There’s good news and bad news after viewing this season’s fourth episode of ‘Under the Dome’. The good news is that this week’s entry isn’t nearly as dull as the three prior episodes. The bad news is that the show is still pretty far up there on the stupid scale.
At the end of last week, Rebecca had convinced Big Jim that the town’s resources were dwindling and it was time to reduce the population… by killing the weakest among the residents. As this episode begins, Big Jim looks over the census documents and Rebecca arrives to remind him that “thinning the herd” is what needs to be done. When Big Jim isn’t looking, she swipes a key card from his belongings, which we’ll later learn grants access to the high school’s laboratory.
Although the Girl Who Shall Not Be Named has learned that she’s quite possibly Melanie Cross and hasn’t aged a day since 1988, she still refuses to go by that name. She’s sitting with Joe and Norrie (whose character now seems to be reduced to just making snarky comments all the time) on a porch when Barbie comes along. Joe tells Barbie about the emails everyone received, and it’s Barbie’s turn to discover that – even under the dome – Windows 8 sucks. He’ll spend the majority of the episode with the Scooby Gang, starting with returning to the scene of Angie’s death at the high school.
Junior frees Lyle (looks like Dwight Yoakam is a recurring character for now) and the two head back to the barber shop, where Lyle shows Junior some postcards he got from Junior’s mother. The cards have nothing written on them, but contain her artwork on the front, including renderings of the dome’s mysterious egg, as well as the blood-colored rain. Towards the end of the episode, the two will dig up the mother’s journal, which Lyle suggests might reveal Angie’s killer. However, before Junior can get his hands on the journal, Lyle knocks him out and runs off with it.
Rebecca learns that some of the pigs at a nearby farm have been infected with a deadly flu virus. She takes a blood sample from one of the dead pigs and makes her way to the school’s laboratory. There, we see her injecting the blood into eggs. When Big Jim realizes that his key card was stolen, he confronts Rebecca in the lab. She tells Jim that she’s going to use the eggs to pass along the flu to the general population. This will allow Jim to avoid selecting people, and instead let nature decide in a “survival of the fittest” scenario. Later, the egg idea seems to be abandoned and a decision is made to pass the virus along via water.
At the high school, the kids tell Barbie about Melanie Cross. The girl has a memory of seeing pink stars falling and going out to investigate their source, which Joe determines must be the same spot where they found the dome’s egg. The four head out to that spot, and when Nameless Girl stands on the location where the egg used to be, she has a flashback that reveals her story.
Back in 1988, Melanie joined Lyle, Sam and Pauline (the future Mrs. Big Jim) in the same spot and discovered a crashed meteor – which then cracked open to reveal the egg. Melanie took the egg from the meteor, but got shoved from behind by another member of the group, causing her to hit her head on the meteor and die. Barbie and the kids believe that either Sam or Lyle must have shoved Melanie, which almost certainly means that Pauline did it.
Speaking of Sam, he teams up with Julia to stop Big Jim and Rebecca from passing along the flu virus. (They’ve spent most of the episode putting the pieces together.) They first confront Big Jim at the diner, but learn (unbeknownst to even Big Jim) that the vial he’s been carrying to poison the water is, in fact, empty. Julia figures out that Rebecca must be planning to do it on her own, and finds her at the town’s church – although Rebecca confesses that she had second thoughts and couldn’t go through with it. However, that doesn’t stop Julia and Sam from arresting Big Jim and Rebecca, and planning to put them on trial for their crimes. (When did these two become law enforcement?) Big Jim isn’t worried, because he believes that Barbie will side with him and may, in fact, even be hiding something from them since he was one of the first to agree with the plan to reduce the population.
Sam joins Julia back at her place. Barbie shows up, but Julia refuses to talk to him. Sam (you sly dog!) puts a move on Rebecca – most likely thinking that she must be pretty easy if she slept with the man who murdered her husband just a few days after the killing. (Earlier in the episode, Big Jim also started to call Julia a S-L-U-know!) Julia rebukes Sam’s advances, but still wants him to stick around. (This is the official definition of a “tease,” boys and girls.) With Julia’s back turned to him, Sam adjusts his shirt to reveal huge scratches (or scars) on his right shoulder. Those could mean anything, but the implication here is that they’re connected to Angie’s murder.
While ‘Under the Dome’ still has a long way to go before it’s even mildly interesting or entertaining, this week’s episode is at least a step in the right direction. The characters still say and do incredibly dumb things, but some effort is made this week to advance the storyline a bit, rather than just provide the town with another plague from the dome to deal with. However, this episode still fails to resolve the fact that the town’s resources are low – meaning that our heroes (and anti-heroes) will still need to find a way to deal with the problem in the coming weeks.
I would also like to add that I hate, hate, HATE the Rebecca character, who has pretty much made Big Jim Rennie (the only real reason to watch this program, thanks to Dean Norris) her bitch this season, stripping him of all the deviousness viewers love about the character. It doesn’t help matters much that the actress playing Rebecca is about as dull as dishwater, either. I’m looking forward to the episode when Big Jim finally gets tired of her and disposes of the character properly.