Under the Dome failure to answer any of the questions it raises has been one of the recurring complaints in these season 2 recaps. (For example, did we ever find out what the deal was with those purple stars? Or why the people of Chester’s Mill don’t know the difference between falling and ascending?) In tonight’s episode, we learned that some of the inhabitants of Chester’s Mill are just as frustrated with the lack of answers as we are. In a moment of frustration, Joe says to Barbie, “This is a chance to find an answer.
It’s hard to tell whether tonight’s episode of Under the Dome was better or worse than last week’s episode. On one hand, it surprised us all with a Junior story line that was actually interesting. On the other hand, this story line was not given enough attention because the episode spent too much time revisiting the science vs. faith debate through a low stakes crisis of the week—something Under the Dome has tried and failed at before.
Well that was an improvement over last week. Under the Dome’s second season premiere did a fairly poor job of resolving all the dangling first season questions and of setting up what was to come in the new season. Thankfully tonight’s episode “Infestation” makes up for where the season premiere failed because there are moments that do a fairly good job of setting up this season’s conflicts and viewer expectations.
Welcome back to Chester’s Mill, the town that’s trapped under a dome and yet still nothing interesting happens. The first season of Under the Dome ended with what the writers hoped was a cliffhanger that would have viewers begging for a second season. Big Jim (Dean Norris) was yelling at Junior (Alexander Koch) to hang Dale “Barbie” Barbara (Mike Vogel) as the Dome turned from pitch black to opaque white and blinded everyone.
The people of Chester’s Mill had formed yet another angry mob. They were all assembled at one of the several roads leading out of town. Just outside the Dome, the military were clearing out. Citizens were spraypainting messages on the wall, throwing bottles at the invisible shield, and generally making a mess. Because this is Under the Dome, every major character on the show suddenly appeared in the exact same place. Julia Shumway and Barbie, Big Jim and Sheriff Linda, Ollie the Barfly and Reverend Coggins.
Things continue trending downwards in the happy town of Chester’s Mill. One cop killed another cop – accidentally, maybe. The angry mob cares about semantics. In last week’s episode, the whole town came together to put out a fire. At the start of last night’s episode, the whole town came together looking to start some trouble. Deputy Linda led off-the-reservation Deputy Paul into jail, flanked an angry crowd of townspeople. Deputy Paul insisted that he wasn’t at fault: “It was the Dome that did it to Freddy!” Big Jim questioned whether Linda was up for managing the crisis.
Outside of the Dome, order reigns supreme. Scientists are performing tests: They’re spraying the invisible barrier with hoses, and there’s talk about firing a laser. Body parts have been cleaned up and disposed of. Serious-looking men with serious-looking firepower stand guard at regular intervals. They don’t communicate with any of the citizens of Chester’s Mill; they just stand there, watching, like the guards with the big furry hats that stand silent and motionless outside Buckingham Palace.
Under the Dome is a TV show with serious pedigree. It’s based on a gigantic 2009 novel by Stephen King, the veteran horrormeister – and occasional EW contributor – who has been plumbing the dark side of Americana for close to four decades now. The book was developed into a TV show by Brian K. Vaughan, who wrote one of the greatest comic books ever (Y: The Last Man), one of the second-greatest comic books ever (Ex Machina), and some of the best episodes of Lost. Under the Dome is also produced by Jack Bender, Lost’s signature director.
Stephen King’s 2009 novel Under the Dome is the story of Maine everytown Chester’s Mill, which descends into chaos when a mysterious invisible dome cuts it off from the outside world. Bleak, nihilistic, and more than 1,000 pages long, the book was going to be a daunting challenge to adapt. Enter Brian K. Vaughan, the well-regarded author of comic-book masterworks (Y: The Last Man), who also worked on a little show called Lost. ”[King] encouraged us to take the characters to totally new places,” says the exec producer.
The saga of a small town with sinister secrets bottled up by a mysterious sphere of transparent energy, Under the Dome is an echo chamber noisy with reminders of other TV shows and current events. The Twilight Zone. The Prisoner. Twin Peaks. At one point in the captivating pilot, one trapped character bids adieu to another with an ominous ”Be seeing you” — a wink to the 1960s cult classic series The Prisoner.
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