Last night’s episode of Under the Dome marked the precise midpoint of the summer breakout’s freshman season. This means that, according to the basic rules of serialized sci-fi drama, there had to be some minor revelations, or at least answers that only lead to more questions, like a dream within a dream or a dome within a dome. Executive producer Brian K. Vaughan has talked frequently about the influence of Lost on the show – an influence which he earned more than most people because, well, he wrote for Lost – and in the TV schema, this episode ties in nicely with “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues,” the episode in the geographic center of Lost’s first season, wherein Locke and Boone took a stroll in the woods and discovered the Hatch. Last night, two Dome characters took a similar stroll in the woods…and found another mysterious thing that seems guaranteed to dominate the back half of this season. Forthwith, the three most important things that happened on last night’s Dome:
1. There’s a little Dome inside the big Dome, and that little Dome is preggers. Norrie and Joe wandered to the exact middle of the Dome and found a smaller Dome buried in the forest. Inside of that little Dome was a black egg-looking thing which I’m henceforth going to refer to as the Egg. Dome Junior seems to work an awful lot like Dome Senior, insofar as whenever Joe and Norrie touch it, weird things happen. Last night, Norrie saw a vision of her mom Alice, which she took as a message. So she ran home…just in time to watch her mom die, her body having been generally ravaged by a week with low insulin. Norrie ran outside, screaming at the Dome and asking it what it wanted. Meanwhile, we cut back to the Egg, and this was happening:
Looks a little bit like pink stars, doesn’t it? Of course, they’re not falling…they’re rising. Was this somehow evidence that the Egg was absorbing the dying Alice’s life essence? Could it be that the little Egg is absorbing the souls/bio-electromagnetic field of everyone who dies inside of the Dome? Assuming that no one has died offscreen, the number of pink stars looks about right for our total body count so far: Three cops, one local diner attendant, a reverend, an out-of-town lesbian psychiatrist who vividly remembers all her med school training, and a couple murderous townies. Am I missing anyone? Could the Egg be absorbing Chester’s Mill life force in order to give birth to some new creature? Like, the Anti-Christ? Or the Alien Anti-Christ? Is the egg the source of the Dome’s power, as Joe implied, or is it a beneficiary of the Dome? How many Domes does it take to screw a Dome in a Dome?
2. Also, the Dome can conjure hallucination labor-inducing zombie humans. Julia’s pregnant next-door neighbor Harriet swung by for some yogurt. She loudly announced: “Hello, neighbor I’ve always had, because I’ve been there the whole time! I’m Harriet, your pregnant next-door neighbor. My husband is in the army, but he was planning to be back in time for my baby to be born, which is going to happen in six weeks and certainly won’t happen today! Ta-Ta!” Immediately after this introduction, Harriet saw her husband walking down the street. She touched him, and there was that familiar electricity sound from when people touch the Dome the first time, and then her husband disappeared.
Now, this was obviously some kind of mental projection slash matter-reconstitution process, which means the Dome can read minds and also induce labor using science. But I prefer to imagine that the Fake Husband was created by a much simpler process. I prefer to believe that the Dome actually put on a human costume, and found a solder uniform at the local goodwill, and then walked down the street to meet Harriet. “Hello, human wife!” said the Dome. “I’m your genuine human husband! I enjoy human things, like American football and Microsoft tablet devices, and also both nose-breathing and mouth-breathing! Yep, that’s because I’m a human, and definitely not a Dome! No Domes around here! Here, hold my human hand. PSYCH, I WAS A DOME! Hahaha, have a baby!”
3. Big Jim has an enemy now. In hindsight, I think there was a basic structural problem with Dome’s early episodes. So many of the main characters were relative newcomers to Chester’s Mill: Barbie and the Calvert-Hill clan were just passing through, and Julia had only been living in town for a short while. The characters had no history with each other. I suspect the intention was to make these characters feel like audience surrogates – like them, we were learning more about Chester’s Mill as outsiders. But it also had a bizarre distancing effect, making the actual citizens of Chester’s Mill feel like ciphers.
Last night, though, the intra-town tension started to really simmer, and it came down to a pair of old frenemies with what felt like decades of bruised history. Big Jim seemed to finally meet his match last night. Ollie Dinsmore has been hovering around the outskirts of the town drama – because, quite literally, he lives on the outskirts of town. It seemed last week like he was satisfied to own the water supply, while Jim fed him propane. But he made a play for the propane, sending his bullyboy to Big Jim’s supply. Then he strolled into Big Jim’s office and said that Big Jim wasn’t so big anymore. (As played excellently by Dean Norris and Leon Rippy, this scene was kind of like watching a couple of charming half-drunk uncles suddenly re-enact a scene from Game of Thrones.)
Big Jim did not respond well to this. He tied one on, then tied another one on, then he finally just upended the bottle and blew up Ollie’s bullyboy. This makes two people Big Jim has killed in the last two days, and it seems likely to lead to more deaths post-haste.
Fellow viewers, what did you think of Dome’s new Dome? Is the Egg a metaphor? Am I the only one who thought that Dome Junior would have a tiny version of Chester’s Mill inside of it?