Pilot episodes are a hard thing to pull off. The only thing as hard is likely the finale be it season or series. You have to give simultaneous sense of closure and setup for the next season. Finale’s are supposed to be the big special moment Under the Dome didn’t have any of it. LOST did this (mostly) well be adding new layers to the mystery. It explained something but it only created more questions. Under the Dome has been utterly terrible in balancing the sci-fi mythology and social sides. Even as “Curtains” tries to tie these two elements together it lacked any sense of urgency or drama. A main character was about to be hanged and I didn’t give a hoot.
“The monarch will be crowned” was this shows random numbers. Who was the monarch how many paralles could the fanbase draw. Barbie and Big Jim are like dueling monarchs one god and evil. Even though Barbie is clearly not a good person. Perhaps it is one of the four chosen ones. Junior always seems to be treated as more important than one would think. Nope it’s Julia. I guess that makes sense, she’s a resident and has red hair like a monarch butterfly. I’m not going to try and make total sense of it because 1) I don’t really care 2) the show has done a bad job messaging these things. Which subsequently made me not care.
Having a quasi-audience surrogate in these types of shows isn’t a bad idea. It lets the question of “What does X mean?” seem natural-ish. The surrogate however only works when you ahve the old wisemen character that has all (or most) of the answers. NONE of the characters on this show know what is going on. Saying “What now?” and other questions down that line of thinking make sense but are utterly useless.
This lack of knowledge undermines what appeared to be major events. In “Curtanis” this would include the mini dome disappearing and freeing the butterfly. Or the revelation about Julia being the top chosen one. The grandaddy of them all was the fact that the astral projections are really aliens. They seemed to have watched Contact a lot and are using familiar forms to communicate with our intrepid heroes. All of these events aren’t treated as momentus or insane by the show. They are just treated as matter of fact, which makes no dramatic sense.
Seeing Dean Norris on Breaking Bad and Under the Dome so close together has been interesting. Getting to see him play this town boss who is so in love with power has been and hilarious bit of meta acting and connection. Any subtly in the motivation of Big Jim Renning was lost when he killed Maxing, her mom, associate....and Doddee. Hey guys Big Jim is evil and everyone in this town is far too dumb to realize it. Like Linda she has no idea what’s going on even after finding the mini-dome, touching it, and hearing about how Big Jim is the Lord of Terror. Like everyone in this show, the insanity of it all doesn't make them question their allegiances or motivations. This once again undercuts any sense of tension, drama, or specialness.
Barbie makes the noble sacrifice and is captured by Junior, who looks the dumbest of them all. The townsfolk are screaming about the End Times since the Dome went totally black. Seizing the opportunity Big Jim mixes some religion into his speech and has a gallows built. They will sacrifice Barbie to their angry god in order to appease his appetite for destruction. Big Jim’s speech is about as hollow as one would expect. “Curtains” hits the final 10 minutes mark and Barbie has a noose around his neck. Tension should be palpable, only it wasn’t.
Events being so matter of fact made the finale just feel lame. Julia throws the egg into the lake and the much talked about Pink Stars appear and hit the sky. Then all is wrapped in light. It’s all LOST finale and it wouldn’t be surprising if season 2 starts out as a reset. Only I don’t think I’ll be there to find out. Ok, it’s likely I will be there next season since this is still the only major network show during summer. Under the Dome could of been something special. It turned into something that’s just really bland and bad.