‘Under the Dome’: Magnets and Butterflies

Published 10 months ago by

Mike Vogel and Dean Norris in Under the Dome S2E2 Under the Dome: Magnets and Butterflies

[This is a review of Under the Dome season 2, episode 2. There will be SPOILERS.]


As a surefire sign that Under the Dome is still figuring out what it’s trying to do with the overarching narrative of Chester’s Mill and its mysterious predicament (and how that particular predicament can be extended into a multi-season storyline), the second episode of season 2 sees the series drift back into a familiar setting by creating a temporary emergency. As usual, that emergency is only for a select group of characters to resolve, while others find themselves busied with the town’s post-dome pastime of hastily forming small posses to enact some justice on the first person suspected of a major crime – which, in this case, is the death of Angie McAlister.

And so, ‘Infestation’ does its best to balance the urgency of finding the person responsible for Angie’s murder, while making sure a helmeted Mike Vogel looks as goofy as possible when the storyline explores the various dramatic possibilities and visual excitement that can only be found in the majestic art of crop dusting.

At least by running the dual threads through the episode, the series is able to make further use of dead-eyed teacher Rebecca Pine and the reclusive weirdness of Sam Verdreaux. For her part, Rebecca has essentially become an acolyte of Big Jim’s, encouraging him to be the leader the town needs by pushing him to take the proper kind of drastic action that’s necessary to save its resources, which, in this case, are the crops being attacked by caterpillars. But these aren’t any ordinary caterpillars; they’ve apparently been altered by the magnetism of the dome (magnets, is there anything they can’t do?), so they can become a threat to the increasingly limited food supply of Chester’s Mill. And Rebecca, thanks to her being good at science and apparently really bad at interpersonal communication, takes it upon herself to set fire to the town’s crops without bothering to tell anyone first.

Karla Crome and Dean Norris in Under the Dome S2E2 Under the Dome: Magnets and Butterflies

Despite Rebecca’s poor communications skills and her almost sociopathic lack of empathy, first responders to the blaze manage to abstain from erecting the gallows right there on the spot and actually stop to listen to what she has to say. Naturally, the same can’t be said for mysterious lake girl Melanie Cross (Grace Victoria Cox). Even though Melanie exhibits essentially the same remote personality as Rebecca – but with the added benefit of being mildly sympathetic – the town’s people see her as a clear threat, and after Joe and Norrie match her shoe to the bloody print near Angie’s body, Officer DJ Phil is more than eager to put her behind bars.

Thanks to some quick CSI work by Julia and Sam, though, it becomes clear that a man was responsible for Angie’s death, with all clues pointing toward Junior and his apparent propensity for getting blackout drunk and maybe killing the young women he has been violently possessive with in the past. Junior may have come to the conclusion he’s behind the young woman’s death, but there’s little chance in it being as cut and dry as that, so here’s hoping the series can find something exciting to do with that mystery as quickly as possible.

Although it certainly tries, ‘Infestation’ doesn’t really deliver much in terms of significance surrounding Angie’s death. Perhaps that’s because Big Jim has barely finished eulogizing the deceased when Rebecca sidles up to inform him the town’s resources can’t sustain the inhabitants – intimating that some form of population control could be necessary. This seems like the sort of storyline that could take the series where it wanted to go early in season 1. And while that particular conundrum could open up some interesting, morally complex avenues for the story to explore, Under the Dome hasn’t demonstrated an ability to deliver on things like that yet, so we’ll probably have to settle for more crop dusting.

Under the Dome continues next Monday with ‘Force Majeure’ @10pm on CBS.

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  1. Better than last weeks episode (Season 2: EP1)

    • Last week’s episode pretty much lost me. Especially with the random deaths. I have the second episode DVRed. I feel like at this point ill have to force myself to watch. Should I get it another try??

      • I think so. Last week’s episode, I feel, tried too hard to be “scientific-y” if you know what I mean.

