Finally, in episode five of Under the Dome, “Blue on Blue,” viewers can really see the hand of executive producer and former Y, the Last Man and Runaways writer Brian K. Vaughn. Comic readers fell in love with Vaughn’s writing because of the way he uses events of grand and almost apocalyptic consequence to explore the complex nature of his characters. Viewers could almost see the comic book pacing of this episode, they could sense which scenes would have been that heart-in-throat climactic splash page if this show was done in graphic novel form. For example, one can just picture the Tony Harris or Pia Guerra splash page of the bomb hitting the dome in the background while Joe and Norrie shared a kiss in the foreground, desperately seeking any form of human intimacy in the face of what they believe to be certain death, or the artistic brilliance of the visual of migrating butterflies covering the side of the dome as the residents soak in the surreal and chilling sight.
The pending destruction at the hands of the military that they believe should be protecting them, forces the residents of Chester’s Mill to see their own lives through a new lens. Big Jim has a moment of surprising mercy as he frees Angie from Junior’s basement. Junior himself seeks out Angie to silence her but instead, as the former hostage and captor wait for the bomb to hit, share a moment of unexpected tenderness. They are no longer victim and tormentor; they are just two souls desperately seeking human contact in the face of the inevitable.
The early parts of this episode were disconcerting as viewers have gotten used to seeing and feeling everything through the eyes of those trapped under the dome. As their friends and family arrive at the dome, the show allows the viewers to see the reaction of those not trapped for the first time. Seeing the outside world made the dome feel even more claustrophobic and their situation much more dire. The rest of the country is willing to sacrifice Chester’s Mill to learn the limitations of the dome. After all, what is the government to do if another dome appears over Manhattan or Washington? It gives viewers a sense that Chester’s Mill is truly alone, and to survive, the inhabitants must rely on each other.
The bomb hits, and the last thing the viewer sees is the devastation outside the dome. There is nothing but a charred landscape surrounding the dome, reminding residents that there is nothing outside the dome but disappointment and their old lives, but in the face of death, Chester’s Mill endured the blast unscathed, and came together as one and held heads bravely as death approached. The unity is uplifting until Big Jim takes steps to silence the suddenly contrite Reverend Lester Coggins. As one drop of Chester’s Mill blood drips down the dome, it serves as a reminder that even though there are bombs dropping outside the dome, it is the innate evil within the dome that poses the greatest threat to the characters viewers are learning to love.