TV Show Review

TV Review: UNDER THE DOME: Season 3, Episode 4: The Kinship [CBS]

Dean Norris Under the Dome The Kinship

CBS Under the Dome The Kinship TV Show ReviewUnder the Dome: Season 3, Episode 4: ‘The Kinship’ opened with Big Jim (Dean Norris) asking the same question every other Dome-estic should have been asking, but was too busy playing a part to care for an answer. Namely, who was Christine Price (Marg Helgenberger), and what was it that she wanted from his son (well, the town, in general; but she was creeping on the kid, right before Jim’s binoculars). While wondering all of this out loud was for the viewer’s benefit, to be sure, monologuing is the kind of thing that gets you jumped. Exit Big Jim, rendition bag over head.

The answer to that question, Jim, is that Christine is the new Melanie; and same as the old boss, the new boss has dibs on first son, Junior (Alexander Koch) – still (inexplicably) the most important man under the Dome.

Christine had collected her herd into something of a shanty town, at town hall. The fact that only a spit-roast related fire (and near death for some kid that couldn’t escape the tent, for some reason) broke out, and no near riots came of it, should have been the first clue that some massive shift, in the town’s group dynamic, had taken place. Nobody was picking fights, pointing fingers, or just otherwise bitching out loud at the drop of a hat, in accordance to the show’s first two seasons. Barbie & Julia (Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre) maintained some reservations about the setting; but they had other issues – from opposite sides of that dynamic – to keep their minds off the big picture.

As if to reassure us, that there will still be reactionaries causing trouble, one Pete Blackwell (Andrew J. West) stepped forward – another new face that has supposedly been in the background, this whole time. If you didn’t recognize his face, odds are you won’t feel the same satisfaction, when his big moment comes (sorry, Andrew). Personally, a part of me wanted a different role for West; but after a clash with Junior (over something of an Alpha Male position), it looks like Pete’ll be running with a pocket full of bad eggs, after all. For the time being, however, his function was to serve as Junior’s stepping stone, out of Big Jim’s shadow – and into Christine’s clutches.

The differences, worming through everything Barbie-Julia, all pretty much hinged on one person – Eva (Kylie Bunbury) – and that came to a head with everyone playing it cool about Barbie & Eva pairing up for a field trip. Yes, the pair underscored the fact that a whole other lifetime had been informing the Dome-estics’ actions & attitudes; but I had to wonder if the ridiculous situation, at the grain silos, could be attributed to some match-maker pre-programming. It could, after all, have just been another Under the Dumb moment; but this was an important moment – meant to set up Barbie’s most drastic turn, regarding Julia.

For her part, Julia, as one of only two people to entirely miss out on the Matrix experience, got enough of her old reporter mojo together to get a major lead on Christine. This was step one, in bringing the two outsiders back on to the same page.

Outsider Big Jim had found himself under the company of outsiders to the Dome, itself, in the form of Malick (Mike Whaley), and a small company of Aktaion Energy men. The particulars of their getting under the Dome will be a matter for later, I assume – their principle role, here, was to get Big Jim running back towards the town, and Julia. Of course, in order to do that, Aktaion had to be shown as a corporation so diabolical, that it hires mall cops for its Black Ops. For all of his menace, Malick got overpowered by Jim, and Jim’s pursuer waited for Julia to make up her mind, before drawing a bead (too late). At least Malick proved to be good bullet proofing; but bullets do funny things, on UTD. How long ago was Big Jim shot? In any case, between Big Jim’s shoulder, and Julia’s leg, we have the makings of a super team.

Now, if only Joe’s (Colin Ford) occasionally convenient genius was available….

As an integral (if inadvertent) element, to Julia’s discovery of Christine’s original purpose, Joe should have – and still could be – a part of the outsider resistance. At the moment, however, he had more pressing concerns. I’d go on, about everything that was wrong about Norrie & Hunter (MacKenzie LintzMax Ehrich), but UTD has given all of its pod vets a get-out-from-Under-the-Dumb pass; so every stupid, irrational, and self-absorbed turn can be attributed to Christine’s ‘Moving On’ process. Oddly enough, it was Joe’s preoccupation with Norrie that kept his head in the present (as opposed to the virtual past). His preoccupation with the murder of his sister, however, was Christine’s fix for that.

After being just another of Christine’s yes men, since emerging, Sam (Eddie Cahill) was finally given something to do; but it wasn’t quite what Christine had in mind. Christine has been set up as a manager of organized chaos, meant to prep to Dome-estics for being vessels, of some sort. It turned out that Sam’s messiah complex outweighs his guilt, and a little catharsis goes a long way, in slipping a cog like Sam out of place, in Christine’s machinations. Who knew? His distraction, in turn, got Joe back on the outs, while somehow causing Norrie’s protective wrath to kick back in. The secret to Norrie & Joe’s love: hate. Who knew?

We seem to be learning a lot more about Christine, at a much faster rate, than we learned about Melanie, in season two. My inner optimist says this is a result of the showrunners having a clearer idea of where they are going, this time around. On the other hand, my inner cynic thinks that this direction has come as a blanket license for Under the Dumb moments.

I keep thinking of reasons to get through whatever this show has been putting out. Right now, I suppose sorting out Under the Dumb moments, from Matrix moments, is as good an excuse as any. ‘The Kinship’ did a decent job of establishing that the difference exists, at least; so as the resistance takes shape, parallel to Christine’s Kinship, I get to see which side commits the most unforced errors. It’s a reason.

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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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