I’m a sad Dome here. I’ve spent the past few years waiting for everyone to realize how awesome I was, because all along it was clear that eventually something terrible would happen, and I would get to do what Domes do best. And then it finally did, and... sigh.
So anybody who was paying attention to Under the Dome could have known from early on that at some point, there would be a global catastrophe, and I would suddenly be the only thing keeping the people of Chester’s Mill alive. Why would anybody put up a giant indestructible dome, if not for protective purposes? Plus there was truckloads of “foreshadowing,” or what passes for foreshadowing on this show—like people saying, “The Dome is here to protect us,” and “the End of Days is coming.” Etc. etc. etc.
And when this big day came, it would be THE turning point for the series, right? It’s the one and only gamechanger, the card you only get to play once. So you have to make it count, and use it just when everybody is at their most invested in the power struggle between Big Jim and Barbie, and all of the town politics, and the existential questions of what matters when you’re trapped under me, and what I really mean, etc.
Unfortunately, the show played its one and only hole card... in the middle of a weak “pod people” storyline. A storyline that had turned the show’s characters into walking plot devices. The insane creative left turn, that also revolved around turning the villain of the first two seasons, Big Jim, into the show’s main hero, has left any putative remaining viewers in the same frame of mind as that classic John Cougar Mellencamp album: Nothing matters, and what if it did?
Anyway, lately I’ve been feeling like a bystander on my own show, ever since the stories have all been about the evil Christine (who isn’t even a car. That’s how far this show has wandered from the Stephen King source material.) I’ve just helped to define the setting under which Christine has been turning all the people in the town into zombies, by giving them lots and lots of terrible therapy to help them “move on” from their real feelings. Yadda yadda.
In any case, the apocalypse comes in “Ejecta,” and it feels like it comes out of nowhere. For all the time this show has spent on foreshadowing and prophetic paintings and having me turn different colors and change sizes to signify different turns of events, there’s no build-up to the actual meteor strike that wipes out almost all of the human race. It just happens. And it turns out, as Julia says, that I’m not there to protect the humans... I’m there to protect the pod people. Sigh. I’m disappointed in myself.
Like I said, I thought this was going to be the moment when you would all start to love and appreciate me at last. I feel cheated.
We get some hints from a brief conversation with Junior, who’s now one of the deputy pod people. He tells Sam that this “Great Destruction” happened before, on their old homeworld, and that’s why they traveled so far to find this planet. (Only to reach it just as another “Great Destruction” happened? That’s... not great timing.) Junior says that he personally remembers this happening, which means the parasite inside him now fully remembers its past life, and Junior isn’t human any more.
In the rest of the episode, our characters stumble through dealing with the end of days. Barbie wants to help some people outside of me to get inside me, but Ava convinces him to have hot pod-person sex instead, although he resists at first. (Barbie watches people burn to death, while holding hands with Ava, in one of the episode’s genuinely effective, chilling moments. This could have been an actual great episode if it had come in the middle of a better storyline.)
Meanwhile, Julia and Big Jim hole up and drink whiskey, after Julia gives up on communicating with the outside world—too soon, since as soon as Julia stops looking at the computer screen, there’s a desperate call from help from someone who’s survived. And Joe and Norrie keep Hunter from volunteering for euthenasia, only to discover that Hunter’s fear turns him back into a real human — so emotion is the key to un-podifying the pod people. In the end, Julia, Big Jim, Joe, Norrie and Hunter decide to become “the Resistance” against my pod people.
(And Barbie is probably faking it, and will join them within one episode. I’m an astute Dome, and I can see the writing on myself.)
I joined the cast of this show because I believe in infrastructure. I wanted to be a Hoover Dam for the 21st century, to encourage people to believe that big mega-structures could be an occasion for personal storytelling and special moments. This show could have been a psychological drama, or a mystery about me. It could have been all sorts of things. What it is, at this point, is a bad copy of an alien conspiracy show from the mid-1990s.
Even apart from how warmed-over and un-dome-worthy this storyline is, none of it really makes any sense. Like, why did I spend so much time crowning Julia as my Monarch, and trying to tell people stuff through magic paintings, and creating a doorway for Barbie to go meet his father, if my endgame was just putting everybody in cocoons so they could be implanted with alien parasites? I don’t get it, and it’s happening inside me.
Anyway, this episode was THE big showpiece I’ve been waiting for since my show started. My time to shine. I felt cheated. I want a do-over on the apocalypse, show.
Read more of The Dome’s recaps of Under the Dome here.