HALLELUJAH! Our lord has returned to Chester's Mill. I am over the moon (well not quite over the moon, since I can't get out from under this Dome) because Stoner Ben is back to totally shred some gnarly half-pipes as well as our notion of the low end of human intelligence. I barely even know what else happened in "In the Dark" because I'm so excited about Ben; he's all I can think about. There was talk of a "Dome," I think? But who cares! Ben is back, and his return was better than I ever could've imagined it would be.
And it's a good thing that Ben reappeared when he did, because this episode was hecka-boring with a capital BORING, loaded with stall tactics and dopey character chatter designed to fill an hour of incredibly subpar television. I mean, some dudes went into a hole and some kids touched an egg, basically. And on that note, I really do not like Under the Dome's Emmy chances this year. At this rate, I'm not even sure it will win a Domie Award.
Before we get to Ben's triumphant return, let's slog through the rest of what happened in "In the Dark," which began with Junior blowing something up. Junior, Sam, and Barbie set off to explore the largest high-school locker in the world, and then Junior saw his mom's journal sitting out in the open in a very suspicious place. Don't fall for that trick again, Junior!
As @thegroovologist has already mentioned in the comments, this was the second time that Lyle duped Junior with Junior's mom's journal. It's especially great that Lyle had time to set up a booby trap using the journal—which very well may be the most important artifact in Chester's Mill, since it predicts the future—while he was on the run from the ever-changing Chester's Mill PD. When did Barbie accept the job of sheriff? Where is his uniform? Why didn't he rip Officer Linda's cop shirt off of Officer DJ Phil and put it on? The Dome came down two weeks ago, and so far the town has already had four different sheriffs: Duke (R.I.P.), Linda (R.I.P.), DJ Phil, and now Barbie. Barbie's the third sheriff of the season, and we're only on Episode 6. If I lived in Chester's Mill, I would've started questioning the integrity of the local law enforcement about 10 episodes ago.
Anyway, the explosion caused the tunnel to cave in, natch, and the resulting in-the-moment scurrying left Barbie and Sam trapped behind it with Junior—the goober who got them into this mess—free on the other side. This gross injustice proves that the Dome is also keeping karma and Darwinism out of Chester's Mill.
Julia was so concerned she could barely put a sentence together, so she strung together a few phrases with zero natural cadence like she was a robo-droid trying to understand the English language but still working out the bugs.
This was really hilarious and it made me choke on my tongue. I'm not going to hold it against Julia, though. Sometimes my computer is a little slow when it needs a reboot, too.
The cave-in gave Sam and Barbie time to show off their chest hair and fling accusations at each other until they found an even bigger hole inside the already-quite-large hole! First it's Domes inside of Domes, now it's holes inside of holes. I hope Joe gets sawed in half and a mini-Joe comes crawling out of his belly before the end of the season.
The two dudes continued to yap about which one of them was lying about stuff until it was time for them to have a heartfelt conversation about how they were scared of the Dome. But to me it sounded like Barbie and Sam were talking about the watching Under the Dome, with Sam playing the part of a dude who has given up on the show and can't understand the plotting, and Barbie portraying a stubborn fan who refuses to quit tuning in and is suffering from total denial.
I was in Barbie's position about 20 minutes into Under the Dome's pilot, but I've been Sam ever since Episode 2.
Eventually Barbie noticed the scratches that Angie left on Sam's shoulder, which meant it was gun-pointing time, and Sam explained that all the Dome kids had to be killed because that's what would make the Dome come down, and Sam was going to be the one to do the murderin'. But not only did the new Domesketeers (Joe, Norrie, Junior) have to be killed, the old ones (Melanie, Sam, Pauline, Lyle) had to be sacrificed as well! Sam's plan was to kill all of them and then kill himself. I have no idea how he planned to kill Pauline, though; she was somewhere pretending to be dead so she didn't have to hang out with Big Jim.
But since killing everyone wasn't going to work, Sam decided to kill himself immediately by jumping into the hole and leaving the burden of killing all the Domesketeers, both young and old, to Barbie. I'm not totally sure why he did this, and I would bet that if Sam had given the idea two more seconds of thought, he would wonder why he did it, too.
Meanwhile, Julia and Rebecca the Science Teacher were busy working on a plan to get Barbie and Sam out of their hole-y tomb. After a microsecond of debate, Rebecca the Science Teacher used the science degree she fished out of a cereal box to come up with this whopper of structural engineering genius:
Rebecca the Science Teacher's practical use of her natural-world wisdom errs on the side of extremism. So far she'd tried to fix a caterpillar infestation by torching fields inside an enclosed Dome, she's tried to remedy a food shortage by indiscriminately committing mass murder with manmade swine flu, and she's tried to rescue two people from a tunnel that collapsed in an explosion by setting off another explosion inside the tunnel. And because everyone under the Dome has the memory of a goldfish and the intelligence of a stupid goldfish, Julia agreed to the "let's try another explosion" plan.
