It took Big Jim nine-ish days of being trapped under a dome to declare a State of Emergency in Chester's Mill, which is probably the slowest reaction by a public official in the history of emergency states. (Feel free to come up with your own Leno-ish Big Jim would fit right in in Congress joke, because I almost did and then thought better of it.) But as silly as that sounds, Big Jim isn't too far off! Chester's Mill did reach the next level of danger in "Speak of the Devil," and not because of a runaway Barbie, like Big Jim thinks.
This new danger is the gradually depleting supply of oxygen under the dome, because there's no other way to explain the brain damage that's slowly spreading among the people of Chester's Mill. Everyone was suffering from a severe case of the stupids this week, but none more than those f*cking kids. Those stupid, f*cking kids. We barely had a chance to put on our tin foil hats before idiocy took over in "Speak of the Devil," the most confusing episode yet of this constantly baffling and rarely rewarding vacant summer series. Let's revisit the chat that opened the episode, as the kids determined they should tell Julia about the sweet stoner personal planetarium they opened up when the Guardians of Some Secret Cosmic Mystery Club (Norrie's words, not mine) pawed at the mini-dome. Bear with me here.
Joe said they had to tell someone about the mini-dome and the constellations they painted on the barn, and Angie responded with, "The dome has been pretty clear about not wanting anyone else to know about it." Oh really, Angie? Joe said they could tell Julia because when she touched the dome she saw Joe's ghost (ugh), and it said "The monarch will be crowned." Then Joe said, "She may not be one of us, but she might have some answers." Oh really, Joe? The puppy-eyed redhead journalist who is sleeping with the man who killed her husband instead of investigating the dome might have some answers? Okay, sure. Then Junior stood up and said, "Joe's right, that thing is gonna hatch and then maybe it will lead us to something. Or someone." Junior, that doesn't even follow up on Joe's thought. Now you're just pushing the script along without any regard for clarity or coherence. And what thing will hatch? The mini-dome? The egg? The cocoon? Anyway, then Norrie said something to the effect of, "Like the 'Monarch' is a person or a king," and Joe jumped to the conclusion that this person will also be able to bring down the dome for whatever reason. THEN Angie said, with so much blind confidence, "Alright, so the dome trusts Julia," and had Joe march off and tell her about their discovery.
These kids are hatching important plans based on fairy tales and flimsy assumptions, and they're all enabling each other's moronic logic by stamping hollow seals of approval on statements they didn't even listen to. But hey, we're moving along!
So what happened when Joe told Julia about the purple laser light show? Well, he never got a chance to do so, because Max shot Julia in the right shoulder as a statement for Barbie because he walked out on Max. And it looked like this!
Keep in mind that all this happened before the credits even rolled, and the confusing sequence of scenes was a good pace-setter for the absurdity and nonsense that would follow. If you didn't watch the episode and are just here to read my review and look at pretty pictures of Rachelle Lefevre, then you're probably thinking to yourself, "Oh Tim, always the exaggerator." But what if I told you that a) Rachelle Lefevre IS pretty and will be a first-ballot Pretty Person Hall of Fame inductee and b) there was a tornadome inside the dome because the dome got angry that Junior threatened to leave the Guardians of Some Secret Cosmic Mystery League? Would you believe me then? Well, put on your believing shoes because there was a tornadome inside the dome because the dome got angry that Junior threatened to leave the Guardians of Some Secret Cosmic Mystery League. PROOF:
It's always nice to see the storm from Ghostbusters get extra work here and there. Reactions to this whirlwind of dome anger varied, so let's judge the responses.
And you two are supposed to be the "celebrated" actors in this show. For shame. Anyway, if you thought the tornadome was going to be a dominant part of the episode—and you should have, because tornadomes are generally something that would at least top the local news—you would be wrong. Sure, it knocked over a few trees and blew some old receipts around, but it took off as quickly as it arrived probably because CGI is expensive. Once Junior decided that he wasn't leaving the Guardians of Some Secret Cosmic Mystery Brotherhood, the storm went away; apparently it was happy knowing that it'd brought lovebirds Angie and Junior closer together.
Or was it actually something else?! Simultaneously, at the hospital, Barbie was sucking air out of Julia's lung through a tube (siphoning was a big theme in this episode), and he saved her life with Joe as a witness. Joe was in awe and made another mockery of logic by declaring that Barbie was the "monarch" and that he was here to save everyone.
