The key townspeople rally to return the egg and save Melanie.
Credit: Fred Norris/CBS

Guys, the Dome is contracting. And if you forgot the Dome was shrinking, the writers made sure that almost every character in the first eight minutes of the episode reminded you. However, that’s only a tiny quibble in the grand scheme of things because it’s not everyday that the crisis of the week feels as if it has something to do with the larger story. Luckily for the people of Chester’s Mill, they are no longer at risk of freezing to death as the temperature has started to rise. At the school, Melanie is still sick and Lyle still seems to be slightly off his rocker. He tells Pauline that the Dome’s moaning means that the end is near; Big Jim looks on at the two with jealousy. Meanwhile, Barbie is helping Julia and the rest of the townspeople who live near the Dome barrier evacuate.

Remember that whole faith vs. science debate? Well, that worn-out trope stages a comeback in tonight’s episode as it is debated fiercely by Julia and Rebecca. When Barbie and Julia get to the school, Rebecca tells them that she did the math and it won’t be long until the Dome crushes them. As always, Julia doesn’t believe that the Dome would harm them because it told her it was there for protection. Naturally, Julia’s faith in the Dome brings out sassy Rebecca, who is skeptical to say the least. Throughout the episode, Rebecca struggles with her need to know the answer to everything and her inability to suspend disbelief. At one point, she says to Melanie, “Knowing the answers doesn’t take away the wonder—it actually makes it more amazing,” which basically sums up her character and is also points to something the show’s writers have yet to grasp.

Anyway, Barbie interrupts before the women get carried away with their sniping. Joe and Norrie arrive and tell Barbie about Hunter’s status as a double agent, which awakens Angry Barbie. He starts to toss Hunter around and, after dispatching Joe and Norrie, leads Hunter away at gunpoint. While all of this is going on, Big Jim—insistent on making up for his colossal screw-up—determines that he and Pauline go back to her studio to see if any of her paintings show them how to stop the Dome from shrinking.

Barbie carries Hunter to the edge of the Dome to talk to the soldier, whose name we find out later is Malick. Hunter tells Malick that they need to speak to Don, but Malick is all “Aren’t I good enough for you? Talk to me.” Plan A doesn’t work and to show that they aren’t messing around, Barbie holds a gun to Hunter’s head and threatens to kill Hunter unless he gets his father there. It works.

Did anyone else realize that Big Jim and Rebecca were the last to know about Melanie’s mysterious resurrection? Well, they finally find out in tonight’s episode. Junior lets it slip to Big Jim when he runs into Jim and Pauline at her art studio and asks his mother to see if her paintings show them how to save Melanie. (Everyone is putting A LOT of pressure on Pauline.) Rebecca finds out when she, Sam, and Julia are trying to figure out what’s wrong with Melanie, whose hair has started to fall out. Rebecca takes a look at her blood and sees that her red blood cells are disintegrating, and Sam proposes a blood transfusion to help her. As expected, Rebecca and Julia clash again: Rebecca is worried because she doesn’t know Melanie’s blood type and Julia isn’t sure the transfusion will work on Melanie because she thinks Melanie’s condition is connected to the egg. After some bonding time with Sam, Rebecca figures out Melanie’s blood type, which, coincidentally, is the same as hers, and gives Melanie a blood transfusion. Melanie is saved… for now.

NEXT: Pauline finds her mojo again

Have we established how far Zenith is from Chester’s Mill? The trip between the two is always taken rather quickly. Don shows up at the Dome to talk to Barbie and initially refuses to turn over the Egg. However, he concedes—and finally starts to act like a father—once Barbie shows him evidence that Melanie is alive and inside the Dome. After Barbie tells him where the portal to Chester’s Mill is, Don hurries back to the park in Zenith, and against Malick’s council, picks up the egg. Unfortunately, Malick and the rest of the military guys pull their guns on him and won’t let him leave; Malick’s following order from someone else. Do I smell a government conspiracy?

Back in Pauline’s studio, Big Jim and Pauline are busy failing to find a painting that contains a solution for the town’s current problem. To make matters worse, Pauline hasn’t had her visions since Big Jim sent the egg to Zenith. Big Jim uses his way with words to convince Pauline to give it one more try, and at the same time, manages to convince her that the Dome chose him to lead Chester’s Mill; and Big Jim says she was chosen to show him the way (ugh!). And in a moment that’s supposed to be moving, but really is just awkward to watch, the two start painting together and before-long Pauline finds her mojo and completes a painting.

Melanie’s condition takes yet another turn for the worse after Don fails to bring the egg back Chester’s Mill. This motivates Julia to drive/limp to the Dome to talk to it. The Dome does not respond well to Julia’s begging and starts to shrink even faster. It’s okay, though, because Pauline may have found the solution in her painting, which she interprets as meaning that Melanie will be healed if she’s touched by all eight hands—both old and new. Big Jim and Pauline rush to the school to inform everyone of the plan, which can be summed up as “Save the cheerleader Melanie, save the world town.” The one downside of the plan is that it brings out Smug Lyle, who wears a three-piece suit and is more annoying than Crazy Lyle.

Accompanied by Julia, Barbie, and Big Jim, the seven hands take Melanie to the crater where she died and place her in it. The seven hands kneel down and touch her. At first nothing happens because they don’t have eight hands. However, Rebecca points out that Melanie can work as two hands. Referencing quantum physics, Rebecca reasons that Melanie is a bridge between the past’s “four hands” and the present’s four hands, and that Sam and Junior must hold one of her hands for it to work. Turns out she’s right and Melanie is healed. (Yay! A point for both science and faith!) The triumphant moment is short lived, however, because a hole opens up in the ground and sucks her down, leaving only a cavernous pit.

An upset Pauline stumbles away and Big Jim follows after her. Pauline is convinced it’s her fault that Melanie disappeared, but Big Jim tells her it isn’t and tries to comfort her with a kiss and hug. Right at that moment, Lyle stabs Pauline from behind because he’s convinced that she and him are supposed to walk off into heaven together. Big Jim flips out and stabs Lyle with his own knife, giving him exactly what he wants. The episode ends with Big Jim holding a seemingly dead Pauline in his hands as the rest of the group stares sadly at the hole in the ground.

We’re quickly approaching the end of the season, and it’s still not clear where Under the Dome is heading. But after tonight, one thing is clear: This finale will have its work cut out for it because it has to deal with this season’s multitude of questions as well as the ones left over from the first season.

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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