Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In Which I Review Under the Dome (2x4)

Revelation. From the Greek apokalypsis meaning to be revealed or uncovered. In other words: when you need a whole bunch of information but the writers want to make it sound extraordinary and otherworldly. This weeks episode of Under the Dome was your basic Religion 101 of Science Fiction. I don't have an issue when science fiction takes on religion; it's actually fairly common and it can be done well (see: Star Trek). But there are times when the writers don't understand that using religion and religious archetypes don't need to be cheesy. You can have your savior figure without beating your audience over the head that they are, in fact, the savior figure. What does this have to do with Under the Dome? It is as if the writers took the traditional Jesus story--from magical and strange appearance to persecution to death--subverted some of it to make it more science-y and then just handed it back to the audience. Raise your hand if you are surprised that the girl with the last name of "Cross" is Jesus. Or that there is a woman name PAULine who happens to have visions (is there a female version of Peter? I guess not so we went with the other big gun). What this leads to is me trying to fit everyone into the mold because the writers are telling me that I should know this story already. Is Big Jim Caiaphas or Pilate? Is Rebecca Satan or Judas? Is Junior supposed to be the Savior 2.0? Is Joey Matthew?! Do you see where I'm going here. The problem with handing me a story that has been told ad nauseum is that if the pieces don't fit together then your story falls apart. 

The pigs are dying. Well, the baby pigs at least. Here's my first question: how much does Science Teacher Pine know? She seems to be very well versed in magnetic, genetics, geology, other earth science-y things, and also apparently medicine. That's quite impressive for a high school teacher. I mean no disrespect to high school teachers, but when I was in school the science department was divided into biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. The biology teacher did not teach chemistry and the chemistry teacher did not teach earth science. Pretty sure this is still how it works. So why in heaven's name is Rebecca Pine an expert on everything and working as a local science teacher in Chester's Mill? If she is smarter than the average bear, then shouldn't she be putting those skills to really good use? Not wasting them on high schoolers who are, by and large, horrible? At any rate, Rebecca is called out to inspect the dead pigs and takes some blood from one. The pigs have come down with swine flu which is just perfect for her plan with Big Jim to weed out those who are not healthy, with practical skills and who give more than they take. It's not playing God, though. It's Darwin. It's survival of the fittest. I'm not sure this is what Darwin had in mind, Science Teacher Pine. I'm not sure he advocated speeding this process along with murder. Maybe I'm wrong. Never could get through "On the Origins of Species." When Big Jim catches Rebecca doing some sort of science experiment he is angry that she is moving on ahead with him but Science Teacher Pine manages to convince Jim that this is the right course of action. The Dome sent the virus, or incubated it, and now it's ready for him to use. By combining swine flue and influenza, those strongest enough to live will and the weak ones will die. Okay Science Teacher Pine, do you plan on partaking in this eugenics free for all? What happens if you're not among the chosen? Oh, but you're not playing God? Alright then. You keep telling yourself that.

Julia and Sam catch on to Science Teacher Pine's plan because they have nothing better to do. Seriously, aren't you supposed to be the monarch or something, Julia? Shouldn't you be doing something magical? What is your purpose!? I guess it's to create unresolved sexual tension because Julia is still on the outs with her man, Barbie. Thankfully she has Sam's arms to fall into. You sure can choose 'em, Red. First there was your husband who gambled away all your money. Then there was Barbie who killed your husband. And now there is Sam, who is not in the least bit suspicious. These two wonders spend the entire episode trying to chase down Rebecca and take the magical potion (influenza secret formula) away from her before she can put it in the town's water. Rebecca's grand plan? Put the virus in the water people are using to "cross" themselves with in the church. This doesn't scream "agenda" at all! If you're really so concerned about weeding out the weak, then you do not discriminate by starting with people who have faith. That's bad science! You give it to everyone, at once, so that the religious and non-religious alike either live or die. By signaling out one specific group of people you are showing your own biases. Science Teacher Pine is really grating on my nerves. She apparently knows all the things, but can't conduct an experiment without her own subjective interpretation coming into play? Now in the end none of this really matters because Rebecca can't go through with it; so this entire storyline was for nothing. I doubt Science Teacher Pine has given up so easily but she and Julia are now officially at war; Rebecca tells Julia that Barbie signed off on the plan and now Julia has even more reason to fall into not-even-remotely-suspicious Sams' arms.

