For your listening pleasure:
I was pretty tough on last week's episode of Under the Dome, the meningitis crisis "Outbreak," because I had hit that point of angry frustration every viewer reaches when watching a massive disappointment. But compared to this week's "Blue on Blue," "Outbreak" may have as well have been an installment of The Wire or Breaking Bad. Maybe it's impatience and exhaustion left over from spending five days at Comic-Con that's talking here, but "Blue on Blue" was the worst episode of television I've seen in a very long time. And I watched Zero Hour, like, just the other day. The good news is that "Blue on Blue" was so ridiculous that it was almost fun to watch, the same way it's fun to watch people take a swift kick to the groin or a cheerleader pyramid crumble to the soundtrack of crashing bowling pins.
So what would the domed-in peeps of Chester's Mill succumb to this week? Well, they've already fought fires, viral outbreaks, and loony cops, so this week the ante was upped all the way to the biggest bombs available short of nuclear missiles. Yep, the military figured it was time to wipe Chester's Mill off the map because in the world of Under the Dome, when the government is forced to confront something it doesn't understand, the best response is to try blowing it up. That's a pretty bold move, so they must have had a good reason, right? Well, if your idea of a good reason is butterflies, then yes!
Basically, a swarm of monarch butterflies, the kings of the butterfly world, descended on the dome and that was apparently all the scientists of the world needed to see in order to move to Plan B: Attack the dome with missiles. I mean, they'd already shot some water at the thing, what else could they possibly do? On the inside, resident super scientist (but radio station gopher) Dodee figured it out. The dome was disturbing magnetic fields, which was confusing the butterflies, and Barbie realized that the government was not about to let the dome screw up millennia of proper magnetization, so KABLAMMO, goodbye Chester's Mill.
I understand that there could be more to the story than what we were given in this episode, but let's think about this for a second, using only the information we already have. It hasn't even been a week since the dome plopped down, and already the government is ready to blast away? Without any knowledge of whether their plan will work, they've decided to fire the Mother Of All Bombs, a bomb so big it has its own acronym, instead of starting with, I dunno, something a little smaller, like a bazooka or a catapult and some rocks? Sounds to me like some more interaction with those on the inside was in order, no matter how many pens would be run dry or sheets of paper used. Maybe the dome's interference with magnetic fields is messing with everyone's television reception or something, and that's why the government felt the need to immediately lay waste to it. Whatever the reason, we don't know what it is, and that's a problem when we're trying to watch and believe in a television show. Without a viable excuse for this sudden leap in outside intervention, all we see is nonsense. And this episode was all nonsense.
Part of that nonsense involved the government busing in dome-dwellers' loved ones to greet their friends from outside the dome before those on the inside knew that a missile was coming. And it was an avalanche of character stories that no one asked for! We were so bombarded with out-of-nowhere storylines that I have bruises. Norrie's dad showed up to say, "Yo! I'm your dad!" much to the chagrin of Norrie's lesbian parents, who accused him of seeking fame from the gathered press. DJ Phil saw his sister, and let us all know by robotically saying, "That's my sister!" so we would all know she was his sister. (She was his sister.) Julia's sister-in-law showed up with a note from her (dead) husband, apologizing for being a total screw-up. Some old lady wanted to say hi to her son. Dodee was sign-languaging to someone. And Linda, after telling people not to touch the dome and to keep their distance from it, ran up to the dome, touched it, and KISSED IT when she saw her fiance, Firefighter Rusty, tonguing the other side, which was so gross that it had to be a joke. And if all that wasn't enough proof that this show is just laughing at us, Rusty also announced that someone wanted to make a reality show about them with their pictures on the cover of People Magazine and the headline "Dome-estic Disturbance." Also, apparently Officer Freddie was the brother of Firefighter Rusty, so Linda had to deliver the bad news by mouthing it out while he used a tablet from corporate sponsor Microsoft to write simple messages to her.
