Under the Dome: The Enemy Within

The final episode of Under the Dome is here and in the first few minutes of this rushed finale we see how far this show has come from being the simple story of some minor league TV actors trapped under a dome. Barbie is digging a grave in the forest.

Barbie: Dr. Bloom deserves a burial.

Julia Shumway: I know how hard this is for you. She was our last hope of finding a cure for your daughter.

Daughter? Cure? Dr. Bloom? Whut? Just two lines reveal how far we’ve strayed, so let’s take a listen to the opening monologue the way it should sound now…

“Four weeks ago, an invisible dome crashed down on Chester’s Mill, cutting us off from the rest of the world,” Big Jim narrates. “The dome has tested our limits, caused an outbreak of meningitis, disrupted Monarch butterfly migration patterns, sparked water riots, sparked food riots, sparked a war over crops, contaminated the lake with methane, revealed a mini-dome, sparked a war over water, revealed an egg, sparked a war over pigs, started a fight club in ye olde cement factory, broken up a gambling ring, broken up a drug dealing ring run out of the funeral home, started a wind storm, almost gotten Barbie lynched, got Julia shot, put Julia in a coma, got Julia stabbed, caused a caterpillar infestation, lowered the temperatures to freezing, magnetized the entire town, made everyone black out, killed all the butterflies, made all the butterflies angry so they killed people, brought a dead girl back to life with time travel, caused the skies to rain acid blood, gave Dwight Yoakam a chance to sing his new hit single, allowed some people to escape to the nearby town of Zenith, killed all the pigs, helped Big Jim’s wife fake her suicide, caused an earthquake, caused a sinkhole, caused a blizzard, made everything really really hot, almost lynched Big Jim, opened a bottomless pit, killed Barbie’s dad, killed Junior Rennie’s mom, impaled DJ Phil on a spike, contracted and almost crushed everyone, trapped everyone inside alien dream cocoons, turned the entire population into mindless alien brain slaves, made Eva pregnant, sucked the Lifeforce out of 12 young girls, drowned all the old people, and exploded. Now, in order to survive, we must battle our most dangerous adversary…the enemy within.”

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Which, coincidentally, is the title of this episode! And it’s even a line of dialogue when Barbie’s alien sex baby who has grown up to be the actress who played her mother in a cheap wig says, “There’s an enemy within.” Which is weird, because wasn’t it just last episode that we were hearing about an enemy without and that there were new bad aliens coming to earth that these Kinship aliens would help us fight? True, but like Melanie returning from the dead bearing cryptic messages or Julia Shumway being crowned Monarch, those plot lines will dangle forever. Now all that matters is getting Scarecrow Joe to build his giant karaoke machine that will tear down the Dome with one terrific rendition of “The Greatest Love of All” and stop everyone from getting these disgusting neck sweats.

The only other thing that matters is Barbie’s alien sex baby who has grown up to be the actress who played her mother in a cheap wig. She captures the resistance in about three minutes and then locks them up in a jail cell. She walks like a runway model on America’s Next Top Model, and apparently she’s the first in a new race of sassy divas with ‘tude, kind of like Bratz dolls. And she even gives herself a name, because it’s too hard to keep saying Barbie’s alien sex baby who has grown up to be the actress who played her mother in a cheap wig.

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“My name is Don,” she says.

Or maybe that’s “Dawn.” Either way, it sounds about right — she’s either a balding insurance agent from Hartford or a middle-aged stripper from outside Atlanta. The first thing she does is engage in heated verbal jousting with Scarecrow Joe as she tries to convince him to finish building the karaoke machine or she’ll torture his friends. But Joe was building the transmitter anyways, in fact, he’d turned down a chance to escape last episode in order to keep building it, so it’s clear that Don doesn’t have this verbal sparring thing quite down yet. Joe sees his advantage and comes at her with a counter-offer…let everyone go. “Okay,” she says. This scene is supposed to be full of zingers and innuendo and ever-shifting power dynamics but, like most dialogue scenes on Under the Dome, it’s more like watching two cold pancakes get slapped together.

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Uncle Sam and Junior are doing a little sparring of their own as they vie to see which one of them will be Don’s “alpha.”

“You tried to take my rightful place as her alpha,” Junior whines.

“You tried to drown children to solve our problems,” Uncle Sam retorts, and haven’t we all heard old married couples having this exact same argument a million times before?

Uncle Sam tries to become the alpha by giving Don hot intel about some tunnels under Ye Olde Cement Factory (Season 1 callback FTW!) but Junior counters by stabbing him through the guts with a piece of rebar. A scene later, Big Jim stabs Junior through the guts with a pocket knife and that, folks, is what’s known as dramatic irony.

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Don then uses tuneless whistling to activate (make glow? turn on? click on “Shiny Glow Aura” in Adobe After Effects?) the amethysts but there has to be…The Eighth Note. At first, Fivehead Norrie thinks that she’s the Eighth Note, because she was one of the Four Hands and she was the Second One to See Pink Stars Falling in Lines (Season 1 callbacks galore, yo!) but it turns out that it was all a big pointless trick to make Scarecrow Joe rush into the glowy vortex because he’s the eighth note. Seeing that for three episodes he’s been all about freeing everyone from the Dome at all costs, I don’t think Don had to trick him to do this, but give her a break, she’s new to this whole Sassy Alien Queen Baby thing. Anyways, Joe makes blowjob face, someone dubs in a whistling sound, and swoooosh as E.T. music plays he dissolves into sparkles and space sperm and flies away into the sky.

Then, Don tries to escape by crawling over a chasm on a broken board. But she didn’t count on Barbie. He’s “weakened” the board (instead of “picking up” a gun) and at first she says that she’s his daughter and his darkness was passed on to her when he was asleep in the Matrix,  ignoring the fact that Barbie’s darkness is the kind you buy on a t-shirt at Hot Topic. He delivers a final zinger (it got caught in his beard and I couldn’t hear it) and then he stomps on the board and she falls into a deep pit. So that’s it! The big alien threat was defeated with a weak board and a big hole.

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So, the Dome’s down. Now what?

Now, apparently, everyone is caught by the Army who take them all away to separate cells where they give Barbie a bath and then read them back everything that’s happened on the show, causing the actors to shake their heads slowly in dismay. “Jesus Christ,” you can see them thinking. “My agent is so fired.” The Army people then deliver the ultimate Dome dis: “Unfortunately a story about alien body snatchers and pink stars is not a story we can allow the world to know.” Which is why it’s airing over the summer when people with friends are actually outside doing something and not home watching TV all alone. *sob.*

In the end, Big Jim becomes a Senator, Fivehead Norrie finally gets bangs to cover up her enormous forehead, Barbie and Julia Shumway go on the dorkiest motorcycle trip ever (where she almost electrocutes herself and throws his fishing pole into a river), while Hacker Hunter spies on them making love from a satellite, and Indy the dog runs for the US House of Representatives, representing the district of Chester’s Mill. Despite some dangling plotlines (that are so sad in their eager hopefulness that someone — anyone — might care that Don is alive and teaching kindergarten, or that Scarecrow Joe is a space case in a military science prison) and leaving aside the fact that they all might still be asleep in the Matrix, this Dome has Domed its last Dome. It couldn’t kill us, but it didn’t make us stronger.

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And we have finally all escaped from Chester’s Mill.

 Grady Hendrix has written for publications ranging from Playboy to World Literature Today and his latest novel is Horrorstör, about a haunted Ikea.

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