The town of Chester’s Mill becomes a police state after Big Jim (Dean Norris) accuses Barbie (Mike Vogel) of multiple crimes and the ex-military enforcer goes on the run. Here’s the real shocker, though: this episode doesn’t completely suck!
Let’s bitch it out…
Each week we break down the good, the bad and the meh of this week’s Under The Dome. Here’s our list for ‘Exigent Circumstances’:
- Ramping up: Nothing says “let’s dispense with the crap and get on with the good stuff” like an impending season finale. This means that this hour moves along at quite a clip, so much so that I thought that the non-cliffhanger ending <groan> was just another commercial break. Considering this show usually feels like it’s on time-lapse, ‘Exigent Circumstances’ cruises along pretty well
- Angie (Britt Robertson) uses her…brain: After being recruited by Barbie (Mike Vogel) to help rescue comatose Julia (Rachel Lefevre), Angie mostly uses her smarts to resolve the problem at hand. Sure she kinda/mostly prostitutes herself out to Junior (Alexander Koch), although I’m not sure why he could see she was lying before but can’t now. Regardless, she’s smart enough to double-back with the ambulance and hide Julia in the clinic, where no one would think to look for her (although at this point is anyone actually even looking for her?). Double bonus points for not acting like a mini-Dome cult follower or talking about wanting to run the diner. These are all positive developments
- Dodee’s (Jolene Purdy) death: I mostly liked Dodee, but it doesn’t take a genius to recognize that the writers had little use for her. Manning the radio is not character development, FYI. With that said, her death feels about right. Dodee gets to show some brains when she tries to leverage information about the mini-Dome for her own survival and in the process she provides Big Jim (Dean Norris) with the necessary exposition to send him after the kids. Her murder/BBQ helps to raise the takes since she is truly the first person Big Jim has killed that didn’t deserve to die. Hopefully her death will also give Phil (Nicholas Strong) something to respond to, although if previous deaths have proven anything, Dodee probably won’t even be mentioned in next week’s finale
- Junior’s tolerability: It’s a bit of a slippery slope when it comes to Junior. Sometimes he’s interesting and other times he makes me want to push my TV out the window (see eps 1-5). It’s nice to see him finally come out a bit from under his father’s nose and begin to question his father’s intentions. Sure, Jr’s such an idiot that he still thinks he and Angie are totes in love and meant to be together forevah, but if he helps to bring about his father’s downhill (my prediction for next week’s finale), then I say bring it on!
- Big Jim is insane: He’s been building up to it for quite some time, but this feels like the first week that Big Jim goes full and proper cray-cray. It’s clear that he’s gone power mad because he begins acting like an over-the-top Disney villain: killing innocent people (RIP Dodee), burning sh*t down, locking up teenagers and generally acting like a totalitarian dictator. It’s fun, but mostly dumb because it feels like someone should call him out for his behaviour. Instead idiots clap at his BS propaganda speeches about sacrifice and survival. How dumb do you have to be to fall for this schtick?
- Oh wait…there’s Phil and Linda (Natalie Martinez). I guess that answers that question. It’s kinda fun to see them as a weird action duo (Linda cuffs and Phil kicks!) but overall these two are far too gullible for their own good. Cut them loose and let the villains run this town
- Prison teens: As much as I like the idea of Big Jim setting his cross-hairs on Joe (Colin Ford) and Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz), the payoff is more than a little silly. Norris struggles to find the right balance in his performance so when he’s threatening Norrie and should come off as threatening, he’s more laugh out loud silly. Then there’s the suggestion that she can’t even cut him is pretty laughable. Thankfully the kids have been let loose by episode’s end
- Carolyn’s (Aisha Hinds) return: I’m happy to see Carolyn again, but the way her reintroduction is handled is a reminder of just how poorly Alice’s death was handled. After several episodes without so much as glimpse, Carolyn is suddenly back, not at all upset and there’s barely a mention of the death. It’s almost as if the writers needed her to come back and act like a lawyer for the sake of the plot or something
- Crowning the monarch: The payoff on this stupid hatching chrysalis better be HUGE because having people stand around watching the mini-Dome, waiting for a caterpillar to transform into a butterfly, is torturous!
Dome info for the week:
- This week’s Dome factoids:
- A ultra high-pitched sound and a new colour scheme accompanies the emergence of the monarch in the mini-Dome
- The army (outside of the Dome) knows that Barbie is inside; they also know that Big Jim is a murderer
- Number of deaths/injuries: 1 – Dodee, at the radio station, with a gun
- This week’s drinking game: Drink every time someone Big Jim says something that a regular person would identify as insane. As always, you are advised to have 911 on speed dial
- Big Jim (when she protests she doesn’t want a police state): “It’s not me, Linda. It’s the people” Drink!
- Angie (when Barbie outlines the plan to steal Julia): “There are a lot of ‘ifs’ here”
- Dodee (after Big Jim suggests Rev. Coggins’ death is an accident): “How many accidents have there been?”
- Norrie (when Joe protests killing Big Jim): “Look what he’s doing, Joe. Pulling all of these Nazi moves”
What’s your take on episode twelve: do you feel like the pace sped up? Are you amazed anyone buys Big Jim’s BS? Were you unimpressed with Norrie’s stabbing technique? Is Junior going to be the one who kills his father? How long before Angie and Julia realize they just have to radio Julia’s explanation to stop the charade? And what will happen when the monarch is crowned? Hit the comments with your thoughts below
Under The Dome airs Mondays at 10pm EST on CBS. *Remember: we’re discussing the show as its own entity, so please refrain from including spoilers from the book