Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In Which I Review Under the Dome (1x11)

Ok. Let's talk about the really vitally important information we got from this week's "Speak of the Devil." 

No more Barlie BBQing? Barbie is forced to sleep on the couch? Julia has a lonely cold bed? This is the truly heart breaking news of the week because apparently Barbie is so good at BBQing, so adept at laying down the meat, stoking the flames, adding just the right spices---too much?--that Max decides she needs to shoot Julia in the chest. 

Emotional problems. Max No-Last-Name has them. 

 I will take this opportunity to applaud the writers for making a (marginal) come-back this week. Yes, the writing is still stale and overdone and they are focusing way too much on what should be a B-plot, but I didn't want to bang my head against a wall after "Speak of the Devil" so: progress (baby steps, folks. Baby steps). The really important theme this week was the idea of the Devil--namely, who qualifies to hold such a dastardly title. Like almost everything in any given text, the answer is highly subjective and is based around what knowledge you have and what your end games are. Let's go down the list, shall we?

Max: The Obvious Devil

After Junior meets Max for the first time, during a very tense conversation with Big Jim, and asks "who was the very fashionably dressed woman with the crazy eyes" Jim responds with "The Devil." Max is the obvious choice here for "devil." She, like the snake in Biblical Genesis, brought temptation to our new world (our new Eden as the Creepy Rev called it). Vices such as booze, drugs, and physical brutality were her's to dispense. And she relished it. Max thoroughly enjoyed setting up Barbie in the fight last week and I suspect her attempted manslaughter of our plucky young reporter made her quite giddy. She's what you want in a supernatural devil: seductive, promising a new and exciting life full of danger, so long as you submit to her will. So naturally she isn't the obvious choice for our long term devil. After shooting Julia and threatening Jim, Max returns to her mansion and finds her mother, the Agatha-formally-known-as-Claire, floating in the river. She is so distraught that she changes her clothes and reapplies her makeup! Realizing that Jim must be behind this murder, she (somehow) captures Jim and Barbie and makes a lot of noise about loyalty and frankly I don't know what else cause I was too distracted by the wardrobe change. After Max is very easily captured (for a Drug Overload, she sure is dumb) Jim marches her outside and shoots her, despite Barbie telling Jim that they would take her alive. Praise Zeus! Let's face it: this is where the story really went off the rails, when Max No-Last-Name sauntered into town somehow. I can now forget all about her.

Barbie: The Devil You Don't Know

After several days, finally people are beginning to realize that they don't know a whole lot about Dale Barbara. Even Julia, who knows more than anyone, has kicked him to the couch because of what she realized. Suspicions about Mr. Barbie begin to mount as Jim tap dances around Linda's accusations about what has been happening under her nose this whole time. While Jim explains that the drugs and propane, in the end, are keeping Chester's Mill up and running, he manages to sideline Linda enough that she sees Barbie in a new light.
 Who is this man? Rough, tough, capable and deadly. Linda has seen first hand how angry Barbie can get. I wondered many a-episode ago if Barbie had anger issues and it seems that Linda is recalling those same issues. Barbie may be useful to have around in emergencies, like if you're shot in the chest and your hospital is out of everything, but he is also very handy with a gun. I labeled him way back in episode one as our mystery man and it looks like he is finally going to play that role. Just when Big Jim is patting himself on the back that he has Linda off his tail, Dodee informs him that she managed to hear the outside world again and the military wants one thing: Barbie. They've confirmed that he is inside the Dome and he, Dale Barbara, is the one they are looking for. Adding to Barbie's mystery is Joey's (dare I call it) idol worship. Joey is now convinced that because Barbie saved Joey and then saved Julia that Barbie is the prophesied Monarch who must be crowned. There was a lot of conversation tonight about power and metaphorical thrones and kingdoms, especially between Barbie and Jim. At one point Barbie tells Jim: "You want a kingdom" and "I'm going to knock you off your throne." The two do not realize it but the audience sure does. Up until this point Big Jim has portrayed himself as the King of Chester's Mill: he saved them time and time again. Barbie is being presented as a would-be king. He could topple Big Jim if he wanted; he clearly has the know-how and probably the power to do so. But I think Big Jim's downfall is going to come about in another way.

