Since last season on ‘Under the Dome’, I’ve been clamoring for scenes that take place on the other side of the dome. We got a few seconds in this season’s premiere, but this week we take an extended trip to the other side. Sadly, the characters that make it there are too wrapped up in their own problems to ask any of the questions or find out any of the answers than an average person would after making it out of their sphere-covered prison.
After seeing Sam take a header into the tunnel’s bottomless pit at the end of the prior episode, Barbie decides that he and Julia better go find Junior and tell him the bad news about his uncle. Junior doesn’t believe that his uncle is gone, and he believes Barbie even less when he tells Junior that Sam was the one who killed Angie. Barbie decides that the only way they’re going to confirm the truth about Sam is if he goes back to the tunnel and retrieves the body. So, with the help of Julia and Rebecca, Barbie rappels into the bottomless pit, but soon feels a force pulling his body down. Julia tries to save him, but when Barbie sees that she’s going to be pulled over the edge, he cuts his line and plummets into the darkness. Julia lets out a blood-curdling “Noooo!” that is sure to haunt actress Rachelle Lefevre should she ever make it off this series and onto a good one.
Julia asks Rebecca not to tell Big Jim about Barbie (whom she presumes is dead) because she needs time to figure out how to inform the rest of the town about it, and is sure that Jim will take advantage of the situation. Naturally, Big Jim suspects something is up and, later in the episode, confronts Rebecca about it and demands that she start telling him the truth about things. Rebecca tells Jim about Barbie falling into the pit. One of the first things Jim does is set up a candlelight service in Barbie’s memory as a method of winning back the town’s trust in him as a leader.
Of course, Barbie isn’t dead. He wakes up in a playground, which viewers soon discover is in the town of Zenith. This is not a hallucination or a creation of the dome, as we see a billboard up announcing that it’s the 17th “Dome Day” for the people trapped there. The “17” on the billboard isn’t one of those changeable numbers – it’s right there printed on the billboard paper, which makes me wonder if that billboard gets changed every single day and what a waste of time and money that must be. If Barbie’s alive, that means Sam must be too, and sure enough we see him making his way to the Davison Psychiatric Institute, where he asks to see Pauline Verdreaux.
Pauline isn’t a patient, however. She’s actually a worker and is conducting an art therapy class when Sam finds her. Sam learns that Lyle has made it to the other side as well, but is in pretty bad shape. He’s now a patient in the hospital, and just sits in a wheelchair all day saying “Melanie” and nothing else. The journey from the dome seems to have damaged him, and Pauline wonders why Sam isn’t showing any after effects. At this point, we see Sam’s right hand tremor.
Joe, apparently now a robot engineer, builds a drone with a camera on it to descend down into the pit. Julia monitors the video on Joe’s laptop in this week’s Windows Surface Pro plug. About halfway down, they lose contact with the drone and lose video on the computer. (Thanks again, Windows 8!) Joe reviews the video frames, however, and finds a still which reveals the playground in Zenith. He gets Junior and Melanie to bring the egg down into the tunnel, and with all four “Hands” there, they touch it. Once again, pink stars come out of the dome and form an image of the obelisk – this time surrounded by all the other buildings in Zenith.
Back in his hometown, Barbie returns to his own apartment to get some money and a passport he has hidden in the back of a painting. About five seconds after he enters the apartment, three thugs show up with guns, and viewers learn that Barbie was assigned to do a job for them that he never completed. The head thug insists that he get it done immediately. So, Barbie and one of the thugs go to a very large home, where Barbie double-crosses his partner and disarms him. It turns out that the owner of the home is none other than Barbie’s father, Don (Brett Cullen), who hasn’t seen his son in two and a half years. We learn some background info about Barbie, including that his mother asked his father to pull Barbie out of the Army (he was stationed in Iraq) and that she seemingly got very ill (and died?) shortly thereafter.
Barbie only wants one thing from his father: his help to get back inside the dome. The elder Barbara is reluctant, but once he learns that Barbie has a girlfriend on the other side, he relents. While the two make their way back inside the dome’s perimeter, they pass a red door that is embedded into the ground with a yellow handprint on it. This matches a painting we’ve seen only seconds before that Pauline has painted. Is this the way back into the dome? If so, couldn’t the writers come up with a better portal than that?
This is a pretty silly episode. Not so much for the idea that the dome has both an exit and an entry, but because after weeks of being trapped inside, the first thing (the only thing, actually) that Barbie wants is to get back inside his transparent prison. Hey, how about going to the military with all the information you have? How about working on the outside to try and free everyone? At the very least, gather up some much needed supplies and/or medicine to take back with you. Rest assured, if/when Barbie makes it back inside the dome, that tunnel is going to cave in or collapse, blocking anyone from exiting again.