Well, here it is, the Season 2 finale to the show many of us love to hate. While I can’t say ‘Under the Dome’ got any smarter during this cliffhanger, I will say that things were never boring. In fact, the episode nicely disposes of no less than three annoying characters who (hopefully!) we’ll never have to worry about seeing again.
First of all, thanks to Josh for covering Episode 12 for me last week. It’s often no easy task to sit through an episode of this series (let alone write about it afterwards), so his effort is greatly appreciated. As always, I’m sure Josh will make note of one or two incredibly important (or incredibly stupid, or both) plot points that I missed during my viewing in the comments that follow.
Last week’s episode ended with Lyle stabbing Pauline, Jim stabbing… and stabbing… and stabbing Lyle, and Melanie vanishing down a huge sinkhole. As this week’s episode begins, Pauline is still alive – barely – and Jim carries her back to the others for help. They get Pauline back into town and into one of the rooms at the school, where Sam tells Big Jim he needs to find a saline drip and the men leave Pauline’s care in the hands of Rebecca. Yes, this is not going to end well – but more about that in a little bit.
The Scooby Gang (Joe, Norrie and Hunter) head down into the sinkhole to see what they can find. Turns out it’s another cave, although they suspect it may be a new way out of the dome. When they come to a section in the cave that splits off in two directions, they notice a butterfly flutter towards their right, which leads them to believe that must be the way out.
There’s also a silly scene early on where Julia and Barbie try to save a farmer trapped underneath a big piece of machinery in his barn. A lightning bolt hits the guy and both he and the barn burst into flames. Barbie and Julia manage to save the farmer’s son and drag him away from the scene. Is this moment important at all? It doesn’t seem to be, but maybe that kid is going to be an important cast member next year. (Somehow I doubt it.)
By the way, while all this is going on, the dome is still contracting as it was in last week’s episode. If you remember, a big plot point last week was Don Barbara’s attempt to get the egg back inside the dome. However, we neither see nor hear anything from Don this week, or anyone else outside of the dome.
Big Jim finds his saline and rushes back to help Pauline. Yep, it’s too late! While Jim was gone, Pauline talked Rebecca into giving her a shot of morphine, which not only dulls Pauline’s pain but also kills her. This event leads to what Dean Norris fans have been waiting for all season, as Big Jim finally turns back into the evil son of a bitch he was at the end of Season 1. First, he knocks Sam out with a punch, then he picks up a hammer and whacks Rebecca in the head with it, killing her instantly. In the space of a short few minutes, two of this series most annoying female characters (both of whom were new this season) have been eliminated. Thanks, Big Jim!
Jim takes Pauline’s lifeless body back to her art studio and then tries “bargaining” with the dome – saying that if the dome brings her back to life, he won’t slit Julia’s throat, shoot Barbie through the heart and burn up the Scooby Gang. Jim counts to three and Pauline is still dead, so he sets fire to the studio (including Pauline’s body) and goes off to begin his murderous rampage.
While Big Jim is taking a turn for the worse, Barbie and Julia are busy rounding up all the townsfolk on buses (including Norrie’s stepmom, Carolyn, who hasn’t been on the show in so long I had actually forgotten she was still alive) to take them to the sinkhole so they can leave in groups… even though the Scooby Gang never actually confirmed that it’s a way out. Julia gets a call from Andrea over her walkie-talkie asking for help, but it’s actually a trap set by Big Jim to lure Julia to him.
One of my favorite “You’ve got to be kidding me” moments happens when Julia arrives at Andrea’s house and realizes that there might be trouble. Before she enters the house, she picks up both a baseball bat and a pocketknife – which just happen to be conveniently placed right at the house’s entrance, side by side. When Julia enters, Big Jim is there with a gun pointed at Andrea’s head. He then blows her away to show Ms. Shumway just how serious he is. He then plans to whack Julia with his hammer (because a gunshot would be too kind), but she stabs him in the foot with the pocketknife and runs toward the sinkhole.
Julia runs into Junior on the way back. While she goes on ahead, Junior decides to confront his dad. Big Jim refuses to stop his pursuit, and Junior shoots his father through the left shoulder. Don’t worry, fans, I’m sure it’s only a flesh wound, but we’ll need to wait until Season 3 to find out just how bad it is. (It isn’t bad enough to knock Jim down.)
Julia joins back up with Barbie, and the two go to join the others already down in the cave. However, the dome is still contracting, and a big gap opens in part of the cave, separating the two. Julia tells Barbie to go on ahead, as she believes he’s the one Pauline (before she died) had a vision of leading the townsfolk out of the dome. Barbie agrees, but promises he’ll return for her.
Season 2 ends with Barbie, Joe, Norrie, Hunter, Sam and most of the rest of the town coming to a dead end in the cave. However, after Barbie touches the rock face, it opens up to reveal an area of nothing but bright white light, with Melanie Cross standing in the middle. “Follow me,” she tells everyone. “We’re going home.”
CBS has yet to renew ‘Under the Dome’ for Season 3, but given the cliffhanger ending and the decent ratings the show has gotten most of the summer, I think it’s a pretty sure bet that it will be back for at least one (if not a couple) more seasons. While the Season 2 ender was pretty silly, I liked the fact that Big Jim returned to his evil ways… even though I suspect the writers will reel him back in once again next year. That may seem ridiculous, but when you consider that both Barbie and Sam have murdered people already and Junior was full-on psycho for much of Season 1, the idea that Big Jim can go back and forth from being trustworthy to treacherous isn’t such a stretch. At least, not for this show.
The bigger cliffhanger is whether anyone at High-Def Digest will want to suffer through another season to recap it for our readers next year. I’m afraid the jury is still out on that one, but if you’ve enjoyed these blog posts, be sure to let us know.