UNDER THE DOME Recap: “Outbreak”

     July 16, 2013


Hold your horses (and split cows), Under the Dome is showing signs of life.  Finally, residents seem to be concerned about their future — what happens when there’s no more food?  Or medicine?  The concern is still largely casual, but at least it’s something.  After two weeks of stagnant plot lines and almost no character development, “Outbreak” actually moved things forward at a significant pace, and set things up for an interesting week to come (at least, as regards the Angie and Junior situation).  Hit the jump for more about the instant healing powers of antibiotics inside the dome.

under-the-dome-posterUnder the Dome had split success this week.  While some plots (Norrie and Joe, Angie and Junior, Julia and Barbie) advanced and actually started building drama, others — i.e. everything to do with the hospital outbreak — fell flat.  When Mrs. Moore, Linda’s third grade teacher, sacrificed her life for her, it had almost no emotional impact.  We’ve never seen Mrs. Moore before, and Linda was never going to die.  Which was another thing — no one of consequence for the story died in the outbreak.  And have antibiotics ever worked so quickly?  Going from the precipice of death to walking around handing out badges within a few hours seems mighty miraculous.

As for things that went more right, the Angie / Junior dungeon porn seems like it has finally come to an end, once Big Jim discovered Angie to end the episode.  This may be the one story the show has built up enough to give it some impact.  Junior, who has clearly been marginalized by Big Jim his whole life, had a moment of redemption with his father and with the town when he handled the quarantine, quashing the riot with a rousing speech and not his gun (well, one necessary warning shot).  Linda was so impressed she gave him a badge, and given the creepy music and Junior’s creepy smile, that can only mean bad things.  We know he likes locking people up.

under-the-dome-outbreakJunior being rewarded with power when he has such a dark side was something we saw develop from the beginning, as opposed to Big Jim, who also seeks a power coup and has questionable motivations we haven’t really gotten a hold of yet.  Would he lock Angie back up in the basement to protect his son and save the embarrassment of Junior being found out?  It’s possible, but it would be unlikely to lead to her ultimate demise.  So far, the show doesn’t seem interested in any real stakes.  Yes, Duke died to start the series, and another police officer we spent 30 seconds with was killed by a rogue bullet, but none of the principle cast seems like they’re going to perish.  Not that the dome should become a dome of death, but at the same time, it diminishes its overall impact.  If nothing important is going to happen to these people, why are we watching?

The other big reveal was that Julia’s husband Peter was a degenerate gambler, depleting their savings and borrowing against the house.  Barbie admitted he was an enforcer, but of course didn’t go so far as to admit that he killed Peter.  Julia’s knowledge of the truth (about Peter’s addiction), as well as the idea that he might have abandoned her, should more or less end her quest to find him and instead leave her to mourn.  Though she’s kicked Barbie out, it seems that the two will pair up again since they seem to be the only two with any sense.

Next week, it seems that the military will start shelling the dome, and those on the outside who care about those on the inside will come to say their goodbyes.  Since it’s only week five, again, the stakes are low.  What is worth sticking around for is what the townsfolk will start finding out about each other, and eventually, if they start turning on each other.

Episode Rating: B-

under-the-dome-outbreak-Musings and Miscellanea:

— How can a show about something some weird that could so easily be made into a socio/political statement full of action end up so damn boring?

— I love how at the beginning people freak out that the military — who has done nothing — are leaving them, yet don’t deal with anything that’s actually happening under the dome, like a lack of resources and food.  The neatness of Alice having had a medical internship and saving the entire town was way too easy and, again, boring.

— Is there any trope more tired these days than a crazy religious man talking about God’s wrath or Eden come again?  Give Lester something else to do, please.

— The quip Joe makes to Norrie about “oh wow, you know X-Men?” shows the age of the writing staff.  Kids that age can’t not know about X-Men — the movie merchandise saturates everything they see.  It’s no longer about being a comic book nerd, it’s about whether you exist in the world.

— Isn’t Alice Calvert such a typical pushy parent?

— Junior bringing Angie her Junior prom dress was uber creepy.