The Dome takes a break from trying to kill the residents of Chester's Mill and a science teacher takes on the duty.
Under The Dome
Credit: Brownie Harris/CBS

Under the Dome failure to answer any of the questions it raises has been one of the recurring complaints in these season 2 recaps. (For example, did we ever find out what the deal was with those purple stars? Or why the people of Chester’s Mill don’t know the difference between falling and ascending?) In tonight’s episode, we learned that some of the inhabitants of Chester’s Mill are just as frustrated with the lack of answers as we are. In a moment of frustration, Joe says to Barbie, “This is a chance to find an answer. To find one damn answer!” (And you know he’s serious because he uses the word “damn.”) There was decent headway in the mysteries of Junior’s mother Pauline, who the hell Melanie (a.k.a. the character formerly known as Mystery Girl) is, and who killed Angie (RIP teenage witch from The Secret Circle). This week’s episode title is “Reveletions,” but some of these revelations were rather underwhelming…

Whereas last week’s episode focused on religious fanaticism, this week is all about scientific fanaticism as embodied by Rebecca. She spends most of the episode trying to convince Big Jim that the time has come for them to execute their extermination plan, or as Big Jim likes to call it, their “reduction option.” At the beginning of the episode, Big Jim is sitting in his office going through the census he and Rebecca collected in last week’s episode and is having a hard deciding who is and isn’t a burden on the town’s resources, and more importantly, whether it is the right thing to do. We find out, however, that Rebecca is not troubled by trivial questions of right and wrong because… science. For several weeks now, Rebecca has been keeping track of the town’s livestock and has noticed that a strain of swine flu, which has laid dormant in the town for quite sometime, has become active and is killing the livestock. Never one to miss an opportunity, Rebecca tells Big Jim that she decided to extract the virus from the pig, mix it with samples of influenza, and cultivate it inside eggs until it was strong enough to casually infect and kill one-fourth of the town’s population—basic high school teacher stuff.

Big Jim, who has never had problems playing god before (how many people has he killed?), is appalled that Rebecca expects him to do the very same thing now. Rebecca, ever the cold and calculating scientist, says, “It’s not God. It’s Darwin! It’s survival of the fittest!” She insists that infecting the people with the virus is the only way to figure out who in the town can carry their own weight. She manages to convince him when she spells out the math for him: in seven days they will run out of food, in 14 people will be starving, and on 21 they will turn on each other.

Big Jim and Rebecca’s plan, however, is foiled by the dynamic duo that is Julia and Sam, who Julia runs to after her falling out with Barbie. Throughout the episode, Uncle Sam and Julia were hot on Rebecca and Jim’s trail as Sam used his incredible Sherlock Holmes-like powers of observation and deduction to figure out their plan. But all their investigating turns out to be for naught, as Rebecca, who gave Big Jim an empty vile because she didn’t think he was up to the task, has a crisis of conscience at the last minute and can’t go through with inserting the virus into the town’s holy water supply. (Is nothing sacred anymore?!). It’s a shame Under the Dome rushed through this plot development so quickly. By the end of the episode, Big Jim and Rebecca are in cuffs and in jail.

NEXT: We get answers!

While all of the virus drama is going on, Barbie, who is still on the outs with Julia, is stuck in story line isolation with the kids. Melanie, Joe, and Norrie reluctantly tell Barbie about finding Melanie’s picture in the 1988 high school yearbook, to which Barbie says, “This doesn’t make any sense.” Joe retorts, “But the Dome does?” The moments when Joe isn’t pointing out the obvious are relatively enjoyable. Sadly, there aren’t many of these moments.

Barbie and the kids make their way to the newspaper offices to go through old microfilm looking for anything that might explain who/what Melanie is. Joe stumbles upon a paper from 1988 that reveals that Melanie went missing in 1988. We also find out that Melanie and her family lived in Barbie’s hometown before they moved to Chesters’ Mill. The article contains Melanie’s family’s address in Chester Mills, so they all take a field trip to the house to get some answers.

While at Melanie’s family home, they find more pinks stars falling upward, which leads them back to the spot where Joe and Norrie found the mini-dome/egg in the first season. When Melanie stands on the spot that was previously occupied by the mini-dome, she’s suddenly flooded with memories from 1988. She remembers that she came out to this spot one night with Pauline (Junior’s mother), Lyle, and her boyfriend Sam and found a meteor. When the meteor opened, it revealed the black egg from the first season, and she was immediately drawn to it and wanted to protect it. However, someone pushed her back into the hole as she tried to runaway with the egg, and she died. And because Under the Dome doesn’t trust it’s viewers to figure this out from the flashbacks, the scene ends with her looking at the camera and saying: “I am Melanie Cross, and I think this is where I died.”

Right now you’re probably asking: But if Melanie’s is Sam’s old girlfriend, why hasn’t he said anything? Well, at the end of tonight’s episode, Sam makes a move on Julia, but Julia rebukes him by pushing on his shoulder and causing him a suspiciously high amount of discomfort. When Julia turns away, Sam opens his shirt to reveal scratch marks, which are clearly the scratch marks Angie left on her killer when she tried to fight him off. The impact of this reveal was quite the letdown; the writers are flailing with Sam in the first few episodes, but at least they finally decided on a course of action for him.

NEXT: Junior’s mom is definitely Isaac Mendez from Heroes

In last week’s episode, Junior discovered that his mother was indeed alive and that Lyle had all the answers he’s been seeking. Lyle told Junior that he would tell him all he wanted to know if Junior let him out of jail. Tonight, Junior foolishly decides to trust the old man who’s clearly unhealthily obsessed with his mother and tried to kill someone just a few days ago, and lets Lyle out of his cell. (If you ask me, Lyle could use a cell with a bit more padding). Then they take a trip to his barbershop, where they find hand-drawn postcards from Pauline post-“death.” But these aren’t just postcards; they’re prophetic postcards. In between his incoherent ramblings about the rapture, Lyle finds time to reveal to Junior that his mother faked her death because she knew the Dome was coming. She thought that if she left Chester’s Mill, the Dome would follow her and Junior would be saved. Turns out she was wrong and the god forsaken Dome still came after she left and led to the creation of this show.

We find out, however, that Lyle isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Turns out, he thought that the acid rain was a sign of the coming rapture because it was the subject of Pauline’s final postcard. However, Junior points out that Lyle hasn’t received any new postcards because of the Dome. Using Angie’s memory again, Lyle manipulates Junior into taking a trip to Sam’s shed to find Pauline’s old journal in the hope of finding more prophetic paintings that might reveal who killed Angie. While there, Lyle knocks Junior out and runs away with the journal. Junior is later found by Barbie and the kids, and he and Melanie are now convinced that it was Lyle who killed Angie and tried to kill Melanie.

Although it was nice to finally get some answers, the way in which Under the Dome gave us those answers left much to be desired. At every turn, each reveal fell flat thanks to clunky dialogue (looking at you Joe!) and lack of dramatic tension. Four episodes in and Under the Dome still feels rather lost, but at least the “because the Dome said so” talk is kept to a minimum this week.

Dome Watch:

–The writers continue to give Norrie some of the funniest lines. For example, “How am I supposed to compete with a girl that he thinks is from a galaxy far, far away?” and “Don’t undermine my feelings of jealousy and abandonment!”

–Where did Rebecca find the time to monitor the town’s resources, the Dome’s electromagnetism, and the health of livestock?

Episode Recaps

Under the Dome
Chester’s Mill residents suddenly find themselves cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious, impenetrable barrier, which surrounds the town in this Stephen King adaptation.
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