By: Rikki McKernan, Contributor
This week, we start off with a view of a major dome – the top of Big Jim’s head! Get it? Dome? Anyway, Big Jim is the new sheriff in town and his first order of business is to hand out a walkie talkie to Rebecca because she’s one of the town’s “top people.” She’s understandably bitter – he did break into her house and threaten her – but he apologizes and for the millionth time says the Dome has something bigger in store for him. Blah, blah…we’ve heard that before. We’ve also heard that he’s going to change his ways and be a better person. I’ll believe that when I see it. On the outside, Barbie’s dad is having trouble getting him back to the dome, but he can send an email. Barbie writes out a cryptic email to Julia via Joe, who gets it while recording a video blog for posterity. Yeah, he’s got nothing better to do.
Norrie and Joe show Julia the email with an added line about bringing the egg with her when she “takes a leap of faith.” I assume that’s dad at work. In a lucid moment, Julia for once doesn’t trust everything she hears and is skeptical that it’s from Barbie so she and the kiddos go back to the school to try to send a reply. In the psychiatric hospital, all Lyle is saying now is, “it’s in the cards,” so Pauline convinces Sam to help her get Lyle some medication and hopefully he can remember how to get back into the dome. Seems pretty far fetched to me, but they’re not all there, so it sounds like a good plan to them.
Speaking of terrible plans, a young computer nerd spots Barbie hanging out at the playground waiting and, after he runs some facial recognition software, follows Barbie. He’s far from a pro, though, and Barbie quickly catches on, which is when the kid reveals he knows everything about Barbie, including that the email he sent to Julia was tampered with. Barbie clearly needs help, so he infiltrates his dad’s office and computer with the help of the kid who remotely hacks into it. Barbie learns that the email was sent with the added line but before he can get out, dad comes home. Barbie covers, but not well. His dad may look harmless but I’m willing to bet he’s a badass when he needs to be.
Super troop Junior, Big Jim and Rebecca go out to check on a fire call, which the ever industrious Andrea is putting out. Add that to the fact that someone destroyed the windmill, and Big Jim is convinced someone’s trying to send him a message. Junior reminds him that not everything is about him (yeah, right!) but, of course, Big Jim is always looking out for number one. The trio reconvene at the jail to make a very long list of everyone in town who has it out for Big Jim.
At Barbie’s dad’s office, it’s take your son to work day – just kidding, they’re there to send another (illegal) message to Julia when Barbie finds out that his computer nerd friend is actually an employee of his father’s named Hunter. Julia gets a legitimate message just before she sends a message of her own off the edge of the cliff. It’s encoded again, but this time Julia’s sure Barbie sent the email but that she shouldn’t go off the cliff. Instead, he wants to meet her at the edge of the dome. The kiddies are upset that they can’t go but Julia says it’s not safe. Except she forgot one thing – they’re still stuck inside the dome! Nothing can touch them! They pout for a while but do what they’re told.
Pauline and Sam dose Lyle with the meds and get mildly concerned that they aren’t fast acting. It kicks in soon enough, though, but Lyle proves to be as useless as ever because he doesn’t even know he’s gotten outside, let alone how he got there. After they get ice cream, they realize that the “it’s in the cards” comment was about the postcards Pauline sent to Lyle. They dig them up, which reminds Pauline that she drew one more but couldn’t send it – it’s the red door. So it turns out this entire storyline has been completely useless. And that’s 20 minutes of my life I’ll never get back again.
Since his dad’s a little shady, Barbie recruits Hunter to help him get to the dome. Next thing we know, Barbie is waltzing through the military blockade. And here we have the highlight of the episode – Barbie with glasses! He’s seriously 75% better looking – no joke. Even better? He hitches a covert ride on a military transport, which works out well until he runs toward the dome and steps on a trip wire. Oops. Luckily, Julia’s also on the way to the dome but Big Jim pulls her over to interrogate her and give her one of his multitude of walkie talkies.
While out searching for people who hate him, Jim gets surprised by Phil who cold cocks him with a gun. Next thing he knows, Big Jim is handcuffed to the outside of a jail cell. Phil’s not too bright. Anyway, they have an argument but Junior and Rebecca burst in just in the knick of time and after a short brawl, Big Jim saves Junior from being shot by Phil. Learning from the mistakes of others, Big Jim throws Phil inside the cell and he and Junior are back on good (ish) terms.
Julia made it to the dome but when Barbie isn’t there immediately, she starts yelling at the dome. Yep, at it. If you were to walk by my apartment at 10pm on a Monday night, you would be able to hear me yelling at my TV much like Julia is yelling at the dome. Yes, I know it’s futile, but on some level, I know the characters can hear my faint plea that they stop acting ridiculous. So, Scientist Barbie eventually makes it to the outside of the dome, trailed closely by the military. He manages to write out two messages to Julia, “Not safe out here” and “Don’t jump.” It’s very reminiscent of “Not Penny’s Boat” from “Lost.” Unfortunately, he’s detained, and even worse – Big Jim was watching the whole thing through binoculars.
The season is slowly winding down and we’re no closer to figuring out the mystery behind the dome. Nor do we know much more about any of the central characters. Every week I lose interest in the events and characters on this show but there are still three episodes left for UNDER THE DOME to redeem itself. Next week, Barbie gets interrogated and Sam, Pauline, and Lyle find the red door. Take a moment to consider the insanity of a plan that takes them back under the dome and try to forget it before next week’s episode.
In Rikki’s perfect world, she’s Queen of Westeros, best friends with Mindy Kaling, and her other car is a TARDIS…a girl can dream, right?