For a show built around an alien Dome suddenly appearing and trapping the people of Chester’s Mill, you’d think nothing would be beyond belief. Until they had the townspeople turn over their guns voluntarily. Now that is just a bridge too far. This is America, gun owners aren’t just going to give up their guns and ammo. Especially when they were all in their riot mcriot pants a couple days ago and looted everything. Even if it’s for nebulous quantities of “extra” food, water, and propane. Unbelievability aside it’s for a greater purpose: the rise of a crime economy in Chester’s Mill!
Now who would run this new venture in a fast falling Eden? Why Natalie Zea of course. She likely filmed this in between getting kidnapped on The Following and being a spector of domesticity on Justified. Getting to see Zea actually act with a bit of agency, driven more by plot necessity than anything, is actually rather enjoyable. As Max, Zea brings some much needed verve to the overall bland but not “serious” tone of Under the Dome. She was trapped with the rest of the town on the one day she decides to visit Big Jim. Swing by and check in and see if their business arrangement is running smoothly. The propane Big Jim, the Reverend, and Duke were keeping is the secret ingredient in “Rapture” (because all drug names must sound cool). This buisness deal saved Chester's Mill from bankruptcy and now it seems to spell their doom as Max is not one to let a crisis go to waste.
The fact that Max is the person Barbie hooked up with when he became an enforcer for a bookie is a nice twist. Forcing Barbie and Big Jim to work together instead of make passive aggressive pushes at each other. And they make a solid team. Big Jim is the smiling used car salesmen who can talk a resident down, while Barbie is there to blow his brains out if need be. A regular Tango & Cash.Seeing Barbie squirm under his new fond bonds would be a bit more itneresting if Mike Vogel was a better actor. He's servicable, no doubt, but he just isn't all that interesting to watch on screen.
Max being revealed means a return to a couple of dangling plot threads that were started in the pilot and then dropped. Threads like Linda discovering what is going on in the propane storage facility. After discovering that the good Reverend had been making his own brand of Rapture on the side. It isn't much but it's a lot mroe interesting than seeing Linda put out random crime fires everyweek. They were useful as her resolve was tested but now she's going to get something a bit more meaty.
In The Mystery Box
I think it’s necessary to give all the wacky sci-fi stuff its own section for this. These things have nothing to do with the above mentioned happenings in Chester’s Mill.
It’s interesting to see how the writers are trying to reboot our perception of Junior as a character. Reaffirming his talk of the Dome making Angie sick and that he wanted to protect her. He might not have been that crazy since Angie finally has a seizure with the normal talk of pink stars falling. It casts him in a light of an overreaction, someone with good intentions but poor actions.That might be all well and true doesn't change the fact that he locked her in a bomb shelter for the better part of a week. Alexander Koch isn’t very good and is just creepy as Junior so I’m inclined to not see him as good natured but with poor follow through. I’m inclined to see him as the next star of a cheap home invasion film. There is not denying that the show wants to cast this couple as part of a cosmic romance. Before his mother died she had a vision and painted a young junior under a Dome like structure with pink stars falling. This makes Junior feel good since it means he and Angie are connected on a plane beyond their understanding. In actuality it just comes off has hackneyed and typical. Also she can’t be the monarch in “monarch will be crowned” since her butterfly tattoo isn’t a Monarch butterfly. It’s blue not orange...because crazy sci-fi stuff always goes with reality.
The dialog in this show has never been it’s strength. It has been largely serviceable but man there are some clunkers when they make characters give a timestamp to days since Dome dropped. I’ve always been a believer in little lower third title cards to situate the audience temporally. Unless it comes up naturally as part of conversation you get Norrie dropping the fact it has been two days since her mother died which ground everything to a halt.
The mini-Dome isn’t really a Dome. It’s a big ball. How do we know this? Joe during some sort of sleep walking expedition dug it up and brought it back the barn. Not that he remembered it or the fact that his sister will tell him he was acting like a zombie. The idea that the Dome is really a sphere makes sense, people would have just dug their way out if it wasn’t airtight. Angie gets in on the mini-Dome act because she’s “apart of this now”. They all touch the Dome and instead of an apparition the Dome simply reveals a fourth handprint necessary to unlock it. They’ve got to find the eighth digidestined! Or, well, fourth min-Dome destined but the point stands. Odds are it’s Junior because that’s exactly the type of move this show would make.
The Bits At The End
RIP Elmore Leonard, he was 87.
I’m all excited for a crime economy in Chester’s Mill because the socio-economic structure of a town cut off from the world is waaaay more interesting than any of these characters.
Julia Shumway has got to be the worst keeper of secretes ever. Just blabing all the time to people.