'Under the Dome' Season One Finale - Nothing Unexpected

Monday night's season finale for the first season of Under the Dome drove a few points home that were no surprise, and delivered one of the HOKIEST lines I've ever heard on TV.  Oh, and there are spoilers in this review of the show.


Review of CBS's Under the Dome summer series

As this first season of the TV adaptation of Stephen King's novel, Under the Dome, comes to a close, a few of us are pretty apathetic about the series.

Sure, there are, well, were story lines that peaked interest, but they've almost run through them.

Showrunner/creator Brian K. Vaughan (Lost) does have a hit on his hands.  At least a good summer hit, as far as CBS is concerned, so we'll be seeing the show return next summer.  Which is good, seeing as how they left the season hanging on a cliffhanger of sorts.  (Raise your hand if you hate cliffhangers!)

Dean Norris in UNDER THE DOME

The cast who carry the show, or make it interesting for my household include Dean Norris (Big Jim), Mike Vogel (Barbie), and Rachelle Lefevre (Julia, the Monarch now).

Though the rest of the characters are filler, I am intrigued by Alexander Koch's portrayal of the mentally disturbed Jr, or the son of Big Jim, Junior Rennie.

Norris, fresh off his Breaking Bad role of Hank, delivers the most aggravating character of the lot.  (That's a good thing.  If an actor sucked, his character would not engage my imagination,)

He's the typical used car salesman, who can twist any situation to his advantage.  He's quick on his mental feet and what not.  And with his back up against the wall with the multiple murders under his belt and the propane issue in town, he has a lot to hide.

And the dome knows it.

Mike Vogel in UNDER THE DOME

Next up, is Mike Vogel, who has held roles in Grounded for Life, the ill-fated Pan Am series, and Bates Motel.

He brings a solid characterization of the bad man on the cusp of being a good guy.  If he can get away from his past and start anew...  or at least it seems that way while he's here, under the dome, and hitting it off with Julia, whose husband he killed in the season opener.  (Like I said... bad guy on the cusp of good.)

Though I hate the standard operandi of "a reporter" in King's work, she's come along to the point of no longer being a nosy bi*, I mean reporter, and having become part of the story.

Rachelle Lefevre in UNDER THE DOME

Having just become nominated or voted or what have you, as the "Monarch" of the Dome, well, I have no clue what that holds for season two.  But I like watching her.


Last night's finale watched our four chosen children whom "the dome" or "we" have chosen to communicate, finished playing their huge shell game with the egg they found and Julia, when on a hunch, touched the dome, shattered it, and was able to retrieve the egg.

Big Jim is hot for this egg because he doesn't want the dome to come down.  If it comes down, there's going to be a lot to answer for and that will get investigated by REAL law enforcement and not their small security force who can't seem to nail a bad guy and keep them locked up.

But Julia took it and dumped it in the waters off the shore of this entrapped town.

That, in turn, seemed to change the dome from the dark shield it became during the episode, to a white, hazy looking shield.


Oh, and "we" are protecting you.  The children who can communicate with the dome, finally got a few words in edgewise with the dome, as "it" appeared as a character who died a few episodes ago.

"It" said the dome is not trapping them, but protecting them from the outside.  It said "we" are protecting you.  Great... let's trap the honest citizens of a small town in Maine under an indestructible force, with the likes of Big Jim, his bat-shit crazy kid, and a town full of people, ranging from innocent and scared citizens, to an oddly large population of cage fighters.  (Where did that crap come from, and how could the woman, Maxine, running it think they had a good thing going, under a dome with a finite amount of resources?  Really???)

BTW:  The Beautiful Natalie Zea portrayed Maxine, and it was scary how good she was at playing an evil, manipulative b*!  She's been getting some great roles lately, since being in Justified, then The Following, and now this.


Oh, but the "Jump the Shark" line of the century!
So last night, Big Jim has Barbie behind bars.  He's going to hang Barbie because he knows too much.  They're sharing soul-baring insults and honest jabs at each other.

Barbie says something to the effect:  "You know what you are to these people?"

Big Jim answers, "A criminal?"

Barbie:  "No, a politician."

Seriously... he's looking at his death sentence, and the best insult or barb or truth of the moment that he could come up with was to call the murderous Big Jim a politician?

At the moment of the line, it came out wrong, it had the wrong impact and to me, was the worse line in TV history for every thing, from timing to subject delivery.


Of course the episode left us hanging, with Barbie's neck in a noose (Because the towns people blindly follow Big Jim and built a a gallows), and Big Jim yelling in a hurried fashion at Junior to pull the lever that will send Barbie to his presumed death.


Here's my big concern with this cliffhanger...  the moment CBS starts marketing season two, unless they edit out every single instance of Barbie from their marketing, they blow the tension of this cliffhanger.

But who are they kidding, threatening the life of a major player in the story, to this point, that is.

Who knows.  Killing off primary characters when you least suspect it was something Joss Whedon started a long time ago and that twisty little plot anchor as been adopted by some and made into the latest fashion to wear on a dramatic series.

So maybe Junior does pull the lever, but Junior is off his rocker and very inconsistent.  So we'll see what's up next season and how they draw out this predictable story for an entire second season.

Again, who knows.  Maybe more new people will pop up out of the woodwork, having hidden in houses all over town, to make things interesting.

Or the Powers Running the Dome in Under the Dome will interact more with the people... like say, in smiting Big Jim before he does more harm than good?

But one this is for sure, it's awesome to see Dean Norris pull off this dick character.  It's such a huge contrast from what we became used to seeing in Breaking Bad that it's pretty upsetting.  And the story has piqued my curiosity enough to wonder what will come next.  But they're stretching it thin.  If it gets too thin, I'm gone, off to watch Honey Boo Boo or something on TLC.


On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Under the Dome a "It's OK... there's nothing else on, so I'll watch it" 7.  Popcorn 7 that is.

Under the Dome also stars Natalie Martinez, Britt Robertson, Colin Ford, Mackenzie Lintz, Nicholas Strong and more hapless victims.

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