UNDER THE DOME Season Finale Recap: “Curtains”

     September 16, 2013


Oh Under the Dome, if only we could trust your episode title.  Curtains you predicted, and yet not a single one fell.  I was prepared to give the show a positively-tinged review tonight if only because of the joy felt that it is finally over.  But it did not earn that.  What is it that Ghost-Alice taught us?  That to get rid of the darkness, you have to earn the light.  Despite “Curtains” being co-written by Brian K. Vaughan (the series’ new showrunner and writer of that great pilot), it didn’t distinguish itself in any way as a season finale, but just left views steeped in frustration.  Hit the jump for more.

On the one hand, some of the best stuff that Under the Dome has provided us with this year has been mythology-related.  The personal relationships among the leads are either nonexistent or not interesting.  Though “Curtains” was almost all about the mythology, bizarrely, we didn’t actually learn anything new except that there is a “we” behind the Dome, and the egg really, really likes water.

under the dome curtains dean norris natalie martinezThe big setups about Big Jim’s ultimate fate and Barbie’s turn at the gallows all were for naught, as Chester’s Mill was left blinded by the egg turning the Dome all white instead of black.  But did anyone actually do anything to deserve that light?  Julia sunk the egg, which was a redemptive moment how exactly?

Can anyone imagine if the series had ended there?  It might have been the worst drama series with the most viewers to have ever been allowed to live for that long on TV.  All it showed us in the end was that most of what we watched was a waste of time, and blatant filler (which we could tell along the way, most of which went by the name “Maxine”).  Though the show built up an interesting premise with the mini-dome, its slaughter of its characters and confusion about the protagonists (Linda and Phil, for instance, both useless and pretty much on the side of evil) left it a muddled mess.  The worst part about Under the Dome was its squandered potential.

While the series lacked any believable interactions among its leads, it also populated the rest of the town with silent, faceless lemmings who were controlled by Big Jim like zombies.  They riot, stay calm, pray and show up for hangings all on command.  And the Dome wants to protect them from something?  As I said very early in the season, it seems more likely that the Dome had the sense to quarantine them away from the rest of the world, and good riddance.

under the dome curtains britt robertson colin ford mackenzie lintzBy all accounts it has sounded like Under the Dome was a ghastly adaptation of the original Stephen King novel, but the fact that it couldn’t — through thirteen episodes — ever find its own voice and carve a niche for itself as a worthwhile series illustrates its problems as systemic.  Many of us have spent the duration of the season hoping the show would improve, and there were glimmers of hope.  But CBS’s decision to elongate it into a second season was horrendous for the momentum of the series, and much of the season felt reminiscent to Lost‘s “lost years” (remember “Stranger In A Strange Land”? i.e. “Jack’s Tattoos,” starring Bai Ling?).  To hit that lull so quickly though is telling.

Yet there’s a curiosity with Under the Dome, and an optimism for it that can’t be explained.  Even after this non-finale, I’m sure CBS will pique our interest next year to find out what the story is behind the egg, so we need to remind ourselves of a truism: pink stars are falling in line / this show is so bad it’s a crime / we don’t need an egg for a sign / that this show is not worth the time.

Episode Rating: D-

Season Rating: D+

Musings and Miscellanea:

under the dome curtains rachelle lefevre– The best thing about Under the Dome is that it occasionally has beautiful direction and decent effects.  In “Curtains,” the pink stars effect was really nice.

– What should you do when a magical egg starts glowing bright white and causing an earthquake?  Pick it up!

– That butterfly seemed confused about who it needed to monarch-ize.

– Join us next year for another edition of Ask the Egg!

– Bless the Dome for knowing Linda is so useless that it fried her and sent her flying off.  This week, Phil also solidified his place as the second most useless character.

– I would have given anything for this season to have ended “my name is Big Jim Rennie.  Go fuck yourself.” (that was for the Breaking Bad fans)

– Thanks to all who hung around with me through this season.  Anyone coming back to it next year?  Please send me book spoilers now, I want to know all of the exact ways this show lost its mind.

  • LL

    I left this series 5 episodes in. I just wanted to read this recap to see if it was worth catching up on. Nope and nope.

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    • ʝoe Ģnaśher ßloggs

      I left it after episode 3. It just had failure and dumbness written all over it despite the King hype.

      • Guy Smiley

        Well, if it still seemed like King’s book it might be a good show. The book was a pretty compelling read, although the end was weak (King, nuff said).

        But this show barely resembles the book apart from a dome, and a few of the character’s names.

  • Joey

    In the book, the meth factory (or whatever stupid name they gave to the drug Big Jim & the priest were making) blew up. Smoke started filling up the dome, and all the major charactors fled to a high area. Julia ends up finding the transmitter (never described as a mini dome) & pleads to their captors. It turns out they’re a group of alien teenagers described as ‘leatherheads’ because of their appearance. It turns out they were curious as to what would happen if they trapped people, Stephen King compared it to little kids wanting to trap ants. After Julia’s plea, and a shared memory of Julia being harrassed as a young girl,the young female ‘leatherhead’ lifts up the dome feeling some connection to her.

    • LEM

      Oh wow thank you for that. The show is awful and really should have followed the book because that is a way better story and would have served as the original concept of a mini series instead of them trying to drag out an entire series of this crap.

    • LEM

      Oh wow thank you for that. The show is awful and really should have followed the book because that is a way better story and would have served as the original concept of a mini series instead of them trying to drag out an entire series of this crap.

