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Under the Dome “Imperfect Circles” Review

By on August 9, 2013
Pictured: Britt Robertson as Angie Photo: Kharen Hill/©2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Pictured: Britt Robertson as Angie Photo: Kharen Hill/©2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

By Viv Mah
Under the Dome’s “Imperfect Circles” episode opens with an alien-like figure (who ultimately turns out to be Norrie playing a practical joke) nosing into sleeping Joe’s neck. The pair hatch a plan to go into the woods to try and communicate to the aliens. The flavour of the week? Families and the connections we build. The theme is however, a little on the nose, and while I’m not opposed to a manipulative soundtrack and an overarching examination of what it means to be human, these connections between characters can feel slapdash at times.

Developments are made away from the hormonal teens: we swiftly learn that the dome commands the ability to make you hallucinate your loved ones. Harriet (soon-to-be mother and Julia’s sweet-faced neighbour) is the first one to succumb to her visions, leaving Julia to hustle her into a clean room just in case her baby comes slipping out.

Most of the night is spent switching between these action-based arcs save for Angie, who remains in a different kind of prison – that of general uselessness. As is necessitated by their mutually destructive relationship, Junior spends most of the episode running after her would-be rapists in the company of Linda. What brief vulnerability there is to Alexander Koch’s Junior fluctuates; he displays a classic case of teenage angst when it comes to strained familial relationships, but his merciless and unwarranted shooting of Angie’s would-be rapists only serves to reinforce his psychopath status.

Serving as a good reminder that Big Jim is mostly words and less brute strength, we see him beaten down by Ollie’s giant of a goon. Cowed, Big Jim retreats for the night, leaving his resources to Ollie’s control.

No. I lied. This lasts all of a half hour at best, when Big Jim finally decides to prove just how explosive propane is by shooting at Ollie’s goon — drinking all the while, either to emphasise what’s changed him or just how much of a lout he is. Sage thinking, Big Jim. You are most definitely a villain now.

Norrie and Joe who are, so far, some of the most likeable characters on the show, spend the better part of the episode doing what everyone else should be doing – figuring out how the Dome ticks, and if there’s a way to bring it down. By some leap of logic, the pair decide to communicate with it, which truly doesn’t make sense: wouldn’t aliens just speak alien? Norrie witnesses the spectre of her mother projected by the heart of the dome they’ve found; and then, spurred on by authorial puppet springs, goes sprinting back home to assure that Alice is okay.

There’s a brief nice moment spared for Alice and her partner involving dancing and kissing and settling into their lies in Chester’s Mill. As seems to be a habit, all of that’s rapidly undone: with the appearance of a pregnant lady she’s to take care of, an already-weakened Alice succumbs (To what? The dome’s will, as she suggests? A heart attack? Or the expiry date of her convenience?), and exits the scene.

Additional Notes:
+ I don’t fully understand Joe’s science reference — no, no, wait I do. I just don’t get how it works or what made him think of it. If I was one of the people trapped, I’d be busying myself searching everywhere and anything and digging down out of sheer instinct, not because ‘there must be something holding it together!’
>+ What does it take for a widow to sleep with her husband’s admittedly accidental murderer? Is this a lack of virtue in Shumway, or testament to just how uncaring her husband was, or an example of how very charismatic Barbie is?
+ Why did Linda, a character I have up until now had a shred of respect for, not reprimand Junior in some way for his actions? Dishonourable discharge from the decent characters list, Linda!