‘Under the Dome’ 3.01 & 3.02 Recaps: “You’re Even Dumber Than the Bag of Hair I Took You For”

Did ‘Under the Dome’ really come back for a third season? Did I really waste two hours watching the premiere? How is it possible that this show has gotten even goofier than it already was? Honestly, the start of the new season is totally bonkers, and I’m undecided whether that’s a good or bad thing.

Where we left off: The dome over Chester’s Mill started contracting. Led by Barbie (Mike Vogel), our cast of nimrods navigated through an underground cave system until they ran into magical time-traveling undead weirdo Melanie, who beckoned them to enter a white light and “go home,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. Unfortunately, Julia and Junior got cut off from the others, and Big Jim went on a psycho rampage. Those three are not with the rest of the group.

What happens next: Barbie figures they’ve got no better options, so the core group (except for Melanie, who has vanished again) enter the white light and somehow magically appear in a field on the outside of the dome, which immediately explodes in a burst of pink light and shatters into a bazillion pieces (none of which shred the survivors to ribbons). They’re not under the dome anymore! It’s time to change the title of the show! Barbie runs back through the woods to find Julia. He does, all right. She, Junior and Big Jim are all dead. Oh noes!

Flash-forward a year! Barbie’s a badass military contractor shootin’ up terrorists in Yemen and bangin’ his boss, a hot chick named Eva. He still has some PTSD issues about Julia, and the very patient and understanding Eva recommends that he return to Chester’s Mill to attend a one-year reunion and memorial service.

Flashback! (Maybe?) Junior and Julia aren’t dead yet. They return to town to collect a ladder and supplies so they can cross the chasm in the caves. They run into Big Jim, who shoots Junior in the shoulder for kicks but lets them live. He tells them that Chester’s Mill is his now, and everybody else better get the hell out. He’ll be the last man standing.

Flash-forward! Barbie and Eva arrive in Chester’s Mill, which has turned into a bizarrely happy and well-adjusted Stepford community. They meet a woman named Christine (Marg Helgenberger), who claims to be a therapist sent by FEMA to help the people of the town recover. Right off the bat, she seems totally evil. Much screen time is wasted on soap opera nonsense about characters we don’t care about. Meanwhile, Melanie spies on everybody from pink crystal view screens in the cave.

Flashback! Julia and Junior cross the chasm and are attacked by damn butterflies! They get separated. Junior runs into Melanie, who lures him into getting trapped in some goo and sucked into a bright light.

Flash-forward! The only person in town who suspects that something weird might be going on is teenage Ben (Joe’s stoner friend). Junior shows up in town, a little late for the memorial. Barbie asks, “Hey, aren’t you dead?” Wait, no, that’s not right. Now he remembers. That’s right, of course, he and Junior have been best buds over the past year. Haven’t they? Ben tries to warn Barbie that bad shit is going down by showing him a video on his phone in which random extras in the town (a gardener, a delivery guy, etc.) are all the same person. Suddenly, Joe chokes to death. In the cave, Melanie has Joe’s body on the ground and is strangling him… Wait, what?!

Flashba… Oh no, it’s not a flashback at all, is it? This is what’s really happening. Julia follows glowy pink lines on the cave walls to a Butterfly Alien command room filled with pink cocoons, inside which she sees Barbie and the other townspeople. OMIGOD, THEY’RE TRAPPED IN THE MATRIX!!!

Melanie spots Julia and is all, “Thank god you found me. I don’t know what’s going on, but we can’t get anybody out of these cocoon thingies. Hey, you know what would be helpful now? We could sure use that special egg that’s outside the dome in the hands of my dad. Can you help me get it?” Julia, being an idiot, of course believes her. So they concoct a scheme to lure Melanie’s (and Barbie’s too, if we remember) father to use the egg to enter the dome via the lake, whereupon Melanie kills him and steals the egg.

As this is going on, Big Jim is taking stock of his town when an annoying magic dog leads him to the body at the lake and then to the caves. He follows Julia’s trail to the Butterfly Alien command room and, being much smarter than Julia, tells her what a dummy she is for not realizing that Melanie is evil.

Inside the matrix, Barbie gets distracted from investigating the clues Joe gave him when his girlfriend is rushed to the hospital and tells him she’s pregnant. What convenient timing.

Back in the cave, Melanie puts the egg on a mysterious central cocoon and all sorts of pink lights start glowing. Julia catfights with her, and Big Jim smashes the egg. Melanie disappears, and all the townspeople are spit out of their cocoons onto the cave floor. Evil therapist Christine emerges from the central cocoon. She must be the Queen Butterfly Alien! She exchanges glances with Eva, who is apparently another Butterfly Alien. But nobody else knows what they are yet!!

Oh dear, this is some Grade A craziness. I’m not sure whether it strangely makes me want to keep watching the show to find out how it plays out.

But wait, doesn’t this mean that everybody’s still actually trapped under the dome in Chester’s Mill? Goddammit…


  1. William Henley

    Wait, what, the show is back? I didn’t think it had lasted more than the first season. Oh well, I only watched about the first 4 episodes of it, and just could not get into it, so I don’t feel like I have missed anything. If you are 4 episodes in, still know none of the characters names, and have not formed the least bit of connection with any character, its time to call it a day.

  2. Thank god Josh decided to pick up this season’s blog coverage. I watched this over the weekend and all I could think about is how hard it would be trying to explain what exactly was going on…it was a mess.

    Did the series get new showrunners/writers this season? Because it certainly looks like things are going off in a whole different direction. Either that or they are running out of ideas, so the thought was “let’s just burn two of our 13 episodes on what is essentially a ‘dream’ sequence.”

    • Josh Zyber

      I covered the premiere. Whether I do more than that will depend on how masochistic I’m feeling.

      This episode certainly seems to throw all that “The dome is good, it’s here to protect us” stuff from the previous two seasons right out the window.

      • William Henley

        I usually at least read any review Josh writes, whether I like the movie / show or not. Although I like the reviews the best that are where he takes something that is hugely popular and tears it a new one (the Avatar review is still one of my all time favorite reviews)

  3. Bryan

    This premiere was just so unbelievably crazy. Strangely, it makes me want to watch the show more (not that I wasn’t a fan to begin with). Yes, it’s totally ridiculous, but at least it’s entertaining…

  4. nicole

    Is it following the plot of the book? I watched and am interested to see where it goes. I loaned the book out before reading it so I’m not sure if its in line.

    • Josh Zyber

      I have not read the book, but it’s my understanding that the TV show diverged from it pretty early in the first season, and that they’re nothing at all alike at this point.

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