CBS‘ Under the Dome In the Dark TV Show Review. Under the Dome: Season 2, Episode 6: ‘In the Dark’ underscored one nagging question, going back to day one, that has gone from a deliberate effort, from the show, itself, to a more derisive one of my own: just who’s running this thing, anyway.
While Sam (Eddie Cahill) & Jim Junior (Alexander Koch) took it upon themselves to go into the tunnel system behind the Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox)-turned-Angie school locker, Big Jim (Dean Norris) & Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) were debating the merits of centralized versus populist authority, under microcosm emergency conditions. Again. The fact that the town folk went along with Julia’s “let’s all forgive him trying to kill us” play seemed to enable Big Jim’s Messiah complex; so it was only a matter of time before he won the townies over, again, at a competitor’s expense. Queue latest town-killing disaster that allowed him to do just that.
This week’s disaster was a dust-bowl in a dome. Somehow, the top soil (dried up after red rain) was being kicked up by a wind from… somewhere, that was threatening to clog up the air permeable Dome surface – choking off the town’s air supply.
So about that: no mind was paid as to where that wind was coming from, the fact that it would have to be more of a cyclone to clog the entire curvature of the Dome, and that clogging would immediately cut off the wind, from whichever direction it was coming from. Throw in the ridiculously simple (and immediate) solution, and that original question comes to mind. Who is running this thing?
Is there some outside agent (or inside, for that matter) controlling these events, making them come & go with equal ease/ convenience? Well, however derivative of the Twilight Zone that would be, it still beats the alternative: showrunners pulling trumped up dilemmas, complete with instant & easy solutions, out of semi-permeable air passages.
A larger question more relevant to the series, as a whole (unfortunately), so on to episode specifics.
Junior & Sam went into the subterranean passages in pursuit of Lyle (Dwight Yoakam). Junior wanted him dead, for supposedly killing Angie; his uncle Sam went along supposedly to keep an eye on Junior – but more likely to retrieve the Dome playbook (Junior’s mother predicted it all, through art & journal keeping), make sure Lyle took the fall for his own misdeeds, and maybe bump off Four Hander Junior, somewhere near the end. Barbie (Mike Vogel) had some questions Sam needed answering, and wound up joining the Lyle hunt; but one impulsive act-of-Junior later, and both he & Sam were left trapped underground. The fact that Junior never considered the very thing Lyle was after could be left behind only as bait, well, that made Junior this week’s example of the “never-give-up, and never-think-things-through spirit of this town.” Again.
Meanwhile, the Four Hands were having a little trouble keeping together. Something about Melanie kissing Joe (Colin Ford), and Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) not taking it well. In keeping with the town tradition of short sighted impulsiveness, Norrie went mean girl on Joe, prompting him to take off. After Melanie spent some quality time turning her singular damsel-in-distress expression on Junior, the subject of the Four being marked for death came up, and Joe had to be brought back into the fold. I get the feeling I may not have been the only one calling Melanie a replacement for Angie; they were careful to actually vocalize that she wasn’t. I’ll take it under consideration, once the show gets past any chance of her hooking up with Junior ( – and I don’t care how old she is, she was creeping on her best friend’s son). I was also hoping to get through the episode without hearing about pink stars; but that didn’t happen. Well, replacement Angie, or not, the Four Hands had their mobile light show up & running (ie. the egg), and were back in business.
As for their would-be executioner, Sam ran a good game, reasoning against Barbie’s suspicions; but once Barbie caught sight of the defensive scratches Angie left on him, Sam went into data dump mode. The good news is that viewers will be spared another redemption arc, since Sam’s Dome busting plot was intended to be a one-way journey for him – Barbie’s catching on only upping his scheduled plans for himself. Here’s a tip for future emergency negotiators: you likely won’t dissuade people from committing suicide by pointing a gun at them. On the other hand, being stuck underground, in the dark (no thoughts of booby-traps, when it came to Lyle’s lantern), and next to a bottomless pit, left Barbie in kind of an awkward position for doing anything with Sam’s confession.
While Big Jim went about man-of-actioning his way back into the town’s good graces (with a measure that not only cleared the dust, but also the wind, somehow) he took the time to plant some doubts, about Julia’s leadership, into the town folks’ suggestive fertile minds. Julia was busy being the latest champion for Rebecca (Karla Crome), as they attempted to free Sam & Barbie. Apparently Rebecca was convinced that Julia was the chosen one, even as she admitted to being wrong about that very sentiment towards Big Jim. Good science is consistent; but I think a good scientist should be flexible. It may be a while before Rebecca becomes more than a go-to MacGyver plot device (MacGyffin?).
In keeping with the town tradition of no half-measures, the formula of “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins back girl” seems to play out every other week, on this show. Worse, it keeps forcing characters to take stupefying turns, in order to drive loved ones away, only to make up like nothing happened – or has been repeatedly happening. Other than Barbie actually reminding Jim of all his double crosses, short term memory seems to be a real problem, in Chester’s Mill. A little fear of being hunted, and a laying of Hands on the egg again, was enough for Joe & Norrie to make up; better rescuing through explosives, for springing Barbie, was enough for Julia & Rebecca to bond over; and who cares that Julia exposed Big Jim & Rebecca’s culling plot, one sandstorm dispersal later, and the townies may be ready to ditch Julia for Jim, again. You’d think that in a small town – under a dome, no less – memories would last longer. The fact that some have (consider the grudges held by/ against Sam, Lyle, and Ollie) only makes the overall sheepishness that much more glaring.
While ‘In the Dark’ wasn’t a complete ‘Under the Dumb’ episode, I’m starting to root for the Dome as an exercise in Darwinism. After two consecutive episodes ending with slow pans away from characters staring into holes, I could settle for that old Nietzsche saying about gazing into an abyss long enough.
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