Something truly unexpected happened on Under the Dome this week: “Imperfect Circles” was a very decent episode. Finally, the show has built up some of the main characters enough that viewers are compelled to care, just a little bit, about who they are and what happens to them. Even though there weren’t riots or any kind of organization regarding the remaining resources beyond asking neighbors for yogurt, “Imperfect Circles” actually found a way to move the plot forward with its characters while not actually addressing any of the issues of living of the Dome. But what else is new? Hit the jump for why any sign of love is also one of doom.
“Imperfect Circles” kept the focus narrow enough this week, and had it not been for the shoot-out with the rapists and murders from last week, the episode might have been even closer to the quality of the pilot in terms of success. One of the main issues with how the show chooses to lose cast members, as I’ve pointed out in previous weeks, is that we hardly know who they are. The melodrama has largely, until now, been hollow. But Alice’s death was truly moving, because even though we’ve seen it coming for awhile, we had gotten to know her and Carolyn and Norrie well enough to feel like this was truly a loss to the fabric of the show.
Still, Alice 1.0 dying and making way for Alice 2.0 was a little too schmaltzy, particularly when Alice used her dying breaths to talk about dome mythology and the succession of Alices instead of counseling her daughter on the future and telling her how much she loves her. Granted, she did get that in, but she also slipped in a mention of Harriet seeing her husband via the dome’s hallucination machine (which, when did that story get told?)
Like on Lost, there’s some connection to birth and the dome (in Lost‘s case, the island). But unlike the island, the dome isn’t a death sentence for mothers and their children, it might just induce labor (such low stakes!). It also turns out, thanks to Joe and Norrie finding the mini-dome at the core of the big dome — in other words, doing what should have been done on Day 1 — the dome itself may be a giant egg hosting and protecting another egg. Which is something.
Elsewhere, there was a nice subplot that sets up the eventual Ollie vs Big Jim battle, which looks like it will come to a head next week. Ollie has procured the crops and the propane and the water from under Big Jim’s nose, and hired at least one goon to protect it (who Jim set on fire, so, match point). Next week, things look like that will heat up as the sleepy denizens of Chester’s Mill start to realize they need to get their act together to keep surviving. Then again, I’ve said that every week. But as “Imperfect Circles” showed us, there are a few real consequences happening here; those who run out of medicine are out of luck. As for the rest, perhaps the battles and posturing for power will finally begin.
Episode Rating: B+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— This episode was beautifully directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who included some lovely lighting shots (in the field, Julia and Barbie in bed, etc) and interesting camera angles (particularly with Norrie and Joe and during the birthing scene). A+ for that.
— Barbie and Julia went from 0 to 60 with their relationship, didn’t they? I know they’re attracted to each other, but lying around in each other’s arms seems several stages further than where I would expect them to be at this point.
— Maybe I’m just totally ignorant, but do sailors still dress like a 1950s musical?
— Boyfriend replying to my question of “was the egg thing in the book?” : “It’s never been in any book ever, for a reason.” So … what the hell?
— Bye Alice / Samantha Mathis. I knew your time was limited because you always listed as “guest star” instead of part of the main cast, but it was a memorable exit. Also you were the last doctor in town so, that’s going to suck.
— I feel like it’s only a matter of time until there’s a 60 Minutes story about gas-jacking.
— Will someone please kill Junior? I am so sick of this Andy Samberg-esque kid I could scream. Thank the dome for Ben sticking around while Junior apologized to Angie, I cannot take her getting kidnapped again.
— The whole Rose thing … yikes.
— Did anyone else notice the murderers’ Southern accents? People named Waylon and Clint Dundee probably only do live in the South (or are Australian bogans), but what are they doing in Chester’s Mill? Come on, Under the Dome. A lot of us have our teeth and running water now, get with the times!