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Review: Under The Dome (CBS) – Chester’s Mill is not a good place to be a cow

By on June 26, 2013

Under The Dome

Under The Dome

The latest addition to CBS’ lineup is science-fiction series Under The Dome. The show is based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name and follows the residents of the small town Chester’s Mill. One quiet Sunday morning, out of nowhere, a large, impenetrable dome covers the whole town.

The show starts with an eerie scene in a forest where a man is digging a hole in the middle of the night. We’ll later learn his name is Dale “Barbie” Barbara (Mike Vogel, Bates Motel). Barbie puts a dead body in the hole and covers it up. He speeds off in his car and further down the road almost hits two cows standing in the middle of the road. He veers from the road and ends up in a meadow surrounded by cows with a flat tire. Moments later the wind picks up and the ground starts to shake. In town the church bells ring and car alarms go off.

Then, just a few feet away from Barbie, out of nowhere, dust unsettles as something invisible hits the floor. A cow is slit clean in half by the object. Barbie walks over to investigate and sticks his hand out to see if anything is there. He gets zapped as he touches the mysterious, invisible object. Barbie is still confused about the situation when he hears a plane overhead. He looks up and sees how the plane crashes into the invisible wall.

Local journalist Julia Shumway, portrayed by Rachelle Lefevre (A Gifted Man), turns up to investigate the dome. She has a particular interest in Barbie, since he was near the dome when it happened and he’s from out of town. As the day progresses Julia finds out her husband isn’t at work as she thought he would be. In fact, he hasn’t worked on weekends for a while, even though he told Julia he did. Since Barbie has nowhere to sleep, and maybe because Julia kinda fancies him, she invites him to stay at her place. At her home, Barbie sees a picture of Julia’s husband Peter, and he recognizes him as the man he buried this morning. Julia thinks her husband is cheating on her, but it looks like he was involved in some dodgy business.

Angie McAlister (Britt Robertson, Life Unexpected) and Junior Rennie (Alexander Koch) are in a relationship, which Angie wants to be just about sex but Junior wants it to be more than that. When Junior sees Angie talking to Barbie in town he gets jealous. When Angie is home alone later that day, Junior sneaks into the house and kidnaps her. He locks her up in the fallout shelter his father built in their backyard. Junior tells his father the shelter is flooded so no one will go in there and discover Angie.

Meanwhile two teenagers, a boy and a girl, have had seizures on separate occasions while being near the dome. They don’t know each other, but both children repeated the same phrase: “The pink stars are falling in lines”. What do these words mean? Is this some sort of clue about the nature of the dome?

There is one more interesting thing happening in Chester’s Mill. James “Big Jim” Rennie (Dean Norris, Breaking Bad), car dealer and politician who desires more influence over Chester’s Mill. Big Jim has been stocking up a lot of propane. Howard “Duke” Perkins (Jeff Fahey, Lost), chief of the police department knows about this, but for some reason agreed to keep this quiet. What are Big Jim’s plans with all this propane? Duke and his loyal deputy Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez, CSI: NY) go and inspect the dome. Duke is about to confess something, possibly in relation to the propane. Before he does, he touches the dome which causes his pacemaker to start acting weird. Duke’s heart explodes as a result. Whatever this dome is, it can be dangerous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDweCLKV-UA

Under The Dome is a very interesting series to watch. The show has several different story arcs, and not all of them are directly related to the dome. For example, the relationship between Angie and Junior hasn’t had much to do with the dome so far. I like this because it gives us a break from the main storyline and gives us a look into the lives of the people living in Chester’s Mill.

None of the storylines revealed any hard evidence about the nature of the dome. My best guess right now it’s something supernatural and not some type of terrorist act, as has been speculated in the show. The main reason I’m thinking this is because two people had the same type of seizure and said the exact same words. It seems unlikely a terrorist would, or could, mess with people’s heads and make them say the same things. Not to mention that it doesn’t sound plausible the dome itself was made by a terrorist.

The interesting storylines aren’t the only thing that makes this show good and a lot of fun to watch. Under The Dome also features a lot of good actors. One of the better known actors is Dean Norris; he plays the conniving man who wants to use the dome as a way to gain control of Chester’s Mill very convincing. However Alexander Koch, virtually unknown, does a great job as well in portraying the emotionally disturbed Junior Rennie. The creators successfully  assembled a cast which makes Stephen King’s story really come to life.

The main question of the show is of course why the dome covers Chester’s Mill in particular and where it came from. Other storylines that interest me the most are Rennie and all of his propane. According to a witness, at least 10 truckloads of propane have been delivered, where the hell did he store all of it? Furthermore, something I’m sure will be revealed later on is Barbie’s past and the reason he is in Chester’s Mill in the first place. Does it have anything to do with the dome and if so, was he merely investigating the strange activities of Julia’s husband Peter and ended up killing him for whatever reason, or does he know more about the dome than he wants others to know?

Under The Dome airs on Mondays at 10/9c.