Most of Chester’s Mill escapes the dome! The dome is destroyed! And Big Jim is dead! Under the Dome couldn’t have rung in the new season on a more upbeat note.
It’s a shame, then, that all of those events are utter lies, and everyone is still stuck under the dome despite an obviously fake tease of a more peaceful life.
“Move On” picks up immediately where season 2 finale’s left off. Everyone in town, minus Julia, Junior, and Big Jim, are following Melanie into a vague CGI-laden white space. After spending a brief moment in this The Matrix-esque limbo, Barbie and the rest of his crew end up OUTSIDE THE DOME. Standing in the real world, they watch as a shower of pink stars shoot upward into the center of the dome, before sending a shockwave out that shatters the dome walls.
They’ve won! They’re free! And even though Barbie finds a dead Julia, Junior and Jim in the town, it looks like the mystery of the dome is solved and everyone can resume their regular lives.
But at this point, there’s still over an hour-and-a-half left of this two hour premiere. That’s your first obvious sign that something is up, but rather than address the nagging question at hand (How does a show with “dome” in the title go on without a dome?), a time jump sets the momentum onward as if the dome is truly decimated.
“Move On” initially hides the truth of the situation. Traveling to Yemen, we see Barbie back in the army, interrogating, and then killing a man while searching for hostages. The scene cuts to Barbie returning to base as a weird filter that looks suspiciously like the wall of the dome overtakes the screen. So rest easy, Under the Dome has not suddenly taken a turn into Subtlety’s Mill.
Instead, we discover the show has jumped a year in time, Barbie is in love with a woman named Ava, and he’s still holding on to Julia, haunted by her death. To make things worse, Joe won’t leave Barbie alone, but Joe’s not asking him to take a look at his new vlog or check out his Surface Pro tablet. No, Joe simply wants Barbie to come home for a dome memorial that Ava encourages him to attend.
So they and Hunter, who is also working in the army, arrive in Chester’s Mill, which is booming now that 17 people aren’t dying on a daily basis. Dale runs into Joe and Ben, who continues to talk like a ’90s skater kid written by a 40-year-old. Almost immediately Chester’s Mill’s penchant for the bizarre kicks in, as both Ben and Barbie spot Melanie walking through the streets. This is the second time Barbie’s spotted her, after briefly seeing her back at his base.
By now “Move On” has clearly shown it’s hand that the dome is far from gone, with two other perspective shifts. One is to Melanie (or whoever is impersonating Melanie), watching the recovered Chester’s Mill via some purple crystals stashed in a rock wall.
The second is Julia and Junior, who are alive and well. The two want to cross over to where the rest of the town disappeared in the tunnel, but they need a ladder to reach across a chasm. They head to the school, where Big Jim appears to have just been conveniently waiting for them (and where he presumably sat planning his sneak attack for at least an hour or so).
He’s got a gun in hand, having survived when Junior shot him. He proceeds to tie the two up under threat of death. But it’s all posturing on Jim’s part for information, as he doesn’t just spare them, but even allows them to leave once Julia reveals their plan to chase after the group. Oh, but he shoots his own son as petty payback. Crazy continues to run deep in this family.
While Julia and Junior attempt to reach their friends and loved ones, the fake Chester’s Mill continues to play out like a version of The Truman Show where everyone is Truman and the director running the show is not a pretentious director but an alien/monster/shapeshifter in a young woman’s body.
NEXT: Who’s that therapist that conveniently pops up around every corner of town?