Because that never gets old. People love to see science and religion butt heads, it's the main thing science fiction is for. Right? Spoilers ahead...
So hey, it's me again — the Dome. I don't have too much to say about this week's episode, because I didn't get to do that much. Although this week's crisis was a strange ecosystem I created, in which the lifecycle of butterflies was accelerated (because I love that "monarch" pun so dang much) and they were laying a bajillion eggs which would eat all the crops in Chester's Mill.
The town science teacher, Rachel, wants to set fire to half the town's crops, because that will keep everybody from starving to death. But Big Jim has a moment of resourcefulness and figures out how to spray pesticide from his drug-running airplane — which Barbie does, saving the town.
(And meanwhile, everyone is upset about Angie's death, and they think the amnesiac girl did it, until they actually look at the evidence and realize a guy did it. So now they think it's Big Jim or his son James — whereas it's clearly Uncle Sam, the psycho in the cabin. The show telegraphed Uncle Sam's guilt so heavily, Marconi's head probably exploded.)
But the meat of the episode has to do with two things, both of which do relate back to me directly:
1) Why do I allow bad things to happen to good people? Why did I, in my infinite mercy, spare the life of Big Jim, and then allow Uncle Sam to murder Angie, who after all is one of my four chosen acolytes? This is a big mystery — but when Barbie even raises this question, Julia Shumway reacts as if he's suggested that the townspeople could eat boogers instead of wheat from now on.
2) Both Julia and Big Jim now believe themselves to be my chosen prophets. But Big Jim is a false prophet, maybe. He's not as good a prophet as Julia, at any rate. I actively chose her, with butterflies and glowy eggs, even, and all I did for Big Jim was not allow him to be murdered. But Big Jim is way better at working the "messiah" thing than Julia is — he starts talking about how the town is being tested, and he's found his faith. He turns Angie's funeral service into a campaign rally of sorts. It's kind of gross.
The science teacher lady, who seemed to be the main one questioning that I am judging people and bestowing blessings or tribulations accordingly, seems to have thrown in her lot with Big Jim — maybe because she figures she can manipulate him with her dire mutterings about Malthusianism and the need to get your Kodos on, before people starve.
This was actually a pretty fun episode, at least from my lofty vantage point looking down on the proceedings. Big Jim's pivot over the course of the episode, from penitent sinner to newly reconfirmed leader is pretty fun to watch — all of the non-named characters on this show love Big Jim, now. (There really should be a trope called "But all the NPCs love me.")
But the larger questions remain, for now. Why do I allow evil under myself? Why do I not identify and punish the person responsible for Angie's murder? How exactly do I punish murderers, given that I forgave Big Jim? Also, am I really endorsing Big Jim's leadership, and is he right that I'm testing the people of this town? How will I show that Julia is my true prophet, and Big Jim is an imposter.
So many questions. And meanwhile, do you think I could get a rotunda? I think a really good dome should have a rotunda. Or maybe I could have a stadium, like the Superdome. We could have some kind of sporting event where we pit clowns against people in scarecrow costumes, and it could symbolize faith versus science. Or something.