Friday, July 31, 2015

In Which I Review Under the Dome (3x7)

It's like an apocalypse out there. On this weeks episode, "Ejecta," it's the end of the world as we know it and all the main characters inside the Dome handle it about as well as we expect them to handle the destruction of mankind: badly. Some are feisty and feel as though the embers of the burning world provide a delightful aphrodisiac for some BBQ-ing; some are figuring out a way to stop the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill; some are getting drunk; and some are giving long winded expositional speeches that finally, at long last, confirm once and for all that these buggies are aliens from a different world. Thank you Bug!Little Crazypants; beating around the alien bush was getting old. You know, like so much of this plot. Very little plot was advanced this week, rather we looked at how each of the little groups handled all the destruction at 1 am and then again at 7 am. Because in the span of 6 hours people should be expected to come to grips with the end of everything they once knew? Hint: no. Grab some falling pink stars and let's go. 

When the world comes crashing down around you, how would you respond? You're safe in your upside down goldfish bowl, but everyone else not so much. Do you feel the compelling, and ultimately human, need to save everyone and mourn their loss when you prove ineffectual? That is, for the most part, the main thrust of this episode. For some, the end of the world means rediscovering your humanity, the thing that makes you tick as a walking and talking bipedal ape. Joe and Norrie have stumbled into the correct "human equation" that is going to be the downfall of the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill. It's human emotion, our ability to move beyond the basic and baser instincts of hunger, need for shelter, work, and reproduction. It's fear and rage and grief and if Under the Dome is cliche enough (and it is) love. Those are apparently the defining attributes of a human being. It's also, for what it's worth, the defining attributes of tons of non-humans. Take a dog. A dog can feel fear (whimpering, tail between legs), rage (teeth bared, growing, biting) and a dog can feel grief (keeping to themselves, whimpering, lethargy). While the idea that humanity can be saved by emotions and emotional response and that this is what separates us from the animals is perfectly fine--and goodness know it's a science fiction cliche of the highest magnitude--it's also illogical given that in reality animals are capable of feeling emotions. And, in fact, the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill also seem to have this capability. Were they not jumping out of buildings because of a collective ennui when their Borg-ish-selves detected that Christine had abandoned them? Did they not feel the collective suspicion of Jorrie last episode? They feel emotion, but it's of the collective shared variety instead of being unique to each soul. So instead of tapping into raw, almost archetypical, emotion--like rage, fear, and grief--the new Resistance have to tap into a singular emotion that will resonate to each individual or person. Jorrie, Julia and Big Jim are going to need to brush up on each person left standing in Chester's Mill if they are going to save them from being full on Drones. What works for Mrs. Jones isn't going to work for Mr. Smith just like it was grief that saved Joe, anger that saved Norrie, and fear that saved Hunter.  I don't know what saved Sam. Drink and sex, I suppose. Please tell me we aren't about to see a full on Chester's Mill bacchanal....

The other option in the face of destruction is despair, to drink yourself to oblivion and accept that you are the last living humans on the face of the planet. What a great pity party, Julia and Big Jim! You two are quite the hoot, amirite? Julia laments that she married Peter (you remember Peter. Barbie killed him and then Julia totally forgot all about that because Barbie made her feel safe and loved for the first time in her whole life. Ah, romance. It's...complicated) and that she never became a big shot reporter who traveled to Paris. Big Jim has regrets but he isn't exactly opening up about them but it's okay cause Julia also has a degree in psychology and realizes that Big Jim regrets his treatment of Little Crazypants and trying to make Junior into Big Jim's second chance. Maybe I'm being unfair to Julia. After all, in my 1x03 review of Under the Dome, I said the exact same thing when I analyzed Big Jim and Junior's relationship and my educational background is not psychology. Julia is right; it's a total cliche. Julia and Big Jim both are cliche. She's the plucky, young, and intrepid reporter who got her head turned by a dark and mysterious guy and then got bent out of shape when her main squeeze turned out to be...dark and mysterious. Jim's the football star who made nothing of himself and resented everyone because of it. Together they are woefully inept and blandly drawn. Maybe by the writers openly acknowledging Big Jim and Julia's cliche nature, they are setting us up to stop expecting the un-cliche. Go with the cliche flow, folks! Which is why, of course, Julia and Big Jim team up with Jorrie (and a miraculously cured Hunter) to take down the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill, one drone at a time. Good luck with that--what am I saying? Of course they'll win. It's cliche.

