A few people have asked if Under the Dome, the series, is following the Stephen King novel in any way. The answer is a resounding no. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the television narrative is vastly different than the tale King presented in his giant book. The series has become its own entity, complete with missteps, but at least I can be surprised by the events of the show. Adding elements not found in the book can add to a story that, by its very nature, is intensely isolated and claustrophobic.
Take this week for example, Under the Dome goes to a place the book never does, namely, outside the Dome. How does that happen? Read on!
Ok, so last week, Sam Verdreaux plummeted into a newly formed abyss under Chester’s Mill. Only problem was that good old obsessive Junior won’t believe that his beloved Uncle Sam killed his darling Angie without proof so Barbie spelunks down the abyss to retrieve the body. Now, as a plot device that isn’t a bad way to get Barbie where he needs to be, but seriously, they spent like a ton of time explaining how deep the abyss was, do they really think that Sam’s body wouldn’t have liquefied upon impact? Not much proof in a body that looks like a jelly donut that was stepped on by Gamera.
Anyway, down Barbie went, and of course he fell which kicks off two new directions. One, with Barbie out of the picture, “Big” Jim can take the town as his own. This week’s B plot saw Julia trying to keep the truth of Barbie’s demise from Jim. Who thankfully returned to form as the sick and twisted bastard he is.
But of course Barbie isn’t dead, Instead, his plunge took him to Subterranea where he was caught in a war between Tyrannus and Mole Man. Not really, but how awesome would that have been?
The abyss somehow led to the neighboring town, the one with the obelisk that the Dome Four have been seeing, the one located in the town where Jim’s wife and Junior’s mother dwells in, the one that may contain the secret of the Dome. This little twist is a good way to get the story away from Chester’s Mill, to show what the outside world is like during the time of the Dome. Suddenly, the world of the show has been opened and the possibilities are indeed exciting.
Exciting for Barbie as we learned that he was in Chester’s Mill on a mission to get some unrevealed information about an energy conglomerate. Exciting for the Dome Four who used one of Joe’s robots (cause he has one) to investigate the abyss and find out they have a connection to the outside world, and exciting for “Big” Jim who found all the competition to his rule preoccupied elsewhere.
The scenes outside Chester’s Mill were very well done as everything that took place outside the Dome felt fresh and open. It also gave the writers a chance to explore Barbie’s background, something that was seemingly abandoned after last season. We got to meet Barbie’s billionaire dad who may or may not know something about the Dome. Barbie wanted to use his dad, CEO of the aforementioned energy conglomerate to get a message to Chester’s Mill.
Listen, I get it, the whole thing reeks of plot conveyance, but it kind of works. If you can buy the whole conceit of the Dome, you can buy there is a way out. I’m still embittered about the dismissal of half of season one’s cast so I’ll call the show out on its bullshit when needed, but the world outside the Dome must be an intriguing place and I for one am happy to catch a glimpse of it.
Barbie’s dad is not the only family member we get to see outside the Dome. As I mentioned, Junior’s nutbag mom lives in the same town as Barbie’s dad, but she isn’t really that much of a nutbag when you take into consideration that all her prophetic warnings about the Dome were 100% true. Of course, Sam survived the fall as well and has join Jim’s wife. With them is Lyle, who is semi-comatose and can only mutter “Melanie.” It will interesting to see if Sam falls back into his murderous ways if he is not around the Dome Four and how will Junior react when he finds the man that murdered his Angie is now sniffing around his mother?
The only other character who needs to be covered is Rebecca Pine. It seems, with the Dome Four and Julia preoccupied with the abyss and Barbie outside Chester’s Mill, Rebecca is the only person left to oppose Jim. Too bad she crumbed as he got all alpha male on her. But the fact remains, that Rebecca can probably make a bomb out of a TV dinner, a stereo, and a coat hanger, so don’t count her out yet.
All in all, it was fascinating to see what was going on outside the Dome even if the show found an awfully convenient way to get there.