Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre

Unlike the Stephen King novel on which it was (for about the first five minutes of season one) based, the television series Under The Dome has never specified that the town of Chester’s Mill is in Maine. After tonight’s episode, it’s hard to believe it could be, since nobody in town appears to own a nice warm jacket or pair of gloves. That becomes an issue because the temperature inside the dome is rapidly dropping due to an atmospheric inversion caused by…science or something. Ask Rebecca Pine.

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For some reason the dome is also rotating, because (as Joe reminds us), it’s actually not a dome at all, but a sphere. The only thing funnier than seeing Joe with his hand stuck to the dome would have been if he’d gotten his tongue stuck to it, but no such luck.The deep freeze provides the writers with the opportunity to indulge in two of the show’s least compelling storylines: the greatest love of all between Barbie and Julia, and the Big Jim hero/villain merry-go-round.

The former comes into play when Barbie and Julia set off in the ambulance to collect food from the ever-replenishing storeroom of the Sweetbriar to bring back to the high school/triage center. Barbie hits a patch of the titular black ice and skids off the road, flipping the ambulance on its side. Julia ends up with a big metal rod sticking out of her leg only a week or so (in the reality of the show) after getting shot in the chest. Isn’t it Barbie’s turn to suffer a life-threatening injury?

Although Julia insists Barbie save himself, he won’t leave her side. They huddle together under a big scratchy blanket until she succumbs to hypothermia and he’s able to pull the rod out of her leg without causing her to bleed out. Later he is able to revive her in front of the stove at the Sweetbriar, and I’m assuming this is all very scientifically accurate and Rebecca would be able to explain it if she wasn’t busy back at the high school.

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As for Big Jim, he starts the episode back at the bottom of the totem pole, having thrown away everyone’s chance to get out of the dome by tossing the egg into the no-longer-bottomless pit. (In case you missed this last week, rest assured that, as always, all the dialogue in the first five minutes of the episode serves as a handy recap while resembling no sentences ever spoken aloud by humans.) By the end of the hour, Big Jim has found a can of gasoline for the generator and rescued Lyle from the icy lake where he finally appeared. It’s the umpteenth redemption of Big Jim, as everyone just sort of forgets he held a gun on a couple of teenagers only a few hours earlier and screwed them all out of their chance to escape. Sure, that stuff was bad, but remember when he blocked that field goal at the big Woodchucks game? Good ol’ Big Jim!

Outside the dome, the egg has been recovered in the playground exit, except that no one can pick it up without getting flung into the monkey bars. Their messing around with the power source is also messing with Melanie, who is still connected to it in some way. The not-at-all-suspicious Hacker Hunter turns out to be working with the private security force outside, but he’s still a good guy at heart who appears to convince the soldiers from Zenith that continuing to screw around with the egg will be catastrophic for them.

The resolution to the latest dilemma is no big surprise: the dome decides it’s done being cold and will now shrink instead. For all we know, hundreds of Chester’s Mill residents froze to death during the night, but there’s no time to worry about that now. On to the next crisis!

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Stray observations:

  • Given Julia’s miraculous healing powers after her gunshot wound, I expect she’ll be up and running by the first commercial break next week.
  • “Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for my family.” So now they’re putting Walter White’s words in Hank Schrader’s mouth. Have you no shame, Dome?
  • The lights go out at the high school. Sam: “What’s going on, Rebecca?” Uh….the generator is out of fuel, genius. You need the Science Lady to tell you that?
  • Barbie in the ambulance: “There must be something here for the pain.” You’d think so, wouldn’t you? (Then again, all the good drugs were probably looted weeks earlier.)

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