Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In Which I Review Under The Dome (2x3)

This week's episode of Under the Dome, "Force Majeure," is like an ice cream sundae. If that ice cream sundae was made out of heavy religious overtones, silly science fiction explanations, bizarre fights amongst couples, and time travel. Ok, so maybe it's not like an ice cream sundae. It's more like ice cream soup, in which everything has melted down and the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry have become indistinguishable from each other. You eat it because it's ice cream, but it doesn't really satisfy your ice cream desire. That's Under the Dome. This episode was Under the Dome silliness at its finest. Not since Max No-Last-Name last season have we seen something so hilariously bizarre as a religious nut job, bloody rain, and time-traveling-worm-hole-exploring international girl of mystery! Oh and singing. Don't forget the singing! A "force majeure" is something so huge that it frees individuals from a previously agreed upon contract. I guess that's important to know going in. Here we go. Let's go dance in the rain. 

Our cast of intrepid little heroes gets broken into two this week, so let's start with the adults. Big Jim and Science Teacher Pine have come up with a way to register every citizen still living in Chester's Mill. Everyone is required to show up at the diner (which I am now convinced is the only one in town) and fill out a form as to their health and needs. This is not suspicious at all, I'm sure. Especially since last week, Science Teacher Pine began her "we must kill humans" campaign. Barbie and Julia are still on the outs because Julia implicitly trusts Mysterious Lake Girl. Because Julia is an idiot. You used to be an newspaper investigator! Dig or research or do something! A man you've never met shows you a picture of the Mysterious Lake Girl who is now living in your house and your first instinct is to have faith that the Magical Dome needs her to be safe and protected and you're not going to question anything? That is dumb. I'm not saying that she shouldn't have faith--the show is obviously going full steam ahead with the faith vs science debate--but to have absolute blind faith in the girl who mysteriously appeared drowning in a lake, who doesn't know her own name, or where she came from, and who was, apparently, around 25 years ago-- is not even remotely smart. Maybe we take some time to think this out, Julia!

 Oh look. A new person. Cause we haven't had an abundance of new people already? This is Lyle. He's a barber. Lyle likes to sing. Lyle only likes to sing because he's really Dwight Yokam and so of course Lyle likes to sing. Lyle is also a creepy bastard. When your introduction to the guy is a razor and him shaving Jim while a sense of foreboding hangs over the scene, you should go ahead and assume we've met the villain of the week. Lyle and Jim's wife used to date back in the day, but Lyle is totally okay with the fact that she chose Jim over him (sure). Lyle is also a religious fanatic. So crazy ex and a religious nutter. These are all good things. So, for some reason it begins to rain red. Science Teacher Pine gives some sort of explanation but honestly I have no idea what it is. Something science-y. Because in case you missed it, Science Teacher Pine is the science in the faith vs science debate that is being forced on us in such a heavy handed manner. Jim and Science Teacher Pine set out to rescue some people caught in the red rain because, it the words of Mysterious Lake Girl who stuck her hand out into it, "IT BURRRRRRNNNSSSSSSS." Please watch that scene without laughing hysterically. You won't be able to do it, I promise. Anyway, as Jim and Science Teacher Pine go on their rescue mission--all the while discussing the nature of faith and science and if the Dome is testing Big Jim's resolve again--Lyle appears out of nowhere and abducts Science Teacher Pine. Lyle does not enjoy the fact that Science Teacher Pine was putting down his faith. You see, Lyle believes this is the ten plagues of Egypt visiting Chester's Mill. First there was fire and then insects and now blood. It's a sign of the end times! Run for your life!