While all this was happening underground, a far more deadly disaster was threatening Chester's Mill on the Earth's surface! A dust storm!
UNDER THE DOME SCIENCE FACT-ISMS: According to Rebecca the Science Teacher, the dust storm was caused when the acidity in the acid rain dried up the town's topsoil. And according to Big Jim, the dust would clog up the pores in the Dome, leaving them with no oxygen and suffocating the whole town! This has been an Under the Dome Science Fact-ism!
I'm sure Rebecca the Science Teacher's first thought was to blow up the dust storm or build a giant flamethrower to burn it, but she settled on what basically amounts to constructing a giant humidifier out of a hose and a windmill. But how was Chester's Mill going to get a windmill while the town was in the middle of a dust storm and inside a Dome where Windmills R Us couldn't deliver?
Science (and unfinished science projects) wins again!
Except that Big Jim had to convince everyone at the diner to fight the dust storm instead of just waiting it out. If only there was some sacrificial lamb who could be used as an example to illustrate what an extreme position the town was in. If that person could almost die going out into the blinding dust storm and return just in the nick of time to be saved, then Big Jim might be able to sway the Chester's Millians into action now instead of dilly-dallying and potentially risking more lives! Were there any volunteers to be that dumb idiot who went out into the dust storm with no protection despite all common sense pointing toward staying put indoors where the dust storm couldn't cause harm?
STONER BEN IS BACK!!!
It took six episodes for Under the Dome's best character to make an appearance in Season 2, and it was amazing. This rebel kid is a man of action, and Ben found trouble in all of four seconds.
But poor Stoner Ben didn't realize how dangerous this dust storm actually was. Just look at what it was doing to the Domesketeers!
Unfortunately for Ben, he was not in possession of these screen captures, which serve as a warning regarding the dangers of dust storms. So this happened:
Stoner Ben's near encounter with sobriety (and death, I suppose) was scary enough to convince everyone to move forward with Operation Giant Humidifier—but more importantly, it was long enough to make sure this episode wasn't only 32 minutes long.
So Operation Giant Humidifier was officially underway, and it was a testament to what this town can do when everyone works together to shoot water at a cloud of dust with an old and unfinished science project.
It worked! While Julia was blowing things up underground, Big Jim was getting work done and moving closer to resuming a leadership role over Chester's Mill's poor, unfortunate souls who have to choose between a bald murderer and a redheaded Golden Retriever puppy.
When the Domesketeers weren't collecting dust on their faces, they were involved in some serious drama. Joe and Norrie totally broke up! Junior and Melanie almost hooked up! Norrie accused Melanie of being a slut! Joe pouted! It was intense, but everyone managed to get through all of that to do what they were meant to do: put their hands together on a boat.
And don't think we can't see you with a pink egg in the reflection of the engine, camera crew!
Anyway, the hand trick worked and an egg jumped out of the water or something and everyone was happy about that. So happy, in fact, that Joe and Norrie got back together, so you don't have to worry about the dissolution of television's greatest teen romantical relationship. The kidz took the egg back to someone's house and they all put their paws on it, and the egg spat out a bunch of pink stars again. Except this time there was a structure made out of pink stars that was floating in the room—and it was the same structure Junior saw in that snow globe and the same structure from Melanie's home town of Zenith. "What does it mean?" Joe asked, before the camera cut to the next scene so Under the Dome could avoid having to even attempt to answer the question.
And that was "In the Dark." Sam excused himself down a bottomless pit, the kids saw a building hologram, Big Jim regained some of the public's trust just hours after trying to kill most of the public, and Stoner Ben shredded some dome so hard. It was not a very good episode of Under the Dome, but neither were the previous 18.
– What happened to Joe's blood tests?
– What happened to Big Jim's calling from the Dome?
– What happened to all the ghosts?
– What happened with all the email communications?
– What happened to DJ Phil?
– What happened to Officer Linda's firefighter boyfriend?
– What happened to the big propane scam?
– What happened to all the military intervention?
– What happened to all the charred ground outside the dome from all the MOABs that were fired at the Dome?
– What happened to Ben between when we last saw him and this episode?
– Quotables: "Is there a brain under that hair?" "I appreciate you looking after me but Lyle's dying today." "He's crazier than a rat in a jar since the Dome came down." "You went... through this... locker?" "Neither wind, nor rain, nor crappy-ass dust." "Do you hit on everyone?" "I would rather risk dying again than not knowing why I'm here any longer." "The egg started screaming." "I left the love of my life in a hole, like garbage. And now she's back."
AIRED ON 9/10/2015
Season 3 : Episode 13