The utter lack of tonal consistency or proper reaction from it’s characters is really what kills Under the Dome. Let’s see what happens in the first 5ish minutes. The quartet of chosen teenagers lay in barn wondering what it all means. Gazing at the constellations, traced from the pink stars. With some talk about how the caterpillar is turning into a monarch butterfly. Than just as soon as Junior appears to be turning a corner into not being totally useless he doesn't, taking his magical hand with him. All the while Big Jim is working over Linda and proving how he isn’t such a bad guy and deserves a damn parade. While fingering Barbie as the real threat. Right before Julia is suddenly shot by Maxine. None of these things are played more important than the other it’s all just matter of fact. Which comes off as comical in a show where a giant Dome has trapped people inside it and all that.
"Speak of the Devil" is more plot driving characters forward than the other way around and that is something I don’t like most of the time. If Linda were the focus of the episode and she was constantly following Barbie and gathering circumstantial evidence on him that would be one thing. “Speak of the Devil” is not that. Barbie is the focus as he saves Julia’s life and takes down Maxine with the help of Big Jim. Him saving Julia’s life was certainly something. Who knew to relieve pressure in the chest was: a bag, pen, and rubbing alcohol. It was a moment that I’m just going to let slide since I’m not a doctor and Barbie sounded like he knew what he was doing...even if he didn’t finish explaining what he was doing.
To say that Natalie Zea’s tenure on Under the Dome came to an unsatisfying end would be just. Outsmarted and captured by Barbie and Big Jim it appears that law and order will win the day. Until Barbie has to go get the car and Big Jim just shoots them in cold blood. Impulsively, which isn’t something Big Jim normally does. Ever the one to think quick on his little feet Big Jim manages to get Linda to believe this is all the work of the evil Barbie. Sending Barbie off into the wilderness(?). This was just another twist in the ever winding path of Under the Dome. Which should have made you car sick by now.
There is some good work done in “Speak of the Devil”. Junior decides to take his magical hand and go home after Angie once again refuses to be his Juliet It’s been a little while since it has been brought up but Angie reminds everyone: HE LOCKED HER IN A BASEMENT AND NEARLY KILLED HER. Either way the Dome is none too happy about the chosen ones splitting apart. Communicating in the only way it knows how, by forming a twister in the middle of town. The Dome is definitely that Old Testament kind of overlord. The twister did allow for some nice visual linking of all the plots this time around, something that you’d expect to be more common in such an enclosed place. It was rather funny townsfolk stare at the burgering cyclone and then just go on with their day. Just matter of factly there’s a giant funnel of death coming down no biggie.
Now what eventually quelled the Dome’s angry heart is up for debate. Was it Barbie bringing Julia back from the dead. Or, was it Junior deciding to go back to the group? The former makes Joe think Barbie is the fabled monarch that will rise. The latter just reinforces Juniors pathological need for him and Angie to be star crossed lovers. With how this show treats its lore Junior coming back seems more likely the cause.
Once again one big happy family the four go to the place that isn’t a constellation on the dome and well touch it. Receiving another insane vision. This time it’s of Big Jim, looking rather devilish, who just stands there evilly smiling right before he starts to bleed out. The first being in the same spot Julia was shot, perhaps Barbie will shoot Big Jim there? Then there are other spots and suddenly the four are holding the bloody knives. The Dome wants them to kill Big Jim. If only they had known that a couple weeks ago Junior would have been totally fine with that.
In 11 episodes (only 2 more left) Under the Dome has failed to reconcile it’s sci-fi side with it’s human drama. Neither of which are that well put together. Giving everything a tone deaf quality. This type of event show in it’s best scenarios (ie LOST) uses plot to drive both story and deep character.Under the Dome has hardly done that, with Big Jim being the most developed character. One who might not make it to season 2 if the quartet follow the Dome’s instructions.