We were the dome all along. The dome was all inside the mind of a small child holding a snowglobe. They were dead the whole time.
For a show that practically winked at the screen every other scene, Under the Dome didn’t end in such a ridiculous fashion. All things considered, the last moments of “The Enemy Within,” are unpredictably… simple, maybe even a little expected.
But, before the end montage offered most of the main players a relatively quiet dome-free life (for now), they endured an expectedly bloody, illogical end to the dome.
The new baby-turned-adult-with-a-bad-wig has assumed her rightful place as queen at the onset of “Within,” and she’s wasting no time instituting her regime change. And she’s apparently much better at her job, as she captures members of the resistance in a matter of minutes.
Joe, Norrie, Hunter, Lily, and Big Jim are scooped up by Joe’s science experiment that’s intended to save the entire town, while Barbie and Julia, out burying Dr. Bloom’s body, are also captured. Barbie’s half-alien daughter, Dawn, personally comes to greet him. (And if you were wondering where she got her name, no, these aliens don’t have Buffy the Vampire Slayer on their homeworld, she quite clearly picked it up from Christine. In her tapes, the old queen says “a new day is dawning,” and since this new queen clearly has an amethyst-sized chip on her shoulder, that “day” clearly revolves around her.)
Stuck in the town’s jail cells, the resistance is reduced to leering, moping, and such astute observations as Barbie saying Dawn looks so much like Eva.
Of course, leave it to Jim to come with the one piece of real wisdom — it’s clear to him, and no one else, that they’re being kept alive as leverage to make sure Joe completes his makeshift radio. Yes, Joe continues to be the key to everyone’s salvation, even in its final moments.
And that is exactly Dawn’s plan (for a guy who never belonged to the kinship, Jim sure seems to have a better grasp of what the group’s up to than even its members do). Joe calls her on her bluff in a rare sensible move from the science boy wonder. He manages to convince Dawn to let everyone but Julia and Jim go free
Jim’s only request is that he has his beloved dog returned to him, and Kyle, the poor guy put between Jim and the rest of the world, agrees to it. Little does Kyle know that Indy has a key tucked into his collar, which Jim and Julia use to escape. They head down to the cellar, where the guns are kept, but Kyle soon finds them and immediately regrets showing any kindness to the murderous lug.
Kyle must be feeling dumb at this point, and he only acts with more stupidity as Jim begins to monologue at him. He describes his days playing baseball with Kyle’s dad, during which time they won a golden baseball that Jim so happens to find and then use to bash Kyle’s head in. Julia pulls Jim away from his savage tendencies, but it’s too late for Kyle, who can rest easy knowing he spent his last few minutes acting like a total idiot.
And while Jim is killing for his freedom, Barbie is getting people killed while working for his own. Carrying the amethysts with the other kinship members proves too difficult for some of them, and Barbie asks Dawn for some downtime. She makes good on it with permanent downtime for one of her kinship members, who dies because he felt a little winded.
Dawn is showing no mercy to her followers, blaming Barbie for her dark nature. Absent father complex or not, Dawn is making things happen for the kinship, including taking care of whom to choose as her alpha by having them duke it out themselves.
At first, Dawn looks like she’s ready to hand Sam the rose or the pink star or whatever passes for a sign of affection on their homeworld… until he ends up dead, that is. Junior notices that his “rightful” spot at her side is at risk, and so he confronts Sam for the right to be Dawn’s plaything. The bare-knuckle brawl drags on for a bit, until Sam walks away, seemingly over such a petty confrontation.
But Junior is never done — it’s that Big Jim spirit coursing through his veins. So he grabs a rusted piece of metal and jams it straight through Sam’s stomach, leaving him for dead when he’s supposed to be preparing an escape route for Dawn.
NEXT: The dome is dead! The dome is dead! [pagebreak]
Junior makes way for the ritual site that Dawn has prepared, where the amethysts have been set up, Julia and Jim are perched nearby to gun down Dawn the moment the dome comes down, and Joe is standing around looking confused.
Dawn begins to explain her plan, but the only part actually confounding Joe is why there are seven amethysts when the kinship whistle song (don’t expect that one to top the charts anytime soon) has eight. That’s because the egg would have been used for the final note, but without it, Dawn needs a replacement.
She intimates that the replacement should be Norrie, as she saw the pink stars falling and was one of the original Four Hands (one of the rare acknowledgements in the episode that anything before season 3 mattered). Joe, however, will not allow the love of his life, after about three weeks of being together, to take the fall. So he rushes to her rescue, taking his place at the center of the ring of amethysts, which Norrie assumes was Dawn’s real plan all along.
Whatever intention she had doesn’t matter in the end, because Joe is able to produce the final note, showcasing more chemistry in his harmonies with seven rocks than he ever shared with his friends in Chester’s Mill. The music causes all of the dome’s power to rise to its convergent point, and a massive sonic boom disintegrates it.
Yes, they’re no longer under the dome. But that doesn’t mean they’re all done with this hellmouth of a town.
Everyone begins to recuperate moments later. Jim wakes up in practically the same way as Jack on Lost first awoke on the island. The townspeople begin to stir, but the military, which maintained its perimeter around the dome has immediately begun storming the area. They’re capturing everyone in sight, though Dawn escapes their clutches.