  • Durrr

    The pink stars didn’t even fall. THEY FUCKING ROSE UP.

    • James

      They rose and then fell incase no one else picked up on that.

  • BeJebus

    linda sure had a lot of barney fife-like qualities. lol “earn the light by protecting the egg!” sweet merciful christ that was funny. and they just leave the handcuffs on barbie! you mean there’s not a set of cuff keys in the police station? this show needed a little heisenberg, if you ask me.

  • Odeon

    “Bless the Dome for knowing Linda is so useless that it fried her and sent her flying off. This week, Phil also solidified his place as the second most useless character.”


    “I would have given anything for this season to have ended “my name is Big Jim Rennie. Go fuck yourself.” ”

    So much yes.

    At this point I merely watch the show because I’m crazy for Rachelle Lefevre, and I like Dean Norris and Mike Vogel. This finale gave me something I really wanted to see: Linda finally gets burnt doing something stupid. She is the most annoying character I’ve ever seen on TV, the dumbest cop there is, and I’m hoping for her death.

    That’s why I’ll keep watching the show. Story is terrible, but ah, well, who cares ? =D

    • James

      The author’s jokes are almost as cringe-worthy as Matt’s it’s absolutely hysterical, but definitely not in a good way. I don’t like Linda and I definitely think she is a dumbass, but the Dome sends anyone flying that isn’t meant to touch it (hint: Dodee).

  • Daniel

    Here’s what I truly don’t understand. Usually when a show is terrible, people stop watching it. Right? If everyone here hates this show (which I’ve never seen), why do you all keep watching?

    • pinkincide

      I record and skim through it just to see if any dome secrets are revealed.. Once in a while I catch some dialog and shudder. Apparently, this week the whole town is suddenly cool with a public hanging without trial. I caught that at 4x speed, and don’t even want to know what that’s about.

    • James

      They keep watching it because as the author of these reviews writes so adamantly week after week, they are idiotic lemmings, much like most people are. They read this woman’s reviews which are inaccurate and misunderstood thoughts on what is happening in the show. I’ve read them all for the humor of the misunderstanding she has of what is going on, and the cringe-worthy jokes she sneaks into them.

      • pinkincide

        I’m so glad we have your wisdom to guide us.

  • James

    The author of these reviews simply doesn’t understand the show, sorry to say. Collider needs to hire reviews who can grasp the plot. “But did anyone actually do anything to deserve that light? Julia sunk the egg, which was a redemptive moment how exactly?” Let’s see here, she decided to sink the egg because it was either the most hidden place she could think of, or she ‘knew’ where to, being the monarch. Either way they ‘earned’ the light because Julia protected the egg instead of handing it over to Big Jim, the major threat (which the Dome really dislikes remember?). It’s embarrassingly sad you don’t understand that. However, it is nothing new, as I’ve read each of your reviews and I can say with 100% confidence, you understand little of what you see unfold.

    • Nick

      When you’re spoon fed, you don’t need to ‘grasp’ anything. And yes, she left her husband killing lover to die in order to protect the egg…. But that’s not redemption worthy. A guy was about to be lynched by a town mob. It wasn’t any of the people protecting the egg who needed to do the redeeming. They have been innocent of anything that turned the dome black, so it should be the towns people and Jim that have to redeem anything in order to have the light. You’re making this show out to be more than it is. It has awful writing, one dimensional characters, some poor acting and no suspense. But it’s not the worst thing on tv,and it’s fine on boring Mondays

    • Kevin

      Its fine to explain things that people don’t understand, but to be such a jerk about it, is really what’s embarrassingly sad.

      • James

        I feel like I have to be a jerk after she’s written all of these reviews which she pans the show, whilst clearly misunderstanding, or missing what is going on. I don’t have a problem with people disliking anything, but if you are going to write reviews and be highly inaccurate in your understanding of the show, then let someone review that does understand it. Having said that, I don’t think it is particularly good writing, but she doesn’t even get what is being written so I don’t see her having good judgement.

    • Guy Smiley

      The show is horrible, and this is hardly the only site ragging on the show. Check out the AV Club, for instance.

      • Guy Smiley

        Or Sepinwall’s reviews over at Hitfix, before he stopped reviewing it (after the 3rd episode, I believe?) because he couldn’t stand it anymore, that is.

  • me

    good show, worth watching and I look forward to a season 2

  • Alex

    Why did this show warrant a recap every week, when things like “The Newsroom” have went unnoticed? This series was terrible, and I don’t think anyone cared about getting weekly reviews of it.

  • Guy Smiley

    “The best thing about Under the Dome is that it occasionally has beautiful direction and decent effects. In “Curtains,” the pink stars effect was really nice.”

    No… The best thing is how ridiculously hot Julia is. Everything else? Sucks. Ass. Even Dean Norris, and I love him on Breaking Bad (RIP Hank).I stopped watching mid-way through the third episode and haven’t looked back, but leave reading the wretched reviews everywhere.

    Who the hell is still watching this show, and are they just “hate watching” at this point?

    • Jim Shatt

      I have hate-watched this season and I’m gonna hate-watch the next season too! The only good thing about this show are the reviews here.
      Egg: Muhuhaha I’ve trapped you all in a dome and painted the inside black!
      Julia&co: Neat! How may we serve you? Throw you in a pond, you say, while my boyfriend is being hanged? Duuhokay, you got it!

  • Socially Slick

    Those were the 13 worst hours of my life that I’ll never get back. Done with the silly dome.