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)

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