Under The Dome episode 12 review: Exigent Circumstances
The penultimate episode in Under the Dome’s first season picks up the pace and accelerates towards another cliff-hanger…
This review contains spoilers.
1.12 Exigent Circumstances
Such a tornado of action swept through this week’s Under the Dome that all the usual niggles about character, tin-eared dialogue and illogical narrative leaps were whipped swirling into the air and sent scattering.
Exigent Circumstances’ focus on one man’s descent from corrupt councilman to power-crazed despot made for a tense instalment that put Under the Dome’s MVP - Dean Norris - centre stage. The result was forty pacey, enjoyable minutes of TV action with a shade or two of chin-stroking subtext about a population’s willingness to lose its freedoms when threatened. Under the Dome finally made good on its potential-brimming story in that respect, by reflecting contemporary social themes back to us using the dome as a magnifying glass. Not that there was much time for pondering social contracts and political philosophy what with all the speechifying, shootings and stand-offs.
Declaring a state of emergency and trampling over civil rights en route to frame Barbie for last week’s murders, Big Jim Rennie revealed in Exigent Circumstances just how far he’d go to prolong his reign over Chester’s Mill. His shift from pragmatic advantage-taker to card-carrying evil guy was enacted in one act of savagery: poor Dodie’s murder. The sound engineer’s death showed the former car salesman to have turned his back on any guiding principles but one: individualist survival.
Now the outside world knows Big Jim’s a murderer, he has nothing to gain and everything to lose by the dome coming down. Dean Norris - an actor accustomed to Breaking Bad’s gourmet fare surviving on scraps these past twelve weeks - captured his character’s just-about-keeping-a-lid-on-it panic like a pro. Seeing him sweat on those steps outside the station at this week’s cliff-hanger inspired a brand new thought in me as an Under the Dome viewer: ‘You can’t end there. I want to see what happens next’.
Meanwhile, the magic egg (variously explained as the dome’s heart, engine and generator this week), was screaming like a fractious toddler. Was it objecting to Barbie’s mistreatment? In the painful throes of chrysalis-labour? Or just upset about being stored in a teenage boy’s smelly bedroom?
Perhaps it was simply happy to see Aisha Hinds back with us after a month away. I know I was. It’s a good job Carolyn reappeared and Julia rallied this week, as with Rose, Alice, Max, Agatha, and now Dodie dead, the town’s thinner on women characters than it was to being with. If anything happens to Sheriff Linda or the tank top twins in the next episode, season two is going to be a real sausage fest.
Speaking of season two, next week marks our last trip under the dome until summer 2014, when another Den of Geek tour guide will be showing you around the sights and sounds of Chester’s Mill. Brian K. Vaughan is promising us “one hell of a cliff-hanger” between now and then. What do we think that's going to entail, then? Place your bets now…
Read Frances’ review of the previous episode, Speak of the Devil, here.
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