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Under The Dome: “Love Is A Battlefield”

Mike Vogel/CBS
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This may not have been the worst Under The Dome episode of the season but it was undoubtedly the dullest, with “twists” so repetitive even the writers must have been falling asleep by the time they got to the end. When the highlight of the week is Joe jamming out to the Pat Benatar song that gives the episode its title, something has gone very wrong.

Having drained the life force from twelve female members of the Kinship, Eva’s baby is ready to hatch after the world’s shortest pregnancy. (Maybe hatch isn’t quite the right word, but I just can’t forget all that time we spent with the egg.) Barbie still has hopes of snapping Eva out of her trance so they can raise the baby together instead of turning the new queen over to the Kinship. (How exactly this was going to work out now he’s once again declared his undying love for Julia is something we’ll just have to leave to dome fanfic. Is there dome fanfic? There must be dome fanfic.)

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Barbie falls for his own trick, the old “I’m pretending to be one of you, but really I’m still one of us” routine, when Eva tells a sob story about her divorced parents and her wish that such a fate never befall them. This is such a completely unsurprising turn of events that the only way to top it is for Junior to pull the exact same stunt about 20 minutes later in the episode. I can’t believe anyone involved with this show actually believed they were fooling a single viewer with that one, so I almost have to admire their moxie in going through with it.

Most of the episode is taken up with a static series of exposition dumps. We learn a little more about the aliens that have taken over Chester’s Mill, mainly that they traveled hundreds of thousands of light years to hide under a dome after some presumably much scarier aliens destroyed their home planet. We can extrapolate that these scary aliens are now on their way to Earth and that the only way Christine can raise up an army to fight them is to infect the rest of humanity once the dome comes down. Hektor can’t allow that to happen, so he wants to cure everyone inside the dome (along with Lily’s father outside of it) or, failing that, kill them all before they can escape. Big Jim is okay with that, especially once it turns out that his bonding session with Junior over someday running a father-and-son used car lot was bogus.

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Of course, the dome can’t come down unless Joe figures out how to rig up the contraption that will transmit the whistling tones from seven pieces of amethyst. He’s in no hurry to do so since Barbie has told him to stall until the cure is ready to go, which is where the Pat Benatar song comes in. I don’t know what to make of this at all, especially the fact that he listens to it twice; this is ancient music to someone Joe’s age, so I can only assume the lyrics have some deep Talmudic significance to this week’s events. After looking them over, the only words that really sum up my feelings about the episode are “Why do you hurt me so bad?”

Joe isn’t the only one stalling for time. Given that there are only two weeks left, the whole episode feels like filler, at least until the end when Julia meets up with Barbie at the motel to deliver Eva’s baby. (Wait, there’s a motel? With plenty of empty rooms with beds where people could be sleeping instead of in tents?) Eva tries to hold it in, but the slimy little critter makes her way into the world anyway (apparently without an umbilical cord, but that’s only like the eighth most ridiculous thing about this pregnancy). Barbie makes yet another bad decision by letting Eva hold and feed the baby, who promptly absorbs all her mother’s alienness. Eva throws Barbie through a window and he and Julia escape before Christine arrives on the scene to finish off Eva with a pillow over the face.

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There’s nothing wrong with a little calm before the storm, and even the best series often have episodes near the end of a season that are primarily concerned with moving pieces into place for the grand finale. That said, Under The Dome has yet to prove it can end a season in satisfying fashion. Maybe this time will be different, but it’s very possible that “Love Is A Battlefield” is simply the calm before the confusion.

Stray observations

  • My favorite bit of pure dumb domeness this week was Julia finding and recognizing one of Christine’s hairs in the birthing barn. Well, she is an investigative reporter, after all!
  • “Junior, that sounds like Helter Skelter to me.” No, Big Jim, that’s Aquarius, and it’s on another network.
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