What’s this? A legitimately good episode of ‘Under the Dome’? It’s been so long since I’ve cared about the citizens of Chester’s Mill, I found myself quite surprised to watch an engaging storyline. Yet that’s exactly what the series delivers this week in an entry that was directed by none other than RoboCop himself, Peter Weller.
Still outside the dome, Barbie is taken into custody by a group of men that he knows are neither the police nor legitimate military. Don shows up to talk to his son, claiming that he had to pull a lot of strings to even get in the room. He wants Dale to send another message to Julia asking for the egg. Dale refuses, and when Don leaves the room, viewers learn that he’s actually in charge of the group, which is a security firm he owns.
Inside the dome, Junior confesses to Big Jim that he knew Barbie was still alive, and takes his father to the edge of the cliff where Barbie jumped. Big Jim figures that it must be a way out of the dome, but also realizes that he needs to get his hands on the egg first.
Pauline, Sam and Lyle try to figure out the meaning of the red door on the final postcard that Pauline drew. They go to the playground and look for a red door there. Sure enough, they find a playhouse with a red door, but – as viewers already know from previous episodes – it’s not the door they’re looking for. While at the playground, Pauline starts drawing a vision of a spiral in the mud – and suspects that it’s a new clue from the dome that they should pay attention to.
Back in the interrogation room, Barbie gets a beat-down from one of the security team. He gets the upper hand by wrapping the guy in the chains holding him, then knocks the guard out by repeatedly banging his head off the desk. He takes the handcuff keys to free himself, as well as the guard’s gun. I guess no one else was bothering to guard the door or watch that Barbie didn’t try to escape? (Hey, I said this episode was “good,” not “great.”)
Big Jim tells Rebecca about both Barbie and the egg – two things she didn’t know anything about. Jim wants Rebecca to help him find egg, and Rebecca says she’ll infiltrate Julia’s group to see if she can learn its location. When she meets up with Julia and the Scooby Gang, Rebecca tells them everything she and Jim discussed and seems as if she’s siding with Julia. Can she be trusted, or is she just doing what she told Jim she was going to do?
Barbie makes his way back to computer hacker Hunter’s place, only to find that Pauline, Sam and Lyle are already there. It turns out that Pauline has worked with Hunter in the past. Barbie tells Pauline that Sam killed Angie, but all Pauline seems to be worried about is that Sam didn’t harm Junior. Hunter works on tracking down all the known red doors in the area, but when Barbie sees the postcard, he immediately knows where the door is… and it’s where he grew up as a kid.
Meanwhile, Big Jim goes out to the dome’s edge to have a conversation with the guards there (who, we should remember, are Don’s men and not actually the military). He tells them he can get them the egg if he can bring the townsfolk out. When Big Jim is told that’s unacceptable, he asks if just he and Junior can leave. The head guard accepts that deal. He shows Jim a map pointing to the location of the egg, which Jim knows to be Angie’s old apartment. (Note: There seems to be some revisionist history here, as Angie lived in her parents’ house with Joe during Season 1 – a house that was destroyed in the first episode this season. It’s only in recent episodes of the show that Angie seems to have been living in another location – but at least fans finally learn where the Scooby Gang was hanging out in some prior episodes.)
Junior and Melanie agree that they’ll protect the egg together, meaning that there’s nothing for Big Jim to find when he finally makes it to Angie’s place. Junior decides that the best place to hide the egg is in a lunchbox down in the bomb shelter at Big Jim’s house. Melanie asks Junior if he’ll lie next to her on the bed in the shelter. I wonder if she knows that’s the same bed Junior shackled Angie to back when he was a complete psychopath?
Using one of Hunter’s pals as a decoy, Barbie and the others (Hunter included) sneak onto his father’s property and find the red door, which leads down into a cellar. There, they uncover yet another cave, although this one doesn’t have a cliff in it. Instead, it has a spiraling mist (the similarities to the Smoke Monster on ‘Lost’ are probably not coincidental, given that some of the alumni from that series work on this one) that envelops each person one by one. When Sam gets swallowed by the mist, he has a flashback to a conversation he had with Junior when Junior was a kid. Barbie flashes back to his childhood when he first put his handprint on the red door… and realizes that Melanie Cross was with him that day. While Hunter doesn’t have a flashback, Pauline actually seems to have a premonition – finding herself with Melanie at the location where they found the egg originally. The Melanie in Pauline’s vision tells her: “This is where it began, and this is where it ends… for all of us.”
Barbie, Sam, Pauline and Hunter emerge in the middle of Chester’s Mills’ lake and find themselves back under the dome. Lyle, however, is nowhere to be found, and the four agree they need to find him… though Barbie insists that they should all try to keep a low profile. Completely ignoring Barbie’s suggestion, Pauline heads straight to her old home, where she runs into Big Jim as this week’s episode comes to a close.
It seems to have been a really smart move to switch the season’s primary storyline from the townsfolk (who again, have no part of this episode) dealing with environmental problems from the dome to a new plot that involves different groups of people trying to obtain and control the dome’s egg. Of course, it saves the series a ton of money as well – but giving this group of actors the chance to actually, you know, act, is a huge step in the right direction.