Having captured Science Teacher Pine, Lyle begins trying to convert her to his faith. You see, Science Teacher Pine is standing in the way of Yahweh's plan. And no one stands in the way of Yahweh's plan! Oh right, what is the plan? End of days, rapture, accession to heaven. Same old, same old. Science Teacher Pine wants to stop the rain, but not Lyle. Oh no, Lyle does not want to stop the rain. Obvious famous Dwight Yokam song is obvious. Don't worry, there is only a brief amount of torture before Barbie and Julia show up and rescue Science Teacher Pine. Julia and Lyle discuss the nature of the Dome and how Julia also believes it was sent for a reason; she has FAITH. While Lyle only has a feeling about the Dome, the Dome itself speaks to Julia. Of course it does. Please tell me it doesn't have anything pretentious and off putting and over the top silly to say. "If you want the darkness to abate you must earn the light." Of for fu---. Really? That's what the Dome is saying to you, Julia? Are you sure it's not calling for blood and fire? And the Dome is such a learned Dome. Abate! Earn the light! Faith is better than science! Feed me the souls of virgins!

So Lyle is carted off to jail and because we apparently haven't had enough of the science vs faith thing, we need one more showdown between the two. In the right corner we have Science Teacher Pine who believes that she singlehandedly stopped the rain! (Do not ask me how; there was a hose and a lake and something). In the left corner, we have Julia who is having deep spiritual conversations with the Dome! And it's telling her to EARN the light. And in the middle you have Barbie who thinks that in times of crisis, people's true nature comes out and it's almost always bad. This makes Julia sad. He killed your husband, you....special snowflake, you. Anyway, the fight between Science Teacher Pine and Julia goes like this
Pine: I stopped the rain! Now we must kill people!
Julia: What?
Pine: Kill! Death! Food! Supplies! Thin the herd
Jim: I agree
Barbie: Julia, sugar pie honey buns, you know I totes love you but the Pine lady has a point. People are bad.
Julia: I thought I knew you!!
Me: For the love of everything, you met him two weeks ago and he killed your husband!
However, I would like to point out that if you want people on board with the whole "survival of the fittest Hunger Games-esque" parade, maybe we don't refer to them as livestock being taken to slaughter. Just a thought. 

Ok, I've had enough of these adults for now. Let's move on to the kids. Science Teacher Pine sends Joey, Norrie, and Mysterious Lake Girl to the school to look at schematics for a windmill. I know Joey is smart and all, but seriously, where are your engineers? Doesn't this town have anyone more in-the-know besides a kid? Are we really resting all our hopes and dreams on this guy? Mysterious Lake Girl goes along even though Norrie is clearly in the bandwagon that doesn't trust her. And why would you? She's obviously a little unhinged. While in the school, somehow, an internet single comes through. Huzzah! Connection to the outside world! What's the first thing we should do? CHECK TWITTER OF COURSE. BECAUSE WHY WOULD WE SEND OUT SOME SORT OF MESSAGE TO AUTHORITIES INFORMING THEM OF WHAT IS GOING ON INSIDE THE MAGICAL GOLD FISH BOWL. WE'LL DO THAT NEXT BUT FIRST LET ME CHECK MY TWITTER FEED.

While the kids enjoy their connectivity to the internet, Mysterious Lake Girl and Joey enjoy their connectivity to each other. Much to Norrie's dismay. When Joey begins to cry over Angie's death and wondering if he should tell his parents, Mysterious Lake Girl says, "we'll figure it out, sweetie." Erm. 'Kay. You've known him for five seconds and already with the touching and the terms of endearment. Norrie, just take her out. You'll be better for it. Joey will be better for it. The show will be better for it. Joey postulates that there is a crack in the Dome--a wormhole to be precise. And that's how they are getting a connection. I don't even understand what that means but I guess I'm supposed to just accept that Joey knows what he's talking about since he's our wunderkind and whatever the wunderkind says, goes. The signal goes out and Joey, Norrie and Mysterious Lake Girl go in search of its source, and of course, end up in front of Angie's locker where she came down with a sudden case of axe-to-head. The locker is locked but not for long! Mysterious Lake Girl sees the combination in her head and opens it. It's empty. Another mystery for another day. For now, Norrie has had it. How did Mysterious Lake Girl know how to open the safe? Who are you?! Joey says, "I think I know!" Of course you do. Because wormholes, right?

