If I’ve learned anything after watching over 20 episodes of ‘Under the Dome’, it’s that each week I should set my expectations pretty low. While not a whole lot of significance happens in this week’s new episode, I will say that it’s a little less stupid and a little more interesting than usual – which adds up to one of the better entries we’ve seen this year.
With Big Jim thinking that Barbie is dead, he decides to take up the gold shield and anoint himself as Chester’s Mill’s newest sheriff. Of course, considering what’s happened to prior sheriffs, this may not be the wisest move Jim Rennie has ever made. Meanwhile, outside the dome in the town of Zenith, Papa Barbara tells his son that he can get an email message through the dome to Julia. Not wanting his father to understand the message, but wanting to tell Julia how to get outside the dome, Barbie includes the text “All it takes is a leap of faith” within his email. Unbeknownst to Barbie, however, his father tacks on a line asking Julia to bring the egg with her.
Barbie sits in the playground where he first landed in Zenith, hoping that Julia will soon show up. He has no idea that he’s being watched via the playground’s video cameras by a computer expert/hacker that viewers will soon learn a whole lot more about. The hacker dude follows Barbie around town, but he’s not very good at it. Barbie quickly spots him and grabs him, demanding to know who he is. The man introduces himself as Hunter, and he seems to know that Don Barbara changed his son’s email before sending it. Hunter talks Dale into helping him hack into Don’s computer at home, where Hunter is able to download a ton of information before Don walks in on Dale, forcing Dale to distract his father long enough for Hunter to log off the system.
Back under the dome, Julia is suspicious about the email she’s received (which was sent via Joe’s account… most likely because he’s the only one in town who seems to know how to use a computer). When Barbie is able to send her a second message asking her to meet him at the edge of the dome, she heads off to see him. On the other side, Barbie has to go undercover (thanks to an ID provided by Hunter) as a radiation specialist to make his way through the military checkpoints guarding the dome.
While the above is going on, Sam and Pauline decide to try an experimental drug on Lyle in the hopes of helping him recover. It takes a while for him to clear his head, but when he does, Lyle can’t provide any of the answers the two are looking for. However, Lyle does remember that he brought Pauline’s postcards (the ones with different drawings on them) with him. The three put the cards together in sequence of the events that have happened. When they’re done, they realize that all the drawings have already occurred. But Pauline remembers a card she was never able to send. When she finds it, it turns out to be a drawing of the mysterious red door we first saw in last week’s episode.
Big Jim’s new position isn’t bringing him much happiness. Someone has torn down the windmill the town built a few weeks back, as well as set fire to a car right under a billboard advertising Big Jim’s former job as a used car salesman (one of the few nods to the original novel we’ve seen on the series, which is now completely different from the source material). Big Jim makes a list of enemies, but realizes that almost anyone could be after him. As it turns out, none other than Phil Bushey knocks Jim out from behind with the butt of a rifle, then handcuffs him to one of the jail’s cell doors. Thankfully, Junior and Rebecca come to Jim’s aid. After Rebecca is able to get the cuffs off Jim, he knocks Phil down and then locks him up in a cell.
Barbie sneaks past all the military guards by taking a ride underneath a truck like Indiana Jones, suspending viewer disbelief that no personnel would see him hanging from the bottom. He then runs through a wooded area. However, he unknowingly trips a laser detector, alerting the military to his presence. He makes his way to the edge of the dome, where he writes (backwards, so Julia can read it) “Not Safe Out Here.” (Remember, the dome is soundproof, so she can’t hear him.) The military shows up and grabs Barbie, but not before he can write one more thing: “Don’t J…”
Barbie is obviously telling Julia not to jump off the cliff that will transport her into Zenith, but is she smart enough to understand the message? I doubt it! While Barbie and Julia have their brief encounter (which ends with Barbie being dragged off by soldiers), Big Jim watches the events from nearby through a pair of binoculars.
As episodes of ‘Under the Dome’ go, this one ranks as one of the more interesting and entertaining. Does it still have some leaps of logic? Of course. There’s no way Barbie wouldn’t have been spotted under that military vehicle, and one would think that he’d have already written out his message for Julia on paper so he wouldn’t have to scrawl it on the dome as the episode concludes. On the other hand, some refreshing things happen too, like the fact we finally have a few storylines that take place outside the dome and – perhaps the nicest thing about this week’s entry – we don’t have to deal with more stupid decisions being made by the town’s general population. In fact, we don’t even see the rest of the town at all this week.
We also learn this week that Don Barbara is the head of a big energy company called Aktaion Energy. (Is “Aktaion Energy” an anagram of something? I’d love to hear theories!) We know that he wants the egg, so I’m sure he has some kind of devious (think Bond villain) plan to harness the its power for his own selfish gain. While that may be predictable, it could make watching this series a whole lot more fun.