Without heaping too much praise upon it, this week’s entry of ‘Under the Dome’ was probably the most entertaining viewers have gotten in Season 2. Very little that occurred this week had to do with the dome itself, and the show slowed down a bit to focus on town politics and characterization. Yes, the episode still has some stupid things going on, but overall I enjoyed this one.
As Episode 5 gets underway, Barbie returns to Julia’s house and tells her what he’s learned about Melanie Cross, including the fact that Sam witnessed her “death,” and his suspicions that Sam knows more than he’s letting on. Sam, in the meantime, has left Julia’s and returned to his cabin to find the place torn apart. Junior is there ransacking through his things. He explains that he’s looking for the missing pages from his mother’s journal. Earlier in this scene, viewers have witnessed Sam making sure the journal pages were still undisturbed, so we already know he has them. However, Sam tells Junior that they might find them over at Lyle’s barber shop. Sam is also surprised to learn from Junior that Pauline is still alive.
Back at the town’s restaurant, Barbie and Julia join the Scooby Gang (Joe, Norrie and Melanie). We learn that Julia is now pretty much running the town, although I still have no idea how she got chosen for the position. Norrie’s mom, Carolyn, is assigned to represent Big Jim and Rebecca (who currently have side-by-side cells in the jail) at their upcoming trial. Julia has a meeting in front of the town’s citizens (who now seem to number about 50 people… what happened to everyone else?!) in front of a gazebo, where she reads the charges against Big Jim and Rebecca. One of Big Jim’s supporters rushes at her with a gun, and Sheriff Phil Bushey shoots him dead, even though Barbie already disarmed him.
Julia and Barbie confront Phil about shooting an unarmed man, and demand that he turn over his badge. Phil does, and Julia immediately tries to recruit Barbie as the town’s next sheriff, but he declines. Phil makes his way down to the cells to tell Big Jim what happened.
While all this is going on, Joe, Norrie and Melanie make their way to one of the Dome’s edges, where Joe wants to see what kind of reaction Melanie will get when she touches it. Absolutely nothing happens. When Norrie – who’s increasingly becoming this series’ most unlikable character – says some mean things to Melanie, Joe calls her a bitch, to the applause of almost everyone watching at home. Joe goes to comfort Melanie, which ends with her kissing him, and of course Norrie witnesses it. The girls have a short catfight, but Joe breaks it up when he claims to have an idea. A threesome? Nope, Joe wants to test Melanie’s blood against his and Norrie’s to see what kind of differences they might have.
Julia organizes a food share drive at the town’s firehouse, which promptly explodes, seemingly burning up all the food supply. Everyone, including Julia and Barbie, manage to escape relatively unharmed, but a majority of the town turns against Julia. Not long afterward, we see Phil entering the burnt-out firehouse and opening a large metal door to reveal a huge stash of food. It becomes quickly obvious that Phil and a handful of supporters were behind the explosion. When Carolyn catches him there, she’s quickly taken hostage by Phil at knifepoint. Barbie arrives on the scene and, after a brief standoff, shoots Phil in the shoulder. Fortunately for the ex-sheriff, he doesn’t suffer the fate of previous holders of the office… he survives.
Sam and Junior arrive at Lyle’s barber shop, where Sam “finds” (he actually brought them with him) the missing journal pages, which include a drawing of four hands touching the dome. Junior tells him that Angie was one of the four hands, as are Joe, Norrie and himself. Junior suspects that the dome might come down if all four hands are killed, which is probably exactly the wrong thing to say to Sam. Returning to Big Jim’s house, Sam gets Junior drunk and plans to suffocate him with a pillow, but suddenly grows a heart and changes his mind when Junior tells Sam he loves him. Later, Sam accidentally knocks over one of Pauline’s paintings on the wall, and the two discover a second hidden painting on the back. It shows a portrait of the obelisk we’ve seen in the town of Zenith (where Pauline is currently living), as well as the number 1821, which is the number of the mysterious locker at the high school that Melanie knew the combination to.
After noticing how much food is still being served at the diner, Julia becomes suspicious of Andrea (Dale Raoul, who has been a bit background player on and off since the pilot episode), so she goes out to her house to talk with her. There, Julia discovers that Andrea’s now-deceased husband was a hoarder survivalist who stocked up food before the dome came down, and she has enough to feed the entire town for a couple of months. How convenient, as – given the fact that each season of ‘Under the Dome’ spans about two weeks of time – that means the food supply won’t run out now until at least the end of Season 5! With starvation no longer an issue, Julia suddenly has a change of heart and drops the charges against Big Jim and Rebecca. It doesn’t appear as if Phil will be charged with anything either.
Melanie asks the now-exonerated Rebecca to check out her blood sample. At the high school, Rebecca is about to put the blood under a microscope when she hears a noise outside the science lab. She goes into the hallway to find Sam and Junior breaking into Melanie’s old locker. Except this time around, it isn’t empty… a huge tunnel has been dug behind it which leads downward into darkness.
I really hope the show has a logical explanation for that tunnel, as it would take months for an actual person (or persons) to dig that thing. I’m also growing a little tired of how many of the characters on this series can do horrible things one week, and then get off scott-free a week or two later (or in the case of Phil, a couple days later). Still, this entry was better than most. However, without giving too much away, it looks like the show will return next week to the already too-often-used plot point of the dome inflicting some sort of ecological punishment on the townsfolk.