Well, at least Gotham was really good.
What started out in Under the Dome’s first season is a show that had endless potential, a show that could be a lens by which to examine a small town that had become an entity separated from the rest of civilization by a dome, a show that had a premise that had never been tried before has now, thanks to a hastily conceived mess masquerading as a plot, descended into cruel and self indulgent horseshit. It pains me as a Stephen King loyalist to say it, but it’s true. So for one last time this year, let’s journey Under the Dome and see how things took such a wrong turn.
No, let’s start with the few bright spots like the performance of Dean Norris. The finale ended with “Big” Jim finally completing his path to the dark side because of the death of his clairvoyant wife Pauline. The slow burn stillness that Norris used to portray Jim was phenomenal. His look of disgust as the dome failed to resurrect his wife was classic. This is the character that Jim should have been the whole time. He was on his way last season but somehow this year, Jim took a detour to nice guy-ville, but now, Jim is finally the villain he was always meant to be. This week, Jim swore that if the dome did not revive his wife, he would kill the residents of Chester’s Mill, an act he began carrying out as the citizens of the town made their escape. Thanks to Norris, Jim Rennie has become one of the best villains on television, too bad the show he is on has become so unworthy of such a performance.
Moving on to another bright spot this season, the introduction of the character of Rebecca Pine, a character who had a very effective arc, as a woman of science who had to embrace the spiritual in order to thrive under the dome. A woman who, oh, to hell with it, just like every strong female character on this show this season she was freakin’ murdered by a man. I don’t play the gender card; I like to judge a story for the story’s sake not for any sociopolitical issues. But, when a show kills five female characters in a season, three in one episode, I have to call that show on its own bullshit.
You see, Pauline was dying (because Lyle stabbed her to death) and couldn’t stand the pain. So she asked Rebecca to end her pain with a shot of morphine. That’s a hell of a selfish thing to do when you consider that Rebecca barely knew Pauline, but Rebecca respected her choice and had the mercy to release the pain ravaged psychic wife of “Big” Jim. How was Rebecca rewarded for this kindness? She was beaten to death with a hammer by Jim.
So, if you’re keeping score, that’s Rebecca hammered to death, Angie axed to death by Sam, Pauline stabbed to death, and Linda crushed to death (at least that one was an accident). Add to that, Dodie being shot to death last season (with no repercussions to Jim) and you have a very hard to defend and harder to ignore trend. What was the point of Linda’s death, how about Angie’s? Sam never paid for his act. He just became doctor guy again with no one ever bringing up the fact he killed a teenager! So, Rebecca was introduced, was a well written character that was difficult to define, a fascinating woman who walked the razor’s edge of science versus spiritualism and she was killed. Just like Angie, Norrie’s mom, Dodie, Linda, and even the lady that played Hoyt’s mom on True Blood, she was killed and all her narrative potential was pissed away.
Those expecting answers to go with their weekly dose of misogyny need not look towards this episode. The whole thing was overwrought, hysterical, and groan worthy as the entire town gathered to be led underground in order to escape the enclosing dome. Some dude was crushed by a tractor and struck by lightning in front of his hysterical kid, everyone ran around with no purpose, and when the town finally hit the caverns (complete with low budget shaky cam), it looked like answers would soon arrive.
Nope, some stuff happened with butterflies. There was some bits with Norrie (hey, she’s hasn’t been killed yet!) losing faith, Jim acting like a natural leader and Julia running off to confront Jim. At least Julia fought back and didn’t allow herself to be murdered quietly, but hey, thank God there were some men around or poor frail Julia might have been in trouble. Jim’s story this season ended with Junior shooting his father and getting stuck in the town with Julia as the rest of the residents made their escape.
So, the rest of the town were making their way out, when they were blocked by a wall of butterflies, which flew away to reveal a rock wall. Barbie touched the wall and the whole thing cracked into pieces (much like the plot). Out stepped Melanie the dome ghost who told everyone they were going home. No explanation, no clues to the dome’s true nature, no catharsis for anyone and no punishment for anyone who deserved it, just more masturbatory mysteries.
Let’s hope the creators behind Under the Dome take a long hard look at how things went so wrong, how it’s not okay to just violently slaughter every female character in your ensemble cast without any consequence to anybody, and how mysteries need to have a resolution. No fan needs to be spoon fed, but no fan should be left to starve either.
This season characters died for no reason, characters were introduced with no purpose, and mysteries went from intriguing to downright annoying making me wish someone would put the writers of the show Under a Dome and launch the whole chauvinist mess into the nearest star.
Dean Norris was really good though.