When I think about how Under the Dome was made, I imagine a couple people talking about very specific scenes they're excited to film for television. Like the dome falling on Chester's Mill and crushing trucks like soda cans and cutting cows in half. Like the missile exploding into the dome while Joe and Norrie lick each other's lips. Like the reveal of the Mini-Dome and the Purple Egg of Mystery at the end of last night's "Imperfect Circles." I didn't read the book, and after watching this show I never will—in fact I'll probably run away screaming if I ever see a copy—but I'm guessing these scenes are memorable ones of Stephen King's novel. The kind of scenes that a show creator would get really excited about bringing to the small screen after powering through the book during a Corona-fueled beach read. There's a solid vision apparent in such moments, because they're supposed to be landmarks for the series. They make you think, "Hey, this show can rise above its community theater budget and put something halfway compelling on my TV."
But then there's the remaining 99 percent of the show, and it appears to have been made by monkeys with blindfolds on. I mean, how did Junior end up being one of only two cops in town? Did Julia forget about her husband before or after her all-night sex romp with the rugged, dangerous, and lying stranger she kicked out of her house the other day? How did Chester's Mill, a representation of America and its core values of neighborly goodness, let an eight-months-pregnant woman just deal with dome-related trauma on her own until she needed some yogurt? Why is Joe such a horny perv?
Despite all that nonsense, Under the Dome did something right in "Imperfect Circles" because it felt like the show's most serialized hour to date. And while serialization doesn't necessary equal better quality, it worked here as a change of pace (especially since that "pace" was terrible). There wasn't any real problem of the week unless you count Harriet and the Dome's premie baby, but it wasn't the all-consuming threat of a house fire, viral outbreak, or government plan to kill everyone via megaton missile, and the events of what happened last week weren't immediately forgotten. Now hold onto those horses of yours, I'm not saying the episode was good or anything! Lord no. But instead of running into a wall over and over again, Under the Dome had a bit of momentum for the first time ever.
Now let's talk about that dome baby. What in the world? The dome can now punk people into seeing phantoms of loved ones? Pregnant Harriet imagined that her off-to-war husband Greg just appeared in his Halloween costume store sailor's outfit.
She was super excited because he's off to war but he's also here! How can he be in two places at the same time?
Then she went to hold his hand but PSYCH it was the dome!
And the dome zapped her into labor!
And of course Under the Dome showed her water break because we really needed to see that. I know it's a miracle and all that and we should all appreciate that our species can reproduce naturally and God bless you women for your ability to carry a living thing inside you for nine months, but please, no close ups of pregnant-lady water breaking on family-friendly television even if she is just crushing a water balloon with her thighs. It was so gross I had to make a GIF of it.
So far as I can tell, Harriet had the baby and YAY she had a baby and named it Alice after Norrie's lesbian mom who helped deliver it. There was a minor complication with the umbilical cord just to dial up the drama to 2 (out of 100), but other than that, it was just a plain, boring birth and a plain, boring baby and not the super-awesome half-dome baby I was hoping for. If there's nothing special about that stupid baby then I'm going to be really mad. I'll have to assume that Dr. Dome is performing miracles now and if that baby hadn't been born immediately then the baby would have choked on its own feeding tube. Way to go, Dr. Dome.
But "The Dome giveth, and The Dome taketh away," as the Holy Dome Bible sayeth, and as one Alice entereth the world, another Alice lefteth it. Dr. Alice battled low blood sugar and a diabetic shutdown but lost, croaking in front of her daughter Norrie shortly after delivering dome baby. RIP Alice. It's a shame that no one thought to go get all that insulin from the hospital to save her life, but oh well!
Angie is still getting the worst deal of anyone on this show. Why is she even in Under the Dome in the first place? She's been trapped in an endless escapade of senseless shenanigans. So far her character has had sex with a maniac, been kidnapped and imprisoned in an underground bunker, gotten wet, screamed and broke my eardrums, cuddled with and stabbed that same maniac, almost got raped, and now she buried her dead maternal figure and diner boss Rose. At least she finally reunited with her bro Joe. That was so worth the wait, wasn't it?
Junior continued to play cop, and I swear to you that at one point during the episode it dawned on me that Junior is one of only two cops in town and I broke into a fit of laughter that took two full minutes to pass. Junior drives around a cop car and wears the blue. JUNIOR! This show found the laziest way to give this guy a badge and is actually sticking with it. Think about it: Junior is A COP. Let that sink in. And he got the badge by holding people hostage with a shotgun in a hospital waiting room instead of explaining to the people that they needed to be quarantined for safety reasons. He waved around his boomstick and was given hero status for it. "You successfully terrified dozens of old people with meningitis. Have a badge, Officer Looney Toons." That's how Linda's badge presentation went.
