Let's get this out of the way NOW: Under the Dome was renewed for a second season yesterday! Let's all give Officer Linda a round of applause! There's no denying that the series is a smash hit ratings blockbuster of epic proportions that's dome-inating the summer and propelling CBS to a level of arrogance that even it hasn't seen before. And yes, many people who are more forgiving than myself believe that the show has improved in recent episodes. Fewer phone-charging parties and more gigantic bombs will do that. But let's not go overboard here, fellas and fellettes. Under the Dome is still a spectacle of follies, and last night's "The Endless Thirst" continued the clumsiness.
I think the citizens of Chester's Mill are finally beginning to realize there's a dome over their heads, and that they're trapped inside it, because "The Endless Thirst" was all about being so gosh-darn thirsty and hungry that it was necessary to give the local waitress a home-run swing with a baseball bat for a few frozen hamburger patties. It wasn't long ago that order ruled and the townspeople could still sit in Rose's diner to order their Denver omelets while the dome loomed ominously overhead. But now? TOTAL SHITSTORM.
I LOVED how it all started when hallucinating Alice strolled into the street and an appliance truck—probably delivering a washing machine to Junior's house so he can keep his new cop outfit in tip-top shape (are people really working right now?)—crashed right into the town's only water tower. Talk about really, really, really unfortunate luck! Big-time oopsie. And because Under the Dome is only barely a serialized show that's been pressured into telling easily digestible hour-long stories, there was no time for gradual uprising. Put a tiny idea of water shortage into one man's head and it spreads like Chlamydia on Rock of Love. Things got bad in Chester's Mill lickety-split. The panic button wasn't just pressed, it was smashed with a Wac-a-Mole mallet. The townspeople who just last week were bonding beneath the old abandoned cement factory were now at each others' throats over a can of fruit cocktail. It was a full-on, fist-throwing, white-people riot, and it was a glorious sight.
And how great! It's about time the gravity of their situation dawns on the stupid people of Chester's Mill. In the real world, there are people hoarding canned food and shotgun shells because they don't believe our president has a U.S. birth certificate, but in the world of Under the Dome, a meningitis outbreak, a loony gun-totin' cop on the loose, and the military dropping a megaton bomb on thee roof weren't enough to slap reality in people's faces? That's not even counting that impenetrable dome that has halted their contact with the outside world. These people all deserve to die.
But there are two types of people in Chester's Mill. The main cast and an angry mob. And while the angry mob was busy angrily mobbin', most of the main cast was making an effort to increase the peace. Big Jim was appeasing the only farmer who had a working water well by trading him lots of propane (how much propane did this farmer need, anyway?). Junior was pointing his gun at people in the store. Barbie was working out some murderous issues on some particularly rambunctious rioters. And Linda was sauntering around Main Street trying to keep order with some really, really terrible acting. But our heroes' efforts were for naught. Peoples was hungry and thirsty and they weren't gonna stop punching until they were satiated!
But Just when Chester's Mill had become a Royal Rumble with people beating the tar out of each other in the middle of the street, the dome intervened. The holy, glorious dome showered the people of Chester's Mill with drinking rain, and everyone's anger was washed away and replaced with soggy-clothed hugs and moist hand shakes. Yes, men who just minutes ago were punching each other in the face were now kissing. And Big Jim drove up onto the scene (as Big Jim always does, seriously he just pops up at the perfect time) and shouted, "It can rain! It can rain inside the dome, woohoo!" He literally "woohoo!"'d. "Hey this rain came out of nowhere, alright!" And then he high-fived some random people. "Don't just stand there, grab a bucket and grab a trash can and we can save every drop we can!" This actually happened on a multi-million-dollar budgeted show! Hank Schrader actually said that!
