Under the Dome: Black Ice Review

Temperatures drop under the dome this week, but at least the drama rises...Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.

It seems being romantically involved with Junior Rennie is a sure way to suffer a violent and convoluted death, as Melanie lies on her death bed in a peril fraught episode of Under the Dome. Last week, “Big” Jim tossed the egg down the Chester’s Mill warp zone, only for the portal to close, cutting off everyone’s escape from the dome. This week, the show explores the ramifications of the egg, the object that seems to be powering the dome, being gone.

First off, we have consequences for Melanie, the dome ghost. Rebecca brightly states that whatever is happening to the egg is happening to Melanie (wonder what happens if someone makes a dome egg omelet, best not to think about such things). Outside Chester’s Mill, the government is messing with the newly arrived egg, but it repeled everyone that touched it, because as we know, the only people that can touch it are Joe, Norrie, Junior, and Melanie.

Well, the dome four are busy struggling to survive, as the loss of the egg has caused temperatures to severely drop beneath the dome.

This sudden climate change triggered a series of catastrophes, the most severe one involving Barbie and Julia. The cold caused our heroes to hit some black ice and skid out in an ambulance. Julia’s leg got impaled and all of a sudden, both heroes’ lives were in doubt.

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This season, I haven’t really been feeling the love between Julia and Barbie. There were some early jealousy issues between the two because of Sam (a character who has kind of been forgotten the past few weeks). Then Barbie ventured outside the dome to Zenith and the two lovers had a happy reunion. The show seemed to be telling us they were in love rather than making us feel the chemistry.

That all changed this week, as Julia lay in the ambulance, leg pinned and both Barbie and Julia on the verge of freezing, there was a palpable sense of desperation, a feeling that Barbie would rather die than abandon Julia. It was potent and effective and when Barbie figured out that he should let Julia go into hypothermia so her heart would slow so she wouldn’t bleed to death, there was an intense feeling of relief that Julia might live. The ambulance accident did what nothing else this season could, make me care about the future of the two main protagonists’ love.

Not as effective is the bond between Pauline and “Big” Jim.

Pauline is a needless complication; Jim was so much more interesting when he was a widower who may have had his wife killed. Pauline kind of makes Jim seem, I don’t know, cuckolded. The Jim we all know is a narcissistic sociopath. Everything in his character screams that he would not do anything to win a woman’s love because deep down inside, he believes everyone loves him no matter what. Seeing Jim with his hangdog expression goes against everything the character is. Pauline is such a needless plot detour that it pains me every time she is on screen. The only interesting thing about her this week was the exploration of her friendship with Melanie. Pauline was present the night Melanie was killed and may hold the key to her murder, but Pauline’s presence waters down Jim and Junior’s effectiveness. That being said, it will be interesting to see where this humbled Jim goes, will he try harder to save his neighbors or will he plunge into desperate martyrdom?

With Jim’s villainy quotient on the decline, could we have a new villain in Chester’s Mill?

Hunter, the hacker extraordinaire recently arrived from Zenith, has been sending very ominous e-mails since arriving under the dome. This week, Hunter has a bonding session with Norrie, who blames herself for letting the egg out of Chester’s Mill, but also gets busted by Joe who surreptitiously checked Hunter’s phone — the phone with the incriminating missives. Joe and Norrie followed Hunter to the dome and witnessed him communicating with one of the black clad soldiers outside the dome; the same soldier Jim had a rap session with a few weeks back. Joe and Norrie confronted Hunter who claimed to be leading the army astray. Hunter is a likable character. But is he a freedom fighting member of the truth movement or is he a government stooge?

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Outside the dome, the egg is being abused and, according to Melanie, is very afraid. So everything is hitting the fan in Chester’s Mill, as it seems the whole town is connected to the egg. Temperature fluctuations are occurring as mentioned and the dome is even moving. This week, there was a cool visual of the dome icing because of the temperature change.

The end of this week’s episode sees Joe and Norrie confronting Hunter, but all accusations must wait as the dome seems to be going all Death Star trash compactor and closing in on Chester’s Mill. Jim really screwed up and it will be interesting to see how he will react to the dire peril his actions caused.

So we have that cliffhanger but we also have a show with too many characters not doing anything.

Angie and Linda were replaced by Rebecca and Sam. Sam has done nothing and received no justice even though he murdered Angie and Rebecca is only utilized when the show needs someone to spout some sciencey exposition. And where the heck has Joe’s skater friend and Norrie’s step mom been?

A little more attention to detail will go a long way for Under the Dome. Every time the show seems to have a character breakthrough, like it did this week with Barbie and Julia, some characters seem to slip through the cracks. There are a lot of dominos set up, and with only two weeks left this season, I have my doubts they will all fall into place before it is all over.

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2.5 out of 5