves Julia or not, the Dome is full of unexplained dust storms, zombie Dome Girls, Rebecca the Science Teacher's dangerous pig flu experiments, and who knows what else. Plus, Julia doesn't even seem that cool or smart! Is she really the only reason he wants to go back?
I'm also hella confused about the role his father plays in all this. Are we supposed to know who he is?
JEN: This was the first time we've met Barbie's father, so you're not really behind on that front. In fact, I think it was also the first time time we really learned anything about whatever dirty deeds Barbie was up to prior to the Dome coming down and trapping him in Chester's Mill—all that stuff about the job he was supposed to do regarding Aktaion Energy so he and his thug pals could clear a lot of cash. For the record, I thought it was pretty boring and I don't understand why we're supposed to care.
Since you mentioned Lyle, I guess we now know that he's always been certifiable, but also that he's been receiving postcards from Pauline the Presumed Dead Dome Predictor for years, so maybe we shouldn't be to hard on him? And by the way, Melanie is Dome Girl, a.k.a. the previously dead lady who came out of the lake. So the mystery of how everything is connected rolls on!
KAITLIN: What about the mystery of WTF is up with Dome Girl and that egg? I mean, "Did the egg do anything else last night?" "Not since it showed us the obelisk from Zenith." Is the dialogue always like this?
JEN: I think it was Norrie and not Dome Girl who uttered that gem of an inquiry, but it doesn't really matter. The point is that the egg is all antsy about the obelisk in Zenith, Zenith is the hometown of both Dome Girl and Barbie, and, as Norrie was quick to point out, "It has to mean something!" So yeah, the dialogue is always like this. It's actually been getting progressively worse.
KAITLIN: Yikes. The more I try to understand Under the Dome, the I more confused I get. It's like the Dome rounded up the dumbest people within a 500-mile radius and quarantined them in Chester's Mill. Did anyone ever think that might be the reason this is happening? The people who got out of the Dome in "Going Home" don't seem to have any real agenda, so what was the point of the episode?
JEN: Gotta keep that New Character Pipeline open, Kaitlin! But you're right, in the end, not very much actually happened. We learned that Dome Girl and Barbie are both from Zenith, that there's a significant obelisk in Zenith, and that Zenith is connected to Chester's Mill via a subterranean tunnel of indeterminate length and gravitational tendencies. Lyle, Sam, and Barbie are currently there, as is Big Jim's presumed-dead wife Pauline. Sam and Pauline have so much to talk about; all Lyle does these days is eat, sleep, and say "Melanie," and Barbie wants his dad to help him get back to the Dome and the woman whose husband he murdered less than a month ago. That's pretty much everything, right? Commenters: What'd we miss?
– How creepy was Big Jim when he was talking to Rebecca the Science Teacher about Barbie? "I didn't want to to wait [to have a memorial], given Barbie's importance to this town. I'm sad that he's gone. I know at times we may have been enemies, but often he was the only thing standing between this town and disaster. It's a real loss for everyone. And now it's time for all of us to come together." Also, remember how Barbie wasn't even part of Chester's Mill before the Dome came down, a mere 17 days ago according to the news billboard in Zenith?
– Sam's hand is shaky, so he might not be as "okay" as he looks.
– No Ben this week. Come back, Ben!
– Joe thinks the Dome dug the tunnel because it's part of the Dome's plan.
– LOL at how Barbie's dad could tell that the reason Barbie wants to go back to the Dome, to "risk everything" is that "there's a woman inside."
– How far away from Chester's Mill is Zenith supposed to be? Do we know? When Barbie fell through that tunnel, we kind of wanted him to end up in China.
– So Pauline is in a locked ward and that's why Sam needed an escort to visit her, but then escort just gave him a thumbs-up and took off? And Pauline was teaching an art class all by herself without any hospital personnel in sight? And then Pauline and Sam were allowed to just take an unsupervised stroll around the campus?
– Sam to Pauline: "How come you didn't tell me you were going to fake your own death?" Pauline to Sam: "I knew the Dome was going to come down even if Big Jim said I was crazy."
– It's a good thing Joe was president of the school robotics club, otherwise he wouldn't've been able to hook up a drone-bot to a Microsoft Surface and identify the shadow of a playground slide!
– Barbie's backstory is super boring. Why are we supposed to care about his rocky relationship with his dad? Everything Mr. Barbie did "in business," all the strings he pulled—it was all for their family! Snore.
– In case you've forgotten, the Dome coming down was "arguably the most significant event in history." How'd you like that weird expository monologue from Mr. Barbie? "The whole world is watching! The National Guard has established a 10-mile, no-go zone around the perimeter, and the other half of that is a bombed-out wasteland!"
What'd you think of "Going Home"?
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