With the M.O.A.B. failing to do anything to the Dome, the people of Chester’s Mill seem to have finally awakened to the fact that they might be stuck under this thing for quite awhile. Soon everyone is wondering what Norrie did back in “Outbreak”, “What happens when we run out of food, medicine, and water?” All of which get to come up in some form or another.
Water becomes the most valuable resource in the town, after Alice in a low sugar haze wonders into the streets causing an appliance truck to swerve and take out the towns water tower. Millions or at least thousands of gallons of water starts spilling out everywhere. With how the crash was shot you’d almost expect the tower and truck to blow up with some cheap sparks out of a Universal Studios attraction. Losing that water becomes more worrisome when it is discovered that the town's main water supply, a lake, has been contaminated with methane. The dome must have hit a methane pocket when it came down, or perhaps it hit Big Jims secrete supply of town saving propane.
With a water shortage looming the townspeople start to become scared. One of the remaining convenience stores begins to refuse cash in favor of batteries or propane as part of the “new reality”. A reality that most of the town is unwilling to accept, soon making a run on the store for what meager supplies it has left. The mob begins to move on to other stores before turning on one another. The whole situation blows up well beyond the control Linda and her deputies (read: Barbie, and some other guy).
Director Kari Skogland did a lot with the little real estate that makes up the main street of Chester’s Mill. The mob itself also wasn’t very big, nothing more than say 20ish people. Small confines make everything seem bigger than it really is, like the crash earlier in the episode. It was an effective riot that didn’t lose focus on Linda and Barbies futile attempts to stop it before resorting to Rule #2 of Duke’s Guide of how to do things: Do what you have to (read: shoot somebody).
Just as Linda readies to shoot a pair of fighting rioters water begins to splash against her gun. Out of nowhere it is raining in Chester’s Mill. The Dome appears to have its own microclimate where it traps the evaporated water from the lake and redistributes it. It is a rapturous downpour with it becoming dark as night in an instant. With the rain and knowledge that they won’t be running out of rain just yet, the people of Chester’s Mill come together and start capturing the rain water. It all happened a bit fast for my taste but that's the running formula of Under the Dome: shit goes down, until it dosen't and everyone is happy.
It’s doubtful Under the Dome moves into a full discussion of the proper socio-economic structure for Chester’s Mill in light of the Dome. There are still some nuggets to be found in “The Endless Thirst”. Money has become largely useless everything seems to be on the barter system now with propane and batteries being the new currency. Big Jim uses some of his mysterious propane supply to buy the water rights to frenemy Ollie’s farm. Big Jim is the only ranking government official in Chester’s Mill and he is already set up as the Don of the Mill. But wouldn’t it be interesting if they had a town meeting and discussed possibly moving into a more socialized form of government or at least a commune-esque set up so that residents can survive. That seems doubtful with the previews hinting towards a power struggle between Jim and Ollie over the resources of Chester’s Mill. Chester's Mill appears to be headed towards a crime economy.
Running low on medicine is something not as easily replaced as water. There are 23 diabetics in Chester’s Mill and they are now running out of insulin. Unless the Dome is magical I doubt it’ll rain insulin. Norrie decides to take matter in her own hands and pull a BnE (breaking and entering) into the other diabetics of Chester’s Mill insulin stash. Which never went all that well. First they get held up at gunpoint and then she realizes she isn’t as stone cold and only steals one vial from a kids insulin reserve. This could slowly turn into something but for now it all played out in a rather trite way.
Julia and Dodee come to the realization that Joe and Norrie are the reason radio signals inside the Dome are being jammed. Turns out things did happen when they kissed. The star crossed lovers also reveal the video of them seizing. Which freaks everyone out. The idea that the Dome might be in some way sentient could be interesting. The Dome as some kind of omniscient protector/god would certainly be interesting. Mysticism of some kind would also be a fun way to try and understand the Dome due to the residents lack of science equipment and understanding.
Under the Dome certainly can pull of interesting episodes when it wants to. It’s just all the boring useless ones in between that are killing it.
It should surprise no one that Under the Dome with an average of about 11 million viewers in its first 5 episodes has gone from a miniseries to on going, at least till next summer. During the CBS session at the Television Critics Association press tour CBS chairman Les Moonves wondered “Why can’t they be under the dome for a long period of time? This is television.” Which doesn't sound that great from a narrative standpoint, this show has wandered about rather aimlessly in its first half, but is keeping in CBS tradition of running it till it drops (see Dexter or most of CBS’ programming).
The Bits At The End
Has anyone figured out where Chester’s Mill is in the contental United States? I thought the book had it in New England territory because Stephen King but for some reason I think it’s situated more in California.
Calling it now CBS will eventually drop a Dome in another part of the world and it will feature a older Joe and Norrie/ Barbie on the outside trying to get in. It would certainly allow for the show to go on after they run out of characters and people want to leave.
Yay the Angie bit appears to be over. RIP Rose