Friday, July 19, 2013

Under the Dome: Outbreak

The Stephen King summer supernatural thriller Under the Dome has kicked off and we are now deep in the lives of the trapped residents of Chester's Mill.  This week, it played out the most logical result of being confined, mass panic.  We saw a town not only struck by religious rants, desperation and helplessness but a far more imminent danger, an outbreak.  These conditions are putting a strain on our characters as we saw the only thing that spreads faster than any bacteria: fear.  Let's dive right in to the events of the newest episode "Outbreak" (I really have to say they aren't creative at all when it comes to these titles) and don't forget to check out the special * this week at the end of the post, a new idea that I think would really help tie things together!  Enjoy!

  • As soon as the dome appeared a military presence built up consisting of scientists conducting tests and soldiers providing barriers for the outside world.  However in this episode we saw them pack up and leave striking fear and hopelessness in Chester's Mill.  To add to the tumultuous events of confused and pessimistic residents lashing out at the fleeing soldiers by spray-painting "help us", "don't leave us", and throwing items, that of course only hit the dome, Reverend Coggins had a change of heart and rather than the doped up body-gatherer we had been introduced to in previous episodes, we saw a man who went back to God.  He riled up the townsfolk by shouting scripture and has begun to see the dome in a new light, as an omen from God.  As Linda was attempting to disperse the crowd at gunpoint, Big Jim stepped in to calm them down with words as opposed to force.  Linda fainted in his arms and it was clear, something was wrong. 
  • An outbreak hit Chester's Mill as various storylines collided.  They all rushed to the small town's clinic: Big Jim with Linda, Julia who had followed Barbie's map in an attempt to discover his secrets and found DJ Phil collapsed in possession of her husband's car, the two moms with their daughter Norrie and Joe who had both suffered a seizure, and many more.  With little supplies and the only doctor being Julia's missing husband Peter, Norrie's mom Alice, a psychiatrist, steps in and diagnoses an overwhelming number of cases of meningitis.  Low on medication Big Jim and Barbie head to the local drug store leaving Junior in charge with a shotgun placing the clinic on quarantine in an attempt to control the spread of the bacteria.  Jim and Barbie arrive at the pharmacy only to find the medication cleared out, but Jim has an idea of just who would have committed such an act.  Together they head to the Reverend's home where he is not using the medications for himself but rather burning the drugs claiming the outbreak is a sign from God and the people afflicted aren't meant to live.  Meanwhile at the clinic, Linda finds herself sharing a room with a former school teacher who gives her life by insisting the last dose of antibiotics go to her pupil Linda instead of herself.  Julia, determined to solve the mystery of her husband's disappearance interrogates a delirious Phil who informs her of a cabin.  Junior is over his head at first, desperately trying to keep the frantic group of people contained by firing a shotgun in the air.  He eventually takes a page out of his dad's book and gives a moving speech about trusting the townsfolk and leaves the door unguarded with the shotgun next to it persuading the mob to do what is best for the town and stay put.  The antibiotics are dispensed and once again a town crisis is averted.    
  • During the outbreak and quarantine, though also suffering from the illness, Julia was determined to locate her husband Peter.  After getting a few clues from a delirious Phil she tried to get through Junior.  Although he didn't allow her to leave, he did inform her of the location he and Barbie had their previous struggle.  She was able to sneak out a back exit, using Peter's clinic key card, and drove out to the isolated gambling hall.  There she found remnants of her husband including bank statements revealing he had drained all their bank accounts and their house was in foreclosure.  With the meningitis progressing, Julia passes out alone in the middle of nowhere.  When Barbie realizes she is gone he persuades Junior, who has no desire to help Barbie with anything, to give him his truck as Julia was able to escape under his watch.  Barbie finds the gravely ill Julia and is able to bring her back to the clinic thus saving her life.  However, Julia is not so grateful when she awakens and confronts Barbie about his myriad of lies.  He confesses to her his real occupation, as a bounty hunter or enforcer for a bookie, and plays her a voice message from Peter claiming he had the money and wanted to meet.  Of course Barbie doesn't admit that he met with Peter, who did not have the money but instead pulled a gun, and during their struggle ultimately killed him.  Instead he leaves Julia, the woman who opened her arms and home to him, devastated by implying that her husband not only took all of their money but ran off to avoid paying his debt.  Now lied to by both men in addition to being trapped and unable to even search for Peter, although it would be futile, Julia tells Barbie to get out of her home by the time she returns. 
