Friday, August 28, 2015

In Which I Review Under the Dome (3x11)

Using Pat Benatar to further your own silly drivel is not okay with me, Under the Dome. Love is a Battlefield is a classic and iconic song that we've all rocked out to before, so how about you back off the 1980 anthem and focus on your nonsensical plot and random expositional wanderings. In this week's episode, horrifyingly entitled "Love is a Battlefield," we get something that might resemble answers. Or, at least, we got some exposition that is clearly going to set up season 4 and clarification--ha--that the Bugs are not the true enemy. You see the Bugs are just killing time before the writers could figure out how to extend the show past three seasons so pretty much everything that mattered or was said and done in the first three seasons means nothing because "they" are coming. I love when characters play the pronoun game and don't use specific words to elucidate what they mean, causing us to constantly yell "Who is coming? What are you talking about!?" over and over. Or maybe that's just me. Grab one-seventh of a broken amethyst and let's go! Remember, kids....we only have two to go. 

There are really only two things to talk about this week: the appearance of Baby! Queen going alongside the new looming threat and some sappy emotional crap that really doesn't mean much because it comes from either random nobodies that we don't care about or it comes from some truly horrible people that, again, I don't care about. I'm going to be somewhat fair to Under the Dome for a change. For reasons other than another season, having a new bigger and badder alien monster coming to destroy everyone makes sense. There has to be a reason why the Bugs decided to flee their home world, with so few of their species in tow, and are obsessed with the idea of survival and with reproduction. That particular thread has existed--shockingly enough--since the start of this season and thus makes narrative sense is if there is something much worse on the horizon. Where the failure comes in is in the execution of the bigger and badder alien menace. There has been little to no foreshadowing or real hints of what we have now been told is coming. Queen Bee has a been a figure on this show from the start of the third season with ample time to give a variety of expositions on the Dome, the magical cocoons, the oxytocin, not to mention her icky sexcapades with Little Crazypants. But instead of having her speak about this looming threat that is the real danger to planet Earth, she's been doing everything but showing any real measure of fear about this threat. It looks forced and pulled out of thin air now with her sudden plot bomb to Joe as she's forcing him to stare at a calcified Dome and order him to split the amethysts seven ways (apparently that's the key to bringing down the Dome? That's the utter gibberish for the week). Honestly, I don't care what the new threat is and why should I? Yes, Queen Bee has been a bit of a menace in a cold, calculating, smother you with a pillow sort of way, but given that the show has done nothing to flesh her or her kind out in any meaningful and non-threatening way, I find that I can't be even the tiniest bit intrigued about the new big bad and the circumstances for why the Bugs fled their own world. They are just a place filler until next season and, ultimately, Queen Bee will die before the season is out and the Bugs will be forgotten as the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill return to "normal." If they wanted me to care about the mass extinction of this race--these bugs--then the writers needed to build some sympathy from the start, to make them more nuanced than just Queen Bee running around having sex with teenagers, killing random people, and sounding off weird gibberish about purple goop. Because the writers made the Bugs so uninteresting and unimportant, I neither fear nor care about this new alien that is apparently out there in space. C'est la vie, eh?

The other thread this week actually carried across multiple parties and characters, not something Under the Dome is known for. Namely, we had some parent-to-child conversation or introspective naval gazing. Up first we have Big Jim and Little Crazypants. Did Jim mean anything he said? Possibly, but I don't know how he got from a few episodes ago thinking it's okay to kill Junior to suddenly loving him and wanting to mend their very torn relationship. There has been no emotional upheaval, no change of heart, no moment of understanding for Jim. In this week alone, Big Jim is still all gung-ho about killing the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill. If I'm expected to believe that he's looking at his son lying on a cot and suddenly feels really bad about the way he's treated Junior, then the show failed (shock) because his emotional state has remained unaltered whenever he's come up against Junior before. Again, this whole "we could be the Rennie boys!" malarkey comes out of left field and feels like a time killer and only inserted to add to the "shock" of Jim agreeing with Benton in the end. The only resolution to the Rennie boys is obvious: Junior is playing Big Jim and in the end Big Jim says "ok" to Benton killing everyone inside the Dome to prevent the Bugs from escaping. Any emotional development on Big Jim's part just died before it even really began. In other parent/child news, Eva had a crappy childhood and I don't care. I really don't. Why should I? I don't know Eva; we haven't been given any kind of indication about who she was before the Dome (except that she was an anthropologist doing things no anthropologist would ever do...). Her sad (very remedial and cliche) backstory falls emotionally flat and on deaf ears as does her death at the hands of Queen Bee. Harsh, Queenie, harsh. And then there's little Baby! Queen who sucked the Kinship out of her mother's breast (yes, I really just wrote that) before her mother reverted back to normal only to be smothered by a pillow and a poorly sung lullaby. So much for the power of the Kinship, eh? What does Queen Bee really want? Is she truly ready to give up her time on the proverbial throne? Has she accepted, truly, the passing of the torch and is she ready to die because her cycle has come to an end? I don't know and again it's because the writers have failed at making Queen Bee a character that we can understand. I have no idea who the parasite pixel thing is. I know she's some sort of alien but I'm given no indication what sort of soul she is (to use the term soul rather loosely) and chances are, with the season drawing to a close, I never will. Ah well. C'est la vie, eh?

Miscellaneous Notes on Love is a Battlefield

--Julia found a single strand of Queen Bee's hair in a barn full of hay. Because she's the plucky young reporter, guys!

--I honestly don't care about Uhura learning her father is a pixel bug and that her pseduo-father Benton has been lying to her. Why should I care about these people at all?

--If the super drug with Queen Bee's DNA causes brain damage in Junior, I'd think that was a plus not a con.

--Barbie is going to save the Eva he "used to know." What? You never knew Eva. The Eva you "knew" was in a fake dream world fueled by purple cocoon goop! What an absurd line. 

--"I'm helping to deliver your baby with another woman."

--RIP Random Military Man. RIP Eva.

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