Miscellaneous Notes on Ejecta

--I more or less passed over Barbie and Eva because they bore me to tears but they represent another type of response in the face of destruction: not caring and moving on (omg, drink). Eva has gotten her claws (and teeth) into Barbie and now he's determined to forget all about humanity and his quest to save all the things. Instead, he turns toward the new world order of the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill and openly embraces his role, whatever that is.

--Also, Eva, put your clothes back on. Now is not the time for BBQ. 

--Little Crazypants gave us some vague exposition about the destruction of a former home world and all the death of "last time." I guess, without saying it, this confirms that these little critters are aliens and they fled because they had no place else to go. It sounds like meteors also destroyed their home world but that leads to the question of how did the falling pink stars follow them to Chester's Mill? Also begs the question of why the bug aliens didn't put up a Dome over their home world to protect themselves from a destructive meteor shower?

--Sad Linda shout out!

--Is Junior planning on feeding Sam to Queen Bee?

--"It's no longer about right or wrong. It's about survival." Wait. Isn't that what Under the Dome has always been about?

Friday, July 24, 2015

In Which I Review Under the Dome (3x6)

Just whistle while you work. Or while your mind and body are being taken over by an alien parasite and you become part of a hive collective that is all about Communism--or community. Same thing, really. Here's something somewhat (okay, totally) shocking: this weeks episode, "Caged," had two distinct themes. This isn't to say that those two will be handled well in future episodes, but at least it's a step in the right direction from the normal meandering and multi-forked gibberish of a plot. These two themes were, one, the idea of being caged or trapped--either by design of another person or symbolically trapped by a totalitarian society. The other theme, one that has less significance to the current plot but might be more relevant to the show as whole, is the idea of civilization and how we define a prosperous civilization. Is it built by creative individual leaders, charismatic thinkers and doers who shape from the top down? Or is it the followers, working together in a group (a kinship you might say) to build something together, as a team? In other words: Great Men Of History or the efforts of the everyman? Philosophically deep and interesting but most likely never going to get the proper treatment it deserves here in Gibberish Land simply because the great men of Chester's Mill are all terrible people and the little townsfolk who suffer under them are currently being mind-warpped by sex juice from a cave. So, everyone, grab a tuna can and let's go!

