The title of this week’s episode of Under the Dome was “Breaking Point” and I think I, your humble reviewer, might have reached just that: a breaking point.
Let’s see, there was Angie, Dodee, Melanie, Sheriff Linda, Pauline, Rebecca, and Alice. These were all central female Under the Dome characters that were thoughtlessly killed off in the name of shock value. Now, gender does not provide a Kevlar vest against bad things in fiction (any Joss Whedon fan will tell you that, oh God, Tara, why!), but every one of those deaths happened in such haphazard ways that the trend has to be called out for the utter BS that it is. And this week, the trend continued with the death of Norrie’s other mom, Carolyn. Here we have one of the very few LGBT characters of color on mainstream TV and she dies in a cave-in? And for what? There was no plot progression that sprung from her death; there was no noble sacrifice or moment that defined Norrie’s character arc, there was just pathos for the sake of pathos.
Poor Norrie has had to endure so much since arriving in Chester’s Mill that any and all drama she suffers from here on out will just seem ponderous and silly. In fact, it’s already there as there was absolutely zero drama to Carolyn’s death. The second “Big” Jim set the bombs in the mine, you just knew that the show was going to kill poor Carolyn because we have seen so much female-centric death the series’ M.O. has become transparent. Believe me, I am usually the last person to cry misogyny, but if it walks like a duck…
How about exploring Carolyn and Norrie’s relationship? When Norrie was trying to bust Carolyn out of Christine’s spell, she brought up some back-story that seemed rather interesting and complex. For example, Norrie always felt closer to Alice, her Caucasian mother. There could have been a great exploration of being a child of a gay marriage and what happens after one of the mothers is killed. Or Carolyn could have met another woman and Norrie could have had to deal with that complex issue. But no, it’s easier to just kill a potentially rich and refreshingly diverse character. Seriously, F that.
To make matters worse, the women who are still alive (for now) on the show have been reduced to fighting over a man. Eva and Julia are rivals for Barbie’s affections. Eva was controlled by the Dome and there could be this really cool Stephen King alien vibe about the character. Eva versus Julia (who, by the way, is still the Dome’s chosen, we should probably remember that because the damn show certainly isn’t) could be a battle between human and alien, mortal woman versus other, but it has been pathetically distilled into a battle over Barbie. Two women, trapped under an alien dome, one an alien puppet, shrewing on each other over who Barbie loves more, it would be comedic if it wasn’t so wrong mindedly disgusting. Also, lest we forget, Julia and Barbie have known each other three weeks, and Julia is fighting for him like they have been together lifetimes. It’s like the show is so simple minded that the only stakes the creators can dream up is two women cat fighting (with guns) over their man. We shouldn’t worry too much because I’m sure both of Julia and Eva will be killed off very soon. After all, they are women.
As for the cool status quo established last week, you remember, the idea that everything outside the dome has been destroyed, well, it was all an illusion projected on the dome for as-yet-unknown reasons. That would have been a fascinating direction, but no, psyche! No daring narratives on this show.
The one bright spot continued to be “Big” Jim who is in the midst of a fascinating arc of possible redemption. He seemed like the only resident of Chester’s Mill who was willing to fight back against Christine and her swarm of brainwashed domers. Jim went on a killing spree and planted the bombs that eventually killed Norrie’s mom as he used any and all weapons to undermine his enemy. He ever had a rather telling confrontation with Junior that was the highlight of the episode.
So what does Christine want? Well, it seemed that she needed to mine giant amethysts which was why Joe, Norrie, and Norrie’s mom were down underground in the first place. What’s the deal with the amethysts? Who the heck knows, probably a plot point thought up in 2.4 seconds to find an excuse to get Carolyn underground.
Also this week, Christine continued to try and bring Sam under her spell for reasons again not explained and Joe and Norrie continued to be likable and adorable but that’s probably all over because Norrie has suffered so much, all the joy is probably going to be sucked out of her character.
I want to end on a high note so we’ll talk about Hunter and his virtual meeting with a new computer expert character named Lily. Lily seemed to be an infiltrator within that evil corporation operating outside the dome and was able to send Hunter some important files. Lily seemed like a character with potential and, oops, wait, nope, she has breasts, I’m sure she’ll get hit by a train in a week or three.
This episode just freakin’ depressed me. At least I have Fantastic Four to see this weekend to cheer me up. Wait, what?