These stories added some depth to Under the Dome's characters, and as we began to explore these—OH WAIT, never mind, because the show dropped them suddenly (we didn't even see a reaction from poor Firefighter Rusty) so that everyone could get worried about the incoming missile once Barbie figured out death was coming from above. "Visitors Day wasn't about saying hello to you families, it was about saying goodbye!" said Barbie, who'd been waiting all his life to zing that one out. The town's plan was to herd everyone into those twisty tunnels underneath the old cement factory—you know, the same tunnels that are dangerous because they could collapse and they sometimes flood. What a great place to hide when the earth above you is about to get pounded by heavy artillery.
And of course people couldn't stay inside. Joe and Norrie went looking for Angie, who we'll get to, and then Julia and Barbie went looking for Joe and Norrie because they had nothing better to do (except stay alive and make smart decisions). All this happened with about five minutes left until the missile was set to hit. The whole time, all I could think was, "This dome is going to hold, right?" And it did. The missile exploded and destroyed everything around Chester's Mill, so way to go, military! And you know what? I don't think those butterflies survived that blast, either.
But that's not all! Under the Dome also showed off its inability to develop any sort of character relationships by destroying what it'd already built up. Let's start with Angie, who FINALLY made it out of the bunker. Way to go Angie! But it didn't always seem like that would be the case. As I hoped would happen last week, Big Jim walked into the shelter where she was being held and pretty much walked right back out, as if he'd accidentally walked in on her while she was changing. But once he realized Chester's Mill was going to be obliterated, he let Angie go. What a nice guy! "Hey lady, since we're all going to die, why don't you go free? Bombs are dropping, so why don't I let you leave this shelter so you can get vaporized above ground instead of staying down here where it's probably safer?" Angie ran back to her parents' house and encountered Junior (who is now a full-fledged cop with a uniform and a sheriff's car and everything?), and the two ended up cuddling. I repeat, Angie snuggled up to the same guy who'd kidnapped her and tortured her. Slam your face into a wall, it will be easier on your head.
Meanwhile, Julia forgave Barbie really easily. At the end of last week's episode she had kicked him out of her house and told him to jump off a cliff, but this week she was sharing a bottle of wine with him. And get this, after her husband made her stay in Chester's Mill, ran up a debt that wiped out all their money, and got into trouble with bookies because of gambling, and after this whole dome situation, THIS IS WHAT SHE SAID: "I didn't understand this place before the dome
came down. Now, after everything we've been through? I'm glad I got to be part of
it." Let me get this straight, lady, you're glad that you got to be part of a ruined marriage to a degenerate husband and forced to live in a city that's been closed off from the rest of the world by a magic dome and plagued with fires and crazy cops and pyromaniac druggy reverends and stupid teenagers instead of eating Chicago's awesome deep-dish pizza everyday? What was in that wine? Ecstasy? Morphine? Stupid juice? Why even have her say that? Are we supposed to be moved by the false sense of community in Chester's Mill because everyone's hiding in the tunnels below an abandoned cement factory? Totally ridiculous.
Anyway, that's what happened in this week's episode of Under the Dome. A missile was launched at the dome, but we all knew the dome would stop it, some teenagers kissed, Linda licked the dome, Julia got so drunk on half a glass of bad wine that she was talking gibberish, and Angie developed a lethal case of Stockholm Syndrome. Despite having Stephen King's guidebook serving as the GPS to move Under the Dome in the right directions, the show is completely lost. Let's hope the oxygen runs out soon.
– Goodbye to Reverend Loony Tunes, who had his hearing aid exploded by the dome after Big Jim pressed his head to it. Did he always have a hearing aid? I don't remember. All I know is this show just got 50 percent less entertaining because he's gone.
– But hello Ben, Joe's dumb friend! Good to have you back. And way to let us know that China almost went to war with us because the country thought we domed ourselves and were testing out a new weapon. That makes a lot of sense. Anyway, where's the party, bro?
– The dialogue and the acting in this episode were about as bad as it gets on network TV. Daytime soaps were watching it and wincing.
– Big Jim regarding MOAB: "You better check your hearing aid, because that's not even a word." Well, Utah would disagree.