TV Show Review

TV Review: UNDER THE DOME: 3.1 & 2: Move On & But I’m Not [CBS]

Mike Vogel Aisha Hinds Mackenzie Lintz Eddie Cahill John Elvis Under the Dome But I'm Not

CBS Under the Dome Move On & But I’m Not TV Show ReviewUnder the Dome: Season 3, Episode 1 & 2: ‘Move On’ & ‘But I’m Not’ defied logic & reason. I don’t mean this in regards to the double premiere’s content; I’m referring to the fact that this series was renewed at all. Just so we’re clear, there was plenty to harp on, content wise; I just thought I’d bemoan the show passing on an out. As decent an out as it will likely ever give us.

‘Move On’ was the perpetually self-referencing follow up, to last season’s promise of escape (with a side of answers), that delivered in a fashion that was likely meant to inspire, rather than annoy. By the time ‘But I’m Not’ followed through, I was left wondering if giving us an A or B option, as to which version of the show we’d rather watch, was a reason to care again, or start pressing for option C.

Option B didn’t try very hard to have a bad 80s action flick (even giving a shout-out, to one of the few genre heads to not appear in the Expendables series), for its set-up. I say this because the cheap action/ dialogue just came so naturally.

The B team was free of the Dome, and three key characters short. Reason enough for a whole lot of catharsis, but mostly of the non-fun variety. At the center of all this, was Counsellor Christine Price (Marg Helgenberger); just going around, poking at everyone, like we wouldn’t notice that she had a hand in everyone’s luggage. More subtle plot poking came from Barbie’s (Mike Vogel) post-tragedy crutch, Eva (Kylie Bunbury). With no disaster-of-the-week, crack-up-of-the-week, messianic-mission-of-the-week, or even outside-conspiracy-of-the-week, last season’s escapees had nothing to do but stew, moan, and do whatever it took to move on. The upside to all this whiney ‘me time:’ it gave us a reason to wonder what was going on, in the meantime, with the ones that didn’t make it.

I suppose ‘meantime’ honors went to the new Stupid Club, left back at option A. For those of you who get that reference, I don’t mean Jim, Jimmy, and Janice, but rather Jim (Dean Norris), Junior (Alexander Koch), and Julia (Rachelle Lefevre). Junior was still in fight-or-flight-mode, Julia was still in divine intervention mode (no, the odd butterfly, going by, does not mean the Eagles are coming – that’s a moth’s job – but it bites when they go bad), and in this case, Junior had the right idea. Given where the last episode left off, a still functional Big Jim should always be a priority concern. To his credit, Jim seemed to understand the torture value of the show’s dialogue; but the mortal value of a bullet, delivered just above the heart, still seemed lost on showrunners.

Jim seemed customarily divorced from his second season finale lunatic self; like he had a whole year to regain his sense of humor about his loss, or something. He still got to do erratic things, lest we forget his turn to straight-up villain. These included settling a score with Junior (not at all immature, no), and using his gun as a TV remote (“nothing good on television these days, anyway,” he says. Why didn’t I think of that, while watching this? Oh, right – my brain still worked).

That left Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox) as the connective tissue for both episodes. Given the range on display, her transition, from creepy-lost-girl-with-answers to creepy-voyeur-with-all-the-answers, was a smooth one. At the risk of going spoiler (some of you might not have actually seen the twist coming), I just felt the need to say something about Melanie’s turn. If the price of seeing the strings is the puppeteer getting all ‘hands-on’ with the witness, then maybe the puppeteer shouldn’t keep getting on stage. Anyway, the Red Shirt count has been started up again.

I’d say something about the new ‘butterfly effect,’ but there’s only so much silly I could shake a stick at, per review.

For something so out-of-this-world elaborate, Melanie’s show was more than ‘déjà vu cat’ careless. Recycled extra, leaving the ink wet on rewritten memories, and the authorities showing no lasting interest in post-Dome Chester’s Mill. With Jim content to be the lone dog, with a town sized bone, Melanie gave Julia something to do, other than obsess over Barbie. Heck, Julia came so close to recognizing the obvious, I just had to ask: is Melanie going to have to choke a bitch?

With the intelligence of so many characters going in & out, in accordance to the needs of the plot, it seemed like Melanie actually had a lot of candidates to choose from.

On the other hand, I am glad that a long-shot hope, regarding a lot that I’ve found wrong with her character, seems to be bearing out. There has been some purpose behind all that annoying helplessness, clinginess, and clueless messiah mash. Yiiiippy. Besides remaining Junior’s personal problem (in a ‘worst wet dream ever’ kind of way), she formally severed ties with Barbie & Don (Brett Cullen) in pretty decisive fashion. Still, it may be premature to figure that some comeuppance may be coming her way. It’s not like Junior really paid a price for originally going Cathy Bates, after all.

The good news is that, for once, random stuff – seemingly thrown together just to keep a plot or two going – actually made sense, here. The Melanie/ Christine production made constantly shifting characters & plot points necessary. I’d go so far as to say it almost seemed like the show was poking fun at itself; but it wasn’t, so I still get to be grumpy about it. If anything, the deliberate sand shifting just drew attention to that being the show’s overall problem. That, and heavy handed delivery; heavy handed delivery like finding excuses to say ‘Move On’ over & over again (best not to be made into a drinking game, without the benefit of a healing factor, or being a Bending Unit).

In the end, Julia got wise, Melanie got to help her do so (in a hands-on way some viewers were bound to appreciate), and Jim got to play anti-hero, again. Some outside concerns, by way of Don, will not be happy with outcome; but there had to be something left to mull over, besides the larger cast’s catharsis interruptus.

The two new players, Christine & Eva, will continue beyond the Melanie show. I’m not saying that’s a good thing – just stating a fact – but at least now we get to find out how’d they come to be added to last season’s collection of escapees. I’m not saying that hopefully – I’m just steering into the next wave of plot knot.

I suppose that I should be encouraged by what was supposed to be UTD’s attempt to move on; but I’m not.

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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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