Under The Dome season 2 episode 2 review: Infestation

Review Frances Roberts 8 Jul 2014 - 15:26

Some very hungry caterpillars are a threat to Chester’s Mill in this week’s episode of Under The Dome…

This review contains spoilers.

2.2. Infestation

To quote a commenter under last week’s adieu-bidding review of Under The Dome, “DoG reviews plenty of other tosh, so why not this?”. Fair point, well made. So we’re back, people, and strapping in for the long haul.

Infestation was a murder mystery as only Under The Dome could deliver - full of sound and fury and lacking anything resembling procedure or common sense. Typically, the people of Chester’s Mill respond to a crisis with the calm sagacity of a junior high cheerleading squad evicting a wasp from their school bus, and this week’s axe-murderer plot was no different.

As is the way in the dome's brave new world, Angie’s killing was loudly investigated by everyone at once using only the power of shrill accusation. Since having someone interview the attack’s sole eye-witness would have precluded a good half-hour of entertaining running and shouting, Under The Dome’s writers instead spilled suspicion like pinballs down onto the town, watching it zoom around and ping off the characters at unpredictable angles. There was screaming, gun-pointing, and dialogue delivered with such intensity that a minimum of two cast members had to have involuntarily moved their bowels whilst saying it.

Phil, with his unbuttoned top buttons, strong-arming of witnesses, and lines like "you're lucky I'm not bringing you in for harbouring a suspect!" raced to the top of everyone's list of favourite TV-DJs-turned-cops during the investigation. Phil is exactly the police officer we'd all be if we too had learnt everything we know about policing from re-runs of Cop Rock

Central to the mystery was poor grieving Junior, who in turn suspected the culprit was his dad, then mystery lake-chick, and then, in a plot twist worthy of Adaptation’s Donald Kaufman: himself. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out if Junior’s right on one or all three counts. Our money? Uncle Tag from Friends did it. Our evidence? Ha! Evidence.

Elsewhere, Barbie was fulfilling the episode’s action quota with some crop-duster heroics. You see, it wasn’t only an axe-murderer menacing the town this week, but also some very hungry caterpillars threatening to eat two hundred times their body weight in crops.

Science lady having identified the problem (“something something science word something something ecosystem something butterfly reproductive cycle to accelerate”) and pinned the blame on season two’s big bad wolf – magnetism, it was up to Barbie to neutralise the threat and avert a cater-astrophe. That he did, bonding with Big Jim (whose God complex this week attained roughly the height and diameter of the dome itself) in the process.

Speaking of God, Infestation appeared to have finally unveiled the metaphorical meaning of the dome; Barbie and Julia’s tiff about why it would allow innocent people to die while the guilty live, revealed all. The dome isn’t just a sci-fi mystery, it’s an existential one. It’s the higher power that we’ve spent centuries attempting to name, interpret and appease. Whenever Chester’s Mill argues about how best to please and follow the dome’s instructions, it’s re-enacting thousands of years of humans making sacrifices to and bargains with an intangible almighty. It's lofty stuff, for a show so fun and so very, very dumb.

Read Frances’ review of the previous episode, Heads Will Roll, here.

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