Big Jim: The Devil You Know

Freaky weather, no? The main A-plot of this whole episode revolves around our four kids, finally united with one another: Junior, Angie, Joey, and Norrie. They have spent all night in the barn, mapping the stars they saw from the mini-dome. Quick aside: how did they get up to the ceiling to paint them? All four hands must be touching the mini-dome in order for the light show to work. Anyway, that mystery (read: bad writing) aside, Junior is still being his creeptastic self and telling Angie they are fated to be together. Angie, being an idiot, tells Junior that the second the Dome comes down, she is outta there. This of course is exactly what Junior needed to hear in order to cooperate. He flees telling Angie that "it's love" and he'd rather die in the Dome than live without her. That should be a song, a country-western song with a sad guitar playing while a dim flickering light hovers over man in plaid.
Angie tries to convince Junior that he can't abandon the group because the Dome is angry that they've split up.
Dome Angry. Dome Blow. Dome Smash!
After Angie tells Junior that SHE needs him and Junior agrees to return to the quartet, the weather stops and they are safe from Oz and munchkins. Joey comes up with the idea that they all need to touch the real Dome together in order to get their next set of instructions. Doing so they have quite a neat little vision. Remember how I said that Big Jim's downfall would come about in another way? Well here it is: in the vision, the kids see Big Jim outside the Dome and he begins to bleed from his chest, from his stomach and from his nose. And then the kids look down and see that they are holding knives. Angie and Norrie reach the same conclusion: in order for the Dome to come down, they must kill Big Jim Rennie. And I imagine with his blood, they shall crown Barbie the new Monarch...
...and then the aliens invade.

Miscellaneous Notes from Speak of the Devil

--"So what, I control the weather?" I'm Ororo Munroe, bitch! 

--Jim tries to kill Barbie but Barbie has lightening fast abilities. What was his military training? Black ops? Assassin?

--Where exactly was Barbie running to at the end of the episode? He's in a Dome. He literally can't leave and can only run in circles.

--The butterfly is close to hatching. Wanna bet it hatches as soon as the kids have killed Big Jim? 

1 comment:

  1. -There will never be a day in which you over-use the BBQing puns; based on their reactions this week to sleeping apart he must be a sex god.
    -I'm bothered a lot that Jim told Linda that Barbie shot them "in the head, execution style," when you can clearly see a bullet wound in the chest of Max (same spot that Max shot Julia).
    -I. Do. Not. Understand. Why. Barbie. Ran. From. Linda. It makes zero sense. Barbie is far more likable than Big Jim, at least by Linda who (let's face it) is really the only one that matters in this situation.
    -I'm beginning to suspect that a) Barbie went AWOL or b) the government is more involved with the Dome than we recently suspected. But A doesn't make sense, out of everything they could be talking about via walkie talkie, why would they waste time talking about a rogue soldier that someone happen to see several days ago. B doesn't make sense because the government is too stupid to create such a wonderful feat of science.
    -That was my first question about the kids also, how they were able to plot all of the stars while still holding the Dome AND WHILE THE MAP WAS CLEARLY ROTATING. (Deep breaths)
    -I still do not think that the Dome is sentient but everyone keeps insisting that it is, that it is making decisions, that it is getting angry (fantastic Hulk reference btw PunkBunny87), that the Dome is this controlling force. I kept waiting for the swirling clouds to form a tornado, but instead it just convinced the younglings that each of them are superior to the others and they each have their own theory as to why it started and stopped. (I wanted to hit Junior in his smug (albeit beautiful) face.
    -So now that the quartet has touched the Dome, does that mean Dodee's instruments have lost their mojo again like when Jorrie touched it?
    -I am now thinking that the Dome acts like a drug of some sort. Each time someone touches it, (except poor Dodee) the person sees the one they most want to. Norrie saw her Mom who she knew was not feeling well; pregnant lady saw her husband who she probably missed and wanted present for their baby; Julia knows Joey is special and related to the Dome so she saw him with an explanation; and Junior is still having daddy issues and they saw a dying/dead Big Jim because it is what Junior desires and the other three saw it because they were all connected.