When talking about this show with friends and other places online, a consistent complaint is that things just haven’t turned to shit fast enough. The the book only takes place over roughly a week but they just can’t happen in television. There is a patronizing quality to how TV and other artistic mediums constantly show society as being held together by a thread. That at a moments notice all our civilized qualities will disappear, replaced by baser animal motivations. When in reality, this doesn't generally happen. Time and time again when some tragedy or disaster strikes humanity has shown that it will come together and try to help eachother out. The people of Chester’s Mill coming together and singing kumbaya and waiting it out wouldn't’ be entertaining. Dome’s slow burn on societal downfall will help ensure this show gets a second season, which seems likely with 13 and 11 million viewers over the first episodes in the middle of summer.
Junior (or James as he prefers it) was the first character to talk about how the Dome was changing how people act. Junior is also disturbed, not exactly a good source. Than that other Deputy went a little crazy and accidently killed his partner. Also claiming the Dome was responsible. In a literal sense, the bullet only hit his partner because it was there, and that the Dome itself was making people act differently. The show has made it evident there is some kind of electromagnetic-y (scientific term right there) stuff radiating off of it I really hope there isn’t going to be some explanation that it’s messing with peoples brain waves or causing tumors to suddenly grow and change personality. The latter of which seems a bit King-seque. Under the Dome has the opportunity to be a long riff on “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” (Twilight Zone S1 Ep22). In it, the residents of Maple Street are cut off from society and soon give into their baser instincts and turn on one another. In the end there wasn’t anything really wrong with the residents, none of them caused the event, they just all gave into fear. Giving into fear is a far more satisfying experience than sci-fi gobbledygook.
Last week I wondered whether or not the Dome allowed for things like smoke to pass through it. In “The Fire” they did hint at some small amount of water being able to come through. CBS has put out a little fact sheet about what the Dome does. These kinds of outside texts aren’t a thing that I much enjoy. It could lead to lazy storytelling. This is the kind of information that should be explored and revealed in the main text. Society hasn’t fallen apart yet so why not spend time having one of the many groups do something that further explains the Dome a little bit, or at least give the false sense of knowledge. This kind of natural plots could easily be integrated into deepening the characters. For as bad as Junior and Julia’s adventure in the cement tunnels where her opening up made sense. Instead we have been watching society attempt to function as normally as possible with the Dome, which are kind of boring.
The adventure in the cement tunnels didn’t go so well for a couple of reasons. The main one being the stereotypical chord being pulled sneeringly evil "You shouldn't have come down here," from Junior and cut to commercial. It makes no sense. Especially once back from break Julia, who is called out on asking an annoying amount of questions, doesn't ask him “Why are you acting like you want to wear my skin?” All it does is create a false bit of tension for viewers since Junior is nutzo. Which is dropped after Junior throws his woe is me hissy fit. Storytelling across all mediums is about manipulation, you can’t manipulate when you basically shout at the person how to feel and wave a big sign. Even less when it’s all false in the first place and nothing comes of it.
So far the writers have been focusing more on attempts for society to act normally and deal with the restrictions the Dome has. An area that could still hold great potential. Focusing on stereotypically painted teenagers and their need to be connected to their phone isn’t one of them.The actors playing the teenagers save for Joe McAlister,Norrie are also pretty bad. Lines like “I miss texting” aren’t exactly gold either. With most of the teenager seemingly congregated away from the adults things could get interesting eventually, providing Joe doesn't rebuild the generator. When in doubt just Lord of the Flies EVERYTHING.
There has been a lot of “could be” and hoping for more from this show. This isn’t to slight the show as is, Under the Dome is a perfectly serviceable show that most broadcast networks would love to have. I don’t want serviceable surface level stuff that follows the same “crisis of the week” formula. Let’s have some serious thought put into showing society react and deal with a new circumstance. The pilot was really good and fun. Most of that sense of fun appears gone.
The Bits At The End
So the propane was used to manufacture drugs. I’m just going to assume it was meth because Breaking Bad.
Joe and Norrie are literal starcrossed lovers at this point, I hate that. F Romeo and Juliet.