The Night the Lights Went Out in Domeland

Under the Dome – “Curtains”

Chester’s Mill is a place like any other. But the Dome, the Dome is a lawless land, full of lies and a massive power vacuum. And while Big Jim thinks he’s in charge, we all know it’s really the Egg that holds all the power. And when everything’s being run by a licorice jellybean, well, things are going to get a little crazy.

We open back in the home of Sk8r Dude, with the kids, Norrie’s mom, non-dead version, and Linda all staring down the Mini-Dome. Linda tries to ask what’s going on, but like everything she does, it’s useless, and the butterfly finally hatches, which is where things get interesting. The butterfly rams into the Mini-Dome, causing dark blotches that spread across the surface. As most things related to Mini-Dome and the Egg, it’s actually pretty cool, but I digress. As the blotches spread across the Mini-Dome, the same thing happens to the Dome, causing the sky to go dark. The kids try to figure out what to do, but Linda makes a giant mess of things, calling for backup to Sk8r Dude’s house, then touches Mini-Dome, which of course PK Blasts her into the wall.

At the town hall/jail/courthouse combo (think a KFC/Pizza Hut/Long John Silver’s), Big Jim’s not too happy that Barbie pleaded not guilty to all the false charges Big Jim made against him. Barbie insists that Julia’s continued existence can invalidate pretty much everything Big Jim is saying (which is true), but Big Jim is a stubborn man. Barbie and Big Jim pontificate toward each other for a bit, but Big Jim tires of this quickly when he sees the darkness falling outside.

Julia wakes up in The Clinic, where Angie is still watching over her. Despite the fact that she got shot and has been unconscious for like, three days, Julia immediately gets up and insists that they have to save Barbie. Angie reluctantly goes along, and they go to the town hall/jail/courthouse and set Barbie free. Phil shows up to be totally worthless and a complete pain in the ass, but Barbie disposes of him quickly.

Junior’s hanging out at the edge of the Dome, being angsty and yelling to the Dome for answers, but the darkness falls before he can get any. He hears Linda’s backup call, and heads for Sk8r Dude’s house. Once there, Norrie and Joe insist that they need Angie to figure out what’s going on, and the three of them take the Dome to hide it away. They send out a secret message to Angie, telling her to head to The Cement Factory, home of Dome Fight Club. Angie, Julia, and Barbie meet up with the kids, and they all put their hands on the blackened Mini-Dome, causing it to glow bright, then crumble into ash. Norrie finds the butterfly, which is dead, but pulls a Green Mile and brings it back to life. It flies around some, in an oddly wonderful sequence, and circles Barbie, leading Joe to totally gush over his mancrush for being the Monarch.

Big Jim, who picked up Linda from Sk8r Dude’s house, heads to the local church, where everyone’s gathering to make right with the Lord before the apocalypse. Of course, this is a perfect opportunity for Big Jim to take control of his city, because using religion as a vehicle to spread evil is a time-honored cliche, and Big Jim is nothing if not a walking time-honored cliche. He snatches up Phil, and orders him to start building a gallows, because JESUS CHRIST BIG JIM. Phil, being the useless piece of crap he is, agrees, because “For Dodee.” Yeah, whatever Phil, I still hate you.

Back in The Cement Factory, Junior’s not happy about Barbie being the Monarch, but their argument is cut short when the Egg begins shaking, causing The Cement Factory to also shake around them. Everyone is rightly freaked the hell out, but Julia reaches out and grabs the Egg, which calms the shaking, and apparently means that now she’s the Monarch, because that whole scene of Barbie being the Monarch didn’t mean anything, I guess. At this point, Junior pretty much immediately switches back to Creepy Samberg and starts acting like a sociopath again. He holds Julia at gunpoint and demands the Egg, but Barbie takes him out and she and the kids escape. Barbie and Junior tussle, but Junior overtakes him, bringing him back to the town hall/jail/courthouse.

Linda’s out looking for the kids, and heads into the barn, where she finds the star map the kids drew on the wall. She also sees “The pink stars are falling into lines” written on the wall, and when she tells Big Jim about all this, his face falls. He hasn’t heard those words in a long time, apparently, and tells Linda to meet him at his house. Now, I knew immediately where this was going, and groaned at the thought of having to see that awful painting again, but, surprise! This time it’s a whole new horrible painting, and Big Jim reveals that his crazy wife used to say the thing about the pink stars. Linda, being terrible, tells Big Jim that this means he’s special, because the first thing you should tell a megalomaniacal sociopath in an extreme crisis is that they’re special.

The kids and Julia run out into the woods, where they eventually decide to just ask the Egg what the hell it really wants. For some reason, Norrie has to do this, instead of, you know, THE MONARCH, which leads to yet another crazy Egg-related vision of Norrie’s mom, dead version. But this isn’t just some hallucination, no, it’s someone/thing who/that sent the Dome in the first place, just taking the form of Norrie’s mom. They explain that the Dome isn’t punishment, it’s protection (from what? Sorry, you’re gonna have to wait till next year for that!), and that they have to earn light back by protecting the Egg. Norrie’s mom, dead version, disappears, and Julia grabs the Egg. They head to the diner to plan, and Big Jim comes over the police radio and offers a trade: the Egg for Barbie, and if she doesn’t agree in the hour, Barbie dies. Julia decides it’s up to her to fix this and splits up with the kids, heading into the dark on her own.

At the town hall/jail/courthouse, Big Jim and Barbie resume their boring back-and-forth for a bit, before Big Jim takes his proselytizing to Junior, appealing to his love of bad paintings and talking about destiny, which brings Junior around to being Big Jim’s Number 2. As Julia’s allotted hour draws to the close, they haul Barbie out to the gallows to hang for his crimes.

Julia takes the Egg out to the lake (I totally forgot existed), and decides that protecting the Egg, and Chester’s Mill, must come at the price of Barbie, the man who murdered her husband and lied about it, and throws the Egg into the lake. This does, well, something. The lake glows pink, and the pink stars themselves rise out of the lake and toward the top of the Dome for all to see. As they converge, a blinding white light takes their place, a light that spreads down over the Dome. Zoom out on a bright white Dome, and cut to black.

And so we reach the end of Under the Dome‘s first season. Not surprisingly, the finale offers up barely any answers, opting instead to give vague teasers of answers to come and move pieces around the board. Hell, no one even dies in this episode, as Barbie’s hanging is interrupted by the light washing over the Dome. It makes me wonder what Under the Dome would be like had it been confined to a single run of 13 episodes, as was originally intended. It also makes me wonder what they can possibly have in store for us next summer, when I’ll semi-reluctantly follow this hot mess once again.

All that said, I applaud the series for buying into the crazy more and more as the season progressed. 13 weeks ago, I was offered a promising pilot, but the series never lived back up to that potential, instead sputtering along, only half-committed to anything taking place onscreen. But in the last third, Under the Dome took the things that worked (pretty much anything Egg-related) and moved them more into focus, which helped ice over some of the more egregious failings of the series. I won’t say the show ever achieved the trashy goodness it could have, but hey, we’re getting at least another year of this, so there’s always hope.

Stray Observations

  • So much bad dialogue in this episode. My personal favorite: Linda screaming “What does that mean?!” when the kids tell her that the Dome told them that the Monarch will be crowned.

  • Guys, I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hate Phil. And yet he lives to see another day. Don’t worry Phil, come next summer, I’ll spend every week praying to a licorice jellybean for your death.

  • And I guess that about does it. Thanks to the, like, three of you who actually read these crazy things. It was kinda fun, kinda dumb, and never really interesting, but it was an experience, and I’m glad I got to have it.

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