[This review of Under the Dome season 2, episode 6 contains SPOILERS.]
Late in ‘In the Dark’, there’s a scene where Sam confesses to Barbie that, yes, he did indeed kill Angie, and that he intends to kill the other members of the Teenage Hand Club in order to bring the dome down once and for a all. The scene is fairly slow – which makes it par for the course since the episode has all the liveliness of a middle-aged man in a hammock – but there’s something off in Sam’s reaction to not only what he perceives is his destiny, but also to the dome itself.
Sam talks like someone who’s been trapped under the dome for decades (instead of being at the bottom of a bottle of booze for that long) and he’s ready to finally be free of all this nonsense that is life in Chester’s Mill as it has been depicted in Under the Dome. Watching Sam explain himself to Barbie, after their wacky underground adventure – complete with standard issue TV trope cave-in! – one begins to get the feeling that Sam’s cabin fever is a little reminiscent of what the writers of Under the Dome must be going through themselves. Since they’re now looking for plotlines in dark tunnels, bottomless pits, and obelisks in towns called Zenith – basically anything that can get them out of Chester’s Mill for a short amount of time – it seems like everyone is going a little stir-crazy.
Well, everyone but the actual residents of Chester’s Mill, like Hoyt’s mom, who seems perfectly content splitting her time between serving up some tasty Doomsday Prepper Flapjacks and being swayed by Big Jim’s efforts to win back the constituents he lost after fruitlessly conspiring to commit mass murder with a high school science teacher. The townsfolk may seem like a fickle group, but it’s no wonder people like Hoyt’s mom aren’t more concerned with the dome or Big Jim’s murderous ways; they’re kind of like goldfish. And not just because they’re trapped in what amounts to a big glass bowl, but because their memories seem to completely reset after just a small amount of time has passed.
But you have to hand it to Big Jim; he takes the third string plot point of a dust storm giving the dome a nasty case of clogged pores and turns it into his platform for re-election. After he MacGyver’s the town’s radio antenna (is there anything that antenna can’t do?) into a giant windmill/sprinkler that lightly mists Chester’s Mill like it’s the party deck at Señor Frogs, Big Jim is well on his way to winning back the hearts and minds of those he tried to kill just 24 hours earlier.
While Big Jim’s toiling away with silly dome-related subplots, Julia is busy bonding with Rebecca over their unfulfilled potential and some explosives that will clear the cave-in trapping Barbie and Sam on the edge of the great void. For her part, Rebecca seems to have mellowed out a little bit, and wants to use her science knowledge for good (and blowing things up), instead of thinning the proverbial herd with the swine flu. At the moment anyway, she’s decided to leave the crazy to Sam, who regards Pauline’s diary like gospel before hoping to end it all by plunging into the newly discovered abyss.
It seems likely that the bottomless pit is really the dome’s secret passage to Zenith – since the show is as eager to get out of Chester’s Mill as the primary characters are – and since the pink egg has been force-pulled from the lake to tell the Four Hands that their next objective lies in Barbie and Melanie’s hometown.
That means Sheriff Barbie’s going to do some spelunking, which, thankfully, Chester’s Mill apparently has the supplies for. But it also means that, Under the Dome may briefly become, On the Other Side of the Dome.
Under the Dome continues next Monday with ‘Going Home’ @10pm on CBS.