[This is a review of Under the Dome season 2, episode 13. There will be SPOILERS.]
Much like the mysterious sphere encircling the town of Chester's Mill, Under the Dome is an aberrant manifestation whose continued existence is understood by no one. It is the sort of series whose most apparent quality is how easily the audience can relate to the characters – in that everyone watching also feels trapped against their will and desperate to get away.
And that sentiment is more evident than ever in the season 2 finale, ‘Go Now.’
Over the course of season 2, the issues of quality and consistency that have plagued the series since its inception have arguably worsened. In fact, instead of addressing any of the many concerns of its storytelling or characterization, Under the Dome has appeared intent on exacerbating those problems as much as possible, hurling one kerosene-soaked log after another onto a towering inferno of contempt.
The biggest log of the season was, of course, the wooden characterization of Rebecca Pine, who somehow managed to turn the potentially solid mixture of homicidal maniac, high school science teacher, and MacGyver into a series of eye-roll-inducing scenes typically punctuated by her barking, “It’s called science!”
Rather than having fun with a character who appeared to have been written just moments before the episode started filming, Under the Dome used Rebecca in much the same way it did any other background character on the show – i.e., she became whatever the episode (and sometimes the scene) needed her to be. And that kind of wild inconsistency eventually became the show’s calling card in season 2.
After the inconsequential threads of Biblical plagues and Sam Verdreaux’s murder of Angie were ostensibly abandoned, the latter half of the season dedicated itself to building the supposed mythology of the dome. By focusing on Barbie's connection to the town of Zenith, his recently resurrected half-sister Melanie, and father who desperately wanted to get his hands on the screeching egg, the series discovered its first inklings of an actual story.
But in the hands of Under the Dome, the whole thing turned into a slog of needless exposition and laughable moments that made you appreciate the finer aspects of product placement and commercial breaks.
It was probably too much to hope that ‘Go Now’ would make something out of what little it had been given over the previous 12 episodes, so when the entire episode managed to revolve around the “giant killer suck-hole” that swallowed Melanie at the end of last week’s ‘Turn,’ the phrase became an (allegedly) inadvertent yet powerful descriptor of the death-filled season finale.
Big Jim spent most of the episode in villain mode, threatening the dome with the death of everyone it held dear and then following up on those threats after his pleas for Pauline’s life went unanswered. Presumably, the dome was preoccupied with its rapidly reducing size and the gale-force winds it had cooked up in response to … something. This was the fifth or sixth time Big Jim had vacillated his stance on the people of Chester’s Mill and the dome itself, having gone from killer to savior so many times over the course of the season, it had become a veritable crapshoot as to how he might react to any given stimuli.
This time around, Big Jim was all about murder. After unceremoniously doing Rebecca in with a hammer, Jim used Andrea (a.k.a. Hoyt’s mom) as bait to try and lure Julia to her doom. The episode’s already overwrought violence was made even worse when Jim arbitrarily killed Andrea – who probably would have taken his side if he’d just asked – before engaging in an epic fight with yet another woman that saw a hammer clash with a frying pan, and end with a knife in Big Jim’s running foot.
Meanwhile, Barbie and the surviving members of the League of Hands managed to shove the entire population of Chester’s Mill into a hole in the woods, basically because a butterfly told them it was a good idea. During his rousing speech intended to assuage everyone’s fears that going into a giant killer suck-hole might be a bad idea, Barbie casually mentioned how the events of the last 26 episodes have transpired over just two weeks.
That level of specificity is certainly not a friend of Under the Dome’s already questionable understanding of how things like relationships and catastrophic injuries work, but somehow, it feels like par for the course.
Overall, the end of Under the Dome's second season doesn't offer any more useful insight into what the story at hand actually is, who these characters are, or why anyone should continue caring. Watching as a wall crumbles to reveal Melanie bathed in brilliant white light, telling the weary residents of Chester’s Mill it’s time to go home (aren’t they already home?) isn’t so much a cliffhanger as it is a total cop out.
As such, ‘Go Now’ should not be seen as the end of a television program's season or even the conclusion to a chapter of a much larger story; it is merely a brief respite from the dire ineptitude of a series that, should it be renewed, will almost certainly continue to be a blight upon the television landscape.
Screen Rant will keep you updated with news regarding the future of Under the Dome as information is made available.
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