Karla Crome, Grace Victoria Cox/CBS
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The end is near and the crazy is coming fast and furious. The dome is contracting, as we learned at the end of last episode, but only when it feels like it. Melanie is dying, either because she’s lost too much blood or because the egg is upset. Pauline is painting again, Julia is having heart-to-heart chats with the dome, and Skater Dude has returned just in time to see the guy who runs the hardware store get crushed to death in his car. It’s a whirlwind of activity designed to make us feel like the season is building to an exciting conclusion, but almost none of it makes any sense. Dome, sweet dome.

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The science vs. faith debate that went on the back burner a few weeks ago returns with a vengeance as Rebecca and Julia face off over how to save Melanie. Both sides have their merits, of course. On the one hand, Julia limps (and yes, the show remembered she should be limping) over to the dome to plead for Melanie’s life in that earnest Julia way. (I have to give credit to Rebecca Lefevre for playing these scenes absolutely straight. It can’t be easy.) The dome responds by retracting toward her, which strikes me as a big “no.” Rebecca, on the other hand, thinks a transfusion will cure what ails Melanie if only they can figure out how to match her blood type. In her most MacGyver-esque moment to date, she realizes she can do the trick with lima beans which, yes, is apparently a real thing. (Hilarious highlight of the episode: Rebecca and Sam with arms full of canned lima beans as she says “I can’t believe we lucked out!” I still can’t tell whether Karla Crome is giving an intentionally funny performance, but she makes me laugh more than anyone else on this show.)

Neither of these methods proves particularly effective, since Melanie’s health is still in some way connected to the egg. Barbie decides to solve the problem by walking Hacker Hunter to the dome at gunpoint and convincing his father to bring the egg back through the root cellar’s red door. (Every week I’m typing sentences never before typed on this planet.) Don Barbara agrees, and the egg even cooperates by allowing him to pick it up without being flung across the playground, but his loyal security force turns on him, preventing the egg’s return.

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Let’s see, what haven’t we tried yet? Oh, I know: Pauline hasn’t made one of her terrible visionary paintings in a while. Although she’s convinced herself that her visions have deserted her, Big Jim talks her into giving it a try for old time’s sake (and to get her away from the increasingly creepy Lyle, which…well, for once Big Jim may have the right idea). She comes up with a splotchy fingerpainting that suggest eight hands must be joined to restore Melanie’s health. Since Angie is no longer around, there are only seven hands available until Rebecca uses quantum physics to determine that Melanie actually counts as two hands from two different timelines. Another victory for science!

At last, Melanie is up and about and everything is fine for five seconds or so until a whirlwind appears and sucks her into what may or may not be another bottomless pit. As Big Jim is comforting Pauline, who worries she’ll be blamed for this turn of events, Crazy Bible Lyle stabs her in the back so they can walk into heaven together. Big Jim in turn stabs Lyle to death, bringing his brief murder hiatus to an end.

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So where does this leave us with one hour left in the season? The dome is presumably still closing in, the egg is in the wrong hands, and Big Jim is set to go on the rampage again. Given that the show’s producers were fully anticipating a third season when this one was in production, we certainly can’t expect any resolution to the story (whatever that would mean at this point). That third season order hasn’t come through yet and the ratings have been down significantly, so there’s at least a chance next week will bring the end of the dome as we know it. I’m not betting on it, though; this show is just too ridiculous to die.

Stray observations:

  • I loved Barbie’s conversation with his father through the dome, during which each of their translators just ended up writing down whatever the hell they felt like.
  • What’s with the ear-splitting cover of the Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn!”? This isn’t Sons Of Anarchy, you know.
  • Julia decides not to take the picture of her with her husband before her house is crushed, because that was her old life. Cold, Julia.
  • Somehow in all the confusion, Big Jim never heard anything about Melanie being alive again until this week. Big Jim: “How is she back?” Junior: “The dome…” Enough said.

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