Let's start with the first theme of the night: being caged. On a literal level, almost every major character ends up caged somehow this week. Obviously, Big Jim (and Hero Indy the Dog) are in a physical cage, trying to sweet talk and flatter his way into getting Queen Bee (who is likewise in a cage) to confess her dastardly plans so that the lone scientist in his white lab coat will let Big Jim loose on the world. Jorrie are caged in the broom closet--the same broom closet, I believe, where they officially put Joe's amply supply of condoms to good use. Julia is tied up and gagged (which is really the best way to have Julia at all times) by Junior and the rest of the Chester's Mill Borg Collective. See, literal levels. But on a more symbolic level, the Chester's Mill Borg Collective are caged as well, and not by the upside down goldfish bowl. It's true that they've literally been caged for about 3 weeks (that's all? really?) inside the Dome, but now their cages are their minds and bodies, not a physical manifestation. I would be interested to know if any of the former "person" resides in the new hollowed out Borg form. There must be something intact because Norrie snapped out of her momentary lapse and thus far Joey hasn't been affected at all, even though he was inside the cocoon. However, Junior (and Queen Bee to Big Jim) insists that there is nothing of James Rennie left inside the tall, muscular, lusciously lipped Little Crazypants. But I think that's wrong, not only because of the aforementioned Norrie, but also because Queen Bee has been very careful in how she manipulates her Chester's Mill Borg Collective. She tosses around ideas like kinship and being "for the group" when in public (which is just politics and thus akin to local amateur theater full of shadows and dust) but on an individual level--say Queen Bee and Junior--she uses the host's life, quirks, flaws, and traits to bend them to her will. When Queen Bee is manipulating Junior for the first time, she doesn't talk about the greater good of the group; she uses Junior's own traumatic past (namely the emotional abuse and neglect at the hands of Big Jim) to get him to burn down the Rennie house (another cage). Having found in Queen Bee what he never got from Big Jim, Junior is more malleable and open to suggestion, like sex in the Cave of Wonders. I think Queen Bee knows that she is playing a dangerous game; her plan to turn the residents of Chester's Mill into her Borg Collective is teetering on an edge. One strong gust--say from Julia or Jorrie--and it could all fall to ruin. The individuals have to be gotten rid of if they won't play by the rules because once you introduce independent thought and creative genius (even if it's crazy creative genius) into the mix, the masses will open their eyes and blink away the effects of their drug. This does bring one question to mind: would the Chester's Mill Borg Collective consider Queen Bee their goddess as well as their leader? They certainly revere her in a manner that is not unlike revering a god. They stand around (whistling) while they wait for orders; there is no forward motion for the Chester's Mill Borg Collective unless dictated by Queen Bee. Now, that's a monarchy (tyranny, really) but it's also a (highly) negative and cynical look at religion. And at this stage, if there is an apotheosis a'coming for Queen Bee, then I am reminded what Marx said about religion: it's the opiate of the masses.

That is also a nice bridge to our second theme of the night: civilization and the merits of what makes one "good" and what makes one "bad." Under the Dome seems, in my mind, to be setting up a dual and oppositional dynamic here: the individual, non-cult-like flavor of a few select Chester's Mill residents against the drugged out, cult-like (with some potential religious connotations) of the Borg Collective. It's an us vs them mentality, but given the language Queen Bee was using in her conversation with Big Jim, it's more than that. It's that individuality must be suppressed. You--the core of what you are--do not exist. The collective, the kinship, the fellowship, the herd exists. But you do not. You are a cog in a machine that is intricate and far more important than your tiny bit. As I said, it's more than an us vs them mentality; we can extend to it to religion (atheism vs organized religion); to political systems (republics vs communism) and so on and so forth. Perhaps this isn't what Under the Dome is intending--and, actually, given their track record of thinking small and only in cheesy cliches, I would be stunned and amazed to learn that they had put this much thought into their show--but nevertheless, it's where my brain went and given that TV is subjective, I'm running with it. I'm not even sure that Under the Dome wants to come down on one side of this issue. Being part of a collective is serving the residents of Chester's Mill on one level: they are fed; they are being put to work; they are whistling (I assume) in happiness. Yes, they've lost their individuality, but their needs (if we go by Maslow's woefully outdated pyramid) are being met. On the other hand, being a leader isn't that great. Big Jim was a leader and he was hated and despised. Queen Bee is a leader but Sam stabbed her through the stomach this week because of her choices. Yes, they get to call the shots but they aren't exactly living the high life. I strongly suspect that Under the Dome will come down in the middle--you need to work together as a kinship (but sans sex juice) with the help of strong, charismatic leaders--to survive. And if that fails, then you better have a Cave of Wonders with some sex juice to wrap you tightly in a cocoon while you return to health. See. Just when it gets deep, Under the Dome reminds you not to give it too much thought.

Miscellaneous Notes on Caged      

--Queen Bee is "not of this earth, but something very foreign." Please just use the word "alien." Come on; we all know they are aliens.

--Anthropologists were hired to find fragments of a meteor that fell to earth. I really don't think Under the Dome has any idea what anthropologists do.

--The drawing Junior found: what are they plans of? A way to reach the aliens still up in space who need to come to Chester's Mill? A way to bring down the Dome? The next orgy?

--"We mean no harm, but we will defend ourselves." What does 'mean no harm' even mean to you then, Queen Bee? Cause lots-o-people have died.

