If episode 2 of ‘Under the Dome’ establishes anything, it’s that the television series won’t follow the Stephen King novel very closely… if at all. It’s been a while since I read the book, but I don’t believe a single major event in this episode was part of the original story. That’s both good news and bad news for viewers. Good in the sense that even die-hard fans of the story have no idea what’s coming next – but perhaps bad in the sense that if episode 2 gives any sense of how the television show plans to proceed, this series may not last as long as many of us hoped.
As the episode begins, the death of sheriff Duke (whose pacemaker burst when he got too close to the dome’s barrier) is confirmed. “Big Jim” Rennie is immediately concerned about what information the sheriff may still have at his house about the mysterious reserves of propane that were shipped into town, so he sends Rev. Lester Coggins (Ned Bellamy) – who’s also in on the propane scheme – to check things out.
Meanwhile, Rennie’s son, Junior, still has Angie McAlister chained up in the family bomb shelter. Junior reveals his suspicions that she has been seeing Dale “Barbie” Barbara, which Angie denies. After seeing how upset it makes him, though, Angie changes her story and tells Junior that she slept with him – sending Junior off in a rage.
Angie’s younger brother Joe checks out the dome with his pal Ben (John Elvis), and tries to figure out how it works. He makes some calculations about its size, and when he sees the military on the other side of the dome spraying water on it, he notes that some of the water seeps through to their side.
Reporter Julia Shumway goes to the town’s radio station where, after learning that the government agencies outside the dome are referring to it as such, gets on the air and informs the population what the town is trapped underneath.
Barbie makes his way to a deserted cabin, which we learn in flashbacks was the scene where he killed Julia’s husband. (Barbie had a scuffle with the man in which a firearm went off. How guilty or innocent he is remains up for debate.) He picks up an empty gun there as well as dog tags with his name on them. Suddenly, Junior, who has been following Barbie, shows up and confronts him about Angie. Barbie, of course, has no idea what Junior is talking about, but a fight breaks out between the two. Barbie gets the best of Junior, and then heads back off into the nearby woods.
At the sheriff’s house – which Duke left in his Will to his deputy Linda – Rev. Coggins finds some paperwork that the sheriff had hidden about the propane purchases. Lighting up one of the sheriff’s cigars, Coggins burns the evidence… but the fire gets out of control and the house goes up in flames. Linda and some of the other police arrive (along with Barbie, whom they found wandering near the road) and recruit the local citizenry to try to put the fire out with buckets of water. Linda hears yelling inside and rushes into the house to save Coggins. Eventually, Rennie arrives with a bulldozer to knock the house down and help extinguish the flames.
One of the police officers loses his cool and starts screaming about how they’re all going to die inside the dome. He fires a couple random shots at the dome, one of which ricochets off and kills one of the other police officers (whom I believe is Linda’s brother-in-law).
Originally, the creators of the ‘Under the Dome’ series indicated that the show would be similar to ‘The Walking Dead’ in the way that the story on air differs from that of its respective comic book series. However, so far, it looks like ‘Under the Dome’ will be different enough from the novel that comparisons are no longer worth noting. Many characters fail to resemble their book counterparts, and some of the novel’s major characters (such as the sheriff’s widow), don’t even exist in the TV version. Therefore, starting with the next recap, I’ll stop comparing the show to the book and just review the series as a completely separate entity.