For the first time this season, I found myself not trying to nitpick all the inconsistencies in an episode of ‘Under the Dome’, and just sit back and enjoy the ride. I’m sure that this episode probably has more than a few things that don’t mesh with prior ones, but at this point in the series, the actors know their characters and the writers know what they can get away with. This week’s episode proved to be one of the most enjoyable to date.
As ‘Exigent Circumstances’ (the next-to-last episode for Season 1) opens, Big Jim is at the Sweetbriar Rose restaurant giving a speech to Chester Mill’s citizens. Like he did over the radio at the conclusion of last week, he warns the townspeople about how dangerous Dale Barbara is. Jim’s ranting pays off when the citizens suggest a state of martial law. Rennie says that he’ll start conducting house-to-house searches.
Norrie’s remaining living mother discovers the kids guarding the mini-dome in Joe and Angie’s barn. She knows that Rennie is about to start searching houses, so she suggests that they get the small dome and its mysterious egg to a safe location. The kids decide to take it to Joe’s pal Ben and hide it in his bedroom.
Big Jim heads back to the radio station, where Dodee has recently noticed the picture of the mini-dome egg she took with her cell phone. She tells Big Jim about her theory that it might be controlling the dome itself. The radio is still picking up broadcasts from the military, and Rennie becomes the topic of conversation when the soldiers wonder if he might be a good point of contact inside the dome. They mention that they witnessed Rennie killing Rev. Coggins, which Dodee overhears before Big Jim can disconnect the radio. Jim does some smooth-talking to convince her that he needed to get rid of Coggins, but Dodee makes the mistake of saying that they need to figure out what the egg is so that they can bring the dome down. Big Jim says that the dome can never come down, and shoots Dodee, killing her instantly. Jim then sets the radio station on fire. Put another charge of murder on Rennie’s constantly growing rap sheet.
Dale is on the run and in hiding. He realizes that if Julia awakens, Big Jim will kill her, so he enlists the aid of Angie (hey, if you’re already wanted for murder, throwing a little jailbait on top isn’t going to hurt) to help sneak Julia out of the clinic. Junior has been assigned by his father to guard Julia, but Angie is able to sneak him away by putting on a candy striper uniform and acting like she’s actually interested in him. As she takes Junior down a hallway, Barbie sneaks in to take Julia outside to a waiting ambulance. Junior and Angie kiss, but when he tastes cigarette smoke on her, he realizes that he’s been double crossed.
Barbie and Junior get into a fight, which ends quickly when Barbie knocks Junior unconscious with the butt of his gun. Barbie sends Angie off in the ambulance, but stays behind himself to surrender. Sheriff Linda shows up with Phil Bushey. They both believe that Barbie was responsible for the fire that killed Dodee. Barbie is arrested, but not before Phil kicks him squarely in the jaw.
Rennie and a couple of his men go to Joe’s barn, where he arrests Joe and Norrie when they try to stop him from searching it. However, when Rennie opens the barn doors, he finds nothing of significance there. With Joe, Norrie and Barbie all behind bars, Big Jim tells Dale that he’ll let Joe and Norrie go in exchange for Barbie making a public confession. Dale agrees.
Meanwhile, back at Ben’s place, the mini-dome starts glowing orange and making a loud shrieking noise. The butterfly inside the cocoon within the mini-dome appears ready to hatch. Julia wakes up and tells Angie that Big Jim will kill Barbie. At that very moment, Rennie has led Barbie out in front of the town’s citizens and announces that Dale has a confession to make. “Not guilty,” Barbie proclaims.
Well, everything is now set up for next week’s finale, which will almost certainly end in a cliffhanger. One thing’s for sure – regardless of how many innocent (and some non-so-innocent) people Big Jim Rennie has killed week in and week out, he remains the show’s most interesting character to watch. In other words, his continued health is pretty much guaranteed – at least until whenever the series concludes.