Don’t laugh, it’s true. When I was first asked to star in Under the Dome, I misunderstood and thought it was going to be a bold reimagining of Prince’s underrated directorial debut. Just picture it: I’m a young vivacious dome, on the French Riviera, entertaining lonely married women, when... romance!
I was so excited. This was going to be the big break that was going to put me on the map and prove to everybody that I had real range and ability. No more just being typecast as agricultural domes or space domes—I could finally be a romantic leading dome. Of course, I was concerned that they find someone to be my costar with the same charisma and intensity as Kristin Scott Thomas (who was also in The English Patient, let’s not forget!) but I could see lots and lots of potential for turning this into an ongoing TV series. The whole sequence in the original film where Prince’s landlady tries to put the squeeze on Christopher Tracy and Tricky for the rent money could have been a whole episode by itself.
While I’m being honest with you guys, I gotta come clean. It took me halfway through season one for me to figure out we weren’t doing Under the Cherry Moon at all. I mean, okay, I thought it was a little weird when I sliced that cow in half—I don’t remember Prince slicing any cows in half in Under the Cherry Moon, although with Prince you never can tell. And there is that scene where Prince drowns terrorist airplanes in his bathtub, which we sort of did our own version of with that one plane blowing up. But for a blissful half a season, I sort of thought we were doing a really irreverent, unconventional reimagining of Cherry Moon—like, I thought Dean Norris was more or less playing the Stephen Berkoff role from the original. It was only once I started having glowy eggs and magic butterflies and stuff, that I started to suspect that we’d gone too far away from Prince’s bold vision ever to go back again.
All of which is to say, last night’s episode was my attempt at putting a bit of that spirit back into things—by having a bunch of love triangles. You know, like when Prince and Jerome are both into the same girl!
Everybody loves love triangles—it’s the perfect shape for romantic tension, as Pythagoras proved so many years ago. So this episode is chock full of triangles. All of a sudden, Barbie is caught between his real-life girlfriend Julia Shumway, and his girlfriend from the fantasy world that everybody was in last week, Ava. And Norrie is similarly caught between her real-life boyfriend Joe and her dream-world boyfriend, That Guy Who Doesn’t Need Glasses Any More. Meanwhile, Junior is caught between two father figures, Big Jim and his uncle Sam.
It’s all because the cocoons that everybody was trapped in (except for Big Jim and Julia) did something to people’s brains, bathing them in oxytocin (the so-called trust hormone) and also filling them with the life energy of the alien eggs yadda yadda, so they could be turned into vessels for my life force. And Christine Price, the so-called FEMA investigator, is actually an evil anthropologist (is there any other kind?) who was searching for my magic egg—and then got hit with a psychic download that gave her all of my secrets.
In one of the most exposition-y, As-You-Know-Bob-y scenes of all time, Christine explains to Melanie that I want to turn all the people of Chester’s Mill into a collective, or maybe some kind of hive mind, or something.
I really thought this was going to be about me wanting to entertain lonely married women and drive around the 1920s South of France in a convertible with a boombox. I am quite disappointed.
So the upshot is that everybody in Chester’s Mill is being turned into pod people, because they were inside pods, and now they’re acting weird, and you can tell this because they love the wrong people or something. (And because Junior burned down Big Jim’s house, which seems perfectly justified, and Norrie shot a pig for food—again, perfectly justified.)
And the only ones who suspect the truth are Julia and Big Jim—but Big Jim, even though he’s discovered an incriminating video showing Christine Price finding my egg weeks ago, decides not to share this info with anybody. Instead, Big Jim leaves Julia to fend for herself, while he rows off to this secluded island, with his new dog friend. And in the end, we see a creepy visual of all the Chester’s Millers standing around looking brainwashed and wacky.
So... I’m the villain now? I thought I was protecting people. I gotta admit, I’m really confused here. This show has done a complete change of course from last year, when I was being all nice and there was an evil conspiracy to grab my egg. All of a sudden, I want to kill Julia Shumway—I thought she was the Monarch! Didn’t I, like, crown her or something?—and turn everybody into brainwashed love-trianglers. I’m really just feeling my way forward here, and nobody will really explain to me what’s up.
I guess Big Jim is going to be the good guy in the end, and Christine Price, my acolyte, is being set up as the baddie. Because she’s pretending to be a counselor, and in the dreamworld she was from FEMA. You know someone is evil if they’re from FEMA.
But why couldn’t I have just gotten to romance some modern-day version of Kristin Scott Thomas, while singing about how boring scrambled eggs are? Why??????
The Dome assumes no responsibility for the quality or coherence of the TV show that bears its name. That said, if you know of any other shows that are casting domes right now, the Dome’s agent is seriously open to offers. Read more of the Dome’s recaps of Under the Dome here.