‘Under the Dome’ 1.04 Recap “What If the Dome Lasts Forever?”

After a couple weeks of little significant forward progress, Episode 4 of ‘Under the Dome’ (entitled ‘Outbreak’) decides to move things along quite a bit. Before the opening titles even roll, Julia Shumway becomes more suspicious of Barbie, Sheriff Linda passes out from a mysterious illness, and Angie attacks Junior with scissors, then finds herself at the mercy of an influx of water after she inadvertently breaks a pipe.

Let’s deal with Angie’s problem first. Junior still has her chained up in the family bomb shelter, and he arrives with a dress he’d like her to try on for him. She turns on the charm and gets him to face away from her, then attacks him with the scissors. Junior’s hand is injured, but not much else, and he reinforces the way he has Angie chained to the bed. Junior heads off to the hospital to get his hand patched up, and as Angie struggles to get free, the chain causes a water pipe to burst. She’ll spend most of the episode screaming for help as the water level rises (very slowly).

During a protest of townspeople near the edge of the Dome, Linda passes out and is rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, Julia has located the circled area on the map that she took from Barbie’s backpack. It leads to a trailer park and her missing husband’s car. It turns out that radio station DJ, Phil Bushey, lives in one of the trailers, and he actually purchased the car from Julia’s husband, who we learn was desperate for money. But Phil isn’t feeling well either, and Julia has to take him to the hospital.

At the hospital, we discover that dozens of the town’s citizens are ill. We learn that Norrie’s mother Alice (Samantha Mathis) is a psychiatrist but has studied medicine as well. She thinks that it’s a Meningitis outbreak. Big Jim Rennie decides to quarantine everyone inside the hospital while he and Barbie go off to the drug store to find some antibiotics. Rennie leaves Junior to guard the door with a shotgun. When Julia tells Junior that she needs to leave (she’s already learned about the cabin her husband was killed at from Phil), Junior mentions the cabin where he got in a fight with Barbie. Junior doesn’t let her exit, but Julia finds her husband’s ID badge in his office and uses it to get access to one of the hospital’s other exits.

Norrie and Joe wonder if touching hands was the reason they both had seizures, so they decide to film themselves with Norrie’s cellphone and see if they can recreate the incident. Sure enough, shortly after joining hands, the two collapse to the floor and again chant, “The pink stars are falling in lines.” When they watch the video after recovering, they see that Joe also put his finger to his lips in a “shushing” toward the camera. Joe suspects that the Dome doesn’t want them to show anybody the video.

Rennie and Barbie arrive at the town’s drug store to find that it has already been ransacked. Rennie immediately suspects that Rev. Coggins is responsible. The reverend believes that the illness is part of God’s plan for the town. Coggins has been burning the medicine, but Rennie and Barbie arrive in time to save enough to take back to the hospital and cure the sick.

Julia manages to make it to the cabin, but she also suffers the effects of Meningitis. She passes out, but shortly before doing so, uncovers paperwork indicating that her husband had lost all of their savings. Barbie, after learning Julia’s whereabouts from Junior upon his return to the hospital, arrives at the cabin to rescue her.

Rennie goes home to find Coggins waiting on his front porch. Coggins has a bag full of money, which is his cut of the drug ring the two men are involved in. Coggins says that he wants to repent and is returning all the money to Big Jim. When Rennie goes inside his house, he hears strange noises coming from the pipes in his kitchen. Heading outside, he makes his way to the bomb shelter, and sees that it has been flooded. He walks down the steps and opens the inner door to find Angie sitting there chained to the bed.

This is probably the fasting moving and most interesting episode of ‘Under the Dome’ since the pilot. A lot of progress gets made this week, the most significant of which has to be Big Jim’s discovery of Angie. The big question now is whether he’ll free her or assist his son in keeping her locked up.


  1. I agree that this episode finally seemed to get some storylines moving, and was generally better than the last couple. Big Jim finding the girl in the bunker is an interesting development. However, the part about Junior being deputized was just eye-rolling. One good speech or no, the kid couldn’t possibly act more evil unless he had a mustache to twirl.

    And how slow did the water fill that bunker? It seemed to be coming in like a flood all day long, yet by the time Big Jim gets there he’s barely wading a foot deep. Not a very compelling threat.

    • The water was the best actor in the show…moving exactly as fast/slow as needed.

      I totally forgot about Junior being deputized at the end when writing my blog. 🙂

    • Funny you should say that, Aaron. It has taken me a long time to figure out what makes the major networks tick and I think I finally understand it.

      a) there are just too many networks and too many shows in a week to see, so you have to be selective. As such, you decide to give up “after a mere four weeks”.

      b) networks tend to axe shows mid-season

      c) in belgium, a season will always be made (say, 13 episodes) BEFORE the first episode will air. As such, the network will air all 13 episodes – even if the show flops – because they have invested the money anyway. Why throw away more by having to invent something new?

      d) We have less channels, less networks, so people are more likely to watch crap. There’s a Dutch saying (Dutch as in ‘the language’, not ‘hailing from the Netherlands’) that goes: “as long as it moves”. Meaning: people will watch almost anything – brain numbing, awful stuff – “as long as it moves”. Sometimes, that’s all they want after a hard day of work(ing).

      In a nutshell, I think you may have the perfect explication for the intricate inner workings of American television: there’s too much to see, so you can only be bothered with the best of the best. A show like ‘Under the Dome’ would probably be a big hit – both critically and commercially – over here. Also because it’s foreign, which gives it the upper hand. Television critcs in Belgium like to hype FX/HBO/… shows, because they’re so much better than our domestic product. But that’s a story for another time.

      Sorry for the long post, guys.

      • The thing with American television is that it’s so difficult to catch the audience’s attention, that when something actually does become a hit, the network grabs hold and won’t let go until every last possible dollar is wrung out of it. That’s why so many shows that start well drag on and on for years until they finally decline so far in quality that no one can stand to watch them anymore (e.g. Heroes, The X-Files, etc.).

        Even this show, which was designed to be a one-season-and-done summer miniseries, is in active development to be expanded to more seasons right now.

        The European model of producing short, narratively self-contained series that end after 13 episodes is appealing to a lot of viewers, but the networks are too scared to let go of anything successful.

        And if something ISN’T successful, the network wants it off the air as soon as possible. Even if they’ve spent the money to produce a whole season ahead of time, it doesn’t make financial sense to air a new episode of a flop show if a three-year-old rerun of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will get better ratings and bring in more ad revenue. The money wasted on production costs is just written off at that point.

      • You’re right. There are too many good things on television to waste time with this show. But, that’s not the main reason I’ve stopped. I’ve stopped because it’s just really, really bad. Not because they’ve completely discarded the source material, but that they’ve lost everything that could’ve made this show cool and edgy. CBS was always the wrong network to take on this task.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *