TV Show Review

TV Review: UNDER THE DOME: Season 2, Episode 9: The Red Door [CBS]

Mike Vogel Sherry Stringfield Dwight Yoakam Under the Dome The Red Door

CBS Under the Dome The Red Door TV Show Review. Under the Dome: Season 2, Episode 9: ‘The Red Door’ brought the Zenith arc back to the Dome, as the keep away mission, to prevent Don (Brett Cullen) from getting the Egg, kicked into gear. For his son, Barbie (Mike Vogel), that meant escaping private contractor custody, and getting back to the Zenith underground (aka Hounds of Diana) with a better idea of what his dad was up to. Of course this was what Don had in mind – he probably had a better appreciation for that ‘A New Hope’ ruse than his son did – as the idea was for Barbie & co. to reveal the entrance portal to Chester’s Mill. The convergence of the Zenith arc’s two threads, however, threw a wrench in the works. Don did have other cards to play, as Barbie’s capture generated enough leverage, between the Dome’s two competing chosen, to put the Egg on the negotiation block.

As ridiculous as the divinity of the Dome angle has been, it does serve to explain what would otherwise just be contrived storytelling. The latest convenience had Hunter (Max Ehrich) being a star pupil of Pauline (Sherry Stringfield). This set the stage for Barbie’s rude reunion with Sam (Eddie Cahill) & Lyle (Dwight Yoakam), and with it, Sam’s crimes finally coming to Pauline’s attention. It seems the art of deflection clearly isn’t confined to Chester’s Mill, as Pauline quickly looked past Sam’s wrong doings, and just added them to her personal mission pile. Between Hunter – who brought his own extra to the meet – as a common asset, Pauline’s Red Door post-card giving them a common goal, and Don serving as a common threat, Barbie & Pauline joined forces. ‘Team Barline’ was off to re-enter the Dome.

Under the Dome, Don’s ploy was making waves. Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) was seriously considering giving up the Egg for Barbie, which didn’t sit well with Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox). Junior (Alexander Koch) filled his face-palm quota by first tipping off his dad about the matter, then thinking better of it, and running off with the Egg – along with Melanie. Big Jim (Dean Norris) opted to make a deal, through one of Don’s hired guns, to get himself & Junior out, in exchange for the Egg; so maybe being Dome Messiah isn’t enough for him, after all. The play also put him on the same page as Julia, as they both seemed perfectly willing to throw away ordained principle for personal concerns. Oddly enough, it was Rebecca (Karla Crome) showing a bit of self-awareness, this episode, by calling out Julia (and I suppose Big Jim, by extension) on using her as the go-to-science-solution, while still keeping her at arms length.

If Rebecca was becoming self-conscious about her MacGyver role, then Melanie was filling Rebecca’s original role, as the disillusioned acolyte. Since life under the Dome has become a matter of choosing which of the Dome’s chosen gets your faith (and knee-jerk swing decisions), Julia’s prioritizing of Barbie shook Melanie’s faith in her. With Big Jim not being an option, and Junior now under her influence (not a difficult task, let’s be real), Melanie took steps to reclaim her position as the original Egg sitter.

I’m starting to hope that Melanie turns out to be a villain, of some kind. The notion just puts so much about her character in a more sensible context. For starters, it would add a sinister relevance to her otherwise vacant look, and perpetual damsel-in-distress routine. It would also add some gravity to her creeping on her childhood friend’s son (the whole ‘lay with me on the captive Angie bunk’ thing being very creepy).

At Zenith, Team Barline put the extra to good use, as a decoy, and gained excess to the Red Door. I made a point of looking past the hokiness of the actual portal they found in the mysteriously materialized cellar cavern, to the tailored visions of its travelers. Melanie showing up rather prominently, as both a vision & a memory, only adds to my hopes for a meatier role in her future (which would include everyone’s past, and other such convolutions). Of course, coming out of a super HD day dream in the depths of a lake would count as having a whole lot of water doused on your dreams.

The lake as the entrance point begs the question of Melanie’s resurrection (whether the Egg revived her from a watery grave, or did she come through the portal), but I found myself thinking about portal passers who can’t swim. Kind of inconvenient, in that regard. One member of the party couldn’t be found, on the other side; and while it’s unlikely the character would be killed off by something as mundane as drowning upon re-entry, that inconvenience did come to mind.

So with the escapees now all back under the Dome (plus & minus one), I guess the show’s back on point. That means no more finding things for the Dome Gnomes to do, while the Zenith plot develops; but also meaning that we’re back to entire plots hinging on interaction between Under the Dome‘s lesser characters.

For the moment, the standing orders are to fan out, but lay low. Chester’s Mill was small town, U.S.A., before the Dome came down, and biblical population control went into effect; I’m not sure how soaking wet lurkers – three presumed dead, and one complete stranger – are expected to get around unnoticed. Not that it will be an issue for at least one of them – Pauline had her cover blown in the biggest way.

After two straight weeks of Big Jim having to wrap his scheming brain around life-and-death revelations, I suppose a hat trick should have been taken into account. So, one more time, with feeling: “Oh, no – Big Jim knows Pauline is alive!”

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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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