Under the Dome: Legacy

Sounding like the latest installment in the Highlander franchise (Highlander XII: Legacy) last night’s episode of UtD was a powerful reminder that the Dome is more than mere entertainment. Giving Marg Helgenberger the night off so she could visit a Palm Springs Lip Spa, the producers replaced her with another mid-90’s TV star, ER‘s Eriq La Salle, to show us that the Dome has a lot to teach humanity. Like where are Julia Shumway’s ears? Over the course of 10 episodes, they have remained completely hidden beneath her thick and shaggy red wig. Is she afraid of her ears? Did she lose her ears in a tragic sunglasses accident? Did someone say her ears looked fat and her hair has become a shame curtain? Only the Dome knows.

Q: Is breathing important? Last episode, Julia kissed Barbie until he was cured of alien hive mind and now he wants to go and act like a spy. “Take my Prius,” Julia says. “Why?” Barbie asks. “Because Toyota: Let’s Go Places.” So Barbie purrs off on silent little Prius wheels to learn that Scarecrow Joe is the only kid who stayed awake in Chester’s Mill science class and that’s earned him a spot inside the alien slave labs where he has to make sense of Christine’s schematic while she’s away getting her lips smoothed. Guided by this drawing of what could be a cat’s butthole, Joe is supposed to build a machine that will destroy the Dome. Why do the aliens want to destroy the Dome? Because it is calcifying and soon they won’t be able to breathe. Barbie likes breathing and so he convinces Joe to stay right where he is, getting beaten up by Junior and sneered at by Uncle Sam. A: Breathing is important.

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Q: What are the habits of highly successful people? Eriq La Salle is the head of Aktaion, a powerful energy company that employs everyone’s daddy. His name is Hector, but he is so rich that he spells it “Hektor.” What does he do all day? If you thought energy company CEOs spent their days attending meetings and undermining the EPA, you’d be wrong. Hektor is a hands-on CEO who spends his days looking for space eggs. Now he has led his heavily armed employees through the magical red door in Barbie’s dad’s basement and into Chester’s Mill to rescue Big Jim before he shoots all the nameless extras in Chester’s Mill.

They decide to hole up in the most secure building in town (the local nursery school), and Hektor says he can cure people whose brains have been eaten by the aliens using serum. All they need is Christine’s DNA. “That sounds like voodoo,” Big Jim scoffs. “Um, excuse me,” a sniffy lady scientist says. “It’s based on cutting edge research, okay?” Then Julia points out that she cured Barbie using kissing and maybe she could just kiss everyone better. “DNA,” the lady scientist insists. Big Jim volunteers to gather Christine’s DNA, which is very disgusting because it probably means she’ll have to excrete space slime all over his bald head.

Also with Hektor is the camgirl that Hacker Hunter and Big Jim bought an Amazon gift card for in episode 8. Her name is Lily and she may be flirting with Hacker Hunter because she calls him a “hacktivist” which is a word that only TIME magazine has ever used with a straight face. Meanwhile, everyone is walking around thinking that Hektor just orders fruit plates and looks at Powerpoint presentations all day, but he gives us a sad flashback to prove that there is pain deep inside of him.

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Hektor’s BFF was Patrick, who touched the space egg and it infected him with acting. He is acting so hard—shaking and trembling, and saying things about “pinks stars falling in lines” and “the Space War after the birth of the Queen”—that everyone gets scared because it sounds like the set-up for a fourth season and no one wants that. Camgirl Lily sticks a bag of coffee beans in his face to shut him up. “Here,” she says. “Remember on Sundays when we used to go to a cafe, and read the paper, and do the crossword puzzle, and eat baguettes, and see a movie, and walk in the park, and snort coffee?” But Patrick’s overacting cannot be cured, and so Hektor locks him in a glass telephone booth. Also, Hektor drinks water from a canteen instead of a glass because he’s a boss. A: Drinking from canteens, trying to cure over-acting, pointing guns at people, talking about DNA.

Q: Did the writers survive this week’s episode? Let’s not forget that Barbie is about to be a father. And boy is he nervous! “You’re going to be a great father…to your alien space baby,” Julia says. But Barbie is nervous his baby won’t be born with a full, scruffy beard like he has and then he’ll have to eat it. “It’s just something my family does,” he explains. So he goes to see Eva. She’s in the barn Christine made for her, draped in white curtains. “I’m tired of being cooped up in this filthy sex barn!” she yells. Enter 12 virgin ladies.

“The queen needs you,” she tells the first. “So don’t be afraid. What happens next will be beautiful.”

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Surprisingly, this is not porn tagged “lesbian sorority orgy,” it is actually a beautiful part of childbirth where the ladies touch Eva’s stomach and it absorbs their life and then they are tossed out back into a mass grave.

“Christine made it happen,” Eva explains to Barbie as he marvels at the enormous basketball she appears to have swallowed overnight. “With the help of some very devoted, beautiful women. They pledged their vitality to the Queen.”

Is that what they’re calling it these days? But this is not just a beautiful and powerful metaphor for childbirth, it is also a beautiful and powerful metaphor for how UtD gets written. My theory is that after each episode all the writers are taken to kneel before Executive Producer Steven Spielberg. They place their hands on his tummy and then he absorbs their vitality, and has their withered husks thrown out back. Then a whole new group of writers are hired who immediately undo everything that happened last week and take things in a bold new direction, hoping that they don’t get absorbed and thrown in a mass grave, too.

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Tonight’s episode ends right in the middle of a shot of Julia looking at Eva and Barbie while hiding in the bushes. This could be suspense, or maybe they just ran out of film. Meanwhile, in the promo for next week’s episode, apparently a whole new gang of aliens are arriving that have to be fought. So these aliens aren’t so dangerous anymore. So nothing that happened tonight matters anyways. A: Sorry, writers.

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