Joey gets the bright idea to look at a list of all the people who have had the locker over the past 50 years, in an effort to jog Mysterious Lake Girl's memory. And BOOM! It happens. We get a name. I can finally stop calling her Mysterious Lake Girl. She is Melanie Cross. Yay! Oh wait, she had this mysterious locker in 1988? How is that possible? Wormholes, right? This is about to be get really science fiction-y with time travel and alternate dimensions. My favorite part of this scene? Joey finds a yearbook from 1988 and find Melanie Cross. Showing the picture to Mysterious Lake Girl, she utters, "That's me!" No kidding, Sherlock. Thanks for that. Just in case I wasn't sure you were Melanie Cross after you recognized the name, knew the locker combo, and Joey had his "omg guys! We're on to something" face.

One more piece that needs to fit into this already bizarre puzzle. Junior. Or..James, as I guess he's calling himself now. Junior, while at the school with the other three kids, manages to connect to his email and get a message from the mysterious HoundsofDiana. It's a video of his mother, who is supposed to be dead, revealing that she is in fact alive. The only thing she tells Junior: go talk to Lyle. Trust no one but Lyle. Lyle will explain everything. Luckily, Junior is just in time to see Sam and Lyle have a heart to heart about Lyle keeping his mouth shut about whatever they buried 25 years ago and there's a lot of "this will all be explained in due time, grasshoppers, so long as you keep turning in!" When Junior confronts Lyle, Lyle offers to help so long as Junior lets him out of the cell. So to recap the more important aspect of this show: Junior mom is not-so-dead; Lyle, Sam and Junior's mom buried something and promised to keep it buried; Mysterious Lake Girl is Melanie Cross and from the year 1988. And on next weeks episode of The Twilight Zone, it turns out that we're all living in a marble on the edges of space! (Please don't actually do this, Under the Dome).

Miscellaneous Notes on Force Majeure

--"We don't even know her name!" Thank you for pointing that out Barbie. Julia, take notice. Barbie is acting like a sensible guy.

--Jim has the hots for Science Teacher Pine.

--"I won't let you die...yet." Geez Sam. Calm down already. Openly telling someone that you want them dead might not be the best plan. Especially the guy with the God Complex.



  1. There is so much brain-pain from this episode.
    1) "Has the girl said anything about Angie?"
    "Don't worry Joe, Barbie tried to talk to her this morning but I put a stop to that nonsense quick like a bunny."
    Speaking about a murder, and about the only witness to the murder while in a public place is asking for the King of Hearts to claim another head.
    2) I'm sorry, we have wind in the town? A windmill, powered by wind, will work by attaching cables to the generators and feeding them all over the town? And we will have the 14-18 year olds handle this life-saving project because child-labor laws be damned (screamed Pine).
    3) As a psychology major, I slammed my head against the desk a few extra times after Sam opened his mouth. Fugue states are not equitable to drunken blackouts. You stick to being an alcoholic EMT, Sam, and I'll stick to psychology. *Public service announcement directed towards Crazy-Pants* SEEK HELP YOU UNDERAGE ALCOHOLIC-CONSUMING, KIDNAPPING, PSYCHOTIC FUCK! *end of message*
    4) So…the red rain is acidic. Acid which harms only biological things? Tires do not count because rubber is not found in natu….oh wait it is. And Pine's comment about the pig population being especially effected leads me to believe that the rain was specifically engineered to harm humans because pigs are very similar to humans genetically speaking.
    5) Lyle…Jac, you covered it. I have nothing constructive to add.
    6) So because we lost one of the four (maybe no longer required) magic hands, is Lake Girl the new Angie? Are the writer's just stealing the script from Resurrection? Help me out.
    7) We have been under the dome for several weeks now. The school is not being powered by anything. The tablets are still charged? As a tablet owner, I can assure you that is false. I charged it two weeks ago, didn't use it and tried to today. It mocked me; turned on long enough to shut down again. I call shenanigans. Furthermore, why does Joe have a personalized tablet at a public school?
    8) I can maybe forgive the twitter check in lieu of sending out a message to the outside world if, AND ONLY IF, people have still been communicating at the bridge like we were last season. Signs, paper, sign-language, telepathy…whatever.
    9) Did I see a tweet about HoundsofDiana having the first official video from inside the dome? Is this person like Max No-Last-Name?

