‘Under the Dome’ Season 1 Finale Review

Published 2 years ago by

Britt Robertson Colin Ford and Mcakenszie Lintz in Under the Dome Curtains Under the Dome Season 1 Finale Review

To say that Under the Dome experienced a sharp and rather drastic decline in quality following a problematic, but still entertaining series premiere would be a bit of an understatement. Sure, there were a few episodes that suggested the ship was capable of righting itself, but by the time the season finale rolled around, it was pretty clear the course had been set and, for better or worse, the series would continue in the direction it was headed.

Of all the problems the series had during its 13-episode run, it seems the show suffered most from unexpectedly going from CBS’ summer experiment to CBS’ newest ratings hit, which effectively altered the course and potential duration of its storyline. Moreover, the show suffered from what can only be the misguided belief of those in charge that putting a group of plainly dull characters at the center of the storyline could somehow make for an interesting and thought-provoking series.

It’s not just that all the characters come off as confused or bewildered by their circumstances as they pertain to the dome – they seem readily befuddled by anything and everything that happens. Even characters not named Ben (i.e., the most irritating character on the planet) find themselves perplexed by the most random things possible – none of which seem to be related to the huge dome that has trapped them in their small town. But the key word in that sentence is “random,” in that things seem to happen (especially in the season finale) that are practically free of reason, and certainly free of dramatic weight because, as interesting as it usually is to have characters unravel the larger mystery of their current predicament, it doesn’t seem like anybody actually learns anything useful from that information.

Colin Ford Mackenzie Lintz and Alexander Koch in Under the Dome Curtains Under the Dome Season 1 Finale Review
All this incomprehension is borderline comical and is certainly deserving of a laugh from the audience – but even then, it isn’t the kind of entertainment initially promised by the series. Under the Dome touted itself as a serialized thriller in the vein of Lost and other heavily thematic, mythology-driven shows of the past, and the fact that it was adapted from Stephen King’s weighty tome of the same name certainly suggests something with regard to the tenor of the storytelling.

Despite all of this, when it comes to the season finale, we’re treated to scenario where a group of wily teenagers outwit the increasingly exasperating Sheriff Linda by tricking her into touching the dome and knocking herself unconscious; but only after they become visibly agitated when a butterfly starts flying around inside the mini-dome, causing the larger dome to shift from transparent to completely opaque. And later, when the situation has gotten particularly dire, the show has the teens stop in the woods to ask an egg some important life questions. These are the kinds of elements the series consistently uses to drum up dramatic tension and probably in no way intended for them to elicit a snicker from the audience. What’s worse is that the show treats its viewers like its characters and enlists Joe to constantly point out things that everyone already sees.

To its credit, ‘Curtains’ does manage to answer the nagging question of who will be crowned the Monarch. After the min-dome turns completely black, Joe, Norrie and Junior rendezvous with Angie, Barbie and Julia (who is walking around pretty well for someone who just got shot) at the cement factory, because the darkening of the dome seems to have canceled the Chester’s Mill Fight Club. At any rate, with the Four Hands present, the mini-dome collapses after they attempt to communicate with it, freeing the butterfly everyone was so worried about. After briefly flying around Barbie, the butterfly instead chooses Julia, after she calms the egg when it randomly decides to cause an earthquake.

Rachelle Lefevre in Under the Dome Curtains Under the Dome Season 1 Finale Review

During the commotion, Junior takes Barbie back into custody and sends him off to the gallows that Big Jim asked Phil The Face-Kicking DJ to organize the construction of. While Big Jim is playing on his dull-witted flock’s belief that the blackened dome is somehow the beginning of the End Times, Julia and the kids encounter a strange being that has taken the form of Norrie’s recently deceased mother, Alice, because whatever the being is (an alien, perhaps?) it’s as inept at perceiving emotional trauma in others as it is answering questions in any useful way. But the being cryptically says that the group must protect the egg – officially turning Under the Dome into a class on parenting taught by high school teachers in every ’80s sitcom – which Julia interprets as “drop the egg in the lake.” To her credit, Julia’s move causes pink stars to rise (not fall) into the sky and turn the dome from black to bright white, effectively leaving Barbie’s fate at the gallows to be resolved next summer.

Even with the disappointing cliffhanger offering little dramatic tension, perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Under the Dome is that after the fantastic antepenultimate episode of Breaking Bad over the weekend, it’s hard not to look at Dean Norris’ role as Big Jim as an unfortunate departure from the sort of incredible performance he’s so clearly capable of delivering. Still, having demonstrated his skill as a performer, it seems like Norris is doing the best with what he’s been given, but his role has been steadily reduced from a morally questionable man with basically good intentions, to a one-note villain hell bent on killing anyone who stands in his way. Sadly, there’s not a whole lot even the best actor can do with material like that.

