Well, badass drug boss Max (Natalie Zea) from last episode sure didn't waste any time. One minute she's all "I'm gonna turn this town into a Wild West pleasure dome of black market decadence" and the next thing you know, thought has become deed, and the old cement factory (the unlikely site of so much action throughout this show's short tenure) has become her own personal Thunderdome.
Her reasoning is that since the whole town has been without TV or internet for can you even believe this? NINE FREAKING DAYS, the citizenry is completely bored and in need of a little underground fight club gambling action. Forget that most everyone seems to have a generator, and such things as DVDs, and hell, Xboxes, exist. Forget about, oh, you know: books! It's been over a week; just how much ho-hum tedium of life under a mysterious magical Dome, with the only entertainment being almost daily town-wide crises, can these people be expected to take?
So Barbie ends up taking a dive in Chester's Mill's version of BLOODSPORT and Junior is -- no WAY! This is an AMAZING twist! -- the fourth hand the mini-dome has been waiting for so patiently. And yet, despite the fact that nothing terribly unexpected happened with them, somehow Junior and the Prophecy Seizure Club managed to be way more interesting than underground Fight Club. It's odd.
You know, it's like this show has two teams of writers, one for the spooky ooky "What's Up with the Dome Kids?" stuff, and another for the "Small Town People are Really, Really Dumb" stuff. Need some intriguing nay, even somewhat compelling scenes in which a bunch of teens discover they are the mystical Dome's chosen few? Call up Team A! Need a bunch of scenes in which random hick extras chant in satisfaction as their neighbors beat the hell out of each other for the price of some salt? Call up Team B! Then we'll mix in a little of Team C's "Sheriff Linda on the Case!" and some of Team D's "Julia and Barbie's Increasingly Unlikely Romance" nonsense, and voila! A typical UNDER THE DOME episode.
I liked last week a lot, because stuff was happening everywhere and yet it was all heading towards the same place: a new calculating evil was set alongside the kids' sweet innocence, in a battle for true control over Chester's Mill, and its inhabitants. This week, the kids' scenes carried on with their riveting perplexity, but boss lady Max just became this whiny harridan who wants her espresso so badly she unwisely gives her biggest enemy even more motive, and opportunity, to do her harm. I had such hopes for her!
And then there's Julia! Look, I like to think of myself as a pretty understanding person. And sure, it seems like her husband decided to commit Suicide by Barbie in order to get her a good life insurance payout, having gotten them in such a deep financial hole. But, come on! You just learned your new boyfriend (of five days) has been lying to you for as long as he's known you (nine days) about your dead husband, WHOM HE KILLED. I feel like that's worthy of maybe taking a little break, and not immediately being all "in the future, no more Barbie was even more taken aback than I was at that. "Great," you can almost hear him thinking. "There goes my 'Get out of Julia Free'
But the biggest weirdness of this episode? Max's mom (Mare Winningham, the lesser-known St Elmo's alum; love you, Wendy!) was once named Claire, and then, to hide her single-mother shame, she changed it to AGATHA? Look, I liked her, I liked that she held Big Jim at gunpoint, and it was actually pretty shocking and cool when he subsequently left her to drown, but come on now, show, seriously. You have thrown some unbelievable nonsense at us this past ten weeks, but anyone voluntarily calling themselves Agatha is really just too much to swallow.
FULL REVIEW AT GEEK SPEAK MAGAZINE