TV Review: Under the Dome 1.7, “Imperfect Circles”
[rating: 2.5] Honestly, with 11 million people reportedly watching this show each week, and the fact that there’s been little…
Honestly, with 11 million people reportedly watching this show each week, and the fact that there’s been little to no development on an explanation for the dome, why does every single episode need to open with the same voice-over re-establishing the premise? We get it, the town like any other is now different because it’s UNDER THE DOME (cue faux spooky voice) – and now things are crazy! Except they’re not at all. In fact they’re pretty boring and I don’t know what these 11 million people are thinking each week.
It looks like the theory Julia and Dodie postulated at the end of the previous episode – that the dome is sentient and attempting to provide its inhabitants with what they need, like a kid putting a twig and leaf into a mason jar for the bugs he’s caught, or a psycho locking his ex-girlfriend in a fallout shelter – is true as pregnant Harriet (nice to meet you for the first time ever) was provided with a vision of her husband, Greg, who’s outside the dome, only to be tricked into touching the dome and going into labor thereby fulfilling yet another TV trope (something this series loves to do) and establishing what kind of emergency-of-the-week this episode would be. “I touched the dome – I think it did something to my baby!” Yeah, we got it Harriet. How dumb do the writers think we are? Later, Harriet starts to get really pessimistic about the whole bringing a baby into this world thing and once again Barbie swoops in to save the day, which is feeling extremely contrived at this point after he’d already scared off the gas-siphoning Dundee brothers then later saved the newborn from the umbilical cord wrapped around is neck, something far too common in TV baby deliveries.
Alice and Caroline get a nice moment (which obviously means something awful is about to occur) before being interrupted by the pregnancy brigade, and I still wonder exactly what kind of program Norrie was en route to. I guess we can assume drugs just like with Jim’s propane hoarding, but wouldn’t it be nice if this show actually picked up any of the plot threads it’s thrown against the wall instead of making us watch strangers give birth? Anyway, I should probably give credit to the show for killing off one of its main characters (yay, consequences!) except that after seven episodes I don’t really feel much for any of them. This show really failed to hook me emotionally and (as you might have guessed) it’s a bit difficult to take it seriously. In terms of pathos, I just can’t get into it. From here on out it’s crazy genre wackiness or bust.
Speaking of, Norrie and Joe experiment with the dome’s perimeter to no avail leading Joe to speculate they should look for it’s center. Joe’s glad to be part of something awesome, and even clarifies his use of the word, which makes me like him. They find the nucleus which apparently is a black egg protected by – you guessed it – a small transparent dome, one which responds to the kids’ touch and imploring with another necessary vision of a loved one. I didn’t like the idea of a sentient dome because I couldn’t imagine that it implied anything other than a race of domes from another galaxy, but I suppose it could be really advanced AI? Or something remote controlled by aliens? Being of extra-terrestrial origin seems pretty obvious at this point (“aliens” is a more likely explanation than “God” and “The Government” was already ruled out) so I hope they don’t beat around the bush for too long – oh wait, this “limited series” was renewed for a second 13 episode season next summer so never mind.
I’m glad Linda didn’t waste any time in tracking Rose’s killer, Waylan Dundee, and his brother, Clint. Once Junior learned from Linda (who actually acknowledged the attempted rape) that Angie was attacked I actually wanted to see Junior go be violent. Thankfully it didn’t take long, but I have to wonder why anyone in that town would ever need the gigantic gun Junior was carrying. That thing looked like it was made for Rainier Wolfcastle. I don’t know why Linda was so certain the assault on Angie wasn’t carried out considering how ambiguously the attack was portrayed, but I’ll just assume the network and producers thought it was a device good enough to exploit for the appearance of story though not good enough to actually address as a serious topic. Regardless, I don’t imagine the incident being rehashed now that it looks like both Dundee brothers have been shot dead. It was nice that Linda reminded Junior they’re not vigilantes and that the Dundees had rights – that is until they ran away at which point each cop shoots them dead. Guess we’ll see what a trial UNDER THE DOME (cue faux spooky voice) looks like some other episode.
I guess Rose didn’t have any family as Angie and the most cliched teenager ever, Ben, are the only ones arranging for a proper burial, and no formal funeral. Angie will obviously inherit the restaurant/inn. It also looks like Angie will keep quiet about the whole Junior locking her in the shelter incident which is pretty messed up. I understand it’s more convenient plot-wise because if she didn’t keep quiet either Junior would have to be locked up or Angie would have to be shunned or something, but Angie remaining silent doesn’t really say much for her standing up for herself against a crazy psychopath and his shady father.
On the topic of homicidal Rennies, at first Jim’s payment of propane to Ollie in exchange for keeping the town’s citizens supplied with water combined with kicking his son out of his home for kidnapping Angie made Jim continue to seem like a decent person, if not merely a patient, power-hungry politico. However, Ollie’s attempt at a hostile takeover prompted Jim into taking drastic measures which reaffirmed Jim as a ruthless and dangerous man. I can’t say I wasn’t rooting for him though. This would have been the most interesting and dynamic aspect of the episode if it weren’t so incredibly predictable with every swig of liquor Jim took that he’d retaliate somehow.
I guess this episode was better than most of the others in that we got slightly more development on the seizure kids’ relationship to the dome’s mechanics, and we didn’t have to deal with Dodie and DJ Phil (sorry, guys), plus an explosion happened and people died, but as I mentioned earlier this show is just too shallow to hold any weight for me dramatically. The writing is completely uninspired and absolutely incapable of carrying such an outlandish premise. I can’t care about Alice’s passing seeing as how we barely got to know her. This show needs to narrow its focus and stop relying so heavily on trite cliches if it wants to earn more than just ratings.