She makes her way to the cement factory where Sam promised her rested tunnels to the neighboring town (the convenience of Chester’s Mill knows no bounds). There she runs into Barbie as she steps across a wooden plank connecting the town across the cavern separating them from the rest of the world. Barbie appears on the other side, explaining that he’s already weakened the board, stepping on it to show how serious he is.
Barbie is willing to play himself, and Dawn tries to play the sympathetic daughter card, telling Barbie she loves him and is scared. For a moment, it looks like Barbie is going to believe it. Hell, I expected him to. But to Dale Barbara’s credit, he breaks the board and sends both of them plummeting to their doom instead.
Luckily he had a chain hooked over the side of the underground cliff, which he uses to climb up to safety and reunite with Julia. But they too are captured by the armed forces.
At least one other member of the town doesn’t make it out alive, though. As much as Junior felt proud to take his seat next to Dawn, there’s still his pesky ol’ dad to take care of. As they wake up following the dome collapse, Junior begins trying to kill his father, the two eventually point knives at one another. Jim is pinned to the ground, and even stabbing Junior in the side does nothing to move him, so the father takes the only option he has left, one he’s been contemplating every other episode it seems.
He kills Junior, and though he’s had murder in his eyes for his son on multiple occasions, the actual act reduces him to a blubbering mess. The soldiers, manhandling everyone else not moments before, give Jim a moment to cradle his dead son’s body and just let the tears flow.
(ASIDE: For a show that has provided plenty of character moments to mock at, the sight of Big Jim holding Junior goes from guffaw-inducing to oddly touching, the tableaux of the father holding his son resting against a tree as soldiers let him weep. Had Junior not been a despicable human being from day one, and the show managed to at least make you root for him like they did Big Jim, the moment may have been oddly touching. END OF ASIDE)
Brought in by the military, all the members of the resistance are given an option. There’s the story they’ve given the government, about body-snatching aliens and amethysts and lots of murder, which matches up with everything the government has seen.
NEXT: All’s dome that ends dome. [pagebreak]
That’s a story they’re not willing to go public with, though, and so they’re presented with a fake story to sign off on as the official explanation. Barbie, Julia, Norrie, Hunter, Lily, and Jim will be given their freedom if they agree, so long as nothing ‘bout no kinship is every heard ‘round these parts again.
Everyone but Jim agrees, because Jim sees an opportunity. He wants compensation for not just staying quiet, but being the big, bald, cranky poster child for this story, telling the tale to the world with conviction and first-hand experience.
Cut to one year later. Yes, Under the Dome gives in to the series finale time jump trope, and everyone is at relative peace. Norrie has joined the military — and you know she’s become serious with a capital “S” because her hair is a darker color. Barbie and Jim are spending their days on the open road together. Hunter works for the NSA and is together with Lily, who has become the chief of staff for a congressman named James Rennie Sr.
Their idyllic lives take an unexpected turn when Hunter uses his NSA access to make a discovery that forces everyone — including Indy, but not Norrie, who’s stuck at training — to come together. Jim has assembled them at his office because Hunter discovered a match for a person who looks exactly like Eva with a bad wig out in the world.
Unfortunately, the video is from three weeks ago because Hunter has to do everything off the record, and while they assumed Dawn was dead, Jim has bad news for them. You see, Jim has seen a lot of bad movies (is that Jim calling Under the Dome, or at least his life on it, one long bad movie?), and he knows that unless there’s a body, you can’t assume death. And if this really is Dawn, he’d like to nip this little alien problem in the bud early, now that they know how to prepare for it.
So it looks like their experience under the dome will come quite in handy, as “Within” cuts to three kids in a field looking at something just out of view. Here it seems, is the truth. We’ll discover the dome was just some imagined creation of these three kids, playing around with ants in a field.
But no—the kids are working for Dawn, who appears to send them away before they touch the object. They’ll come back another day for it, it being another egg, and presumably, the start of another dome.
Will the people of that dome make the same many, many mistakes as the people of Chester’s Mill? We’ll never find out. When Norrie found Joe hidden away with all the other kinship members the military has locked up, was it really Joe or a newly lifeforce-infected version of him? Is Lily and Hunter’s relationship name Lunter or Hily (because neither sounds great)?
We’ll never find out, but the finale wasn’t without its closure. The dome did indeed come down as promised, plenty of people were killed in the process, and all it took was the will of a day-old adult and the consternation of Big Jim. It may not have been a Walter White-level evolution, but Jim transformed from the cartoonishly evil villain with an itchy trigger finger to the cartoonishly evil but begrudging hero with a canine sidekick. Think of it as a similar but much less-nuanced transformtion than Dean Norris experienced as Hank Schrader. Politics, of all professions, suit the man well, and he seems to be getting along mightily well despite having killed his son (and a bunch of other people) only a year ago.
And really, after the dome fell, Jim’s story became the only one with much interest inherent in finding out what happened. The rest ended up with such, if not normal, then at least boring lives, no signs of any trauma outside of Norrie. For at least a year, they all lived happily ever after, but with a new dome presumably on the horizon and no episodes left to show what happens, it only leaves us to speculate that there was probably a lot more commotion, and probably plenty more murder, in their collective future. At least, that is if Big Jim has anything to say about it.
And so a three-year journey across four weeks and a couple days a year later comes to a close, teaching us that there’s always a dome, there’s always an egg, and there’s always a city full of citizens of questionable intelligence waiting to be torn to pieces by both of them.