It remains unclear how Brian K. Vaughan and the series’ producers plan to move forward with the story since it has deviated so significantly from the source material, and considering the show’s ratings, whether or not they feel compelled to address some of the lingering quality issues with the series. Now that it is certain Under the Dome will be an ongoing series, hopefully that knowledge will allow the writers to craft a more focused program where the drama is palpable and the laughs are intentional.


Under the Dome will return for season 2 sometime during the summer of 2014.

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  1. Let me be the 1st to say, WTF? I think 13 hour long episodes (or however many it was)was an adequate amount of time for a King novel to bring us to a conclusion. Wasnt this a summer mini-series? We are no closer now then we were at the series start in answering why the dome was there, who put it there, how the kids were connected to it or what happened.
    What we got was pepto bismol like streaks ascending as it ate the darkness of the dome & then a flash of bright light.
    Thats the grand finale we been waiting for anxiously?
    I blame Spielberg for this, his name is on it as executice producer.
    Mr. Spielberg you dropped the ball on this one. Hideous.

    • Lets face it, greed took over and we were duped.

    • This was not a book that should be adapted into a long-running TV series. It would have made a good mini-series if adapted faithfully with perhaps a little more satisfaction at the end for TV viewers. I guess I shouldn’t have expected better from CBS. King writes some of the best stories and they manage to ruin most of them with lame adaptation.

    • I don’t mind watching for 13 weeks, but another season. By the time the second season starts it will take 4 shows to update us as to what happened in the 1st season. I loved the show, but this has happened before, I got real interested in 2 other mini series and was left with my mouth open and it never came back. I live 1 mile from Stephen King and he is a wonderful writer, but this series dragged on too long. Try it again, Steve. Make this 2nd season it, at least for “Under the Dome”.

  2. was so excited about this show and hung on until the very end in hopes of plot, story and character development. In the end, it was curtains for this show. I won’t follow it anymore.

  3. Truth be told, for a CBS show, I actually like it. I don’t really care for any other show on this network. Some of the story line is a little over the top, but overall it’s fine. I mean how much can you do with everyone under a dome for an indefinite amount of time? I look forward to seeing how they will continue the series next season.

  4. Totally disappointed in finale. Acting and storyline absolutely second rate.

    • Agree. We watched the finale making fun of the writers and how they were making these people act in the end. It is like everyone took a stupid pill.

      • So disappointed in everyone!! Tell me how can people act like that and how can they not see what is really going on with Big Jim??
        At this point I am not sure if I will be watching next season or not!

    • Mannnn I am really disappointed. I watched this show faithfully and it got a little tangled at the end. I did not even realize the last night WAS the last night!! I kept looking last week and last night and finally got on here only to find out the last episode already happened!! It was not that clear to me. I thot there was one more episode. I probably will follow next summer…depending on what it’s up against. :[

      • thot? The term itself is of urban origins translates to the acronym “That Hoe Over There.” Unfortunately due to the gender inequality this term has been largely attributed to females however males can also exhibit “thot-like” behavior and should be identified as such.

    • I know how you feel. Good book. Lame show that I kept hoping would turn around somehow. I actually had to confirm that this was the season finale because it was so lame and silly.

    • I agree 100%! The book is much better. I will not waste any more of my time on this show.

  5. I love the show and believe the acting is first rate. And I tend to be very hard on such matters when it comes to drama, no matter what the form.

    The author of this post, in my opinion, seems to be quite biased in his viewpoints, especially using “Breaking Bad” as measure for Dean Norris, who is doing a fine job in this series.

    To burst some people’s bubbles, this show was never intended to follow the script that Steven King wrote. In fact, that was announced prior to the first airing of the show. Only the initial few episodes would be based upon the original story and then veer off on its own tangent.

    Second, this story is not so much about the “dome”, aliens, or whatnot but about very average Americans who are caught within quite a frightening situation and how they react to it. They are not supposed to be endowed with a great deal of intellectual intelligence.

    The result is that the story does a very good job of introducing Americans to who they really are. A group of very ignorant people being led by nothing more than psychopathic personalities. Those that cannot accept this are either illiterate and\or in complete denial about everyday life in “The Empire”.

    In any event, what is being shown is that only a few will rise above the fray to demonstrate a set of morals and ethics while the rest are left to be nothing more than a subservient mob, which unfortunately is how most Humans would react under such circumstances.

    The biggest questions then is who is going to win this sociological tug-of-war between the two factions and how.

    For those who were expecting something else, go back to the comics… Or watch reruns of “Breaking Bad”…

    • I watched this show having not read the novel and I still do not like it.

      The acting, outside of Dean Norris and Duke (dies first episode), is overall bad. The performances lack energy, do not convey emotions that fit the characters, and fail to make them believable.