--Why has Joey been totally unaffected and why did Norrie snap out of it? Please don't say true love.

--Queen Bee orders Eva to have sex with Barbie. How romantic.

--RIP Barlie? No more BBQ-ing I guess. 

--"I've seen the movie, Mrs. Spock." I'm going to pretend Under the Dome did not just riff on "Wrath of Khan."

Friday, July 17, 2015

In Which I Review Under The Dome (3x5)

And just when the Grinch thought he had won, he heard a sound. It was the sound of singing. Yes, even though the Grinch had stolen the Who Pudding, all the Whos of Whoville came out to hold hands and celebrate Christmas. And the Grinch's heart grew three times in size that day. Oh, it's a Christmas (or some other indeterminate point in time) miracle in Chester's Mill! Big Jim Rennie, the car salesman, politician, propane hoarder, thug, and all around bad egg (pun!) finally learned how to love. And no, it wasn't because of his son or his dead-then-alive-then-dead-again wife, but because of a dog. A dog named Indy. The hero of Chester's Mill is a scrawny mutt named Indy. Let's hear it for Indy, everyone! Okay, but back here on planet Earth and not on Planet Dome where people smear amniotic fluid on unsuspecting faces and speak in utter Gibberish, this weeks episode "Alaska" was really an exercise in exposition and reinforcing the main idea of the season which is an "us vs them" mentality with a focus on the collective hive mind versus the free and independent states of Jorrie (with a side of Julia). A lot of this was--you guessed it--utter nonsense. When your exposition just leaves more giant question marks and only serves to show that your narrative is too ridiculous to even explain properly, then maybe you need to rethink your narrative. Grab your favorite pet and hold him tight. Let's go. 

Queen Bee is suspicious. We get that, right? No one needs clarification on whether or not we should trust Christine Price? Good. Perhaps it's her tendency to record all her thoughts on a Dictaphone while she's trapped under a giant upside down goldfish bowl and therefore no one in the outside world can hear her thoughts on the progress of her "One of Us" experiment. Maybe it's her need to tell people to kill themselves by praying on their weakness and insecurities. It could be her flaming red hair coupled with a sneer of disdain as she watches the little ants march to and fro, stop and go. Or maybe--just going off the cuff here--it's the fact that has sex with teenage boys that she's controlling with hippy dippy drugs and then proceeds to smear the same drug on the face of her closest..."friend" in order to get said friend to join the hive mind and then carry Barbie's baby to term. Because the baby is the Prince that was Promised (wrong series?) and is going to replace her as Queen Bee, She of the Purple Caves, Lady of the Pods, and Her Majesty, The Royal Liar Liar Pants on Fire. Yeah, it didn't make much sense in the TV show either but honestly I think I just did a great job explaining it to you. We essentially got two shots of exposition this week. One was silly and the other was...sillier. The purple goo that is nurturing the pods down in the Cave of Wonders is really amniotic fluid; it's drying up because the energy supply is failing after Big Jim Rennie destroyed the Precious. When Gollum (actual Hobbit-esque Gollum) fell into Mount Doom with the Ring, Sauron was vanquished but here in Chester's Mill destroying the Precious means that you must work doubly hard to ensure that your herd of cattle do not stray from their (read: your; read: Queen Bee's) chosen path. That's just silly. Amniotic fluid? Feeding pods? Better still, feeding empty pods? There is no more life force in those pods. The people hatched. They came forth in slime and creamy goodness (I know, ew) and now the life force is inside them. So who cares if the happy drug runs out? Some members of Chester's Mill are resisting their life force. Like Joey and Norrie (because they shared True Love's Sex, obviously). Anyone who resists the life force needs a face full of slime--I wish I was making that up. Queen Bee literally smears Eva with a face full of amniotic fluid in order to make her behave. Queen Bee is all about control; people must play by her rules, they must work together, play together, live together, moo together (favorite line of the night; from Norrie, of course).

