By: Rikki McKernan, Contributor
Now that the dome has thawed, it’s also decided that people are getting a little too comfortable. Or maybe it’s feeling a bit fat. Either way, it’s shrinking and no one inside is safe. Once again, Joe gives everyone a recap just in case they missed anything in the last few seconds and posits that the dome could be evolving. I guess anything’s possible at this point. Barbie evacuates everyone to the high school because trees and houses are getting crushed under the walls of the dome. Once everyone’s assembled we catch up on what’s been going on. There’s still a pseudo love triangle between Big Jim, Pauline and Lyle, although I don’t really understand everyone’s fascination with Pauline. Truthfully, without her “powers” she’s kind of boring. Not to be left out, Junior and Melanie are getting awfully cozy together. Doomsday Rebecca is calculating how much time they have before everyone’s crushed by the dome but Julia’s wondering why the dome would betray them. It’s the first of many confrontations between these two opposing opinions this episode.
Joe’s friend Ben (remember him?) is surprised that Norrie has as much faith in the dome as anyone. Big Jim and Pauline go home to see if her artwork holds any secrets. They meet Junior there and he’s pretty upset that his dad ruined the best girlfriend he’s had since Angie. Barbie and Hunter to to the edge of the dome where they meet Barbie’s dad, Don, who tells them they can’t have the egg back. Of course, the dome inches closer and closer. They really need a bigger effects budget on this show. Anyway, Barbie convinces his dad to come over with the egg after explaining that Melanie is inside, too.
At the high school, Julia and Rebecca have a theological argument. Rebecca is pro science, while Julia is pro faith. Rebecca wants answers, while Julia is content (mostly) to believe that the dome will save them. Or at least that it won’d intentionally do them any harm. Meanwhile, Melanie’s getting sicker so Rebecca insists on a blood transfusion. How do they know what blood type? Lime beans, of course. Seriously, guys, I can’t make this shit up. Anyway, Melanie tries to convince Rebecca that she’s happy to be back even if only for a little while and Rebecca gives us some insight as to her skepticism. She wanted to believe that there was a reason her mom died when she was young; that there was a purpose to her suffering.
Melanie gets better, either from the transfusion or because her dad is planning on bringing the egg back inside the dome. It doesn’t last long though, because just as Don Barbara is able to pick up the egg, the military turns against him and Melanie, as if sensing this turn of events, starts to crash. Seeing this, Julia goes to the dome and pleads with it to spare everyone else and take her if it needs to. The dome responds by constricting even faster.
Meanwhile, Big Jim and Pauline reconcile and paint her “feelings” “Ghost”-style while Lyle and Junior pour over her journal to find signs that Melanie will be ok. Throughout this episode Lyle continuously creeps on people to no discernible end. Pauline finally gets her mojo back and paints a way to save Melanie but also sees blood dripping off a different canvas. In order to save Melanie, they need all eight hands – 4 old and 4 new. They take Melanie to the pit where she died the first time and all gather around to lay hands on her, even though they’re missing Angie’s. Doubting Rebecca realizes that Melanie’s hands count as one old and one new. At first it seems to be working but soon a dirt vortex sucks Melanie down into the depths of the dome. Junior wants to follow but it’s too dangerous without knowing what’s down there.
Pauline blames herself for Melanie’s death and for being unable to save her now. She runs off but Big Jim finds her and soothes her. They make up with a kiss but it’s short lived because crazy Lyle stabs Pauline in the back. Pauline thinks the dome wanted her to sacrifice herself and that’s the blood she saw earlier. Big Jim stabs Lyle to death, with his permission. His one wish was to go to heaven with Pauline and he seems to have gotten what he deserved, if not what he wanted.
I have to say, the religious symbolism and the struggle between faith and science was pretty heavy-handed this episode. I can get on board with subtle hints like the ones that were omnipresent in “Lost,” but this is just too much. The worst part of it all is that it didn’t matter. It’s not science vs. faith, it’s science and faith working together. I know “Under the Dome” intended this to be some big revelation, but people live with this compromise every day. It’s so commonplace that we don’t need to have it shoved down our throats week after week. We get it.
I will say this for the show, though – it did manage to surprise me. I knew that Melanie wasn’t going to make it – or rather, it would look like she didn’t make it. That much was clear by how many times they kept going back to her on her deathbed. What I didn’t expect was that Lyle would stab Pauline in the back. I mean, he’s obviously a creepy dude and he has been plotting something for a while now but killing her in cold blood mid-reunion kiss with her estranged husband? That’s cold. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you view it), the previews for next week give away that Pauline’s not really dead and the hole in the ground is potentially another way out. Shocker. Now if Melanie ends up actually dead, I will be surprised. Next week is the last episode of the season. Hopefully we’ve got some more surprises in store.
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?