‘Under the Dome’ Season 1, Episode 2 Review – The Bucket Brigade

Published 2 years ago by

Dean Norris and Natalie Martinez in Under the Dome Into The Fire Under the Dome Season 1, Episode 2 Review – The Bucket Brigade

After a pilot episode that felt interesting enough, it was somewhat disheartening to see episode 2 of Under the Dome open up with a cheesy, Revolution-style voice over explaining the series’ set-up – suggesting a mild television conspiracy wherein actors with memorable roles on Breaking Bad head over to do high-concept network dramas that may or may not have sustainability concerns.

And while the pilot managed to adequately establish the show’s conceit while creating an appealing balance between the characters inside the dome and the mystery of the dome itself, ‘The Fire’ feels like a step back, as it struggles to convincingly build on whatever interest the pilot  managed to create.

For the most part, the finger can be pointed at the rather abrupt transition from the occurrence of a strange and life-altering event to the feeling that things in Chester’s Mill have barely been disrupted. On one hand it’s understandable that the series doesn’t have the time (or the budget) to show scenes of townspeople up in arms about the invisible dome trapping them in the world’s largest snow globe – and there’s an expectation that the audience should deduce on their own the collective reactions of off-screen residents, based on what is given to us in terms of the main characters’ performances. (Although, if that’s any indication, nobody’s really bothered by the whole thing or they’re just convincing themselves that the dome will come down shortly).

Kevin Sizemore and Ned Bellamy in Under the Dome Into The Fire Under the Dome Season 1, Episode 2 Review – The Bucket Brigade

It’s also reasonable to assume that with just 13 episodes at its disposal, Under the Dome is going to have to make a substantial leap from depicting the initial event to the more micro-level storytelling, so, with any luck, this hasty transition from incident all the way through the stages of acceptance will be worthwhile once the real plot gets cooking.

Hopefully that plot will begin to take a closer look at Big Jim and his involvement with the propane shipments and, perhaps, the dome itself. As it stands, Dean Norris (much like his former co-star Giancarlo Esposito on Revolution) is proving to be a standout amongst many characters who have yet to feel as fully formed, or capable of significant story potential. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Norris’ fictional spawn, Junior, who appears to be on the exact opposite trajectory as his father and co-star. To be fair, Alexander Koch was given a lot of heavy lifting to do in the pilot and in ‘The Fire’ with regard to convincing the audience that he was perhaps once of sound mind and has simply snapped at the thought of Angie not wanting to be with him, and believing her to have fallen into the arms of another man – which, in this case happens to be Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara. It doesn’t excuse his hokey storyline, but it does afford him some slack since it’s still so early in the series.

Junior’s control issues lead to a confrontation between him and Barbie that connects the current storyline to the reason for Barbie being in Chester’s Mill in the first place. From the pilot, it wasn’t clear whether or not the show was going to use flashbacks as a way to flesh out the characters’ backgrounds and although it doesn’t seem like that will be the case with everyone, we do see the circumstances leading to Peter Shumway’s death and that Barbie didn’t initially confront him with the intent to kill. This certainly helps to give us some idea of who Barbie really is, as his time in post-dome Chester’s Mill has been spent saving lives rather than taking them. And although frequent cuts to illustrate the importance of Barbie’s dog tags felt completely unnecessary, the larger information gleaned from the flashback hints that his arc will be one of (at least partial) redemption.

Mike Vogel and Rachelle Lefevre in Under the Dome Into The Fire Under the Dome Season 1, Episode 2 Review – The Bucket Brigade

Of course, the main thrust of the episode stems from the death of Sheriff Perkins – which unfortunately means the show immediately loses the welcome presence of Jeff Fahey – and Big Jim’s attempt to cover up the propane purchases by sending Rev. Lester Coggins (Ned Bellamy) to dispose of any evidence in Perkins’ house. Unbeknownst to Big Jim and Rev. Coggins, however, Perkins’ house was apparently constructed entirely of the most flammable material on Earth, as a small garbage can fire consumes the house with such speed and ferocity one would think Ron Howard was directing it.

Of course this leads to a small gathering of Chester’s Mill residents acknowledging their predicament, so it wasn’t all bad. There were also some interesting details about the dome itself, courtesy of Joe McAllister and engineering wunderkind Dodee Weaver that helped to round the episode out and illustrate how limited anyone’s understanding of the structure actually is.