      Americans, and people in general, are stupid. However, the average person is not a complete lemming as the characters in this show are. The only character who actually has any form of a backbone is Big Jim; everyone else bumbling does what they are told. You can have a show as you describe where most of the people are followers and only a few leaders rise up. But in this show? You have one such character against an entire town of idiots. That is not at all interesting.

      Even if everything you said were true, that still ignores how much the script lacks stakes, consequences to people’s actions, dramatic tension, or any form of suspense. The only character who’s death made me disappointed was Doodee’s, a character who was a conscientious objector to the standard magical thinking. Keep in mind every episode of this show features at least one character dying and only once was my reaction above ‘meh’.

      This show is uninspired, ridiculous, and padded. I truly do not understand why people are championing this testament to mediocrity. You and others can feel free to keep the rating up, but I will not be tuning in next season.

    • In my opinion the acting is not first rate. The only actors I like are Dean Norris, and Jeff Fahey. Maybe the acting will get better in the second season.
      I agree with everything else you said though.

    • I understand what you are saying Steve, but at some point it does have to be about the dome, aliens, etc. or the show will get very boring or confusing as the writers try to drag out giving the viewers answers, just to keep the show going.

      Also what is your problem with America? I agree that most people are ignorant or just oblivious to what their leaders do, however this is not only true in “The Empire” but in all countries. If everyone wanted to be or was capable of being a leader, there would be no followers. You put people from any country in a situation where their primary concern is only to survive, they are going to turn to the person or people who can help them the best. Also it’s a bit of an over generalization at best and at worst paranoia to think that all leaders are psychopaths. There are many who actually want to help people. The problem is that there are just as many who just want to keep their jobs and power; much like Big Jim.

    • I tried to follow the show but the acting is second rate except for Dean Norris and Jeff Fahey. Based on articles, this was supposed to be a mini-series but based on ratings it was later changed to a full on show. I understand that the show is more based about human survival and what humans would do to survive but at some point the show needs to go back to investigate why the Dome came down, why are they all connected and so on. The writing at times feels like it was done by an intern. With how bad the first season was I doubt I will continue on to the second. This show makes Revolution look like a masterpiece and that’s not saying a lot

      • I like Revolution, it’s a pretty damn good show IMO. Thought I’d hate it based on comments posted on Screen Rant but I looked forward to each episode.

    • super crappy show, should just cancel this idiocy. these characters are some of the lamest hairbrains ever! king allows a fairly decent book about humanities descent into lord of the flies territory to devolve into a story about a silly group of the most unbelievably stupid people. bait and switch from a summer 13 episode short story to a rake in the cash, here comes season 2 BS fest!!!! look, the reason you can still watch the twilight zone is because of the short high octane likeable character stories. odd people in normal situations or normal people in odd situations or any combination of both. get with the program you steves or get out of the program! quality not quantity!!!

    • I loved it. I looked forward to it every week. I totally agree with Steve N. My thoughts exactly, and I look forward to next season!

      • great to know shirley and shycat voted for obama.

  6. “But the being cryptically says that the group must protect the egg – officially turning Under the Dome into a class on parenting taught by high school teachers in every ’80s sitcom – which Julia interprets as “drop the egg in the lake.” In what univerese can you interpret protect the egg as meaning: find a lake, row out to the center, drop the egg in?

    I had no idea that this episode was the season finale. I guess I should have stayed awake these past few weeks… or not.

    • I guess it’s the same logic used by someone who bought Grand Theft Auto V and immediately used a UV lamp to look at the blueprint version of the game map and found hidden text and instructions on it.

      I have no idea how or why anyone thinks to do these things.

    • I think Julia dropped the egg in the lake because it was most difficult place to reach. I guess someone could put on some scuba gear and go get the egg.

  7. I loved the show.

  8. Overall, I felt the whole season was pretty cheesy. The acting was cheesy. The overall plot was cheesy.

    But it’s the summer, and there’s not a whole lot of anything else decent to watch, especially sci-fi (or something remotely resembling sci-fi), so I enjoyed it nonetheless. I’ll be curious to see how much longer they can keep it going, and I’ll be even more curious to see how it can somehow manage to continue pulling in decent ratings. I thought for sure those numbers would have dropped off weeks ago.

  9. The season finally SUUCCKKEEDD.. how stupid can a plot be!

  10. Takes itself too serious. Death scenes aren’t a big deal. Not enough reasoning behind certain actions in the show (building gallows without anyone questioning from townsfolk is an example). Needs more details. Hopefully it gets better cause I do like the show to a certain level.

