One thing’s clear: Zenith, a town that isn’t under a dome, is far more interesting than Chester’s Mill, a town that is stuck under the Dome. Maybe we were spoiled by last week’s Peter Weller-directed episode. Maybe watching Under the Dome isn’t as fun to watch on a vacation day instead of a work day. Maybe a show about a town under a dome shouldn’t be stretched beyond 10 episodes. Whatever the cause, “The Fall” just wasn’t as interesting as last week’s episode. In the “outside world” of Zenith, it feels as if there are things for the characters to do whereas back in Chester’s Mill, it’s as though everyone is always doing the same thing—or some variation of the same thing.
The episode picks up right where it left off with Big Jim walking in on Pauline looking around Junior’s room. He initially think it’s the Dome tormenting him the way it did with Linda and Dodee, but Pauline quickly shoots this down by explaining that she faked her death. Obviously, Big Jim is not happy to hear this, mainly because he always thought he was the reason for her death.
While Big Jim is having this dramatic reunion, Rebecca and Julia are checking one of the town’s oaks. Rebecca observes that the leaves have started changing and that temperature inside the Dome has dropped. From this, she deduces that the Dome is accelerating the seasons in Chester’s Mill; it was just summer before the Dome came down. If you were worried that this would lead to another crisis of the week episode with a ridiculous solution, you weren’t the only one. Thankfully, the episode avoids this path (for now—the promo for next week’s episode indicates that the town will start to deal with the implications of the temperature change). Rebecca’s ramblings on what she loves about fall are interrupted by Julia and Barbie’s reunion.
Meanwhile, the other Dome-created couple, Joe and Norrie are having a far-from-cute cuddling session. (Leave it to Joe to try and take advantage of the temperature dropping to get some action.) But they are interrupted when Norrie notices that Melanie has been gone for more than a day and that the egg is missing. Time to solve the mystery of the missing egg and almost die trying!
Melanie is where we left her last week: in the bunker with Junior and the egg. If there were ever a moment that necessitated someone saying “too soon,” it was when Melanie made a joke about Junior locking her up in the bunker. After Melanie leaves Junior, Angie appears to Junior and warns him not to follow his heart again. She appears to him right after he and Melanie share a kiss. Honestly, there was just too much young love in the beginning of the episode. For some reason it’s more awkward than cute whenever Joe or Junior kiss anyone on this show. Well, the reason for the latter is clear: Junior’s kind of crazy.
NEXT: It’s family reunion time.
The episode manages to do something that one wouldn’t think was possible: It makes us feel for Big Jim—well, at least for a short period of time. This is due mostly to Dean Norris’ incredible acting abilities. Big Jim explains to Pauline that he thought her death was his fault and that he left her art studio untouched because it was his way of keeping her alive. Realizing that her only way of getting Junior out safely is to make good with Jim, Pauline lies to Big Jim and says she came back for both Big Jim and Junior. Big Jim tells her that the Dome has made him a changed man (only if he means for the worse), and the fact that he truly believes that is funny. Pauline definitely isn’t buying it, but nonetheless, she agrees to go along with Big Jim’s plan of getting the whole family back together once they are outside the Dome.
(Lyle still hasn’t shown up in Chester’s Mill after coming through the portal with the rest of the Zenith crew. He’s either dead, trapped between Zenith or Chester’s Mill, or is going trying to be the champion of Chester’s Mill’s game of hide-and-seek).
After catching Julia and Rebecca up on what happened to him in Zenith, Barbie decides that the best plan is to use the egg as leverage to get the people out of the town. They decide to send Julia first and to make a deal with Don and his goons: If he gives them safe passage to Zenith, Barbie will come through the portal in the tunnel last and hand over the egg. There are a couple problems with this plan: First, Big Jim tried this already and the soldiers did not go for it, but Barbie and Julia don’t know that, so we’ll let that go. The other problem is that Melanie doesn’t want to give up the egg.