  • After Joe and Norrie's tests came back normal and unaffected by the illness, they passed the time by hanging out and becoming closer to one another.  Norrie brought up the fact that their latest seizure was brought on when they touched and decided to conduct an experiment.  By lining up her cell phone camera to record any events, they stood face to face and brought their hands together hoping to trigger something.  Right when they were about to give up an electric shock sparked between their hands and they both fell to the floor and began shaking violently while repeating the same phrase, "pink stars are falling in lines".  When the episode finished, they reviewed their video and saw an unaware Joe motioning to the camera by putting one finger up to his mouth.  Not remembering the event, they concluded that he was indicating they should keep silent about their findings, so only they know how to trigger the seizures and this may hold a vital clue of the dome. 
  • Amidst the town's own medical crisis, Angie still captive in the underground shelter, creates her own life or death situation.  After an unsuccessful attack on Junior with scissors, and having her own stir-crazy episode, she tries to call for help through a vent and pulls violently on a pipe causing it to burst, the massive stream of water threw her off the bunk and onto the concrete floor leaving her unconscious.  As the water filled the small bunker, eventually waking Angie up, she tried various ways to fix the situation but ultimately failed.  It wasn't until Big Jim returned home after his hectic day and followed the noise to uncover his son's creepy little secret.  Although I believe Big Jim will help Angie by stopping the flow of water, getting her dry and possibly attending to her head wound, I think that he will realize the implications of his son's hostage on not only Junior but himself and with his self-serving megalomaniac personality refrain from letting Angie loose.
  • After witnessing Junior's efforts at the clinic and his ability to keep the order in the town as well as Linda's own experience with her former teacher's comments regarding how much both Junior and Linda had grown from their younger years; Linda in need of new deputies offers Junior the job.  I believe that she is trying to mimic what her mentor Duke did by taking Junior under her wing to help give him a better future, obviously not aware of his sociopathic tendencies or his hostage.  This presents a grim future for Chester's Mill as Junior now holds a badge and power making him even more dangerous than before.
  • *On another note, we saw in next week's preview that the military is planning on blowing up the dome.  While I don't understand this for a plethora of reasons, the main one being: if the dome isn't presenting a big problem for the outside world as they could divert traffic around the small area why take the drastic measure of firing a missile at it, likely killing everyone inside?  In addition if a bullet bounces off the interior of the dome, and from what we know scientists haven't uncovered much about its nature, doesn't it pose the risk of harming the outside world if the missile fails?  So I propose an episode entitled Outside the Dome where we are taken into the pentagon and shown the planning by the Department of Defense or possibly the Department of the Interior with military, environmental and scientific specialists explaining the outcomes of their tests, their theories, the risks the dome poses for the rest of the world and their strategies on how to approach the problem.  I think it would be interesting and veer away from the dramatic storyline approach the show has taken so far and more into the "sci" of this television series.  Since thus far we have learned little about the dome's composition and only the effects it's had on the inside, Outside the Dome would be a fresh breath (literally) and give the viewer clues as to what it is and why they have chosen to destroy it.
Although Under the Dome is based on the emperor of all science fiction, Stephen King, the series deals primarily with the drama revolving around the lives of its captors rather than the science of its composition.  I think for a major network to produce it, this is a good choice as it has the potential to draw in a much bigger audience.  However, it does leave me wanting more aliens and unexplained events similar to shows like Fringe or Haven.  That being said, it keeps me interested and entertained, week after week, and I have become invested in the characters like any good drama should do.  I look forward to what will come next and will be back with an all new review and recap with each coming episode; so tune in to CBS Mondays and check back here for everything happening Under the Dome

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