By: Rikki McKernan, Contributor
Well, after last week’s episode when the portal to Zenith closed and the dome started getting a bit chilly, you can imagine where this episode – titled “Black Ice” – is going to go. You guessed it, the dome is freezing, literally. After Barbie and Julia explain to Big Jim what happened when he knocked the egg over the edge of the cliff, we see Norrie, Joe and Hunter heading to the outskirts of the dome where the dome itself is freezing. Ever the genius, Joe puts his hand on the frozen surface, which immediately starts to sink under the earth. Of course, a warm hand on a frozen surface is going to get stuck so Joe’s extraction is rather painful looking, but he walks away, limbs intact. Outside the dome, the biohazard authorities have found the egg, which is mighty angry at this point. It glows and knocks them back before it starts to scream again. There’s no place like dome, I guess.
Rebecca explains to Joe that the dome may be rotating and bringing the air from the upper atmosphere down to sea level. Again, brilliant Joe asks if it’s colder up there. No shit, Joe. I’m beginning to think the writers of this show think their audience is stupid… Anyway, Big Jim and Pauline fight because, while he thought he was helping, Big Jim was really just trying to be a big shot again, as usual. Pauline reconciles with Melanie who still kind of holds a grudge after being left for dead 25 years ago, but I guess now that she’s sort of dating Junior, she has to be nice to the future mother-in-law, who also happens to be her best friend. It’s a weird relationship to say the least.
Barbie and Julia grab the ambulance and take it to pick up the rest of the town’s food supply before it all freezes but Barbie must not be used to driving on ice because he fishtails and spins out of control before they get very far. They flip and Julia gets stabbed in the leg by something sharp and metallic, leaving them both stranded and running out of gas. Of course, it’s the same story at the high school where Hunter arrives with frostbite, Melanie has a seizure and a random townsperson dies of exposure before they finally run out of gas in the generator. Rebecca corrals everyone together while Big Jim goes out in search of more fuel. Oh, and Hunter is asking a lot of very specific questions about the egg, which makes Joe and Norrie suspicious. Frankly, they’re good questions, like, if the egg is the power source and it’s in Zenith, how has the dome not moved? I’d like to know those answers, too, but I’m familiar enough with the show to know that Joe certainly isn’t the one to provide them.
Eventually, Barbie and Julia do run out of gas but huddle together next to a makeshift petroleum jelly candle for warmth before the window of the ambulance shatters, leaving them completely exposed. After all the close calls this season, I’m willing to bet they’ll end up being just fine.
At the high school Junior and Pauline try to figure out the Melanie/egg connection simply by asking the same questions they have been for weeks. Joe snoops in Hunter’s stuff and finds that he’s in cahoots with Barbie’s dad on the outside. Meanwhile, Norrie is telling Hunter that the only people who can touch the egg without getting hurt are stuck inside the dome. On his way to find fuel, Big Jim stumbles upon Lyle who has finally surfaced in the lake and tells Jim that he saw the world burning and they need to be prepared for it.
Outside, Barbie comes up with what could be the worst plan ever: let Julia die of hypothermia so her heart stops and he can take out the metal rod and then hopefully revive her. Well, it’s better than no plan, I guess, so after a heartfelt goodbye, Julia drifts off to sleep and Barbie does just what he promised: rip out the metal and carry her to safety. As promised, he makes it to the diner and revives Julia who doesn’t seem to be any worse for wear. And apparently hypothermia can heal leg injuries, too, because she doesn’t immediately start to bleed out again. It’s a dome miracle! Jk, it’s bad soap opera writing in primetime.
As the morning dawns, the temperatures begin to rise. Hunter disappears from the high school with Joe and Norrie hot on his trail. They find him at the edge of the dome communicating with Barbie’s dad via the soldiers. When he’s confronted, he admits to being the inside man for Barbie’s dad but told him to stop messing with the egg because he could see it was killing Melanie. As if on cue, the dome stops spinning and instead starts contracting – and screaming. Mystic Melanie sits bolt upright in bed and says, “it’s starting.”
If I hadn’t already lost faith in this show, this would be the episode where it lost me. Nothing has happened this whole season to move along the storyline. Random unfortunate things happen without rhyme or reason and, with a few very minor exceptions, we’re left with the status quo after each episode. It’s like we’re watching a laundry list of troublesome events with an utter lack of cohesion. These episodes could literally be aired in any order and the audience would almost be unable to tell the difference.
We did get a glimpse of the troubles between Big Jim and Pauline this episode but his character (and many, many others this season) has been so wishy-washy, I almost don’t care anymore. I’ve always been able to see where Big Jim is coming from when he’s being the town jackass but to see him sad and alone after his wife and son both tell him they want to get away from him is just pitiful. I want the mean conniving Jim back or no Jim at all. So far, CBS hasn’t renewed the series for another season, so here’s hoping that things can get wrapped up as much as possible within the next few episodes and we can put the show out of its misery.
Next week we’ll see how everyone in Chester’s Mill deals with the magical shrinking dome. Lyle, who is even crazier than usual, tells Junior they’re all going to die inside the dome, while Melanie seems to be obliging nicely as she’s sucked into a quicksand-esque vortex. Now, if she’d just take Rebecca with her, the dome would be a better place.
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?