[This is a review of Under the Dome season 2, episode 12. There will be SPOILERS.]
In the penultimate episode of season 2, Under the Dome presents one time genocidal maniac Rebecca Pine as the lone voice of scientific reason against those who are adamant the dome is trying to tell them something.
Like anyone who is so devoted to her principles and values they believe them to justify (attempted) mass murder, Rebecca refuses to accept anyone else's unscientific interpretation of what's happening inside the dome. If the rest of Chester's Mill wants its homicidal science teacher to jump on board with the crazy egg theories and analysis of Pauline's horrific paintings, they're going to have to do better than present an indestructible, shrinking dome capable of changing the weather by rotating - they're going to have to present her with some solid proof.
But other than the giant, indestructible, shrinking dome, no one has any proof, so there's a tiresome back and forth between Rebecca and Julia for much of the hour. And while the events in 'Turn' don't necessarily provide Rebecca with the proof she so desperately desires, the episode does offer substantial evidence that Under the Dome is actively seeking to claim the top spot as one of the biggest messes on television.
Most of the evidence comes from the fact that, despite the dome acting like a bully (by threatening to crush Chester's Mill unless it gets its precious egg back), nothing of consequence actually happens until Lyle stabs Pauline and goads Big Jim into stabbing him, so he and his unrequited ladylove can enter heaven – just like it said in one of Pauline's paintings. And even then, the show is just down one Dwight Yoakam-looking lunatic; it's not as though his (apparent) death offered the narrative anything of significant value beyond a reason to see Dean Norris' rage face.
Still, it was the most compelling thing to happen in an otherwise frenzied episode that was also partially focused on the mostly inconsequential E.T. and Elliott-like connection Melanie has with the egg. And that's the problem: When an invisible dome threatening to crush the people trapped inside of it is unable to garner more intrigue than a one-sided knife fight in the woods, some questions need to be asked back at Under the Dome HQ.
Perhaps its because the series has cried wolf all season long - focusing briefly on one trivial crisis after another - that the idea of yet another calamity bearing down on its characters is more yawn inducing than Barbie and Julia's three-week-old endless love (or Junior and Melanie's blossoming affection, for that matter). Just because the dome turning into a trash compactor happens to bleed into the season finale, doesn't make it any more significant or even worthwhile; it just makes it (possibly) the final predicament of the season.
The episode isn't a complete waste, however. At least watching Big Jim guide Pauline's hand on her canvas, to encourage a prophetic painting, is almost as precious as when he tells her, "If you painted it, it must be true."
Besides, now that Melanie has been healed by the power of the eight hands (and her past and present lovers, who happen to be uncle and nephew) only to wind up being sucked through a vortex on the forest floor, hopefully the show won't have to think up yet another crisis before bringing this season to a close.
Under the Dome will conclude season 2 next Monday with 'Go Now' @10pm ET on CBS.