Eddie Cahill, Colin Ford/CBS

“Plan B” isn’t a title that should fill Under The Dome viewers with confidence, especially since we’ve reached the part of the season by which the writers have traditionally already plowed through Plans C, D, and F. This year has been a little different, in that the creative team has ironed out a more-or-less workable arc on which to thread the usual dome-related nonsense, but this week the seams are definitely starting to show. For all the frantic action in this episode, not much of consequence transpires.

There are two significant developments, one of which is incredibly silly while the other is merely tedious. The silly one: Eva is pregnant, despite the fact that she and Barbie only had sex for the first time the previous day. How could such a thing happen? Because dome! As Christine explains, this is no ordinary pregnancy, but rather a rapidly accelerated one that will produce the new queen. How this line of succession jumps from Christine to Eva and Barbie and their offspring is just another secret the dome chooses not to reveal, but at least it spares us the horrors of Junior and Christine producing an heir.

After getting the good news, Barbie sets off to meet with Julia on the pretext that he’s snapped out of his Kinship trance. It appears Julia is falling for his line of baloney, until he reaches for her gun, at which point she jabs him with a knockout hypo. What follows is a protracted and unpleasant series of scenes in which Big Jim and Julia attempt to jolt Barbie back to reality, occasionally with the assistance of two leads hooked to a car battery. Julia, you see, has determined that it’s not emotion alone that snaps the Chester’s Millers out of their pod personae, but emotion combined with physical pain. If you’ve missed this sort of extended torture session since Homeland has been on hiatus, the dome has got you covered.

As painful as this may be for Barbie, it’s even worse for us, as we’re forced to endure Julia’s attempts to get an emotional reaction out of Barbie by dredging up that old story about Barbie killing her husband. Get over it, Julia! That was, like, almost a month ago! For his part, Barbie won’t break. He makes his escape, kicking Indy the dog in the process. Truly, he is beyond all redemption now… or so it seems, until Julia—at gunpoint—plants a smooch on him and breaks the spell. This was a long way to go for an allegiance flip that’s been inevitable since the beginning.

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While this is going on, Chester’s Millennials are working on the mystery of Christine’s schematic, which may be the key to (at last, finally, maybe) bringing down the dome. Joe theorizes that the drawing depicts sound waves converging on a central spot, creating a frequency that will shatter the dome like an opera singer shatters glass. (And how many will be killed by the shards of the shattered dome as they fall? A problem for another day.) Unfortunately, Joe and Norrie decide to place their trust in Sam, a man who has proven at least half a dozen times to be completely untrustworthy. True, he’s under Christine’s control this time, so it’s not exactly his fault, but come on, Joe! This is still the guy who murdered your sister!

Maybe this was a necessary transitional episode to set up the rest of the season, but it managed to derail what had been a pretty decent run by Dome standards (and I didn’t even get into the ickiness of Junior’s quest for his new mate). Should have stuck with Plan A, show.

Stray observations

  • I apologize for the delayed posting of this week’s review, but my local CBS affiliate decided to show a pre-season Dallas Cowboys game last night instead of Dome, so I was unable to watch it until this morning. Once again, Tony Romo ruins everything.
  • Since I didn’t get to review last week’s episode, let me now take credit for predicting that the end of the world would turn out to be a particularly sophisticated PowerPoint presentation projected on the dome. I take these small victories where I can.
  • “I don’t get why everyone thinks you’re a giant tool.” Someone get Hunter an Amazon Prime subscription so he can catch up on the first two seasons.
  • To his credit, Big Jim did have a couple of good lines this week, particularly “John to Yoko.”
  • There’s a secret head of Aktaion who isn’t Barbie’s father, and it’s been that way all along and the writers just decided not to tell us until now. Just go with it.
  • Thanks to Gwen Ihnat for filling in for me on my summer sabbaticals from the dome. How did I get out? Only the dome knows.

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