Under The Dome last night finally crystalized two big problems amid a good episode. The first is that plot points just materialize to kick off the episode, which is a rather inorganic way of doing things. Secondly, Big Jim, the main antagonist, is a lot more sympathetic, interesting, and in the right than the people he winds up killing or ripping off.
The key piece of intrigue this episode was Big Jim getting screwed out of some propane by Ollie, best known as bulldozer guy and revealed here as a petty, selfish jackass who wants to deny the town water because a land dispute didn’t go his way fifteen years ago. Almost immediately you’re rooting for Big Jim to go all Coggins on the guy. Which is a problem since Big Jim is supposed to be the bad guy.
It’s getting to the point where you’re actively rooting for Big Jim because realistically, he, Barbie, and Linda are the only people with their heads on straight. Big Jim is evil, but he’s also pragmatic and not insane, and actually one of the few people who, episode to episode, manages to help with the town’s situation. It’s hard to argue the tyrant is the villain when he’s the guy finding medicine, water, and generally getting it done.
Meanwhile, the episode’s plot was kicked off by Hipster Glasses, who was conveniently diabetic in the last episode, losing the plot and blundering into the path of a furniture truck, which, really, who the hell is delivering furniture? Said furniture truck totals the town’s water tower and main water supply, and riots over food and supplies promptly ensue, revealing that Barbie is a bit more prone to overreacting than we thought and that somehow there are guys in their early twenties in this town worse than Junior. Watching Barbie hand out some richly deserved beatings this episode was kind of a joy, even if Junior was sadly not one of the recipients.
The Angie plotline also comes to a head in a way that makes sense and zig-zags any obvious cliches. Big Jim is evil, but he’s also willing to admit that, yes, locking your girlfriend up in a basement is the behavior of a crazy person. And he’s on Angie’s side, even if that’s contingent on her silence.
Again, this doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the pilot, but this marks three episodes in a row that were fun and genuinely worth watching. This show is picking up steam, finally.
A few more thoughts:
- Pairing Julia and Dodee for the episode was a terrible idea. All they do is spout exposition.
- Julia’s job, this episode, was to catch the dumbest of the viewership up on what the plot already told us.
- I can’t be the only one wondering why we should give a crap about the town proper. Seriously. The food riots amply illustrated that these people are dicks.
- I do like that the Dome is becoming an actual character instead of a dramatic obstacle, even if the show is doing it in a goofy way.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.