Last night’s episode of Under The Dome was fun, but it makes us nervous. Why? Because more than a few plotlines are built around characters making very bad decisions for the sake of driving the plot.
Take Julia, who’s supposed to be our main heroine, and, once she finds out that they all are, in fact, under a dome, she immediately storms the air and tells the entire town. Yeah, you don’t think maybe that’s information you might want to dole out gradually? Maybe go to the police first? Build up to telling the whole town?
Angie tops her, though, by antagonizing her insane boyfriend, Junior. Trying to get out of a situation that, admittedly, somehow has managed to get worse, she claims she had sex with our nominal hero, Barbie. Admittedly, this particular choice pays off pretty well dramatically, especially since Barbie’s increasingly exasperated confusion with Junior just never stops being funny, and Junior gets the ass-kicking he’s had coming since pretty much his second scene in the pilot. It also lays the groundwork for Barbie to get locked up, which we all know is going to happen. But still, you kind of wonder what Angie was hoping to achieve.
And, of course, the newly-introduced Coggins, who granted is stoned out of his gourd, manages to light the former sheriff’s house on fire in a scene that’s equal parts funny and contrived. Yeah, we know, the show needs big events to tie its huge number of plotlines together, but it’d be nice for that to, say, have been Coggins’ plan all along, instead of his ignorance of basic fire safety.
That said, there are some good decisions here. Big Jim’s ability to solidify control of the town makes much more sense now that he’s a town hero. It may have been self-interested, but he did actually show intelligence and calm under pressure; he’s a villain with good publicity that’s genuinely deserved, and Dean Norris is rapidly becoming the best part of the show. Also, the townsfolk keep stumbling across unexpected, and sometimes gory, consequences of the dome; a panicky deputy might be a jackass, but he’s right to be concerned that smoke is being trapped inside the dome.
It’s a good follow-up to a strong pilot, and at least the show has demonstrated it can deftly juggle plotlines and build characters. The third episode will apparently feature Barbie hunting down said panicky deputy. Hey, that won’t go wrong!
A few notes:
- Dodee is actually pretty good at technobabble, even if you do find yourself wondering if these people ever sleep.
- The used bookstore in town is called the Secondhand Bookery. I’m not sure if that’s painfully twee or a note-perfect depiction of the painfully twee things people who move to New England actually do.
- Apparently Horace the corgi has been replaced with Truman the not-corgi. Somehow we’re betting this is the most controversial change they make to the book.