Joe went back to the clubhouse to tell the other kids all about Barbie's magic lung-sucking skills and claimed that Barbie was the reason the storm stopped, but Junior was like, "No way, Joe-sé," and took credit for stopping the storm because it was his decision to rejoin the Guardians of Some Secret Cosmic Mystery Alliance, a move the dome approved. At this point my brain was tying a noose while tears of sadness streamed down its cheeks, because I had no idea what was going on. We would never find out who was right about stopping the tornadome because Angie put the dick-wagging contest to an end by saying, "Look, something started it and something stopped it," so that was a really great and totally necessary conversation that was never brought up again.
The kids' next brilliant idea was to go to the "Big Dome" because there were four dots from the planetarium that supposedly represented the four of them, and by seeing how they related to the rest of the constellations (directly under the North Star, thankfully!), they could tell where they needed to go. Again, a bit of a stretch if you ask me. Angie said, "The dome owes us some answers," and that's when my mind committed suicide, so I was like, "Sure, the dome owes them answers, why not?" They put their hands on the dome and then a ghost of Big Jim showed up and starting bleeding from holes in his torso? Then there were bloody knives in the kids' hands? I'm not making this up, I swear. Junior freaked out and went to look for his dad, and the rest of the kids figured that the dome was telling them to kill Big Jim.
In summary, the dome threatened to drop a tornado on Chester's Mill if the kids didn't agree to stab Big Jim to death, and getting there required a special type of mental faculty found only in people huffing bath salts.
But wait, that's not all! There was even more stuff going on that just tornadomes and ghosts and lung-sucking!
Big Jim and Barbie were sick of Max and her games, and decided to team up against her to get rid of her for good! But Max was pretty sick of their doodoo, too, because she was randomly walking on a beach and saw her mom wash up on shore. Barbie and Big Jim went to the abandoned cement factory to hunt Max down (I guess, it was never explained why they went there), and Barbie hooked up his Microsoft-approved phone to the factory's power supply with a 10-minute timer that would shut off the power just in case they needed an escape after being held prisoner eight minutes later (allowing two minutes for Max to give her final speech). Eight minutes later, Barbie and Big Jim were taken prisoner by Max and her one remaining goon, Max gave a speech about how she was in love with Barbie and jealous of Julia (I think?), and then BLAMMO the lights went out and when Barbie lit some flares, the guns were in Barbie and Big Jim's hands and the tables were turned a full 540 degrees. Then Big Jim shot Max and her goon dead, Barbie throat-punched Big Jim, and buzzkill Linda showed up to stop Barbie from ending Big Jim. But Barbie punched Linda and ran off. Then Big Jim got on the radio and declared that Chester's Mill was in a state of emergency because Barbie the madman was on the loose! Finally, mortal enemies Barbie and Big Jim can stop pretending to like each other and will no longer have to team up for unlikely escapades. And there's your story as we head into the final two episodes of Under the Dome's first season.
Normally I like to throw in a few jokes here and there, but in the case of "Speak of the Devil," a straight recap of what happened was much funnier. The episode was a series of non-sequiturs with commercial breaks, death-defying leaps of logic to move from one plot point to the next without any regard for common sense or believability, and a shining example of what a television series that stops caring about anything looks like. Last week's "Let the Games Begin" had a charming absurdity and a somewhat coherent storyline that made it a fun hour of popcorn eating, but "Speak of the Devil" was a game of chicken with the audience. A dare to see if we would stick out an entire hour of unintelligible gibberish. In any result, Under the Dome wins.
– Anyone else get the idea that Officer Linda is usually reading her lines for the first time when she films her scenes?
– Angie to Junior: "Are you insane? You kept me prisoner, okay? I almost died down there!" Junior's smooth response: "But you didn't."
– Max: "I better get going, I have some business to attend to on Bird Island." That line made me laugh for many minutes.
– Oh, Officer Linda. You didn't notice that giant siphoning tube sticking out of your cop car when you got in? And to the gas stealer who left the siphoning tube in the car: Why? Do you have a surplus of siphoning tubes that you can just leave them behind?
– Another episode of Under the Dome, another episode in which someone hands Junior a HUGE GUN.
– Another reason Julia should stay with Barbie instead of her dead husband: Barbie is a much better doctor than Peter ever was.
– Where is Ben? I need to know. And where is Carolyn? Still mourning and ignoring her daughter?
– Joe can drive a car, but he said his driving instructor didn't think he checked his mirrors enough. Then when Joe drove Barbie and Julia to the hospital, he didn't check his mirrors! The public driving education system has failed us again!
– How about that Prius product placement? It's nice to know that if I ever have a tornado bearing down on me I can plug in my Prius and take comfort in the fact that after the tornado kills all my neighbors, I'll still be able to drive away from the rubble.
AIRED ON 9/16/2013
Season 1 : Episode 13