Meanwhile in the story that actually matters on this show: Melanie is Jesus. Sort of. Having learned that Melanie comes from the year 1988, Joey and Norrie (well, more Joey than Norrie) debate whether or not to tell Barbie. This should not be a debate. Tell Barbie. Secrets come out under the Dome, you idiots. When Barbie does arrive on scene, the three kids and he set off to try and find the wifi signal coming from the school to make contact with the outside world; you know the thing Joey and the rest should have done last week instead of checking Twitter. Barbie learns the truth about Melanie and surprise surprise! They are from the same town. Melanie moved to Chester's Mill in 1988, only a few months before she vanished, from the city where Barbie grew up, hence why he looks familiar to her. Cue the dramatic music. Having acquired the address to Mel's home in Chester's Mill the foursome set out to uncover clues! It's like they are the Scooby Gang (either the cartoon version or the Buffy version). But at least they care about the actual mystery of the Dome still (looking at you, Julia). At Mel's house they find drawings of pinks stars and Mel remembers seeing them fall 25 years ago; the place where they fell? The same spot where Norrie and Joey found the mini-dome last season! Time for exploring in the woods and warning, this is where we get exposition explosion. When Mel steps on to the spot where the mini-dome was, she suddenly "remembers everything" and we get flashbacks of the night she vanished. Melanie was dating Sam (um. what) and Pauline, Junior's mother, was dating Lyle. They saw the pink stars falling and went to investigate. They found a meteor that had crash landed on earth and was glowing. For some unknown and idiotic reason, the four of them decide to TOUCH THE PIECE OF GLOWING SPACE ROCK. Geniuses. Absolute geniuses. The meteor opens and there is an egg inside. Melanie feels a special connection to this egg and picks it up. The other three begin freaking out and telling her to put it down and Melanie, being the bright girl that she is, tries to run. When suddenly out of nowhere, she is shoved! Oh no! Melanie tumbles down into the ravine and hits her head on the glowing space rock and that's the story of how Melanie Cross died. I cannot stop rolling my eyes.

So let me get all this straight. Sam knows exactly who Melanie is; in fact he used to make out with her--again, ew. But Melanie died the night the mini dome fell to earth (or something) and no one knows who killed her and no one reported her dead and these three geniuses covered up the murder? What is this, Pretty Little Liars? Did Melanie's death (read: sacrifice) open a time portal and she was transported across time to the present day? But what about the egg? She came from the egg right? Except she was holding it when she died. And is she still "dead dead" or only mostly dead? Is she Jesus or a zombie?! Are those two mutually exclusive? Add to this Junior's little escapade this week into another aspect of the mystery: his mother Pauline. Turns out, Lyle and Pauline have been in communication since Pauline left town. Thinking that the Dome would follow her instead of her son, she decided to fake her death. That's logical. Lyle has been keeping Pauline's secrets for her, but he needs the journal she kept. Pauline is a prophet. Don't be surprised. Please tell me she lived on Damascus Road as a kid (Acts or 1 Cor, go look it up). Apparently all the secrets of the universe are in this journal. To bad Lyle beats Junior with a tire iron and takes it; mostly I chalk this up to Lyle being a crazy bastard who has a whole new agenda outside of bringing Pauline home. This episode was so disjointed. On the one had, you have Big Jim, Rebecca, Julia and Sam doing magical science religious things (cause nobody can make up their mind). On the other hand, you have the magical and mystical science fiction happy meal that is living under the Dome. I have no idea what this story is trying to say anymore.

Miscellaneous Notes on Revelation

--I wonder if Barbie and Melanie knew each other in their old home town.

--"All I feel is sad." Oh gods, what a line!

--Junior, as someone who is certifiable yourself, learn to see the crazy and leave the crazy in a jail cell. 

--Julia and Sam are going to kiss next week. I am totally calling it.

