Under the Dome: Awakening Review

Under the Dome has started picking up the pace again! Barbie and Big Jim face big challenges this week...

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead.

With this, episode eight of season two of Under the Dome, we have finally returned to the quality of last season. Things started to get promising last week with Barbie and Sam actually escaping the Dome, and this week, the show displays the dramatic potential of having residents of Chester’s Mill existing outside the Dome. 

We kick things off with Barbie, trapped outside Chester’s Mill with his recently reconciled flame Julia still trapped in the Dome, thinking her dear Barbie took the Pepsi plunge off the underground pit that appeared under Chester’s Mill’s high school (Man, this show must sound insane to anyone not watching it). Anyway, Barbie’s dear old and utterly corrupt gazillionaire dad agrees to send Julia an e-mail, because, you see, he’s a gazillionaire, and he can get the army to drop the firewall around the Dome. Barbie cleverly tells Julia to take “a leap of faith,” and join him in the neighboring town. Oh, but dear old dad cleverly sends the e-mail but tacks on a bit at the end telling Julia to bring the egg. Uh-oh.

Barbie would have been a victim of dad’s machinations if it weren’t for the introduction of Hunter, played by Max Ehrich, who absolutely none of you will probably recognize as Fenmore Baldwin from The Young and the Restless. Well, Hunter is the young and the genius and now Barbie has a Joe McAllister outside the Dome as well. Hunter is a computer hacker extraordinaire and wants to expose the Dome conspiracy so he helps Barbie bust into dad’s office where Barbie sees the e-mail with the bit about the egg.

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Hunter is an interesting addition to the cast, a capable and humorous young man who should serve as a nice counterpoint to Barbie’s usual stern tough guy routine. It would be cool if nerdy Hunter and geeky Joe got into a flame war, though.

Back to Under the Dome, “Big” Jim has slipped nicely into his role as the new sheriff of Chester’s Mill since the fall from grace of Phil Bushey and the death of Sheriff Linda. The only problem with Jim’s rule is that someone is out to get him.

First, by destroying the windmill he helped build to save the town. Second, by torching some of the cars the former used car salesman had once had a hand in selling. Now, if one were to look for suspects that hate Jim, the Chester’s Mill phonebook would be a good place to start, as the entire town has a reason to dislike the dude.

The attack on Jim allowed Jim and Junior to bond as Junior did his duty as a deputy and helped investigate who was targeting the new sheriff. Along with Rebecca Pine, the father and son lawman team sought out the culprit, and wouldn’t you know it, it was stupid, stupid Phil Bushey. And with some long overdue character depth yet! Junior and Jim took down Phil and back in the clink the former sheriff went. Jim and Junior are back on the same page after all this time.

Jim may be in control but he doesn’t know everything, like the fact that his wife Pauline is alive and well and paling around with Sam. Sam is doing a good job hiding his murderous nature from Pauline, a precog who predicted the events of Chester’s Mill years ago. Sam seems to have his own dark motivation, as the murder of Angie proved, but now that he is outside the Dome, does he still want Joe, Norrie, and Melanie dead?

Speaking of Chester’s Mill youngest heroes, this week, Joe decided that he would vlog the events of Chester’s Mill. The awful love triangle that entangled these three characters seems to have eased, thank goodness, because it was as hackneyed as it comes.

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What wasn’t hackneyed was the tense ending this week. With the help of Hunter, Barbie disguised himself as a civilian scientist and gained access to the Dome. When he got to the Dome, he found Julia and wrote on the Dome to warn her not to trust anyone outside, but before he could warn her not to risk the warp zone jump, the soldiers dragged him away.

Barbie seemed to be in some deep dome doo doo with his dad knowing more about the Dome than he is letting on and the only other Chester’s Mill residents on the outside being Sam and bat shit crazy Lyle.Did we mention that Jim spied the entire Dome exchange between Barbie and Julia?

See, this is why we fell in love with the show, the layers of intrigue, the shades of grey, the unpredictable nature of the characters. It’s good to have it back. Who would have thought that leaving the Dome for a bit would return the show to a semblance of its former glory?

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4 out of 5