Under the Dome Season 2 Episode 13 – TV Review
Don’t panic. She does die for good in this episode.
Big Jim isn’t as happy about it as I was, evidently.
TL;DR Pauline dies, and Big Jim flies into a murder spree; everyone else mobilises the town to evacuate through the hole Melanie got sucked into last episode (there’s a cave down there); the season ends on an even stupider cliffhanger than last time.
First, the bad news: Pauline didn’t die last episode. The good news is that she dies this episode: despite the best efforts of our heroes, her back stab is too severe to survive. While everyone is out, she compels Rebecca to euthanise her. Sam takes the news pretty well, but Big Jim’s response is to bash Rebecca’s head in with a hammer, try to blackmail the dome into reviving Pauline, and then, having no response from the dome, go on a spree to murder everyone under the dome. He starts with Andrea (the chick who had the food stash/one of his friends), then turns his attentions to Julia. She doesn’t let her life-threatening leg impalement slow her down in her escape, and Junior, having accepted Pauline’s death and decided to destroy his father, shoots Big Jim while Julia flees. Meanwhile, Barbie, Julia, and everyone else has been organising a whole town evacuation after Joe, Norrie, and Hunter discover what they assume to be a way out in the caves beneath the hole Melanie got sucked into. Everyone makes it down, but Julia is trapped by a crack in the earth that she can’t pass; Junior gets stuck, too, having wasted time fighting with Big Jim; and Big Jim is last seen hovering outside the hole entrance. Barbie pushes on with the townsfolk, only to find an apparent dead end. A butterfly directs him to place his hand on a rock, and it shatters to reveal a gaping white void, through which Melanie appears and cheerily implores them to follow her: “We’re going home.” Exeunt.
Also, her hair is wet and gross. Bitch, pull it together.
My goodness, what a different show Under the Dome became this season. From where I stood, the first season didn’t have a single fundamentally flawed episode. It may not have been the most exhilarating thing on television, but it was proudly solid.
Season 2, however, was a fucking banal, slogging ordeal from start to finish. The only thing that makes this episode any different to the sloppy mess that came before it for the rest of the season is the unabashed return to villainy from Big Jim.
I know it’s a bit of a stretch for him to go from cautious hero of fate to whirlwind of bloodletting in about 10 seconds, but an imposing, powerful villain is what this show needed. And is exactly what was missing for the other 12 episodes of this season.
I don’t want a season 3 at this point, but if there is, then Big Jim better keep up the good (and by “good,” I mean “heinously evil”) work.
Why I hate this episode:
It’s just more random crap that these characters have to shuffle through. So Melanie’s CGI doom hole turns out to be a fabulous little cave collection underneath (with glowing pink mineral deposits. Where are my poppers?). Norrie, Joe, and Hunter spelunk in there long enough to assume there’s a way out, but without actually checking. Then they get their logical comeuppance when the town comes to the dead end. But no, double random twist bullshit: there actually is a way out, Barbie just has to oddly touch a rock which then explodes for some reason. This shit is bananas. And I don’t eat fruit.
The contraction of the dome remains as inconsistent as ever. As the characters point out, the dome is contracting like a sphere, which means both horizontally and vertically. I’m no science person, but I’d think all that earth being pushed up from underneath would be having a more profound effect on the geography of Chester’s Mill. Or, you know, at least the caves underneath it. I don’t believe a single, annoyingly-timed crack in the ground drives home the danger enough, you know?
Barbie keeps reminding us just how little time has passed in-world. “We’ve been together for two whole weeks, y’all.” Yeah, no, Barbie. That isn’t a very impressive amount of time to sufficiently drive home a rousing speech.
Rebecca finally kills somebody, and is then quickly bumped off herself. She’ll never have the chance to grow into the murderer she could have been. What a waste.
When Barbie runs into the supposed dead end in the tunnel, he and the gang just stand there defeated and not knowing what to do. Intead of, oh, I don’t know, maybe checking the other side of the fork in the cave? God, people. Where’s your proactivity?
Pauline really isn’t a very talented artist, is she?
Junior has his mighty showdown with Big Jim. Which is merely Junior kind of wounding him by shooting him in the chest/shoulder area, then running away prematurely. Fucking kill him, dipshit. Also, way to fight back, Big Jim. What is wrong with these people?
We don’t get to see anything going on with Don or the MIB this episode. You call this is a season finale?
Oh, and seriously, Pauline fucking sucks. Way to waste more time being dull and obstructive. I take small consolation in Junior and Sam’s relative apathy towards her death.
But it’s not all bad:
Big Jim is back in the murderous hot seat, and better than ever. He gets off to a good start with Rebecca. Both in the fact that he knocks her skull out with a hammer to the head, but he also criticises her for failing to be a killer when he wanted her to be (with the flu plan), then actually being a killer the one time where he didn’t approve of it (by euthanising Pauline). Right on, brother.
He then has his big blackmail speech with the dome, giving the poor thing only 3 seconds to accept the deal of returning Pauline to life in exchange for Big Jim not going on a kill spree. Naturally, the dome stays silent at a time when it would be convenient to send an apparition to negotiate, so Big Jim makes a beeline for Andrea’s house. He uses Andrea to lure out Julia, then blithely executes Andrea with a bullet to the head. Julia slips away (thanks to a juicy foot stab from the fiery red head), but points for effort.
During the blackmail rant, he mentions the ways he’d love to murder the main characters, which include: slitting Julia’s throat, shooting Barbie in the heart, and burning Joe and Norrie alive. Go on, then.
Julia and Junior being trapped together doesn’t make for the world’s most ideal team-up. But next to Barbie, I can’t imagine any two characters who would be more okay with finishing off Big Jim for good. Julia acts all goody-goody most of the time. But I think her stance on this particular issue might have evolved. And girl knows how to get shit done.
Pauline’s death is unattractive and hilarious. Which is what she’s earned.
Shrinkage-induced lightning strikes and kills a farmer that Julia and Barbie encounter. This is also hilarious.
Norrie finally gets around to explaining whey she was on the way to boot camp in the first place, which is why she and her mums were passing through Chester’s Mill: she knocked a girl’s tooth out after said girl made fun of Norrie’s hair. Appropriately, Norrie is wracked with guilt over putting herself and her mums in dome’s way over something so trivial. Fair enough, baby. Let it out.
Oh, and is it too much to hope that Melanie will be able to lead anyone to freedom? Her cryptic little “we’re going home” bullshit suggests that no, she won’t. But Under the Dome owes us some goodness after 13 episodes of shit. Give us a break.