        However, last nights episode was toned down a lot more. It feels like it is going back to what made it good IMO, which is focused on each character’s motivations and whether or not characters have any “secrets”

        Next weeks episode looks more promising than last nights and last weeks.

  2. Man this show came back on during a rather gaping rift in my weekly network show line-up. With Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Hannibal, and Fargo all wrapped up I was really without a weekly show to watch. This season 2 really came out of no-ware. This show is definitely on the lower end of shows I watch, but it has decent actors/characters, plus an intriguing story that keeps me guessing (have not read the book). I guess any Stephen King TV adaptation has its own sort of charm.

  3. Not to be the crazy book wielding downer, but I highly recommend reading the book instead of watching the show, if you haven’t already. The book is much different, and its great.

  4. Call me crazy, but in an isolated environment like the dome it would have been relatively easy to get all the townfolk together and have them manually collect and kill as many caterpillars as they could to limit or completely avert the damage to the crops. Burning down the field and flying the cropduster in that dangerous environment was totally unnecessary. Also, it would have given people something to do, who now doubt go stir crazy in that whole situation.

    • Exactly. Plus, my first thought was “Burning the fields,ok, BUT isn’t all the smoke you produce a little unhealthy UNDER A F…in’ DOME ?”

  5. I feel this show is asking too much of it’s audience. I mean it is two weeks into this “event” and after resolving the killing of her husband and fight clubs and being shot and almost killed there is this part where they actually process how there is little trust in teh relationship—what? And then when did Angie’s brother move from sympathetic to raving lunatic and no I don’t buy the stress of things. I mean with Junior being a different character each week and Big Jim repenting and the attempt to kae him somewhat tolerable after last season—arghhhh—poor writing and its fully clear that they did not expect this show to go past one season, and maybe it should not have? Oh his brother-in-law has been hold up in a cabin all last season (?) ahhh…no real impoact on character development(?) after last year—reactions to phenoma that if one considered all that happened only a week ago—why the surprise? Are more deaths really that surprising and unsettling considering what happened just a week ago–according to the timeline of the show? too much being stretched hard to keep connected—I will try a couple more episodes but I am getting close to letting this one drift off the DVR!

  6. I tried giving this show another shot, but I just cant get past how terrible the acting is and how cringe worthy the writing is. Joe especially, every time he shows up on screen I wince. Like when he found out his sister was dead, he just sort of pouted and ran off. Didnt even bother to go in and check the body.
    Also why is it angie, just some random teenage girl in the community, gets a funeral with the whole town but nobody seems to care or even notice that the lady sherif is dead.
    Just the way the characters react and interact with each other is just so unbelievable at this point.

  7. feel like I’m being lead down the rabbit hole , like Lost , they just make the s*** up right before the show and there is no story line .

  8. This is complete bull!!!! There is more then one species of butterfly in Maine! There are over 100 speices! Only 6 migrants. So that means in cheatersmill there must be at least 20 species within it before the dome came down!!! Now now species lays eggs on trees, so thwt being said let’s look at what the show did. They made monarchs a migrating species who gets to main late summer and leaves a month after they get there. The show made them come in during the first weeks of summer….. This would never happen!!! They leave for the north in the end of spring and it is almost impossible for them to get to north in a few days, even if they never stopped! Thats besides the point , about this episode, they had monarch caterpillars eating corn! Now it takes about 2-4 weeks for them to get to their final stage. This is the stage where they are large and are stripy. Then magnets can not change a butterflies ability to eat. Now every plant for a butterfly but the host plant “milkweed” is poison for the insect. If a monarch laid eggs on the wheat, the monarch caterpillar would eat the corn or wheat and then die in less then a day. It would be like us eating meat when we are 1 month old. It is bad for us!!!! Anywho this show makes the monarchs into pests and ruins/spreads false rumors about a dwindling species!!!! This is an awful episode