Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In Which I Review Under the Dome (2x2)

When I was younger, there was a book I enjoyed reading called The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As the title might suggest, it revolved around a...well, very hungry caterpillar who proceeded to eat and eat and eat his way through the book until at last he transformed into a beautiful butterfly. It was a fun story. However, the very hungry caterpillar was not about to destroy a town with its insatiable appetite. In this weeks episode, "Infestation," the caterpillars decide that their needs outweigh the needs of Chester's Mill and with bloodthirsty vengeance they strike out against the townsfolk! No, I'm just kidding. Caterpillar's don't have any sort of higher thinking or free will that would make them mortal enemies to the town of Chester's Mill. They're just hungry, is all. So we must kill them! This episode was basically straight up Under the Dome silliness: fire! life and death! teen vigilantes! hungry insects! population control! messianic logic and god complexes! love triangles! Goodness, that's a lot for one hour of TV, is it not?

Do you know what is potentially not good? Having the psychopath known as Junior (Little Crazy Pants) find the dead body of his ex-girlfriend in their high school. And by ex-girlfriend, I mean the girl he loved but who rejected him, only to wind up locked in a cellar for awhile because Junior thought the Dome was playing with her mind. Yeah, the Dome was playing with HER mind, Junior. Go take your crazy elsewhere. Now, here's a question: why in the name of everything is Angie's body covered in butterflies? Is it symbolic? Cool visual effect? Was the actress unable to appear as a corpse so they used a stunt double and decided to put the flying insects covering her face so that the audience would remain blissfully ignorant over her true identity? However, what I'm more worried about is Junior very tenuous hold on reality, especially since his violent tendencies are well known. He spends most of this episode moping about and crying and holding Dead Angie's hand but woe to the person who hurt his precious Angiekins. When Junior finds you, there will be hell to pay. Unless of course, Junior is the one who killed Angie. Last week it seemed clear that it was Mysterious Lake Girl (who still does not have a name!) who axed (literally) Angie. This week, evidence suggests otherwise. A hand print, specifically a man's hand print, was found on Angie's body. Mysterious Lake Girl is mysterious but she's not a man. Or is she? What if she can change her body? Or her hand! What if she can become one with the Dome and change her appearance? You think I'm joking but it's totally possible that this is where the show is going. Or maybe Junior killed Angie. The night before, Junior got very drunk and blacked out and doesn't remember anything; maybe he got up, in a blind drunk rage, and went and killed Angie. Evidence for this? Well, he's crazy so that helps. But Junior also finds Angie's bracelet under his cot in the jail cell (he's living there cause living with Papa Crazy Pants doesn't seem to be working for him). Do I really think it's that cut and dry? No, of course not. There's no way that Junior killed Angie and that we're being given all the hints for that right off the bat. Misdirection, folks.

In other news, Big Jim is now Jesus. Or at least in his head he's Jesus. Big Jim has always had a God Complex, but the fact that the Dome spared his life has caused him to turn over a new leaf. "I've become a believer," he tells Joey and Norrie over Most-Awkward-Breakfast-Ever. Actually, a small tangent: why do Joey and Norrie think it's a good idea to bed down in casa loco? Why aren't they staying with Barbie and Julia? Or with anyone else? I mean seriously, anyone else! Joey's a smart kid, surely he could find literally anyone else in the city of Chester's Mill who would let him and his girlfriend crash on their couch. Or heck, break into one of those empty homes and sleep there! It worked for Max-No-Last-Name. Living with Big Jim just seems like a bad idea. Back on track now, Big Jim and Science Teacher Pine have a little tet-a-tet in which she informs Big Jim (and the audience) that they have a serious problem on their hands: caterpillars. The Dome is messing with the reproductive cycle of the caterpillars; it has accelerated it in fact. The butterflies are laying eggs at an increased rate, which leads to more caterpillars, which leads to more butterflies. Why is this a problem? Because caterpillars are hungry and are going to eat the entire food supply of Chester's Mill! Right. All of it. First off, why is this just now being discovered? There are obviously farmers who live in Chester's Mill--we met a bunch of them in season one! So why are they just now discovering this issue? You'd think the people who grow and tend the food would be the first to be clued in that there is an infestation of very hungry caterpillars! But no, the writers need to give Science Teacher Pine something to do to justify bringing her into the show (and killing Linda in the process) so caterpillar infestation! Second, Science Teacher Pine's plan is...interesting. Burn them all!!

Without any approval from authorities, without help from anyone, Science Teacher Pine decides to set the food on fire! Everyone's reaction to Science Teacher Pine's plan is mild acceptance, "yes this makes perfect sense. We should destroy our crops in order to kill the things that want to eat our food. Never mind that we still need to eat. Oh, maybe Barbie has another idea? That's cool too." Big Jim thinks that this is "the first test." The Dome, having spared his life (which it did not do, Julia did that) is now presenting Jim with a series of tests to see if Jim can be the Hero and Savior Gotham Chester's Mill needs. Good LORD, Jim Rennie. Get off your high horse. You are not Jesus! Thankfully, Barbie steps in and points out that burning the food supply is probably incredibly stupid. Oh and Barbie can fly a plane. Neat-O! Barbie performs some stunning air tricks in his little plane and sprays pesticide on the crops to kill all the hungry caterpillars. However this does not solve a central problem that Science Teacher Pine brings up at the end of the episode: there are too many people living in Chester's Mill. They do not have enough food to sustain the population. Well, DUH. You didn't think of this when the Dome fell? It really has taken someone this long to figure out that without more food coming in, eventually the food that does exist will be consumed and there will be starvation. So let me guess, the caterpillars were a foreshadowing of the real infestation: man. And we're going to set them on fire (probably to appease He Who Walks Behind the Rows).