--Sam killed Melanie and Angie. I'm totally calling it.

--The season will end with Melanie bringing down the Dome through the power of her mind and/or lips.


  1. This show needs to get better quick. I only watch it at this point because I enjoy reading PunkBunny87's blog about it. She makes it worth watching just to read her take on it.

    1) Why has Melanie been okay with technology? Why has she not asked more questions? Personally I would be fascinated. I may not be frightened, but I imagine a conversation like this would happen:
    "What is this?"
    "It's called a tablet, it is like a mini-computer. People use it to learn, play games, and communicate with each other."
    "Wow, that is amazing."
    2) I get the food supply issue and population control, I really do. But Pine is being a total bitch. Why not just have a lottery?
    3) Why is Julia throwing BJ under the bus? The census and Operation Shake the Tree was Pine's idea. (Just realized Pine's name is a type of tree)
    4) Why does Barbie feel the need to have a hand in the "shaking?" Does he think he is a good judge of who should live and die? Has he known these people for years and know what they are capable of?
    5) The Surface 3 plugs are really grating my last nerves.
    6) Erm…Crazy-Pants, typically one would handcuff the crazy men we do not trust in a way so that they are incapacitated; in others words, behind their back so they cannot sneak attack you.
    7) Pine is now a vet? (Add this to her list of degrees)
    8) Pine: "Everything happens for a reason." …says the science (against faith person). Seriously, pick a side a stick with it.
    9) Kids…why decide to not tell Barbie about MC, and then 3 minutes later tell him. What was the point in the delay other than making it obvious that the writers are dumb?
    10) OMG…I've got it. Pine knew that the acid rain effected the pig population more because she has been looking for a way to secretly shrink the population. She knew how to stop the rain so quickly because she started it by spraying red liquid into a pond. She used a pigs virus because of their genetic similarities to humans. She is a twisted mastermind.
    11) MC recognizes a man who aged 25 years? So he was maybe 10 at best? I know some people look remarkably similar to their adolescent selves, but really? And how could someone look familiar if you have retrograde amnesia?

  2. 12) Why do we keep coming back to the pink stars? Will someone please explain their significance already? This is beyond ridiculous.
    13) So Pine is Lyle, but with 14+ degrees; got it.
    14) Why did they walk into MC's house and not immediately become repulsed? There was several week old egg and milk sitting out. Furthermore, an algebra book. Did MC's parents have kids later in life or is this an entirely knew family and the Scooby-gang just broke into a home?
    15) "Don't undermine my feelings of jealous & abandonment, but since we're chatting…" Norrie is my new favorite. I need more of her logic and sarcasm.
    16) "It's not God, it's is Darwin." I'm not an evolution expert, but I'm fairly certain Darwin never sent out tests and plagues to wipe out a species; he merely observed. However, there was this one time when a bush was on fire, and another in Egypt, and another involving a big boat. Pine, I'm fairly certain this is playing God.
    17) I'm sorry Crazy-Pants, why is Lyle suddenly not wearing his shiny new brackets?
    18) So Sam knew MC, and he killed her. Awesome. What is with this fraking family? A murderous uncle, a psychic mother, a deranged child, and a father with a messiah complex; we're 6 songs and a dancing bear away from a Disney movie.
    *26 minutes in and I went to get alcohol*
    19) "No one tells you what it is like…" No shit BJ, how many mass murderers do you know and talk to about killing townspeople.
    20) So did Pine make the virus and test it on pigs? Or did she get lucky and come across it? It naturally mutated? Or the combination she created by testing mutated? (Someone get her a legit degree and have her stick to it because I'm tired of trying to play plot-catch up)
    21) And we stopped digging for clues after we found dead girl's necklace because…we don't want to see if there is a second egg or a body next to the space rock? Or any other clues that could help advance the plot a tad more quickly?
    22) "Not tonight."
    "Okay Julia I understand that we have issues right now, but we think we know who killed Angie."
    This is how mature adults under stress and imminent death could speak to each other if they were not blundering idiots.
    23) So was there actually something in MC's locker or is Sam just blood-thirsty?