CBS‘ Under the Dome The Enemy Within TV Show Review. Under the Dome: Season 3, Episode 13: ‘The Enemy Within’ was meant to be closure. After 3 seasons, it would’ve been careless of me to not ask what closure means, to a show like UTD. Asked & answered; but first, a bit of final context.
Four weeks… four weeks for all of those happenings to have happened – including fires, bombings, poisonings, severe beatings, un-natural disasters & eco-upheavals, cuts, stabbings, and gunshot wounds. Not. Bloody. Likely. Still, for those of us who lost track of the time (‘cause this foolishness went on for-ever & a day), this year’s chorus break, to the song that never ends, is actually the bumper fade out.
We did it! We actually made it to the end! Burn on all you live-action cartoons, wanting out from under a dome – us viewers got out from watching hamsters eat their young all day (and yes – some people sit & watch such things).
Sorry, I thought that needed to be said. As for the UTD act of closure, this is a basic breakdown of how it went down.
1. Crap – we still got a final act, and everybody already performed! Quick – put on this wig, get out there, and go dark. The remaining audience is so hard up for entertainment, they won’t even notice.
Bad puns, about new dawns, aren’t even necessary, when the cheese piles on this high. The ‘Queen is dead, long live the Queen’ twist, at the end of the penultimate episode, actually left me a little intrigued. What we got, however, was the kind of comic book arch-evil our Uncle, Stan Lee, used to warn us about (back when we had to go past the Rogues Gallery, on our way to after school geek-out sessions).
New Dome Queen, Dawn, besides being Kylie Bunbury sporting a blonde wig, and blue contacts, was also a case study in overcompensating, for not having the time to break from her previous role, or establish her new one. She just went straight for the lowest hanging fruit of ruthless monstrosity. A running gag, about her having her father’s eyes, was not only meant to distract us from her make-over, but further egg Barbie (Mike Vogel) on, about getting past familial ties to do what was necessary.
No jabs needed for Big Jim (Dean Norris), though – getting choked out by his own kid was all the encouragement he needed. He still tried to reason with Junior (Alexander Koch), however; so still the hypocrite.
The sad thing is that I got no pleasure from Junior paying the ferryman. Maybe it was because having Jim do it was too obvious. Maybe it was the fact that this was the Junior that finally settled the score with Sam (Eddie Cahill), and stood to be rewarded for it (for the record, Junior wasn’t better than Sam, Drone Sam was just dumber than Junior). Maybe it was the fact that Jim was the only person left to actually school the brat, but still didn’t. I guess, after all my ranting, my problem was that Junior may have finally paid the price, but he didn’t get his comeuppance. Frankly, no one got their comeuppance.
Besides being more diva, than inspirational leader, Dawn made rounding up the resistance ridiculously easy. Either Christine was really doing it wrong, or extra-strength Dawn was just that much better at rooting out stubborn stains. Still, it allowed most of the cast to be collected, and for Joe (Colin Ford) to finally grow a pair – only to lose them over an orchestrated sacrificial play, for Norrie’s (Mackenzie Lintz) sake (remember The Hand clan? It got one last shout-out for ever having happened). Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) & Jim got one last quality sparring session in, as the show went out of its way to make Jim look good (again). Telegraphing his escape plan was bad enough, but the thing with the gold baseball was just so… typical, I guess. When a bad guy loves a dog that much, how bad can he really be? Clearly Jim loved his new dog so much, he didn’t figure it gave him & Julia away, with its barking, during their assassination effort; but it was still a big redeemer for Big Jim. It had to be, given what was in store for him.
After all this time, the mystery of the Dome has not been able to hold a candle to the shenanigans of its captives; so, no surprise, the actual collapse of the Dome only served to kick-start the climax. This ultimately boiled down to the military perimeter garrison finally moving in, and Barbie solely standing between Dawn, and her new Earth colony (so much for Christine’s refugee spiel, and Junior’s saviors of mankind boast). This took place at a narrow board, bridging a section where the Dome left a chasm, which should have made for a real moment of tension. Instead, the dialogue was so bad, I found myself trying to will the board to snap. They actually tried to pass off all of Barbie’s past misdeeds as a Dome infusion meant for Dawn. Heck, I’d take that as an absolution of all guilt, and nail the thing; but not Barbie (bless his heart).
Here, I’ll spare you the deliberations, and just summarize how it eventually went down <ahem>:
“Barbie, you sentimental sap of Simian side-product! I mean – daaadyyyy, this is madness….”
“… This is Under the Dome!”
Everybody jumps into the pit; cue beach party surf metal; leis, beach balls, and bikini bits come tossing up, as the camera pulls away from the chasm edge.
Okay, so not quite. Or at all. To its credit, however, the show knew better than to leave things at the climax we did get. How it handled the series resolution, though….
2. Anybody check the locks, on the way out? Did we even close the door…?
For starters, no way would the Fed/ Pentagon allow a dormant alien infection loose. Considering that the show’s greatest villain not only got away with it all, but got a serious promotion out of it, clearly Dumb wasn’t just for those Under it. So, yeah, dormant alien spore carriers roaming free, and the most homicidal Dome-estic (who was never even infected) is now entrusted with matters of National Safety & Security.
The Federal Government went & did something Under a well expanded Dumb….
Norrie somehow got herself an insider job – since she was convinced, for no given reason, that Joe was still alive. She didn’t seem the least bit mindful of that detail, about him going full Kinship again, after the Dome buster process.
Norrie gonna do somethin’ Under her very own Dumb….
Given his new position of power, leave it to Jim to overstate the obvious. ‘No body = no death’ is, in fact, a hallmark of bad movies. Bad TV shows, too. So when a certain ‘no body’ turned up on an old security cam feed (they actually put some thought into that). The New Legion of Dome knew it had its work cut out for it (not my problem – good luck with that). I’m sure they’d get around to concerns about all the breeding time, that head start allowed for; but for now, No Body’s successful Easter Egg hunt was plenty to get them started on.
A whole other community may soon be Under the Dumb….
So, closure? Yeah… by UTD standards.
Ultimately, Under the Dome overstayed its visa, where sci-fi & source fans were concerned, and eventually overstayed its welcome among the rubbernecking crowd, which kept it on the air past its visa.
Even junk food cravers can live off empty calories for only so long….
Schadenfreude aside, I will commend the show for lasting as long as it did, with what little it had. That, or I should absolve it, by blaming/ shaming its viewership. There were, of course, regular viewers who had no choice; and while not exactly hostages (or subjects of the Ludovico treatment), some condolent kudos have to go out to my fellow critics.
On the other hand, I know some of us found a coping method in just aping the thing (I know I did), and a little hint of self-awareness might’ve redeemed the show, as an official parody of its reoccurring themes, memes, and tropes; but no, it kept taking itself way too seriously, all the way to the end.
Even fans of drinking games get alcohol poisoning….
So, so long, and thanks for all the fishiness. It was fun, if only because I can now walk away from it, and never had to take it seriously (the first part, sure – but try saying the second part about Hell Week or boot camp).
This time, last year (when I suggested it go out voluntarily), I played it off with a song. I should do that now… but I’m not going to.
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