First of all, thank you to everyone who has been watching, reading and commenting. Last night our patience finally paid off and we were rewarded with an episode that was at least somewhat more nuanced than those which have preceded it. AND, you guys, THERE WAS SOME GAY STUFF. Sure, it incorporates one of our least-favorite lesbian TV clichés after “killed by a stray bullet,” but it’s something, dammit.
So it’s another beautiful morning in Chester’s Mill, and, yet again, young Joe is the only citizen taking active measures to figure out the dome thing. Norrie is along for the ride, because being forbidden to touch a cute boy by a powerful, oppressive force is the ultimate aphrodisiac when you’re sixteen. For most people, the force is parents, but these two have their Dome seizures keeping them in a constant state of pent-up desire. Joe’s theory is that each of them is a receiver for the Dome’s transmissions, and their physical contact produces a kind of feedback. Their musings are interrupted by a remarkable sight: thousands upon thousands of butterflies have amassed on the dome, making for the first good use of visual effects since the premiere and leading Norrie to speculate that perhaps the Dome itself is a cocoon, from which they will all emerge as butterflies.
With that hopeful thought, we travel to The Rennie Family Secret Lair where the butterfly-tattooed Angie is still imprisoned. Big Jim still hasn’t decided whether or not to free Angie, since it would mean admitting just how fucked up his son is. While he mulls is over, Reverend Lurch arrives. His crazy du jour is that he’s picking up the word of god through his hearing aid, and that word is…”Moab.” He thinks it’s a reference to a biblical city often at war with the Israelites, but who cares what he thinks.
So, to everyone’s surprise, the Army shows back up, and brings with them all the friends and loved ones trapped outside the Dome. Well, friends, loved ones, and this guy.
Yep, it’s Norrie’s biological father. Norrie is justifiably upset, since her moms told her that they just found her sperm in a little bottle on a park bench or something, so there was no way to find the donor. Their explanation is “it’s complicated,” but it seems like Alice had some sort of relationship with this guy. At first Norrie follows the typical teenage script of “I hate you and you and him and society,” but when given some time to cool off, she decides that what she really hates is that the man responsible for half her DNA is a fame-grubbing creep with a face like Byron Montgomery.
Also having a painful reunion is Linda Esquivel, Sheriff of my heart. She has the unhappy lot of explaining to her fiancé that his brother is dead, and her fiancé has the unhappy lot of having a Microsoft tablet instead of an iPad.
Another bearer of bad news arrives in the form of Julia’s sister in-law. She shoves a letter from the Late Doctor Julia’s Husband against the Dome. In it, he confesses to being totally worthless and not at all good enough for Julia and her hair, leaving him with no other choice but permanent exile. Julia takes the news remarkably in stride, which makes sense if you consider their wildly uneven hotness levels.
The other useful tidbit we learn comes from Barbie, who uses his military street cred to get information out of a soldier. That information is that, in true American fashion, the government has opted to just throw its biggest missile at this problem. That’s what “Moab” means: the Mother Of All Bombs (although it still doesn’t explain why Reverend Lurch was hearing it endlessly repeated in a female voice).
Barbie, for some reason, is totally confident that the bomb will destroy the Dome, and equally confident that it will kill everyone in town. Julia–to whom I have definitely not composed a song in which I rhyme her name with “you ruleia,” suggests that they all take refuge in the cement factory tunnels, and the race to get everyone to safety is on.
Even though a fallout shelter is a safe as anywhere, Big Jim takes the opportunity to release Angie, in an effort to score some last minute heaven points. But he loses all three of them when he tells Junior exactly what he’s done. Junior, of course, goes straight after her, and I think Jim would be fine if he killed her. He hates loose ends, does Jim.
Down in the cement tunnels, Barbie reveals the secret of his haunted past: far from being a hero, he was involved in the friendly fire death of an entire company. It should be an affecting scene, but both the writing and acting are rushed, cursory, and lacking in conviction. In an otherwise strong episode, the buildup to emotional climax here is straight out of scriptwriting 101. Barbie and Lurch confess their sins, Big Jim finally hits on the diner owner, and Julia breaks out a bottle of wine like a motherfucking champion. The only really interesting reactions happen outside the tunnels.
When Angie runs home, she finds Junior waiting for her with a loaded gun. He tells her about the missile, and she cradles him in her arms. It’s a sickening sight, but I guess she figures it beats spending her past five minutes on earth trying to explain mental illness to her former sex buddy/captor. Also making the best of things are Joe and Norrie, who see the bomb coming and take the opportunity to make out right at the moment of impact. The bomb, however, bounces off the dome, possibly repelled by the force of their libido.
But the best moment is Linda’s (Natalie Martinez). She climbs to the top of the radio tower, a special place for her and her fiancé. She rubs the carvings of their initials and tries to say goodbye. And afterwards, with the town still standing, she does the most amazing laugh/cry thing. Laughing because she’s still alive, crying because she’d just had one of those rare moments when it would have been okay to die.
In the last scene, Jim goes out to inspect the blast damage (none to the Dome, plenty to the rest of the scenery) when Reverend Lurch appears once more. He starts in about how Big Jim needs to confess to their shady drug business, and Jim just shoves him against the Dome, where his dumb hearing aid melts his brain. A bright streak of blood trickles down the Dome. A single butterfly alights upon it. Big Jim turns his collar up and huffs away from the scene, muttering “fuckin’ metaphors.”
So what did you think? Good episode? And how lame is this Mike guy?