Every time the citizens of Chester’s Mill face a new environmental crisis caused by the dome, things get really stupid really fast. However, I think this week’s episode (titled ‘Black Ice’) takes the cake for the most ridiculous storyline this series has presented so far… and that’s saying quite a lot.
No one seems very upset or sorry over the death of Phil Bushey, which occurred at the conclusion of last week’s episode. His corpse is basically used as a plot point so that Barbie can chew out Big Jim about how his actions have sealed up the dome’s only exit. I don’t even think anyone bothered to recover poor Phil’s body from the cave. (I’d hate to see what it looks like after a couple weeks down there.)
We only get one scene outside the dome this week, and it’s at the very beginning of the episode. A HazMat team is trying to recover the egg from the playground in Zenith, but when they attempt to pick it up with a pair of prongs, it just starts glowing and shaking with energy to the point where it’s dropped again and the team has to back off. Back in Chester’s Mill, Junior and Sam are driving Melanie (who passed out when the egg was thrown off the edge of the cliff) to the clinic when they learn from Rebecca that the roof there has collapsed and she’s set up a makeshift hospital over at the high school. Meanwhile, Joe, Norrie and the latest member of the “Scooby Gang,” Hunter, make their way to the edge of the dome, where Joe puts his hand on it and realizes that the dome is rotating. It also seems to be freezing as it moves, as the temperature in the town gets colder and colder.
I would be remiss if I didn’t spend some time discussing the climate change that hits Chester’s Mill this week. A big fuss is made over how cold the town is getting, but the only time an actual temperature is discussed (early in the hour), Rebecca says it’s 8 degrees and dropping. Who are these wusses in Chester’s Mill (which is supposedly located in Maine) and how have they never seen a bad winter in their lives? Here in the Northeast, we just got over a much harsher winter than that and – thanks to some Googling – I discovered there were a few days in Maine last winter where the wind chill factor hit 45 degrees below zero. But our heroes here can’t deal with a few degrees above it. This is almost assuredly the sign of writers who live in sunny California 365 days a year. The idea that the people of Chester’s Mill have very little winter gear is preposterous.
Anyway, let’s get to the fun (and by “fun” I mean “really insanely stupid”) part of the episode. Barbie and Julia are driving in an ambulance (I honestly can’t remember why) and, despite the fact that it’s freezing outside, Barbie is racing at about 75 mph. He hits a patch of ice and the ambulance crashes, landing on its side. When he goes to see if Julia is okay, she has a large metal rod protruding out of her right leg. Naturally, they’re miles from help, but Barbie actually tells Julia that they’ll be fine because the engine is still running and they still have heat. Hey, Barbie, you just crashed the vehicle you’re in – aren’t you worried about maybe a fuel leak and a possible explosion? I guess not.
Sure enough, not long after Barbie talks about the engine, the ambulance runs out of gas. But wait! Barbie says he’s got another idea to keep warm and pulls out a can of petroleum jelly. What the hell kind of kinky show is this?! Sadly, softcore porn is not in the viewers’ future. Barbie instead uses the can of jelly as a candle to heat the entire ambulance, telling Julia she’d be surprised how much heat can be generated from a single candle. So would the rest of us, Mr. Barbara.
Stay with me, folks, because this gets even crazier. One of the windows shatters from the cold and the candle burns out. Realizing that they’re probably going to freeze to death, Barbie tells Julia that if her heart stops beating, he’ll be able to pull out the rod without her bleeding out. So this is his plan: he’ll let Julia die of hypothermia, pull out the rod, carry her into town, and then bring her back to life via some quick CPR. And that’s exactly what happens! He takes her lifeless body back to the Sweetbriar Café, turns on an oven, opens up the oven door to provide warmth and brings Julia back to life. No evident brain damage… at least none that we weren’t already aware of, given the fact that Barbie has now technically killed both her and her husband in the past couple of weeks (series time, not viewer time).
There are two other story developments of note this week. First, Big Jim takes a trip to the town’s lake for some extra fuel (in one of the boats docked there) when he sees Lyle struggling in the water. Jim rescues him and, on the drive back to town, Lyle tells him of a vision he had that the entire world was on fire. He also comments on how beautiful it was to see. Creepy.
The other important development involves Joe’s continuing suspicion about Hunter. While Hunter steps away from his backpack, Joe looks at his phone and finds emails sent to Barbie’s father about the egg. At this episode’s conclusion, Joe and Norrie confront Hunter at the edge of the dome, where they’ve caught him giving messages to the guards on the other side. However, the message Hunter gave them was to stop experimenting on the egg and to avoid contact with it. Of course, there’s little chance that Don Barbara will heed Hunter’s warning, but perhaps Joe and Norrie can trust him after all.
The dome then starts making a loud noise and Joe notices that the barrier is actually moving towards them. The dome is shrinking inwards… but we’ll have to wait until next week’s episode to find out how far it contracts.
Am I the only one who thought this might have been the silliest entry we’ve seen of ‘Under the Dome’ to date? Which doesn’t mean it wasn’t laughably enjoyable as well, but things are going to have to get really wild to top some of the events we saw this week.