If you follow Queen Bee's rules, you get rewarded, like Junior who got to bang the Queen in her Cave of Wonders (double entendre for the win!) If you don't behave or if you deign to take away one of Queen Bee's workers then you get beat up, killed, berated, or a stern talking to. Is Christine Price an actual menace? Both yes and no. She's of the subtle type of menacing. I will admit that she has a certain Ben Linus type of nature about her; Queen Bee controls behind the scenes, moving pieces into place and doing away with pawns (like Angry Marine Man) as she sees fit. It could be considered genius and the way the herd of Chester's Mill turned on Jorrie on a dime was actually horrifying in the traditional "Children of the Corn" way; but then she spouses nonsense about amniotic fluid and gets taken captive by Julia with nothing more than a gun and a toss of the Monarch's flowing locks and suddenly Queen Bee seems pretty incompetent. It's also completely ridiculous that the show introduced her just this season, giving no indication that a Queen Bee was lurking somewhere in Chester's Mill. We've had other threats before, but nothing that would suggest Queen Bee and Eva were hiding out somewhere having found the egg just before the Dome came down. It's an obvious ass-pull from the writers who can't do anything better and don't want to find a way to rework their narrative to make an already established character into the Big Bad. I could buy Julia being Queen Bee; after all, she's the Monarch (whatever that means). Or even making Norrie the new Queen. Heck, make Big Jim the King Bee since it fits his overbearing and controlling persona, but Christine Price is just another Max No-Last-Name, a character who stumbles into the narrative when the writers are struggling with what to say.

 The other piece of exposition of the night gives us our title of Alaska. If you remember (and why would you since the show can barely remember a cogent plot line from week to week) back in the first episode of the season, the state of Alaska was cryptically dropped into the storyline as an obvious Chekov's Gun. We knew it had to come back up because one does not mention a state on the opposite (literally) side of the continental United States without it having some sort of significance later in the story. It was nothing revelatory; it seemed mostly like what I had suspected: some 25 years ago, archaeologists (not anthropologists!) in Alaska discovered the fragments of an egg inside a crater. The shards of the egg emitted an electrical charge when touched and gave off an energy that was different from all other types of energy on this planet (aliens!); this energy was clean and not radioactive and obviously became a hot commodity. The issues was that the eggs infected people and resulted in some strange behavior. Thanks, I'm sure, to the foresight of the scientists that were infected, they recorded their own suicides after the leader (former Queen Bee) jumped off a building because whatever the leader does, so too her little hive. History is more or less repeating itself now with Christine playing the new Queenly role. She was hired (because this is actually a job anthropologists do??) to find the first intact egg. I have no idea how she found it in Chester's Mill (the show writers told her to head north east, apparently) but there you go. Aktion is trying to harvest the energy of the egg without the nasty consequences of body snatching. Ah well. Too bad; egg go boom.

Miscellaneous Notes on Alaska 

--Joe and Norrie declared their love for each other before copulating again in a field. How romantic.

--Julie, in her infinite wisdom as a world class news reporter, has the opportunity to ask the lead scientist inside the Dome any question she wants and she asks "What happened in Alaska?" Really? An incident you were just alerted to because of a file on a computer that says "Alaska" is the first question to come out of your mouth? You didn't think to ask "what is up with this huge upside down goldfish bowl and how do I get out?" Julia is dumb.

--No more fake-out dog violence please.

--RIP Abby. I guess? And RIP Angry Marine Man. I guess? If Under the Dome wants death to have an impact, then stop killing people that are introduced one episode beforehand.

--Hunter fell off a roof. That's unfortunate.

