Okay, everyone raise your hand if you saw Samantha Mathis‘ name in the opening credits and thought “The Dome is bringing back Alice! All is forgiven!” Sadly, the television gods were not so kind. What they gave us instead was a finale that had so little momentum it was practically stationary.
We pick up exactly where we left off last week, with most of the major players huddled around the Mini-Dome. Before their eyes, the butterfly of destiny emerges from its chrysalis, which Norrie and Joe regard with a reverence that can only be attained by very stoned teenagers. Linda isn’t buying the whole magic butterfly thing but Carolyn is nodding like this it all makes a lot of sense. But magic powers or not, the butterfly emerges from its cocoon and starts flapping spastically against the Mini-Dome. At first this just seems like typical butterfly behavior, but as it bashes its fragile insect body on the walls, it starts to turn the Mini-Dome black.
Even more curiously, as the Mini-Dome goes darker and darker, so does the Macro-Dome. Naturally, this is a cause for alarm for the townspeople, who are really starting to get Tired of This Shit.
But no one is more frustrated than Big Jim, who cannot believe that Barbie would plead not guilty in an attempt to delay his own execution. The nerve of some people. He takes a break from his hulking to go deal with the whole sky-turning-black situation.
Meanwhile, in the hospital basement, local deities Julia and Angie come up with a plan to free Barbie, even though Julia still has a fairly large bullet hole in her shoulder. They go to the jail and bust Barbie out of his cell, even though his hands are still cuffed. Phil and another townsperson try and stop them but, even with his hands bound, Barbie kickpunches his way through them in a scene about as believable as Aria Montgomery: Kung Fu Avenger.
Even meanerwhile, that stupid fucking butterfly plunges the whole town into a starless, moonless night, because butterflies should not be in charge of stuff. Junior, who had been busy feeling up the Dome, assumes that this, like all things, is about him.
Back at the Mini-Dome, Joe and Norrie are all like “Dome Kids, assemble!” and Sheriff Linda is like, “Yeah whatever, hippies. As the ranking officer here, I’ll be the one laying hands on this thing.”
She touches the Mini-Dome and it promptly squeals, turns white, and sends out a burst of energy so strong it knocks her out. Which, to be fair, is probably how I would react if Sheriff Linda laid hands on me. Junior rushes in and the other Dome Kids are somehow able to get him to stop whining about Angie long enough to move the Mini-Dome before Linda wakes up. Joe contacts Norrie via police radio and tells her to meet at their childhood secret hideout. Of course, it’s the old cement factory tunnels (so to be clear, the tunnels have been: labyrinthine death trap, bomb shelter, fight club HQ, and now child’s play area).
When she arrives, the Dome Kids do their Dome Thing, and the Mini-Dome crumbles. At first you think the butterfly is dead, but no, of course that damn thing survived. It circles around the Chester’s Millionaires, touching each of them with its wings, before coming to a halt on Barbie.
Joe: I knew it! You are the Monarch! That’s why we’ve all been having these sex dreams about you, right guys?
Angie: Um, nope.
Norrie: Just you.
Their discussion comes to a halt when the now-exposed egg starts shaking violently, which in turn causes the whole factory to shake. It is pretty corny, but maybe there is just no way to make an egg seem menacing. While everyone else flees the scary ovum, Julia picks it up, and it immediately calms down next to her bosom. The butterfly also flies to her, because SHE is the Monarch (or else because all creatures just want to be as close to her as possible).
At the town church (you know this town is not set in the south because there is only one church, as opposed to one for every five people), folks are preparing for the apocalypse. Lest we forget, only days ago, a giant tornado hovered above the town all afternoon, which didn’t seem to trouble anybody. But when it get dark (and if you need a refresher, it gets dark EVERY 24 HOURS) it’s all, “come to Jesus, while you still can.” Big Jim stumbles in, and at first he’s freaked out by people putting their trust in a higher power other than him, but then he sees a way to turn this situation to his advantage.
Big Jim: The Lord has taken our light from us because we have been very naughty. But I shall lead us back to decency, and a new day shall dawn.
The people all agree that this compares favorably to Bill Pullman’s speech in Independence Day and agree to follow Big Jim’s lead. The first thing he does is put them to work building gallows.
In the cement tunnels, Junior handles the news that he is not the Monarch with his usual humility and grace. By which I mean: he accuses Julia of being a liar and everyone else to be out to get his dad. He pulls his gun and demands the egg, but Julia scampers away. The only person who stays behind is Barbie, who finally remembers that you can’t fight with no hands. Junior hauls him away as a present for his father.
When Sheriff Linda goes to the barn in search of the Mini-Dome, she instead finds a mysterious inscription about the pink stars. She relates this intelligence to Big Jim, who acts like he’s seen a ghost. As it turns out, his late wife was always painting pictures of stars and eggs and Domes and apocalypses, and Big Jim just thought she was crazy. But now he know, she was a prophet AND crazy. And for a moment, you think a little bit of remorse has finally broken through Jim’s megalomania. But then Linda is like “Hey, don’t feel bad. This just means that you’re special. You and your entire family have a destiny.”
And I get that she’s just trying to comfort him, but it’s like feeding steroids to Bruce Banner.
Once the Dome Kids and Julia escape Junior, Julia just starts shaking the egg like a magic 8 ball, demanding answers. Sure enough, it obliges by sending an Alice-shaped apparition.
Un-Alice: Hey y’all, we’re so pleased to meet you. Hope it’s cool we dressed up like your dead mom.
Norrie: Yeah, for future reference it is not cool at all.
Angie: So as long as you’re here, care to share why you plunked this Dome on us?
Un-Alice: We just wanted to protect you.
Joe: From what?
Un-Alice: We have the entire fall hiatus to figure that out. You just catch up on Grey’s Anatomy and let us worry about it. Anyway, good luck with the whole perma-darkness thing.
While they try and figure out what to do, Big Jim gets on the radio and announces that if Julia won’t surrender the egg, then he will personally hang Barbie. Remarkably, the whole town is cool with this lynching, despite the fact that Julia, Barbie’s former “victim,” is now being referred to as his “accomplice.”
Julia wants to save her Barbie doll, but takes her responsibility as Monarch very seriously, and that means putting the egg where no one can find it. She decides to go the Titanic route and drop that sucker in the lake. As she cradles the egg, the Rennies tighten the noose around Barbie’s neck. Junior is about to pull the lever—it is a super complicated gallows—when Julia lets go of the egg. Once it hits the water, pink stars shoot up, covering the Dome and driving away the darkness.
Big Jim shouts that this means The Lord is pleased with their human sacrifice, but even he looks skeptical. As the town is blinded by sunlight, Big Jim orders Junior to finish the job, but the screen goes white before we see the outcome. I for one, am not remotely worried over the fate of the show’s pretty male lead.
So that’s it for season one of Under The Dome. I guess the ending was supposed to be a cliffhanger, but it felt more like a ditch or at best, a steep ravine. However,at its best, this is a good show. If they can manage to find a more coherent tone next season, and take us deeper into the lives of the characters, I think it may actually be worthy of its ratings. Either way, I’ll be there to keep you updated every time Carolyn appears on screen. Will you come back to Chester’s Mill next summer?