  11. I thought the acting wasn’t too bad and I like most of the characters. However I believe the writer has a point about the writing. The last few episodes have had some ridiculous situations that only seem justified to wrap up the story. I was under the impression that the series was based on the book and was a miniseries so I was okay with things having to wrap up before they could properly be explored. It irritates me learning that this isn’t the case and that we are expected to wait a year to get any answers or a proper ending. I went into Mondays episode hoping for closure and was extremely disappointed. I understand CBS wants good ratings but at this point I don’t plan on watching next season. I don’t care for series where situations keep getting more unbelievable and questions are never answered, just so a show can continue.

    I understand that these people have been put in a very stressful and unusual situation but the way characters acted in the past few episodes also has been sloppy. It makes no sense for a police officer, who knows Big Jim was working with a drug dealer, to take his word over someone who has done nothing but help out since the dome came down. The same goes for the DJ. Once Julia starts helping Barbie shouldn’t everyone start questioning Big Jim’s story? Again the townspeople ignorance and Big Jim turn from flawed character to out right villain would be more acceptable if it had been leading to a definitive conclusion/confrontation, but the way it is now, I don’t see how next season can’t go anywhere but down.

    • All your points are good. There are 49 more to be made ,but why make any ? Almost Nothing made sense. Almost no actions were realistic. On & On & On. There is no reason to pick any of it apart. NONE of it will go by any rules of Logic or Sense.

  12. they just force these youthful bland actors down our throats. and eliminate a veteran like jeff fahey right from the start. then resurrect the annoying dead woman.

  13. why did you leave hanging? I would like to know if there will be more epsiodes of Under the Dome it is a t show. Please continue it .

  14. “The acting, outside of Dean Norris and Duke (dies first episode), is overall bad.”
    Sorry – The Acting of Mr. Norris has gotten progressively worse as he turned into a Scene Chewing mustache twirling Villain.
    Have not watched the finale yet but am I surprised to Hear it ends with Barbie waiting on a Gallows. NO
    And THIS is how you are going to treat the viewers next year & any year after. And no one can figure out WHY Network TV is Dying. What Garbage. And I thought Stephen King was only incapable of delivering a Bad/Anti finale.
    I watched and watched and waited for something decent to develop. God what a Lousy show !

    • “Sorry – The Acting of Mr. Norris has gotten progressively worse as he turned into a Scene Chewing mustache twirling Villain.”

      I disagree. His acting is on par with the rest of the series; but the script takes his character over the last three episodes from ‘three-dimensional’ to ‘one-note’ and not even the best actor could make that good.

      You are not wrong about everything else you said.

  15. Yeah i am definitely on the what the hell was that all about bandwagon. Scratching and continuously shaking my head though out the sorry mess. Just a really stupid show and I will leave it at that.

  16. this sucks I’m not waiting TILL NEXT year Mr King This was supposed to be a mini-series with a beginning and an end I smoke a lot of weed I won’t remember what was going on in a year or how good the show was

  17. The actor who plays big Jim is just not good in this role at all. I think many of you are thinking of his performance in breaking bad and saying that he is good in this show and that is just not the case at all. The way he does this look with his face and eyes when he is lying and trying to see if someone is buying his lie is just bad. Most if not all of the characters on this show are just flat. The characters are not round at all. The characters are not compelling or interesting. And Linda is just all of the sudden really bad at her job. It is one thing to have her so conveniently and without question believe any and everything that is said to her by big Jim, but it is completely ridiculous to expect us to believe that she is somehow completely OK with the hanging of Barbie in front of the town. Even if she thinks he is guilty, it is not something her character would have done. Not to mention that it would start an horrible precedent were criminals innocent or not will be hanged for all to see. That sort of environment would toss the already fragile town into complete anarchy. The story about the egg and it powers does not bother me. And I don’t think they need to explain it and every action of the dome. Doing so would take away the premise of the show. The dome showed up without warning and the dome did not make an announcement as to why it is here. It would make sense to me that dome would only reveal things to these characters on a need to know basic. Especially, since the dome seems to be aware of all the good and bad in the town.

  18. Felt like a bait and switch. I was expecting a great mini series or a well thought out couple a seasons. All we got was a long drab mess… I finished this season off just in case they learnt from this season & get their S*@t together and make a better 2nd season (like most shows tend to do).

  19. I was very disappointed and looking for an end to the series – as others have stated – it was supposed to be a summer season. I too felt duped after tuning in week after week and won’t likely return to watch it continue. Some of the scenes were a bit too much to watch – no one else can see through Big Jim? C’mon – especially Linda! Not enough for me to stay tuned any longer.

  20. if I was a more sinister and evil being I would just be happy that the obviously most dull and stupid people on this planet are now separated from the rest and caught all together in “Stupid Ville”.
    sadly I`m not that evil. poor Mr. King, they just screw up all of his source material. that must be so disappointing and tedious to follow…

  21. I really loved all the shows, and wow what a way to end it. My husband and I can’t hardly wait to see what’s next.