Under the Dome has the potential to go one of two directions; a crushing disappointment not soon to be forgotten or a tremendous success the likes of which will lead others to attempt to match its formula for seasons to come. Of course there is always a slim chance of a third direction and that is it will slide quietly in to the good night never to be heard from again. But, I highly doubt it will be the third direction. The CBS drama is based on Stephen King’s mega-novel (seriously the book had over 1000 pages) and has many great things going for it right from the beginning.
When the show begins, little time is wasted bringing the dome down on the unsuspecting townspeople of Chester Mills bringing with it death, destruction, and mystery. Where did the dome come from? Who put it there; aliens, the government, or some unknown entity? No one seems to know. Cut off completely from the outside world we soon see that the danger they face is among themselves.
When we first meet Barbie, an ex-military man who may or may not be connected to Councilman Big Jim Rennie (it’s a hunch I have), he is burying a guy out in the middle of nowhere. Barbie looks a little beat up as if he had recently been in a struggle. Unfortunately his attempt to flee the scene is cut short when he is forced off the road because the road was blocked by cows. This was either an act of god or a cruel, cruel joke because moments later the dome comes down slicing a cow completely in half.
Elsewhere in town a young woman named Angie is sharing what she believes to be a final encounter with her “friends with benefits” partner before she heads off to work as a waitress at the local diner. Junior on the other hand is visibly disturbed by Angie’s response to his declaration of love, even going so far as to grab her arm in a violent way. It is quite obvious that all is not right with Junior.
Back at the field Barbie saves the life of Joe, Angie’s brother) by shoving him out-of-the-way from falling debris from an airplane that crashed in to the dome. Soon the firetrucks that had been involved in another town’s parade begin to arrive on scene to help out the town only to have Barbie run in to the road warning them to stop before more people die. The Sheriff and his deputy Linda arrive on scene, where Linda discovers that her fiancee is on the other side and although she can see him she can’t touch him or hear him. The whole town is trapped.
In order to save more people from crashing in to the dome Big Jim makes his way to the local radio stationed, that is being manned by Dodee and Phil thanks to the help of their back-up generators, so that he can make a public emergency announcement warning them of the danger. This warning is initially ignored by Alice and Carolyn as they travel out-of-town with their teenage daughter Norrie until they see a truck run full speed in to the barrier only to have the cab of the truck completely crushed killing the drive. It is at this time that Norrie is overcome by a seizure repeating the words “Stars are falling, stars are falling in line” over and over.
After meeting up with Julia, the town’s newspaper editor, Barbie and Julia make their way through the woods looking for more survivors when they come across a woman who had the misfortune to have her arm out at the wrong place and time when the dome came down slicing her arm off. Unfortunately for both Barbie and Angie, whom he meets after taking the woman to the hospital, their chance encounter is seen by Junior who is less than thrilled by the exchange and proceeds to follow Barbie to the field with the hopes of starting a fight out of jealousy. Fortunately for Barbie Junior is interrupted when Julia comes along looking for her husband who was not at work as she had thought.
Unable to complete whatever plan he had for Barbie, Junior struggles with Angie causing her to be knocked out. Later she awakens to discover she is being held hostage by a very disturbed Junior in his dad’s fallout shelter. Big Jim, Junior’s dad, is relieved to find his son alive and well as they share a slightly awkward hug at being reunited.
Earlier that afternoon Big Jim had gone to the Sheriff to speak with him about deputizing some of the townspeople to help keep the peace since so many of their law enforcement were stranded on the other side. It is then that we discover that Big Jim was the one who had stockpiled propane and that the Sheriff knew about the propane. Whether or not Big Jim was doing it for nefarious reasons remains to be seen. One thing is for sure the Sheriff believed that by turning a blind eye to Big Jim’s activities he was saving the town of Chester Mills. Unfortunately just as he is about to tell Linda all he knows being so close to the barrier causes his pacemaker to explode.
How in the world was he able to dig a perfect grave and then fill it with no extra dirt? It’s magic I tell you.
Did Norrie & Joe repeating the same words over and over give you the heebie-jeebies too?
For a fallout shelter that place was in horrible condition.
Phil and Dodee didn’t get much screen time this episode, but I already adore them. Especially Dodee.