In an attempt to convince Melanie to go along with their plan, Barbie pulls her aside and tells her about the memory he remembered when he came through the Red Door. In their exchange, we find out that Melanie is Barbie’s half sister. Don had an affair with Melanie’s mother years before Barbie was born and Melanie’s mom brought Melanie to their home so that she could meet Barbie before they left Zenith. (This all sounds a bit too Jack and Claire for my liking, but whatever). Also, cudos to Under the Dome for pulling off this twist and not telegraphing it. Anyway, their conversation convinces Melanie to at least consider their plan of handing the egg over to Don.
Big Jim eventually finds out about Julia and Barbie’s plan and convinces them to let him go through the portal first. He’s convinced that he’s the right person to negotiate with them because of his years as a car salesman… because sure. In another laughable moment, Big Jim is sure the plan will work as the soldiers wouldn’t dare detain all of the Chester’s Mill residents because this is still America (jokes!). Eventually, Barbie and Julia give into the plan because it means that neither one of them has to risk being detained by Don and used as leverage.
While this is going on, Pauline starts having intense visions again when the Egg starts “screaming,” and we get to see her in full Isaac Mendez mode as she begins painting what she sees. Big Jim comes in during her episode to tell her the great news, but she’s too busy painting to hear and pushes him away. Convinced he’s doing what he needs to do protect her, Big Jim locks her in her studio and goes to find the egg. (Big Jim has a funny way of showing Pauline that he’s changed. Didn’t trying to lock her away for her own good lead to her faking her death already?) Anyway, Big Jim hears the egg screaming in the underground shelter, and when he goes down and touches it, it shocks him and knocks him out.
NEXT: Big Jim does a bad and stupid thing.
After finding out from his mother that Sam is back in Chester’s Mill, Junior goes to seek him out to get his revenge. When he gets to Sam’s cabin, he decides that a bullet is too quick and decides to beat Sam up a bit. He’s about to kill Sam with an axe, but is stopped by Angie, who appears to him again. Ghost Angie tells him that he can’t kill Sam because he still has an important role to play (every town needs a town drunk, duh). According to Ghost Angie, everyone in Chester’s Mill will suffer if Sam dies. When that argument doesn’t work, Ghost Angie says that Junior never really loved her and only wanted to possess her. She asks him, “Why do something that can’t be undone to avenge a love that wasn’t real?” This moves Junior to let Sam live.
Joe and Norrie find the egg in the shelter and try to take it from Big Jim. He pulls a gun on them and says that he has no problem adding Joe to the list of people who stood in his way. At gunpoint, Joe and Norrie then accompany Big Jim to the cliff with the egg. Big Jim’s convinced that the only way to get out of Chester’s Mill is to throw the egg down the cliff first and give the soldiers what they want. He throws the egg down the cliff, and is like, “See no one died.” He spoke too soon; An earthquake strikes the town and the three run to make it out of the tunnel alive.
During the earthquake, Melanie faints, and Barbie and Julia take her to Sam for medical attention. Big Jim returns home to find Pauline on the floor of her studio. She says that her visions have stopped. Big Jim tells her what he did, and she starts crying and basically tells him that he screwed up.
Barbie and Julia arrive at the school and find Norrie and Joe, who catch them up on what happened with Big Jim. Right as they are about to leave, Phil, who earlier overheard Norrie, Joe, and Hunter talking about the cliff portal and escaped from prison during the earthquake, runs through the open locker and jumps off the cliff. When Barbie and Julia finally catch up to him, they find him impaled on rocks beneath the cliff; the portal has closed and there’s no way to get out now.
–According to Junior, the shelter is the safest place in Chester’s Mill and is built to withstand nuclear bomb. Hmm…
–Joe on what Melanie could have been doing all day: “Out doing Jane Fonda exercises or whatever people did in the ’80s.”
–Under the Dome drinking game: Take a shot each time Big Jim says he’s changed and then does something that’s classic Big Jim.