Under the Dome “Blue on Blue” Review
By Viv Mah
I’m not too sure what it is; a general disinterest for the show and the directions it’s attempting to push, or a lack of empathy for the cast, but I spent the first few minutes of Under the Dome’s “Blue on Blue” rifling through my Kindle in between snatching glances at the screen. The move turned out to be calculated: nothing of much importance was lost. Tonight’s episode did not follow the title-is-an-event pattern the past few have adhered to; rather, loved ones were bussed in to say farewell to their family as the government made plans to blow the little town up.
Shifting focus onto the teens in the first few moments opens up more plotlines, the better half of which are left dangling. There are some clever reversals here, such as not immediately allowing the kids the kiss we know is coming, but that fails to make up for the fact tht Joe’s desperate search for his sister feels late and forced, while the sudden appearance of Norrie’s father and his supposed desires to get on TV does not grant us any new understanding of our favourite sulky teenager.
While the Big Jim propane plotline is by far the most confusing, with crucial exposition speed-talked through, the Reverend’s off on his own awry rocket. There’s a kind of irony in his declaring all men sinners and himself a saviour, a repenter; we know he’s been a bad, bad boy. Is this both King and the multitude of produers way of villianizing the religious as stupid and fanatical; or worse, hypocritical? While pushing your own agenda upon your viewers isn’t unheard of, it’s certainly been executed in a smarter manner before. An ultimatum’s issued for Big Jim to come clean but it goes nowhere.
Barbie and Julia have had their narratives resized to accommodate for the dozen others now packed in, though the unpacking of their characters is oddly steady in comparison to Angie’s one-note battle with deliverance and Big Jim’s supposed chewing over whether he should help the Reverend, help his son or Angie. The Reverend very briefly issues an ultimatum Vogel does a lovely job of capturing both Barbie’s dry humour along with a touch of quiet loathing for the questionable deeds he’s already done – tricking a soldier, delivering friendly fire – down where everyone’s bunkered. Similarly, Julia learns nearly nothing else about her husband but, having heard the word from her sister-in-law, accepts it.
In other news Angie’s finally out of the bomb shelter. The whole ordeal takes three quarters of an episode to unpack, with Dean Norris, whose sneering and lip-twitching has caused a steady decline in Big Jim’s ability to intimidate, freeing her with a few pitiable words on his son’s nature. While it’s difficult to say that either Junior or Angie has developed much as a character, Robertson and Koch commit to a belief that the two have something tangible and deadly between them – think Chris Brown and Rihanna. Depicted in clandestine moments of hugs and unexplained silences that waver between dangerous and sweet, it’s this that the show requires more of; the weighing up of options, the knowledge that both are treacherous paths, and poor choosing regardless.