Under The Dome: In The Dark Review

A cave-in leads to the residents of Chester's Mill reaching a new status quo on this week's episode of Under the Dome.

One of the most tragic things that the residents of Chester’s Mill must endure is that they will not be able to see Guardians of the Galaxy. It really was that damn good.

On to the matter at hand, this week’s episode of Under the Dome was not directed by James Gunn, did not star Chris Pratt, and did not have the best soundtrack ever. I’m talking about Guardians again, aren’t I?

Okay, Under the Dome, this time for reals. This week’s episode did not start out promising. In fact, it had the most tired of all dramatic clichés. THE CAVE-IN! That’s right; Under the Dome resorted to the ‘ol cave-in trope. Two dudes who are at odds get trapped in a cave, so they must put aside their differences and work together in order to survive Yup, that old gag.

And y’know what? It was actually pretty good. While I was disappointed that Sam and Barbie (the two dudes at odds who must put aside their aforementioned differences to survive) didn’t reminisce about old episodes of Under the Dome, the cave-in did manage to advance the plot, which, let’s face it, was getting stale. While trapped under Chester’s Mill, Barbie and Sam had a bit of a heart to heart about Sam’s past, his connection to the mysterious Dome ghost girl Melanie, and some straight about Sam’s flirtation with Julia. Now, I was afraid that the whole episode would deal with the two guys getting all alpha on each other over Julia, but thankfully, the writers took the time provided by the clichéd cave-in to fill in some back story on Sam, Lyle the barber, Junior’s mom, and Melanie.

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All season, Barbie has been ignoring his instincts. Last year, Barbie was portrayed as a man with a soldier’s instinct, a sort of sixth sense of survival. He finally utilized that ability this episode since he just would not trust Sam, even when Sam concocted a story that it was Lyle that killed Melanie so many years ago. So, when Barbie saw the scratches that Angie inflicted upon Sam the night of her murder, we saw that Barbie’s instinctual distrust was justified. Hey, see what happens when writers use established character traits instead of conveniently ignoring them?

The whole thing was done to have allow Sam to tell Barbie his theory, the theory that led to the death of Angie. Sam informed Barbie that he believes that if the Dome Four (Joe, Norrie, Junior, and now Melanie) were to die, the Dome would come down. Now, Barbie has that dark though implanted in his head, and as things get worse in Chester’s Mill, and they will, that theory will echo in the ex-soldier’s mind. Will the death of four innocents end Chester’s Mill’s dilemma? This is now something Barbie must consider. That’s some effective stuff for an episode that began with a cliché.

While Sam and Barbie’s drama played out underground, on the surface, the rest of Chester’s Mill had to deal with a dust storm. Rebecca dealt with both cave-in and dust storm as she continued to be a rather interesting character. A few weeks ago, Rebecca was planning to cull Chester’s Mill but now she’s pulling double duty by providing a windmill and a plan to rid the town of the dust storm and rig up some explosives to save Sam and Barbie. Julia learned to trust the MacGyver-like Rebecca, as it is still not clear which side the teacher will fall on. It is clear that “Big” Jim was for himself of course, as he oversaw the very public construction of Rebecca’s windmill while Julia went underground to free Barbie and Sam. The struggle for power over Chester’s Mill’s residents continued between Jim and Julia. This round went to Jim as no one saw Julia rescue Barbie, but everyone saw Jim hold back the dust storm, something that “Big” Jim made damn sure the townsfolk realized.

Another little plot element that could have got very annoying very quickly was put out to pasture, as Joe and Norrie found love in each other again. Norrie forgave Joe for the kiss he shared with Melanie, and thank goodness, because that sappy little plot contrivance was getting very irksome. The Dome Four are reunited, the egg is back in their hands, and they received another vision of the pink stars as Under the Dome suddenly and once again remembered it is a sci-fi show.

The pieces are back in place that were torn apart by the season’s subpar first half. Sam seems dead after he threw himself into a bottomless cavern following his confession to the murder of Angie, “Big” Jim is back to being his manipulative self, and all the cringe-worthy soap opera subplots have been summarily ended. Even Joe’s stoner friend with the ponytail made his season two return.

All is right in Chester’s Mill, let’s hope it stays that way.

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3.5 out of 5