Ever since the Dome came down around Chester’s Mill most of the episodes have centered around the sprawling cast of characters trying to live life as normal as possible, just with the Dome causing minor inconveniences. OK, maybe major with the whole lack of a Fire Department. Point being drama built from minor living inconveniences weren’t ever really explored and they didn’t do much to inform character. “Blue On Blue” does not follow this formula, putting the actual Dome in the front of all the interactions this episode.
It’s “visitors day” at camp Chester’s Mill. After nearly a week of the Dome coming down the residents trapped on the inside are suddenly greeted by the family they have on the outside. This is the epitome of “so close but so far”. The scene itself is a series of not quite touching but well executed character moments, that went a long way into getting me to actually tolerate them. Seeing Linda finally get to see her fiance again and find out she is on the cover of People magazine was a solid aww moment. Only to be brought down to earth by Linda slowly tell him about the death of his brother (which happened largely off screen). To Dodee signing to her mother(?) was all that was needed. The little things are what made the scene just seeing people reacting to seeing their family members for the first time in what seemed like ages. It brought back this sense of hope for the townspeople while simultaneously reaffirming the position they are all in. Under the Dome hasn’t really made much use of The Dome in recent episodes, it has been pushed to the side with off hand remarks about if it was up yet. With visitors day the Dome becomes a focal point and constant reminder of what is going on.
Not everything about visitors day is all great. Norrie suddenly meeting her biological father was not interesting. Of all the other things going on in this show, I’m supposed to care about that? I’m all for it leading to a nice talk about the spectrum of what makes a family and parents. It’s inclusion only served to separate Norrie and Joe from the main group when the M.O.A.B. was being dropped. Which wasn’t exactly the tensest of scenes.
As Barbie finds out after waving his special military coin the army plans on launching the M.O.A.B.(mother of all bombs) at The Dome in an attempt to take it down, even if it kills everyone on the inside. Once the majority of the townspeople take refuge in the old cement factory the scene begins to operate much like the early visitor one. All the characters huddle together and share a nice moment before the bomb strikes. Julia makes nice with Barbie...but not fully since she still believes he’s alive. Which will come out after they end up shacking up because TV. The local DJ’s have a nice dance to Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World”. The lead up and last minute search for Norrie and Jim were utterly devoid of tension. The bomb was never going to work and anyone with a brain could see that coming. But as a vehicle to get to the moment in the bunker Under the Dome was successful.
“there can be no true despair without hope.” is what Bane tells a broken Bruce Wayne as he leaves him in the Pit. That mixture of hope and despair is prevalent in the final images of “Blue on Blue”. Barbie, Julia, and Big Jim all survey the damage caused on the outside of the bomb. With that feeling. The Dome is a fairly expensive bit of SFX work and this episode did have some truly beautiful shots of all the butterflies on the Dome as well as the dusty wasteland left by the explosion.
I suppose it is now time to talk about Angie FINALLY getting out of the Redding bomb shelter. Angie is the type of stock character Kim Bauer was in 24 season 1. She has no real agency, even when she appears to. Perhaps out of some maternal instinct she chooses to comfort her captor and former boyfriend as the bomb is about to hit. That doesn't mean it didn’t look really dumb. Angie’s entire storyline has been dumb and now that she’s out there is a logical next step: outing Junior for being insane, that the show seems to be slowly teasing out. It’s overplaying the hand it was dealt. Now if the next episode starts with her shooting Junior in the head all will be forgiven.
Under the Dome, like a lot of shows I’m watching this summer, is kind of inoffensive. It’s there and mildly entertaining, it has a solid pedigree, and the markers of quality television. There is just a lack of heart in the entirety of the show that is leaving me wanting. This episode had heart and intrigue. Now it just needs more of it.