Arguably this sort of episode should already have happened; it’s the one where we delve deeper into each of the characters and get to know them better, as a way of building up the ongoing serial arcs. It’s not as plot-driven (instant water shortage; killer on the loose; flu epidemic) as previous installments have been. Of course, that’s no reason for the body count to slow down. One might have considered doing this sort of background work in the pilot, but of course that was given over to quick snapshots of Dome-related chaos.
So instead, we have our main stars doing some things it makes sense for them to be doing at this point. Norrie and Joe (already a way better investigative team then Dodee and Julia, if much more reckless) keep trying to figure out what the Dome (which they’ve decided is half-sentient) is up to. Angie tries to negotiate a way to deal with Junior and Big Jim (alternately her protectors and her captors), but also owes respect to Rose and the horrible fate that befell her at the diner. Benny shows up, talks Angie into putting down the kitchen knife, and offers to help. Which may be the nicest thing anyone’s done for her since before the Dome.
Julia and Barbie succumb to their chemistry; she is so going to have issues when she finds out what he’s done, which is going to suck even harder since Rachel LeFevre has yet to show a facial expression. Maybe they can focus on Barbie’s squirming under her mass of red curls. Maybe the Dome will let her use them as a weapon like Queen Medusa Boltagon!
What Norrie and Joe discover is pretty cool, especially the reasoning that allowed Joe (who passes for a math genius in this town; have they no architects or surveyors?) to find a McGuffin that deepens the mystery. Stephen King isn’t always on the surest of ground when he goes cosmic, but this series has already diverged in many ways from the novel. Sadly, Norrie’s also involved in one of the four main deaths this week, as she sees a vision at the center of the circle.
While Angie and Benny bury Rose, and Junior and Linda hunt the brothers who killed her, Norrie realizes that her mother is dying from a diabetes-related heart attack. It was brought on by her delivering a baby, in a premature birth that was triggered by a vision the mother had. So while the show gains one life, it sacrifices a strong performer (and the only doctor) in Alice. Samantha Mathis somehow manages to sell Alice’s philosophical acceptance of the Dome making these choices about who lives and who dies.
Someone who makes his own choices on that topic is Big Jim, who pays back his earlier beat down over his hidden propane stash with a rifle (cleverly causing enough of an explosion to hide any evidence). He also admits to Angie that he knows Junior isn’t sane. But like father, like son, Junior kills one of Angie’s attempted rapists in cold blood, while Linda kills the other in self-defense. Dark stuff, as the question this week becomes just what the rules may be now in a town outside of society as we knew it.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net.