Dodee called the unseasonable precipitation a "microclimate," but we all know better (mostly because the episode never once panned the camera up to look at the clouds). I'm now convinced the dome is an eerie manifestation of some supreme being's tween daughter that begged her father for Chester's Mill as a pet, and she's not so good at taking care of it. But she does just the bare minimum to make the people dependent on her. Kind of like when you got that Tamagotchi and it was really fun for a few hours and then a couple days later you got a message that it was about to die, so you pressed a button and it sprung back to life. And hey, that works for me as an explanation.
Elsewhere, there were two awesome side stories that kept things really mild. Diabetic Alice's decision not to scoop up some insulin really bit her in the diabetic ass, and Norrie took it upon herself to loot some houses looking for some of that sweet, sweet blood-sugar stabilizing nectar. Eventually they found some. So that was that story.
In the other awesome plot, Bad Luck Angie kept her streak of terrible fortune going. Snuggle time with Junior was over, and when they realized the bomb hadn't killed them, they went back to being America's favorite dysfunctional couple with Junior creepily threatening her and Angie smashing him in the face with a snow globe. Have we ever considered that maybe Angie is the crazy one, and not Junior? She's got to be bipolar or something, right? What kind of weirdo has sex with a guy, then screams at him, then cuddles with him after being kidnapped by him, THEN uses seasonal ornamentation as a weapon on the side of his head?
Sorry, but I'm putting the blame on Angie here. Team Junior all the way. Anyway, she ran away and then got knocked out by looters (and then maybe raped, and if she's not a lesbian by the time this whole dome thing is over, then she has a really short memory because men sure treat her like garbage), and then what do you know? She ended up right back in the hands of Big Jim. Jim wanted her to keep quiet about the kidnapping in exchange for anything she needed, but Junior walked in and was like, "What's going on here?" And there's your cliffhanger. Does Junior think Angie is cheating on him with his dad? I hope so. And I hope they solve the problem by putting Angie back in the basement.
"The Endless Thirst" wasn't all that endless. In fact, it should've been called "The 45 Minutes of Being Somewhat Parched." But the episode did finally give us the dome-related panic that we've all been asking for, and it totally went balls-out. People were beating each other in the streets! Old men were running around with lanterns and aunts were scurrying away with lanterns! So that's the positive to take away from the hour. As for the execution? Boy oh boy. Not good. Next week: The dome has a baby!
– We should also talk about Dodee's screech-locating frequency-triangulation gizmo that went wacko when she pointed it at Joe and Norrie, indicating that they might be the "source" of the dome. Okay. Sure. I guess that makes Joe and Norrie the "Adam and Eve" of our supreme being's daughter's experiment. Maybe she wants them to breed? No pressure, Joe!
– I mean, that opening scene, right? This show is edited in the worst way. So much post-production dialogue, so much overlayed audio, and so many jumpy, anticipatory shots all over the place to hurry things along that they made me physically ill.
– Barbie and Julia finally made out. In the rain. I liked how she went out for a drive and found Barbie walking in the middle of the street during a heavy rainstorm instead of under the awnings on the sidewalk, and then she honked "beep-beeeep-beep" when she pulled up behind him. So much for her gross husband! It's Vegas rules now. What happens in the dome stays in the dome.
– How many more episodes until the Cult of the Holy Dome is created and starts recruiting members? Sign me up for that shit. This dome wants to provide for its flock. Crazy Reverend Firestarter wasn't far off. In a side note, I really miss that old kook.
– That appliance truck that crashed into the water tower? "King's Appliance." Nice nod to Stephen, but I wonder if he's just like, "Ugh, no thanks."
– Did you ever see Ed Wood? Remember that part when Ed was directing a scene, and they did a first take and it was terrible, and Ed said, "Perfect!" I think that's what happens in every scene of Under the Dome.
– "Are you sure a diabetic lives here?" Joe asked, as if he was talking about a unicorn and not one of the millions of people living with diabetes in this country.
– How about lighting all those dead fish on fire and having yourself a seafood BBQ?! Turn this panic into a party! When life gives you dead fish, make some deadfishade.