‘Under the Dome’ 3.08 Recap: “The Apocalypse Has Been Canceled”

Way to go, ‘Under the Dome’. You finally do something halfway interesting this season, and then immediately ret-con it away the very next episode. While I’ve long since given up caring about anything that happens on your stupid show, at this point it feels like you’re actively daring viewers to stop watching. I wish you all the success in the world with that.

I guess it’s not the end of the world after all. That big meteor shower that rained mass destruction upon the Earth? Totally fake. It was just an illusion that Christine projected onto the dome for the purpose of scaring the townspeople into uniting behind her. Unfortunately, it used up a lot of the dome’s dwindling power crystal energy, so the dome can’t maintain the illusion for long. After some brief flickering, blue skies appear behind it once again.

Luckily, it held long enough for Christine to complete her brainwashing of all the townsfolk, so the ruse isn’t necessary anymore. Julia, Joe and Norrie spy on Christine (who’s now mostly recovered from being stabbed by Sam thanks to the magic cocoon healing powers) giving a speech in the woods in which she conveniently explains what happened and why she did it. The sheeple of Chester’s Mill, Barbie included, acknowledge her wisdom and pledge their undying loyalty. Christine orders them to build a big pulley contraption and mine the remaining crystals out of the caves, because she might be able to recharge them above ground or something. (The explanation sounds pretty flimsy.) Barbie is left in charge of this project.

Meanwhile at the former Aktaion camp, Hunter flirtatiously chats with the girl on the other end of the incoming communication transmission. (Credit where it’s due, the revelation that the apocalypse was fake explains why she didn’t sound at all distressed when she called in at the end of the last episode.) The girl’s name is Lily and she says that she’s the “New Hunter” – meaning that she was given his old job after he got trapped in the dome. For an Aktaion flunkey, she’s surprisingly friendly and helpful. Big Jim lies and tells her that Dr. Marston is still alive and was taken captive by the Pod People in town. (Because their spy satellites can’t see indoors, Aktaion has no way of knowing that Jim killed Marston.) Jim says that he can help get Marston back, but he’ll need a “care package” to be sent into the dome, preferably something with lots of explosives in it. Lily arranges for that to happen. (Aktaion knows about the entrance through the root cellar, which is how Marston and his goons got in.)

While supervising the pulley project, Barbie spots Julia in the woods. More accurately, she lets him spot her and chase her around for a bit. She leaves a walkie-talkie for him to find and, while out of sight, tries to talk some sense into him and perhaps get his emotions revved up enough to break Christine’s spell. It doesn’t seem to work. He gives up on her and rejoins Eva at the mine.

When that plan fails, Julia and Big Jim chat over their walkies about their next steps – apparently oblivious to the fact that Julia just gave Barbie one of these same walkies and should be able to hear everything they’re saying. The show of course never addresses this obvious plot hole.

Joe and Norrie return to town and break into Christine’s office to steal the schematic she drew, which Norrie describes as “like Stonehenge but squiggly.” Before they can leave, Norrie finds her mom and tries to snap her out of the brainwashing spell by appealing to her emotions, first by talking about loving memories, and then by acting like a total bitch to get her angry. Neither works. Her mom does the creepy whistling thing and calls a bunch of other Pod People to grab the kids.

Because Christine is all out of the magic brainwashing goop, she has a plan to turn Sam to Team Butterfly another way. She brings him to Big Jim’s old bomb shelter (the one where Junior held Angie captive) and chains him to a bed. She then drains a lot of the blood out of him and transfuses her own in. When she’s done, she unlocks him and walks away, leaving him to think about his situation. Later, she reveals to Junior that she didn’t really put any of her own blood in Sam. She tricked him and just transfused his own blood right back into him.

Now prisoners, Joe and Norrie are put to work in the caves mining the crystals. At lunch time, everyone else goes above ground to take a break but Norrie’s mom forces them to stay and work.

Having received his care package, Big Jim uses a smoke bomb to cause a distraction and lure away most of the guards that Barbie left at the cave entrance. He then casually murders the one left behind and sneaks into the cave, where he plants a bunch of bombs with big red countdown timers.

When he’s done, Jim climbs out of the cave and runs into Junior. He apologizes to his son and makes an emotional appeal. When that fails (just like everyone else who’s tried it this episode), he just sucker-punches Junior unconscious and drags him out to the woods, which is a much more believable strategy for this character and a lot more entertaining for us to watch.

Barbie discovers the dead guard at the cave entrance and realizes that something is up. He enters the cave and finds lots of bombs with red countdown timers. Because there are too many for him to disarm in time, he screams for everyone to evacuate and then climbs out just in time to avoid getting blown to bits.

Much deeper in the caves, Joe, Norrie and Norrie’s mom hear the warning but can’t get out in time before the bombs blow. Norrie’s mom finally snaps out of her spell and pushes Norrie to safety, taking the brunt of the blast herself. Of course, the giant fireball doesn’t kill her right away (or even singe her too badly), because she needs to have a tear-filled goodbye scene first and then drift off peacefully to the sweet embrace of death.

(Although the episode is officially titled ‘Breaking Point’, I would like to offer the alternate suggestion ‘Norrie Has No Mommies’.)

I half expected that the kids would get trapped in the caves and we’d spend all of next week watching the adults dig them out. But no, they manage to climb out, right into Barbie and Junior’s arms. However, they slip away in the confusion and rejoin Julia and Jim. Joe is pissed that nobody gave any thought to looking for them before Jim planted his bombs.

As Hunter continues to flirt with Lily, something happens on her end of the line that causes her to grab a gun and run off. She seemed to be expecting it, which makes me suspect that Aktaion didn’t know she’s been helping Hunter.

Only one crystal remains to power the dome. As Christine warned, edges of the dome begin to calcify. Rather than concern herself with that, Christine vows to kill the little resistance faction that is defying her.

That’s our tale of the Dumb Dome for the week. The fake apocalypse twist is a major cop-out that leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Even more sour than usual.


  1. NJScorpio

    *doesn’t read the article to avoid spoilers*

    Well, the article title doesn’t get me too excited about this finale…

    • NJScorpio

      BTW, this is not a criticism, I saw Julia’s stupid face and I knew what the article was about, and read the title anyway 😛

    • NJScorpio

      For some reason I thought 3.08 was the season finale. I do hope that this show gets a conclusion, because I recall that Stephen King said that he liked the show’s proposed ending more than his original ending…which means they at least have/had an ending in mind.

    • Josh Zyber

      CBS has not made a decision yet about whether the show will be renewed for a fourth season. Although ratings are down this season, it’s still the #2 scripted television series on TV this summer and does very well in Amazon streaming.

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