  2. 10) How is that car still drivable after wrapping around a tree?
    11) "He must have ingested too much of whatever is in this rain." Jim may not be the brightest man, but I think he would avoid swallowing acidic rain water as he knows it melTS THE FLESH FROM PEOPLE!!!!
    12) How did no one else hear the message from Mrs. Crazy-Pants, he was like 6 feet away from the other kids.
    13) I'll take Plot Device for $800, Alex.
    *shows convenient picture of teenagers*
    *buzzer* What is the 18,932 plot device of the series?
    Oooo, sorry. It was actually 18,945.
    14) Why do the good guys always put down their guns. Barbie was a sharp shooter in the military. He is like 7 feet away with a pistol and he cannot put one between the eyes of the crazy man?
    15) Erm…Did Julia just walk into the barn and get stockholmed into siding with the crazy hostage taker against the victim? I'm not a fan of Pine, but even I would agree that he needed a good acid bath after torturing someone.
    16) Again, as a tablet owner I can officially say that you cannot track a wifi signal's strength just by wandering aimlessly.
    17) Pine's solution to stopping acid rain. Again, since I do not have an advanced degree in everything Pine seems to, I am not an expertologist. But rain goes through a cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation. Adjusting the acidity of a giant puddle with pH balancing chemicals would not immediately effect the current downpour of death. Do the writer's expect only dumb people to watch this show?
    18) Norrie, you and Barbie need to team up. You two are the only ones who have a sensible bone left in your body.

  3. 19) Why does everyone (minus the above mentioned two) trust this strange mysteriously appearing Lake Girl implicitly? Did they all drink the rain water like Same accused BJ of doing? Christ on a stick, people….get your shit together.
    20) After Pine's proposition of the selective contingency plan it was hilarious to see BJ's eyes go big. Even he thinks this is a crazy idea.
    21) *watches until end* Maybe he doesn't think it is so crazy.
    22) Barbie, if you were going to stay seated and continue talking with Pine and Acid-drinker, why go after Julia?
    23) I'm glad by boyfriend and I do not really believe in a higher power, because it clearly DESTROYS solid relationships like Barbie and Julia's.
    24) Sam talked about burying something 25 years ago, do we think that they buried the mini-dome? And does this relate to Lake Girl disappearing 26 years ago?
    25) Did Pine just give us a useless analogy about a tree-shaking ritual? Like we didn't understand the plan when Julia EXPLAINED IT 3 MINUTES AGO!?!?! Good luck convincing old people to climb up a tree. I'm 26 and hesitant to do so, good luck getting my 84 year old grandfather up a pine.
    26) Pine is just a fence-jumper. First she tells Lyle that the Dome is not sentient. It does not feel or think. Yet she tells BJ that the Dome chose him to lead so he needs to decide who to push off a branch so that the majority can survive. Pick a side bitch, I hate you enough already.
    27) If Lyle is let out of jail, there are three people who could have done it. Black guy, Crazy-Pants, or BJ. With such a short list, it should not be too difficult to figure out how Lyle escaped. And given that he left BJ to die a slow death in a shower of acid…the list becomes even shorter.
    28) Joe…your detective abilities would give Sherlock a run for his money. But what school would have such a nice clean-pressed white sheet of paper ready in a binder. Who gives a rat's ass about a students locker from 26 years ago. Maybe keep the records for 5 years at most. I just….ugh. This show…
    29) *more head banging on desk*

  4. i literally have no response because your three posts were perfection. Brava.