--"Moo on." (omg, I just realized that's a pun on a the "move on" line that was uttered approximately eight hundred million times in the season premiere)

Friday, July 10, 2015

In Which I Review Under the Dome (3x4)

Oh. I get it. The aliens that sent the egg that caused the Dome to drop--are the Borg. It all makes sense now! Having never managed to capture and assimilate the Enterprise and being forever frustrated--as much as a hive collective with no discernible personality can be--by this failure, they clearly decided to send themselves back in time to Chester's Mill, USA circa 2013 and trap a bunch of whiny, good for nothing, idiots inside a Dome in order to upgrade humans as part of their collective. The Borg have changed a wee bit since the good ol' days of Star Trek; now they have love triangles! Lots of love triangles. Likes, OUAT-levels of love triangles. At any rate, I'm not entirely sure that anything happened on this week's episode "The Kinship." Mostly couples split up, had sex, fought, and used their Dome-sized situation to engage in tired metaphors about kinship, family, herds, and over all togetherness and harmony. Oh and Queen Bee was outted as a pervert. Grab a condom--or if you're Joey, grab several--and let's go!

In a stunning turn of events, the people inside Chester's Mill are about to run out of food! Shocking isn't it. It's not like we've ever done this before or been in this exact same situation (sarcasm). But don't worry, Evarbie found cattle feed that will sustain the residents until the corn begins to grow. All hail the dynamic and romantic duo that are Eva and Barbie. Lord. Save me from this. I don't care about Eva. I barely care about Barbie, so by the law of mathematics, I certainly don't care about Evarbie. She's overly weepy, he's overly....dull. Together they are weepy and dull. At least Julia is somewhat crazy (and perfectly coiffed. Seriously, girlfriend, how do you still have an ample supply of conditioner and mouse for such bouncy curls? Shouldn't your hair be more akin to a bird's nest by now?). In case you missed it, the cattle metaphor was not subtle. Cattle are part of a herd. Herds work and live together for the betterment of all herd-kind. You might even call them a kinship. I call it rote and trite. After a year in Pod Status, the residents of Chester's Mill are forced to make decisions about which life they prefer--the Matrix or the Real World. Blue pill or red pill, Neo? Barbie, it appears, is choosing his rabbit hole; he is willing to fall, Alice-style, down and down and down and into the weepy and waiting arms of Eva. What a lovely delusion. Of course, it's not exactly free will that's leading Barbie down his Matrix-y lane. It's Queen Bee who keeps manipulating the situations to her advantage. For whatever reason, it's imperative to her that Evarbie be together in her new Borg collective. Julia is not fit for Barbie. Is it because Julia is the Monarch? Does the Queen Bee fear the Monarch? Is it because Julia has better hair than Queen Bee? You couldn't possibly have two red heads living together in the collective. The world could not hold that much soullessness.

Contrasting Evabrie are Jorrie (with a rather rape culture-y side story of Horrie). If Barbie is gladly falling back down his rabbit hole, then Norrie is running from the Queen of Hearts (oh hey...Queen Bee does like red!) and back into the real world. Norrie got caught up in the pretty and perfect world that the Pod gave her. She was loved and she loved back. She was desired and she desired back. For once, Norrie was rather normal. Or as normal as a girl who spent several weeks inside a Dome can be. There were pretty dresses and sororities and friends and acceptance. But that's not who Norrie is. Norrie, in the real world, hates everyone (Norrie is an obvious stand-in for the audience, by the way). Maybe that's the point. At the heart of the matter, Barbie really is a Savior-type figure, albeit one that is rather rough around the edges. So the dream world that he experienced in the Pod is pretty close to how Barbie sees himself on a daily basis. It's easy to fall back into that world when it's one that already matches your preconceived notions about yourself. Whereas with Julia, he can be the Savior, but he's also the Killer and the Thug and last season he was the guy who almost agreed that killing the weaker members of Chester's Mill would be a good idea. With Eva, he's the guy you can cling to in a sand-and-hail storm. But for Norrie, the reality she was given inside the Pod is not who she really is; not even close to it. The bubblegum pink version of her does not match who Norrie sees herself as, and thus the Kool-Aid Queen Bee is passing out fails, ultimately. Sure, Norrie dips her big toe into the pond by way of a heated make out session with Hunter, but in the end, Norrie is a rebel who falls back into her life with Joey. And then Joey proceeds to fall into her vagina. What? Too much? If the Dome shatters because of the power of Jorrie love making, I may have to give up TV forever. And in other news, Queen Bee took Junior down to the Cave of Wonders and then showed him her Cave of Wonders (yes, that's a sex metaphor) and my eyes need some serious bleaching. UGH. WHY?! Just....why? Is this like in "V" when the Queen needed to mate while the other aliens got into place and prepared? But we did get a look at Queen Bee in all her Queeny glory; bugtastic and ugly as sin. Good luck with that one, Junior. Let's just hope Queen Bee doesn't have to eat her mate after they consummate their love.

