Everyone’s favourite punching bag, Under The Dome, returns for a second season of witty dialogue and complicated characters. Nah just kidding – the show is still bad.
Let’s bitch it out…
I’ll be honest, Under The Dome is not as bad as it was in its first season (Side Note: let’s not forget that the pilot wasn’t too bad either, though). It’s not a good show by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not a laughably terrible one (see: The Following).
One of the smartest things ‘Heads Will Roll’ does is eliminate a few characters (the truly smart thing would have been to essentially wipe the slate clean and start with a fresh cast, but hey – what can you do?). And so by the end of the premiere the world’s worst cop, Linda (Natalie Martinez), and the world’s most abused diner employee/nurse, Angie (Britt Robertson), are both Dome casualties. With Angie it’s a bit of shame because she essentially spent half of the first season trapped in a shelter and the other half wandering around spouting gibberish about what “the Dome wants”*. Linda…well…she was basically a complete moron and so good riddance to her.
*Characters emphatically pronouncing what they believe the Dome wants or believes is easily one of the most frustrating plot devices on this series and it happens on an alarmingly frequent basis.
So what else happens? Here’s a quick run-down:
- Barbie (Mike Vogel) makes a new friend, science teacher Rebecca Pine (Karla Crome), who we’re told has been studying the Dome since the beginning. She tries to counter the Dome’s new magnetism (ie: what killed Linda and is knocking people out left, right and center) with a giant magnet that takes ten minutes to put together and does nothing. Then she and Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) immediately disagree upon meeting one another because Julia is all about faith and Rebecca is all about science. So we’re basically dealing with LOST here.
- Speaking of LOST, good to see that Under The Dome is also stealing its schtick of having dead characters appear as messengers to the living. This time it’s Dodee (Jolene Purdy – another actress given nothing to do on this show), as well as Linda. If you tuned in late, saw these scenes and couldn’t figure out whether you had accidentally stumbled onto a summertime version of the Christmas Carol, you’d be forgiven.
- The second new character is Sam Verdreaux (Eddie Cahill),
JuniorJames’ (Alexander Koch) never-referenced uncle. He’s an alcoholic former EMT who we’re told has been living in the woods the entire time (*throws hands up in the air*). Like every other character, Cahill isn’t given much to do except stand around with Julia and the final new character, Melanie Cross (Grace Victoria Cox), so it’s a bit of a toss-up whether Under The Dome is a step-up from his former gig on CSI: New York. Or maybe this is the penance for people who appear on CSI?
- The “twist” ending when Angie dies is clearly edited in such a way that we’re meant to think that Melanie killed her (since we know nothing about Melanie, it’s hard to form any kind of opinion). We basically just know she was in the lake, that she likes to wander around town and that following her gets people murdered. That’s it.
- Julia and Big Jim (Dean Norris) – two characters with a history of making poor, illogical decisions – end up at the center of the climax in which everyone hopes Big Jim commits suicide, but Julia won’t let him. Clearly this is another black mark on Julia’s record. Why couldn’t you just let him die?! Not only would it free up Norris to do something worthy of his talents, it would remove this terrible character from the show. It would have been a win/win for everyone!
- I probably should give episode writer Stephen King a bit of credit for the sly acknowledgement that the show features a ridiculously high number of shocking turnarounds in a very short amount of time. Julia and Barbie (who let’s not forget met two weeks ago and are now apparently completely in love) have a very self-reflexive conversation about how the town thought he was a killer and nearly killed him in just a few hours. Nyuk nyuk nyuk?
- Oh yeah, Joe (Colin Ford) and Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) are still around. Anyone else feel like they were watching a bad 3D movie without the glasses when Joe’s house was destroyed? It’s always kind of entertaining to see people nearly lose their heads, but I definitely had flashbacks to my childhood watching budget 3D horror movies as the pots and knives flew at the screen.
- Finally, the most (only?) interesting development is James’ vision quest when he’s unconscious. He dreams he’s in another town, breaks a bloody snowglobe and sees his mom, Pauline (Sherry Stringfield) – she of the premonition paintings. Later we see her watching news of the Dome on TV and painting an exit with a bloody mark over it. This is easily the most intriguing part of the premiere, which bodes well considering it features nearly none of our main characters. Well, things can only improve from here, right?
Your turn: was the premiere an improvement on S1? Were you surprised to see Linda and Angie die? Are you intrigued by Sam, Melanie or Rebecca? Who killed Angie? And how does Pauline connect to the Dome? Sound off below
Under The Dome airs Mondays at 10pm EST on CBS