Anyway, Junior and Linda ran around town chasing the almost-rapists Dundee Brothers for the murder of Rose. Junior thought he should go on the manhunt because he knows the Dundees and could maybe "talk them down without things getting stupid." And then the show immediately cut to Linda handing Junior a HUGE GUN.
It's important that when you're talking someone down without things getting stupid you come strapped with a giant automatic weapon. How is it that the series' most insane character ends up with giant f*cking guns in his hands every three minutes? I expect Junior to have a rocket launcher or a flamethrower to break up a dispute over a parking space next week. I should also note that Linda has a standard-issue pistol, like any self-respecting cop would, yet she handed a supergun to cop-for-a-day Junior, who probably still hasn't cut the price tags off his new policeman uniform. Linda also decided that just before going to peacefully arrest the Dundee Bros. with Junior was the perfect time to tell Junior that the Dundees tried to rape the woman he was obsessed with. So guess what happened when they met the Dundees?
These two definitely need to be in a straight cop procedural spinoff called Terrible Police. After murdering Crocodile Dundee's grandkids, Junior found Angie and told her that the Dundees wouldn't be bothering her anymore. Because he killed them. Maybe this is the kind of no-tolerance justice Chester's Mill needs.
Big Jim was... Jesus, what was Big Jim doing in this episode? Something about propane? He was trading that mean old Farmer Ollie propane in exchange for the use of his water wells. Wait a second, didn't the dome solve the water crisis with rain? Do the townspeople have buckets of fresh, distilled rain water or not? I'm super confused. Somehow, Farmer Ollie took over Big Jim's propane orchard by sending over a goon with a gun and then demanded that Big Jim become his bitch. Instead, Big Jim got Big Drunk and then blew up the goon when he was in his very explodable truck. That happened! Out of nowhere! Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one: Blow things up. I mean, he REALLY blew it up.
Nice shot, Jim!
But the real almost actually interesting part of the episode came with teen-romance team Joe and Norrie, because they are the only people on this show who still give a doodoo about the dome. After making out against the dome (nice one, Joe) to try to get it to do something, Joe figured there was something more they could do to get it to respond. And that's when Norrie dropped what will surely be the best line of dialogue you'll hear all summer:
Let's examine that quote. It sounds like she's ready to have sex with Joe, but not against the dome. It also sounds like she's open to trying sex against the dome at a later, more appropriate time. She's a keeper, Joe. Just the right combination of sluttiness and innocence.
Anyway, they figured they should take a trip to the center of the dome to see if they can find out what's powering it, like Joe suggested a few episodes ago and we've been screaming since this show started. And when they got there, they found an even smaller dome! DOME-CEPTION! Russian Nesting Domes! Are we all living in a series of never-ending domes-within-domes? The philosophical ramifications of this are–oh wait, nope, there's a weird purple egg inside. And kids, growing up in a Siri-assisted world, shouted commands at the tiny dome (actual quotes):
That didn't work. But they did end up seeing an apparition of Norrie's mom Alice (wtf?) and that's when we loop back to Norrie running back to her mom just in time to see her die.
But that kicked off the ending montage that I talked about way back in the first paragraph, which gave us glimpses of everyone around town: Harriet and her new baby, Norrie's mom dying while her wife looked on, Barbie and Julia cuddling on the couch, Big Jim acting like he wasn't responsible for blowing up Ollie's goon while onlookers gaped, and Norrie pleading with the dome to bring her mom back and tell her what it wants. It was cheesy and nothing extraordinary, but dammit, it's the closest thing this show has ever had to a soul and I'd just like to point that out. And in the final shot, the Purple Egg of Mystery inside the Mini-Dome began to light up. This is what Under the Dome should be like all the time! I mean, I get a kick out of the terrible cornball stick-Angie-in-a-bunker-for-four-episodes Under the Dome, but if this show wants to be taken seriously and be somebody, then it's going to need more of this.
– Just once more, okay? "Joe I'm not having sex with you for the first against the dome." Also, maybe I'm a bit of a pervert but that whole conversation was really sexual. Joe kept on saying how awesome Norrie was at makin' out, and then he said, "I'm just saying maybe we're trying to get a response from it in the wrong place. Maybe the real action isn't along the perimeter."
– Another great quote: "I touched the dome it did something to my baby!" Domes are the new dingos!
– Another great quote: "I can't believe we're being... gasjacked."
– The old salvage yard, where kids go to play Hide-n-Seek. That's some fine detective work there, Junior.
– What do you think turned the Purple Egg of Mystery on? Was it the baby being born? Was it Alice dying? Was it Norrie crying? Did someone have sex up against it?
– Junior got slapped by his dad! It was great.
– I still love Skateboardin' Ben, he's my favorite character. He connected with Angie and helped her bury Rose because he was being a good citizen on patrol and making sure no one else was roughin' up the diner. YEAH RIGHT I'm not buying that Ben. He had the munchies obviously.
AIRED ON 9/16/2013
Season 1 : Episode 13