The microclimate inside the Dome is getting to be more of an aggro-climate, if you ask me, and that means nothing but good times for us because it means horrible times for the dopes who live in Chester's Mill. "Force Majeure" was as elegant as its title suggested, definitely worthy of a people and a country that is known for its strength in times of crisis and war.
It was also an episode that continued Under the Dome's push into legitimate real-world science-fiction serial-procedural dramedy biblical horror, as certain storylines further developed into more than simple tales about a Dome and those trapped therein. Under the Dome is about Dome religion. It's about Dome science. It's about an axe murderer on the loose. It's about a teen love triangle. It's about an insane science teacher who must be stopped before she burns the entire town to the ground. It's about some rando guy who lives in a cabin even though he doesn't appear to serve any point on the show. It's about a girl who hatched from a Dome-egg at the bottom of a lake and has amnesia. It's about a diner with an endless supply of coffee, where the locals can continue to define Chester's Mill as Anytown, USA trapped beneath Anydome, USA despite all hell breaking loose just outside. It's about life, man. And caterpillar infestations. Under the Dome is about everything, guys. You really can't go wrong.
But "Force Majeure" was about building conflict, and nothing builds conflict like scalding rain burning townfolk and a liberal scientist and a barber-turned-conversative-religious-quack debating the purpose of the Dome. Let's start with that barber, who is now a main character, apparently, and a staple of Chester's Mill despite never appearing on Under the Dome in the past. For one thing, I think it's cool that a barber still keeps regular hours despite the Dome and the town being in a near-constant state of emergency. Gotta hand it to the small business owners of Chester's Mill, they are inspirational hard-working individuals (or very desperate for cash).
Did you catch that conversation between Big Jim and Lyle the Jesus Barber? Big Jim asked Lyle to mix him some cologne to seduce Rebecca the Science Teacher, I think? Is Big Jim really making moves on Rebecca?
And then he said something about not wanting a certain smell because it smelled "effeminate," and all of a sudden Under the Dome showed its true colors and made a statement. Two old white guys in a barber shop basically saying "no homo" to each other? Methinks the Dome has closed off these guys' minds, too.
Big Jim's plan was to take a census (in the diner of course) and figure out who needed what, I guess? It wasn't really stated why, but it would become very convenient for Rebecca the Science Teacher's master plan, which we'll get to in a minute. In the meantime, there were some major cat fights developing!
But just before the claws could come out, the micro-climate opened up and rained down Dome blood tears!
Everyone had their own idea about what it was.
All these differences of opinion became important for putting a bat to a dead horse as the series reinforced Season 2's main theme for the 2,538th time: It's science versus religion. The science of a magical Dome holding a town captive versus the religion of a Holy Dome blessing its occupants. Is the Dome out to protect people, or to torture them? Or maybe it just wants to torture us? Is this show our Dome? Are we running out of oxygen? So much metaphysicality I can't stand it!
Lyle, who must bear the burden of town priest because Under the Dome killed that drug-sniffing reverend from Season 1 (that's why you should've kept him around, show!), believed the red rain was one of the ten Biblical Plagues.
This basically offended Rebecca the (Liberal, God-Hating) Science Teacher to no end. Come to think of it, everything offends Rebecca the Science Teacher to no end. I've only seen her smile once. She's my favorite Under the Dome character by a country mile and a city block and I would love to stroke her hair and pick daisies for her. She is S-M-R-T and business-like and she likes to kill people and caterpillars!
But Rebecca the Science Teacher's loud, brainy mouth got her in trouble, because she didn't realize that yokels who talk to invisible men in the sky miiiiight be a little temperamental. Lyle came up with a foolproof plan to kidnap Rebecca the Science Teacher as payback for all that fancy science talk.
Meanwhile, Joe, Norrie, and Dome Girl starred in a Microsoft Surface ad as Joe turned on his tablet and somehow got internet—which was never explained other than Joe saying "there must be a crack in the Dome."
Norrie was trending on Twitter (seriously) and Joe got an email from his dad and Junior got a video message from his mom telling him the she was alive but she never answered any questions, she just told him to talk to Lyle. You know, that guy who didn't even exist 20 minutes ago. Then the internet cut out (probably because Chester's Mill has Comcast). And apparently they were looking at their tablets for a long, long time because the next time we looked at Joe's desktop it was Saturday the 18th!
And then we looked at it once more and time had jumped AGAIN, because it was Saturday the 7th and Joe had uploaded a sweet selfie as his profile pic.
But even time-traveling Microsoft Surface tablets (MSRP $700 but on sale because they blow) could keep Norrie's hatred of Dome Girl at any other level than boiling rage.
By this time, Lyle had Rebecca the Science Teacher tied up as a hostage so he could shout Bible passages at her until the science was exorcised out of her, but Barbie, Junior, and Julia showed up in time for a showdown!
And so the day was saved because Lyle does not know how to tie a knot that a 76-pound woman with tiny wrists could not escape from.
Norrie still couldn't get over her jealousy of Dome Girl and continued the threats after Dome Girl put her hand on Joe's shoulder, which is obviously the step just before she rips his shirt off and licks his nipple.
But Dome Girl survived the near-lethal head-poking assault and went to that mysterious locker that Angie died in front of and OPENED IT because she already knew the combination!!! WHOA. Joe went through the school's records and dug up the names of everyone who had ever been assigned to that locker, because all schools keep a decades-long log of locker assignments, and then he had Dome Girl look at the names to see if any of them rang a bell. One from 1988 did, and Joe grabbed the 1988 yearbook and OMG it was a picture of DOME GIRL! Mind
exploded slightly irritated!
The acid rain problem was still trickling down but Rebecca the Science Teacher gave a big "fuck you" to everyone who was spouting religious nonsense by using science to eliminate the threat. Like, she sprayed some chemicals into a puddle and then the problem was immediately fixed?
And then, because she was on a roll, Rebecca the Science Teacher decided she would totally prove to everyone that there was no Dome God by playing Dome God herself. Her new plan was to murder a certain percentage of the population in Chester's Mill so that supplies and rations would last longer and give people more of a chance to survive. Big Jim's census had already provided information about which suckers would need more help because they were sick or weak or whatever. It was genius and sexy! Everyone quickly accepted her plan to kill people, except that prude Julia of course. Even Barbie was like, "Ehh it's a pretty good plan," and those two had a lover's spat that I'm sure we can all identify with: She says, "No let's not murder 100 people," and he says, "But there isn't enough Hamburger Helper for all of them." That happens like every week in my house.
I'll admit, this episode had a lot of potential with all the acid rain and head-poking, but it felt like it was going in circles and repeating the science versus religion argument that was pretty well laid-out in the first few minutes of the Season 2 premiere. I fear that the rest of the season will be a series of problems that arise for Rebecca the Science Teacher to fix with science while Dome Religion people take the credit. Which means that's probably what will happen, because this show constantly realizes my worst fears, as if Under the Dome is living in the part of my brain where nightmares are created.
– Seriously, isn't Rebecca the Science Teacher the greatest addition to the series since the Dome?
– Whatever happened to all the ghosts?
– Would the acid rain have taken care of the caterpillar infestation? Or did Rebecca's plan to use pesticides actually cause the acid rain?
AIRED ON 9/22/2014
Season 2 : Episode 13