Last week we saw the residents of Chester’s Mill trapped in a Matrix like alternate reality before being dramatically saved by “Big” Jim and Julia. This week, they actually refer to the thing as “The Matrix” so I guess if you’re going to steal (ahem, excuse me, homage), you might as well be upfront about it.
Anyway, after a strong premiere last week, we got a mixed bag in the second week of season three of Under the Dome as there was some good, some bad, and some downright inane. Since I’m a positive sort of geek, let’s start with the good. Most of the good this week, as per usual, had to do with gentlemen named Rennie. Dean Norris and his as performance “Big” Jim continued to be a campy delight. Seriously, no one on modern day TV skulks like “Big” Jim. This week, Jim befriended that dog he has been bullying all season and tried to find the truth about Chester’s Mill’s two new residents, Eva and Christine. No one else really thought it was weird that two non-Chester’s Millers suddenly showed up in town but since Jim is a conniving douche bag he recognizes other conniving douche bags. That’s not really being fair to Eva who really seemed to just exist to provide romantic tension between Barbie and Julia. Poorly executed romantic tension at that
Which brings us to the inane. The whole Dome Matrix thing really was an intriguing addition to the show. I mean having to deal with the repercussions of artificially living a year-that’s a fascinating little bit of speculative fiction right there with tons of potential and for character drama. Yet, it was all being used to create romance wrinkles for Barbie and Julia and Norrie and Joe. Really? So Julia and Joe were jealous of their significant others because of a dream? First off, Norrie and Hunter, the object of Joe’s jealousy, had about the same onscreen chemistry as Ronald McDonald and Grimace. The whole thing was so forced, it was just painful with the two of them dancing to the Ramones in a dead woman’s house while said woman’s corpse is still rotting outside. No, this is not good. Joe scowled at them a bunch and instead of everyone acting like people in the midst of a crisis, they were acting like characters from Degrassi Junior High fan faction. I would read the shit out of Degrassi Junior High fan fiction, by the way.
Barbie and Julia might even be worse. Listen, affairs of the heart are complex, I get it. But if I was stuck in an extraterrestrial matrix because the ghost of my dead sister was possessed by an alien intelligence, my dating woes would not be in the forefront of my brain. But it was for Julia and Barbie (although I guess in fairness, Julia was not trapped in the Dometrix) who spent the episode angsting about lost love instead of doing anything. Hey, isn’t Julia supposed to be the Dome monarch or something, kind of forgotten about that, haven’ we?
Now to the bad. I was going to comment on what a creepy ass big bad Melanie has become. She has the diaphanous, spectral, evil presence thing down pat. Or she did, because this week, Christine killed Melanie as Melanie was trying to kill Julia. First off, has there been an episode of Under the Dome where Julia didn’t get pummeled, shot, stabbed, beaten, thrown off something, or brutalized? She is like the Mick Foley of unevenly executed Stephen King adaptations. Secondly, hey, Melanie is an interesting female character on Under the Dome., so of course she died. Under the Dome is to women like The Walking Dead is too the brothers. Anyway, with Melanie dead, the mysterious Christine seems to be the show’s big bad. In addition, the series just completely cut ties with last season as now absolutely nothing that happened last season has any bearing on the show. Seriously, Melanie was like the focal point of the entire season last year, and now-dead.
Lest I be accused of being too negative, let us go back to some good. Like his Dad, Junior Rennie is really fun to watch as he continued to develop into his own man. The image of Junior, fist bodied, standing in front of a gore streaked dome was intensely powerful as the Junior goodness continued as the younger Rennie burnt down the Rennie house this week, showing “Big” Jim that he is not to be trifled with.
So as far as the Rennies are concerned, good stuff as always. As far as the Dometrix is concerned, there was enough there this week to make this a welcome element to the show. As far as everything else, nope, sorry, not buying the romantic drama for a second and the death of Melanie just plain sucked.
Call it 2 stars 1½ of them belonging to Dean Norris.