Miscellaneous Notes on The Kinship

--Does Queen Bee have to touch you in order for you to fall under her spell? She keeps touching everyone, like Jacob on LOST.

--Big Jim was kidnapped by men who managed to get inside the Dome. The men wanted the Egg. Because killing Gollum did not end the magical quest for the godforsaken egg. Look, the egg is gone!! Take the shows advice and MOVE ON.

--How is it that Science Teacher Pine didn't know that you could magically turn cattle feed into human food? She knew everything science. She science'd that science harder than anyone has ever science'd the science.

--"All you care about is screwing me!" RIP Horrie

--Who the hell is Abby and why do I care about her drunk troubles and her drunk sex with Sam? Have we ever seen her before?

--"Does this mean I should get a condom?" And the best line of the night goes to....

Friday, July 3, 2015

In Which I Review Under The Dome (3x3)

In the promo for this weeks episode, "Redux," we were promised that all would be revealed. And we got....answers? See, I'm actually asking because I'm not sure. When the words functioning collective from purple goop (mixed with Oxycontin, apparently) were uttered, I almost turned the channel. This really is a bad 1980s science fiction movie, isn't it? Or it's Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It's a good thing that this episode was titled Redux because that's what it is: a rehash, a revival of past drama. Yes, the characters say that they feel different because of their experiences inside the Alternate Reality, but it's the same old same old. Julie and Barbie have a fight because someone comes in between them (season one it was Julia's husband, whom Barbie killed. Season two it was Science Teacher Pine who wanted to thin the herd through careful selection); Jorrie are having issues as Hunter makes a move on Norrie, just like Melanie made a move on Joe back in season two. Barbie and Big Jim fight; Big Jim and Julia fight; Big Jim and Junior fight; Big Jim and a dog fight. Okay, that last one is new, but the rest? Same old. Same old. Same old. The song remains the same here in Chester's Mill. The one semi-new, yet somehow just as ridiculous and mind numbingly tedious as previous plot lines, is Queen Bee who is one part bitch, one part alien, and all parts homicidal. So was all revealed? Nope, not even close. Grab a match and let's set this on fire! 

Who sent the Dome? We don't know. What is the Dome? We don't know. Why Chester's Mill? We don't know. Why is Julia the Monarch? We don't know. Why are Joey, Angie, Junior and Norrie the Four Hands? We don't know. Why did Pauline receive visions of what was to come? We don't know. Why is Barbie so important? We don't know. So what do we know? Well we know that the purple goop is a wicked brew of Oxycontin and that when you combine it with an alternate reality it makes cocooned people into a functioning collective after life forces have been transferred to said pod people. No, I am not going to break down that long winded sentence and explain it to you because first someone is going to have to explain it to me! What on God's green Earth...? This was the supposed big revelation from Queen Bee (who was inside the Queen Pod--her words, not mine!). Queen Bee and Gollum meet in the underground lair of Evil to discuss how Gollum only had ONE JOB and failed to do it; she couldn't even cocoon people correctly. Well, that's Gollum. Useless, annoying, and thankfully by episode end, deader than a doornail. I can only hazard a guess at this point but I think the egg had literal life forms in it and that those life forms were in the process of being transferred to the good (not so good) people of Chester's Mill when Big Jim interrupted the coital transfer (yeah it's sex, let's just own up to this...those are sperm moving into a cocoon shaped eggs and hatching little Pod People) by placing the egg on the Queen Bee Pod. Or something. Queen Bee did say that the purpose of all this was to survive and propagate, so my underlying theory of long ago that these are aliens looking to colonize, to branch out, to expand, might actually be true. I honestly don't care if it's true. I just want the story to do more than give me the same refrain over and over. Ooooh a mysterious stranger who might have answers to the Dome and the questions posed at the start of the series? Yup, we've never had that before (sarcasm). Oooh, relationship trouble between people who are only connected through extraordinary circumstances and most likely would not have even been remotely interested in one another outside of the Dome? Yup, we've never had that either (sarcasm!) Oooh, the townspeople don't trust one another! Yup, we sure as hell have never had that before either! I think I just broke my keyboard with all that sarcasm. We did learn a little bit more about Queen Bee and Eva (does she need a nickname?) Apparently they are anthropologists who have uncovered lost civilizations in their travels (which included North Dakota?) Look, I don't know what kind of college you went to but anthropologists don't exactly uncover lost civilizations. You get that the anthro in "anthropologists" means people right? It's Greek so you can trust me on this one. Archaeologists, maybe. Also, isn't Eva a little too young to be some hot shot anthro/archo/scholar person? Or at least too young to be one that has uncovered lost civilizations? But whatever; these two--Pinky and the Brain, if you will--found the egg before the Dome fell and Queen Bee touched it which is why she is now the Queen Bee. The egg infused her with its yolky goodness. Or something.