All in all, ‘The Fire’ can hopefully be chalked up to second episode jitters, and will wind up being an early stumble for a series that’s just getting started. And if a show is going to slip up, it’s best to do so early on, when the stakes aren’t quite as high and the story is still waiting to be developed further.


Under the Dome continues next Monday with ‘Manhunt’ @10pm on CBS. Check out a preview below:

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  1. I’m still trying to understand the show. Your recap had me in stitches. So, is this dome something that aliens decided to do to make the rest of us go crazy with these people inside of it? Also, what is the relationship between creepy Junior and Britt Robertson’s character? They apparently have had sex a few times. Were they lovers? Boyfriend/girlfriend? Just sex partners? Why did she decide to want to have nothing to do with Mr. Creepy again? Now he is holding her hostage and NO ONE even realizes she’s missing? No family? No friends? What type of horrible person is she that no one cares about her? I am loving the woman cop and Barbie. Not a fan of that redheaded reporter. Same with the redheaded reporter on Hannibal. Very strange considering I’m a readhead. :\

    • In the premiere she said “It’s been a fun summer,” and “We both know what this is,” and mentioned that Junior’s going back to college soon. My impression was that for her they were just having a little fun over summer break but that she wasn’t expecting anything long-term. Which would be why she got upset when he said he dropped out, because she was expecting it to be over soon and was ready to move on.

      Her parents were out of town, so it’s just her and her brother. It seems odd that he wouldn’t be wondering, but maybe he’s assuming she’s staying with Junior. And it does seem odd that no friends are wondering, but with all the chaos it’s somewhat plausible that it’s all just getting lost in the fray.

    • I think the dome is there to protect humanity from becoming instinct because there is an impending danger that’s going to wipe out all life on the planet that will originate from the stars but the irony is that everyone in the dome are willing to kill each other off.

    • You also have to understand that it’s One episode one day. So the girl was kidnapped during the first night, and this second episode happens the second day. So basically nobody has seen her for half a day. No need to worry.

  2. the story line with junior is already starting to get really frustrating

  3. when did this premiere?

  4. “…or they’re just convincing themselves that the dome will come down shortly.”

    I don’t really have anything to back this up, but that’s kinda what I’ve been thinking. When any tragedy takes place, at first it just seems unreal and we keep thinking that it’s not really happening. And then eventually reality sets in. Reality just hasn’t set in yet for these people.

  5. I agree that the storyline with Junior is starting to get stale but he does play an important part. So far the series is just okay. It’s nothing that’s really memorable and it doesn’t have that “thing” that makes you want to keep watching. As of right now, it’s a show that is on my “record” list to watch later when there is nothing else to watch

  6. I’m having a hard time caring about much that is happening in the show. The dome drop opening was great, but I just lost interest after that

  7. it’s looking like yet another failed translation of one of king’s books. i havent read this book yet, but i have read other comments talking about how vastly different the 2 versions are. the story just seems ridiculous based solely on the characters reactions.

    • After watching the first episode I’m really on the fence. There are some MAJOR departures from the book just in the first 40 minutes of this series. Not a fan of that sort of thing.

  8. The episode was near fatal and the show is on life support for me.
    I’ll give it one more go unless I pull the plug early. Some acting
    and writing is simply terrible and I do not see that improving.

    • Once again I agree with you Sir…
      I tried to forgive the pilot for it’s issues because most pilots struggle but after watching this episode the writing & acting seemed to get worse.
      I’ll try 1 more episode but if it doesn’t improve I’m out.

  9. I hadn’t read the book but I was ticked off they killed off Mr. Lawnmower man! When is Fahey going to get (and keep) a lead role?!

    (oh and I still hate the girl locked in the basement by her deranged “boyfriend” plot thread)

  10. I haven’t read the book, so Im just spitballing here, but I took the incredibly fast spreading fire as something like an act of God. It was meant to be unnaturally fast, and, along with a few other clues, has me thinking that there is going to be a biblical type reasoning behind it. A good vs evil in a Petri dish kind of thing. Very like King. Wouldn’t be surprised if one of the characters turned out to be ‘the devil’ while others represent ‘god’. Shades of The Stand. Retribution/punishment for a morally corrupt community? Otherwise it means the fire was just filmed really badl, and I hope that it was more than that. Mind you, the editing, and the shot, of the Reverend ‘accidentally’ knocking the fire bucket into the curtain was appallingly bad. Like “c’mon, really?” bad.

  11. I have read the book so I can say this is horrible, and is so under Mr.King`s supervision, which makes it even more horrible.Liked the book, hate the show!