Under The Dome continues to use up its goodwill with yet another “problem of the week” that can be simplistically addressed in a scant 42 minutes. This week: a power grab disguised as a food shortage.
Let’s bitch it out…Each week we break down the good, the bad and the meh. Here’s our list for ‘Thicker Than Water’:
- Julia’s (Rachelle Lefevre) inquisitiveness: Lord help us when Julia is the best part of this show, but this week she’s sitting pretty at the top. While everything else is groan-inducingly bad, Julia finally starts asking some smart questions, employing her deductive reasoning to seek out the mini-Dome from last week and even berating Joe (Colin Ford) for not giving her information in a timely matter
- New Dome message: I went back and forth whether or not to include this in the “pro” section, but ultimately I’m kinda done with the cryptic messages. We haven’t made any progress on the first one (which obviously refers to the lights in the mini-Dome, but has never actually been explained), so do we really need another? I’m kind of curious how Angie (Britt Robertson) factors into the new riddle, but I’m also happy never to hear another one of these
- Big Jim (Dean Norris): I like Norris, but I feel like if I didn’t carry over my enjoyment from his Breaking Bad performance, I would probably be very frustrated with this character
- Norrie’s (Mackenzie Lintz) grief: I can’t say it’s enjoyable to watch Norrie lash out mistakenly at people, but at least this reaction feels somewhat genuine (which for this show, is pretty rare)
- Farm stand-off/power struggle: I hated this storyline last week and I hate it even more now that it’s our “crisis of the week”. I don’t doubt that there would be jerks in real life who would hoard supplies and refuse to help others (see: every post-apocalyptic show ever), but that’s not what this storyline is really about. This is a conflict between two people who both seem to think that securing the small amount of produce from a single farm will springboard them into power. This is far likelier for Big Jim, but Ollie’s (Leon Rippy) rationale (“I’ll starve the people until they hate Big Jim”) is so artificial and makes so little sense (as though people wouldn’t hate him – or hurt him – for depriving them of food). I’m honestly just baffled. Obviously the old crank was always going to die (he probably should have died a few weeks back), but there were so many other ways this story could have played out that would have been more interesting and made sense that I sort of hate Under The Dome for making us sit through this (imagine if Ollie had of had a family and didn’t feel he could afford to share his food. Isn’t that far more authentic and legitimate a conflict to explore?)
- Plausibility out the window: Everything at the farm feels artificial. From Barbie’s (Mike Vogel) McGuyver-esque bomb-on-the-fly antics to the farm attack between what feels like a dozen people in a town that has thousands, nothing about the staging works. And where the hell are all of the people who still need water from Ollie’s well? If everyone has to get water from this one location and there really are thousands of residents in Chester’s Mill, there would be a constant line-up! And yet everytime we see the farm, it’s practically deserted ARGH
- Father/son drama: The conflict between Big Jim and Junior (Alexander Koch) is similarly artificial and uninteresting. Do we care that Big Jim lied about his wife’s death? Nope – because it has no bearing on anything in the present day (especially when Junior later admits it was all an act). Under The Dome keeps mistaking random exposition-y backstories (snowglobes!) for character development. The only decent part of this “trojan” storyline is the somewhat clever episode title that comes as a result
- Shooting Phil (Nicholas Strong): Much like we knew Ollie would die, we know that Phil won’t die from his injuries. But what’s the point then? And is this really the only way to bring this interesting character who’s had nothing to do for weeks into the show?
- Don’t even get me started on Linda (Natalie Martinez). What a useless character! Why is she even on the show?!
- Carter’s (Andrew Vogel) kneecaps: Can I just say how much I love that Carter has appeared as one of Linda’s deputies in nearly every episode, but we’ve never really seen his face? And now that he’s incapacitated, you can bet we’ll never see or hear from him again. How much does it suck to be this actor?
Dome info for the week:
- This week’s Dome factoids:
- New Dome riddle: The monarch (Angie) will be crowned (Hopefully not golden crowned)
- Number of deaths/injuries: 5 – Randoms, at Ollie’s farm, by shotgun/rifle (it’s unclear if this number includes Ollie or not, so it may actually be six)
- This week’s drinking game: Drink everytime someone gets shot
What’s your take on episode eight: what’s up with the latest riddle? Does Chester’s Mill actually feel like a town of 100 people? What is everyone else doing while these dozen people fight each week? Why is Linda still on the show? Hit the comments with your thoughts below
Under The Dome airs Mondays at 10pm EST on CBS. *Remember: we’re discussing the show as its own entity, so please refrain from including spoilers from the book