TV Show Review

TV Review: UNDER THE DOME: Season 2, Episode 11: Black Ice [CBS]

Max Ehrich Colin Ford MacKenzie Lintz Under the Dome Black Ice

CBS Under the Dome Black Ice TV Show Review. Under the Dome: Season 2, Episode 11: ‘Black Ice’ saw the bottom fall out – in the most ironic of ways – from the great escape plan of season two, and a new horrible end in sight, as the Dome-estics waited out the clock. Insert similar observations, about Under the Dome, here.

So last episode, Big Jim (Dean Norris) forced Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) & Joe (Colin Ford), at gun point, to take the Egg to the cliff portal, chucked the Egg through the portal, triggering a pretty nasty earthquake, that sent him running for his life (well ahead of Joe & Norrie, I might add). Somehow, he came into this episode blissfully unaware of any consequences, and utterly convinced that he did the right thing. Strike one.

When those consequences are made known to him, he shrugged off the news & doubled down on his man-of-decisive-action shtick. The fact that his sentencing of the town folk to confinement, and whatever ways the Dome will try to kill them all, didn’t seem to draw any real wrath – save for a tongue lashing from Barbie (Mike Vogel) – could have only enabled his detachment; but I think I’ll call his reaction strike two.

He then fine tuned his delusion of grandeur to being the would-be savior of his family. When that prompted Pauline (Sherry Stringfield) to fill him in on the real state of their relationship, he took his case to Junior (Alexander Koch), only to get more of the same. His attitude concerning the mess he caused, his continued insistence that the Dome had plans for him, and his feeling of personal persecution, as the take away from the dressing down he got from wife & son, all add up to something worse than the narcissism Pauline called him out on. By strike three, a dog could diagnose him as a sociopath.

Where are all the animals, anyway? Didn’t Joe inherit a dog from an unknown Dome victim? Meh, details.

Last week’s Dome-doom-of-the-week (plummeting temperature) remained in effect; although, it has only been a few weeks, since the Dome came down, so doom-of-the-week doesn’t entirely follow. Of course, this means that these Dome-doom moments have been occurring every other day, or so. I imagine that would make a day in the life of Jack Bauer seem leisurely paced, relative to the past few weeks under the Dome.

Chester’s Mill was also running low on food again. I bet a lot of people were regretting the great feast, that closed out episode 2.05 (‘Reconciliation’), and throwing dirty looks at whoever had seconds. Someone not getting any dirty looks: Rebecca (Karla Crome). I suppose if the town folk could forgo the finger pointing phase of their grief, where Big Jim’s culpability was concerned, then they could abide letting her oversee the survival plan – paying no mind to her culling solution to their last starvation problem.

Junior’s genius put two & two together, once he heard about the Egg drop, in connecting the failing health of Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox) to the fate of the Egg. You’d think things like a localized earthquake & resurrection girl going plotz, simultaneously, do away with the notion of coincidence in such matters; but, hey, play along.

Other geniuses at work: the Hunter (Max Ehrich)/ Joe bromance came down with a sudden case of Joe realizing that Hunter has been pumping him & Norrie for info on the Egg. In a microcosmic replay of the show’s ‘stranger impresses, wedges between, betrays, redeems in eyes of cast mate(s)’ theme, Hunter pretty much settled in. That, after warning the Zenith cabal to lay off the Egg (although the Egg, now in Zenith, seemed to be making that case for itself).

As for the matter of the Dome-doom. Apparently, the temperature shift was being caused by the Dome rotating in place. Joe figured that out the hard way. How do I put this…? When bad things start happening, and you have no idea about the whats & whys, maybe trial & error poking at the supposed source isn’t the go-to thing to do. In other words: Joe, stop doing stuff to the Dome; today you almost lose a hand, tomorrow it’s the whole town.

I’ll just take a moment to mention Phil. Ever since Big Jim burned down the radio station, and killed Dodee (the original town MacGyver) – crimes I don’t recall him ever being brought to account for, BTW – the showrunners never really seemed to know what to do with Phil’s character. He goes from source of relief, to watchdog, to deputized thug, to just plain thug, to completely forgotten, to throw away plot point. I suppose that brings him back to just being forgotten. Would it be safe to assume that he, like a lot of peripheral characters, had no other family in town?

For that matter, have I been zoning out, or has Carolyn been missing since her run in with Phil (again, ‘Reconciliation’)? There was that stock-block moment, then a lot of quality alone time for Joe & Norrie. I mean, sure, everyone can’t be onscreen all the time, or even in every episode (seems like the show may be experiencing some cast troubles. The character dump/ changeover, at the start of the season, Phil… ), but it’s a small town under a dome. It’s not like they can go out of town for any given amount of time (the Zenith excursion doesn’t count). With the town staring extinction in the face (again), you’d think Norrie might have at least mentioned her. I guess she’s a lot more upbeat than she used to be. That Joe’s a good influence; he’s been pretty good about losing his family all along.

With Rebecca going over every detail, to conserve heat, and heat producing fuel, I appreciated the use of a Prius as a plot point. Still, I had to wonder whether it was the production, the studio, or the network collecting the endorsement checks for that not entirely subtle product placement.

Beyond the Hybrid carpool, Barbie & Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) took an ambulance out on a run that turned into a series of unfortunate-but-bonding events; while Big Jim put his Messiah complex to good use, and set out to scrounge up more fuel. This was essentially the meat of the episode.

With their run gone sideways (as in jack-knifed), Barbie & Julia got some Dome styled quality time to reaffirm their feelings. If only it didn’t seem so forced. Icy road crashes happen, and there was a decent chance of Julia being pinned (i.e. impaled) in place, like she was, after being thrashed around the back of the truck; but when they promptly ran out of gas, I figured the writers were clutching at burning straws. When a single window inexplicably shattered, de-insulating the ambulance, I imagined some high-fiving went around the bullpen. With their situation untenable, and Julia slipping away, Barbie had to make a heroic hauling dash to the nearest working stove. Ought to really make her melt. When she thaws out, anyway.

Lyle (Dwight Yoakam), on the other hand, had to settle for Big Jim. A boobie prize made worse by the fact that Pauline had professed having more regard for Lyle than Jim, when she told him off. Of course, this was played out more for the audience’s benefit, and Jim did pull Lyle out of the portal lake. I’m not sure if the showrunners had Tim Burton‘s Planet of the Apes‘ time lapse plot device in mind (that ending made perfect sense – think about it!), but Lyle’s re-emergence was poorly timed. The lake was mostly frozen over (yes, it was an unconvincing wax job – just play along), and, frankly, a seemingly naked man of Lyle’s age, in his condition, thrashing around like he was, should not last as long as Lyle did.

Well, last he did, going on about visions of end-times fire to come, allowing Jim some more redemption points (he’s really been hoarding those). Points from Pauline, for saving Lyle, and points from Rebecca, for bringing back extra fuel, in the process. Good luck getting him past that Messiah complex.

By morning, the deep freeze had pretty much worked itself out, and Melanie remained in stable condition. With season two almost over, however, it seems the Dome-doom schedule needed something of a tweak. The rotation of the Dome was apparently the opening stage of the next phase of what may be the ultimate Dome-doom. At this point, I just want to see how much further Under the Dome sinks before the (Dome) bubble bursts. All of these bad puns have been a guilty pleasure.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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