And finally, Julia proves that she is quite possibly incredibly stupid. Julia is convinced that Mysterious Lake Girl couldn't possibly have killed Angie; when Barbie points out that Mysterious Lake Girl was at the school, her shoe matches the bloody shoe print found at the scene of the crime, and that no one seems to know who she is, and in fact Mysterious Lake Girl doesn't even know who Mysterious Lake Girl is, Julia gets all huffy and declares that she feels like she is loosing Barbie. What? Because he disagreed with you? And this is a few hours after you two woke up in bed together? You know what might be the real tipping point of this relationship: dealing with the fact that Barbie killed your husband! But I guess we've moved beyond that, so instead we have to set up a really odd love triangle between Barbie, Julia, and Sam (Mystery Man in Cabin). Julia is obviously turned on by the fact that Sam has weird pictures of Mysterious Lake Girl drawn 20 years ago. Sam and Julia think Mysterious Lake Girl is special, therefore they are totally going to hook up. Hey, relationships on this show have been formed over less. See: every romantic couple on the show.

Miscellaneous Notes on Infestation

--The butterflies flock to Julia because she's the Monarch. That's her secret power.

--"She's a scared little girl, she couldn't have killed Angie!" Julia, seriously, YOU LIVE IN A GIANT GOLDFISH BOWL. And it's the fact that this is a girl who trembles a lot that is your indication that she couldn't possibly have done anything wrong?? Why are you still using logic and reasoning? You live under a Dome that is trying to send you messages. Give up the logic ghost, honey. You'll be better for it.

--"What do you have faith in?" "You, Big Jim" (insert eye roll here)

--Who killed Angie? I'm still going with Mysterious Lake Girl

--Joey, Norrie, and Junior try to take matters into their own hands and gun down Mysterious Lake Girl. These kids have basically learned nothing.


  1. -"Thankfully, Barbie steps in and points out that burning the food supply is probably incredibly stupid." So much yes. I get that it was important...but she was just literally talking it over with Jesus/Batma...Big Jim. I get that Angie's murder is important, however he is not an officer, who just appointed Phil to the position of Sheriff which I assumed was a publicly elected position. But what do I know, I'm just a psychology major. Regardless, why did he not immediately attend to the food issue?
    -I will be curious to see if the weather under the Dome is seasonal. Will the farmers be able to grow crops year round? Doesn't that destroy the soil? I agree, issues that I thought of after day 1 or 2 after "Dome Day" involved supply issues; that is why the store was looted and bartering system was formed early on.
    -"You know what might be the real tipping point of this relationship: dealing with the fact that Barbie killed your husband! But I guess we've moved beyond that, so instead we have to set up a really odd love triangle between Barbie, Julia, and Sam (Mystery Man in Cabin)." Thank you. That argument in the kitchen before the funeral bothered the piss out of me. Barbie brought up a good point in that Julia felt separated by the disagreement. Whereas I picked up on the same thing you wrote…WHAT ABOUT BARBIE KILLING YOUR HUSBAND, YOU STUPID TWAT?!?
    -Isn't it a love square? Scientist likes Barbie, but Barbie likes Julia, while Sam likes Julia and Julia likes to be involved with everything like Jesus/Bat...Big Jim.
    -Are the butterflies moving towards Julia's hand significant? The whole new Monarch thing from the season finale? Or are the butterflies just naturally attracted to movement? Or are they oUT FOR THE BLOOD OF HUMANS?!
    -Mysterious Lake Girl is the alien incarnate messenger/translator of the Dome? I think this because she seemed genuinely upset that Linda died, as though it was not meant for her to be dead. I had actually hoped last episode that Mysterious Lake Girl would revive her somehow.
    -Is Scientist really on Barbie's side and staying close to BJ because he asked her to? Or was that limited to just the plane take-off scene? Is she really BJ's newest lapdog or just a very connected enthusiast? How many surveyors does she have? One for water, one for plants, one for the Dome? Or is she suggesting that she has been doing this all alone for weeks/months? What kind of degree does she have to be proficient in electromagnetism, botany, entomology, hydrology, and Dome (God) knows what else? Even my public school science teachers had specialties and I doubt any were proficient, let alone experts, in more than just their area.
    -I agree that though Little Crazy Pants would make the ideal suspect, I do not believe that he killed her. For one thing, there was a distinct lack of blood on his clothes when he woke up. Another is that giving us this much evidence against him is clearly a red herring. Thirdly, I am inclined to believe it was Sam more than Little Crazy Pants.
    -Can the Dome manifestations become corporeal? I think Dead Dodee touched BJ in the cellar. And how could Little Crazy Pant's madre have A) faked her suicide or B) hidden for so long?
    -Though I did like Linda and do not wish to speak ill of the dead…why did she and Angie get a funeral but Aunt Zelda did not?

    1. The butterflies are obviously out for human blood

      Yes I agree that Mysterious Lake Girl is some sort of manifestation of the Dome.

      Science Teacher Pine is...there. I don't know what side she is on, but she'll probably start killing people. For science.

      Sam is likely to murderer, agreed. Mystery man in cabin shows up and girl dies. 2+2 = Dead Angie

      Aunt Zelda did not because she wasn't a regular cast member ;)