The other redux of the night was that the Pod People are Pod People! Everyone who emerged from the pods are having major issues readjusting to real life because to them being inside the alternate reality was very real. It felt like a year of healing, coping, and moving on (drink!) happened. In a way, that's a very interesting storyline: trying to suss out memories and realities and decide your own fate after you have two lives in your head. It's almost classic OUAT, actually. But of course, for Under the Dome, all that means is that these townsfolk once again demonstrate what terrible people they are by being selfish and self-righteous. Norrie still cares for Joe but she's grown up because of her Pod Experience (which was joining a sorority and I can tell you that does not necessarily age you in the way you think it should) and this means that she'll kill pigs in the woods, Katniss Everdeen style. Hunter is suddenly a beef cake who can see without his glasses (because purple goop!) and he and Norrie make eyes at one another while dancing to punk rock in a dead woman's house (after moving her corpse outside because it smelled funny.) Barbie has feelings for Eva (who is not pregnant) but is also still in love with Julia and can't quite figure out how to be with one or the other. Junior wants to be his own man and be free of Big Jim but could only do that inside the cocoon. Or by burning his house down in the real world. No, I don't understand that either. How...does this not kill people? I know the Dome is porous but a house on fire inside an enclosed goldfish bowl...doesn't that greatly reduce the amount of oxygen and increase the amount of carbon dioxide? Shouldn't everyone be choking and wheezing and having smoke inhalation problems? But they aren't. They are staring at the moon like it holds the secrets of the universe. No, don't ask me to explain that. I don't get that either. Did the egg come from the moon? (Moon is goddess, woman-wife to Sun. It is known. Or it's a dragon egg, Khaleesi. If you don't get this reference...then I give up). Is Queen Bee a Moon Martian? Is anyone anything? Or, are they Pod People living in a fishbowl, being controlled by writers who clearly have no plan, no agenda, and no narrative. No, don't ask me to explain that either. The show itself speaks volumes in that regard.

Miscellaneous Notes on Redux

--"What was it like for you when I was dead?" Really, Julia? You couldn't just start with a "hi honey. Glad you're alive."

--Joey gave an actual Matrix reference. The writers are reading my blog, aren't they?

--Queen Bee to Gollum: "YOU HAD ONE JOB!"

--Why is Big Jim being followed by a dog? I don't get this. But I don't get anything.

--Hunter + Norrie = Horrie. I have spoken.

--Sam is going to run the support group? The guy who brutally murdered a teenage girl less than two weeks ago? We think this is a good idea??

--"We are what we do." Thank you Queen Bee for that lovely psychobabble-new-age-philosophy. To bad it's nonsense.

--Did someone put out the fire at Junior's house? Doesn't that waste precious water? 

--RIP Gollum. I guess.

--No seriously. Why the hell are they staring at the moon?