On the outside, Barbie and Pauline try to save people within the dome; on the inside, Big Jim becomes another in a long line of sheriffs.
Was this week’s episode as good as last week’s? Not really. Was it as bad as what has come before? No, which is all we can hope for with this show. Yes, tonight’s episode saw the return of one of Under the Dome‘s most bothersome characteristics: the show’s complete lack of continuity and logic. However, “Awakening” also pushed the plot along and introduced an intriguing Dome government/big business conspiracy. And although there was a lackluster quasi-crisis of the week back in Chester’s Mill, at least it wasn’t one caused by the Dome for some unknown reason.
Dome fans, we finally have our Charles Widmore-type character! Last week we didn’t know if we could trust Barbie’s father Don. The answer this week: probably not. At the beginning of the episode (which conveniently forgets that last week’s episode ended with Don and Barbie walking off into the woods) Don tells Barbie that he managed to pull some strings in Washington and the military will briefly drop the firewall and allow Barbie to send an email to Julia. Barbie asks his dad to send an email to Julia that reads, “Julia, I love you. We’ll see each other soon. All it takes is a leap of faith.” It’s not clear why Barbie decided to send such a cryptic email and didn’t tell everyone there’s a way out of Chester’s Mill. However, when Julia eventually receives the email, we see that it has been altered and now includes a sentence about Julia bringing the egg with her. At least the fact that we learn Don is a suspicious character gives Barbie’s note some clarity.
Barbie is made aware of his father’s suspicious activities early on by a kid named Hunter who first sees and recognizes Barbie through a CCTV camera in the park. When the two finally meet, Hunter tells Barbie that Don altered the email and definitely knows he was inside the Dome. All of this confirmed when Hunter and Barbie hack into Don’s computer and find not only the altered email, but surveillance photos of people inside the Dome. As they are going through Don’s computer, we learn that Hunter is the one behind the Hounds of Diana account—you know, the email account that sent Joe the email containing Pauline’s video message for Junior a couple episodes back? Yeah, I forgot about it, too. Hunter tells Barbie that the Hounds of Diana site is his website to tell the world they’re being lied to about the dome. (CBS actually created a real site by the same name. You can access it by clicking on the dog in the upper left corner.)
Before the duo can dig any further, Don comes in and decides to take to Barbie to Aktaion Energy headquarters to show him something. Don reveals to Barbie that his company was hired to monitor radiation levels, but ended up finding a way to get a WiFi signal into the Dome. Before selling the information to the military, Don installed an illegal backdoor so that he could communicate with people under the Dome if he needed. While at Aktaion to send another email to Julia, we find out that Hunter is actually an employee of Don’s and is the one sending emails through the Dome. Barbie decides to use Hunter’s computer skills to get him to the Dome’s perimeter, which is blocked off by the army.
As all of this is going on, Sam and Pauline steal some experimental medication to wake Lyle up because Pauline is hellbent on finding a way into Chester’s Mill to save her little boy. Not only does Sam fail to tell her that he tried to kill Junior, but he also doesn’t tell her about how messed up her son is. The mystery drug works and Lyle wakes up. In their ensuing discussion, we find out that Pauline had intended to send Lyle one more postcard, one with a red door drawn on it, but didn’t get a chance to because that pesky little Dome went down. They all come to the conclusion that the red door must be the way back into Chester’s Mill. Honestly, this was probably one of the more uninteresting parts of the episode because Sam still remains a relatively bland character who’s hard to really care about. On the upside, at least he—and, surprisingly, Lyle, too—has the good sense to not want to go back under the dome.
NEXT: There’s a new sheriff in town
The episode really starts to suffer when the action returns to Chester’s Mill. Believing Barbie to be dead, Big Jim assumes the role of town sheriff, and Junior is quick to point out how the Dome has not been really kind to many of the sheriffs. However, Big Jim ignores this fact because he believes that the Dome has a plan for him. What that plan is? Who cares. It’s really all a means to one end for Big Jim: accumulating more power. Week after week, Big Jim’s lust for power has grown rather tiresome. Furthermore, what’s the point of accumulating power in an isolated town? There’s nowhere to go from there while the Dome is in place.
Unfortunately for Big Jim, he doesn’t get any time to adjust to his new job as someone has started vandalizing the town. First, someone tears down the windmill, which Big Jim helped construct. After the first incident, Big Jim assumes someone is trying to send him a message to which Junior hilariously responds, “Not everything is about you, Dad.” With each episode, Junior ‘s contempt for his father gets funnier and funnier. But the new sheriff is convinced the vandalism is about him after someone sets a car he sold on fire under a sign for his car shop.
It’s very clear, however, that this person is no long-haul revengeful Emily Thorne. It’s revealed that Phil—who was written off as a suspect early because he was in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest—was behind all of this and is angry at Big Jim for manipulating him. There’s little reason to have any sympathy for Phil because he was stupid enough to trust Big Jim at all. Who should we feel sorry? Junior and Rebecca. These two rush to the police station to save Big Jim, who’s been tied up to the jail cell bars by Phil, and for some reason have the hardest time taking out someone who (a) was shot in the chest only a few days before and (b) is drunk. In what world is someone recovering from a gunshot wound able to resist two people for so long? Honestly, this whole plotline is rather pointless and doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
Elsewhere in Chester’s Mill, Julia is doubting Barbie’s email. Joe is insistent that it’s from Barbie, but Julia says that there is no way to be sure. It’s always nice when Julia decides to think. Instead of taking a leap of faith over the cliff, Julia and the kids decide to drop a note down instead to confirm it is really Barbie. A second email from Barbie comes through right before they drop the note, which contains a coded message instructing Julia to meet Barbie at the edge of the Dome near Joe’s destroyed home.
As Barbie is making his way to the Dome’s edge, he accidentally trips one of the military’s motion censors. He makes it to the Dome, reunites with Julia and starts writing a message on the Dome’s surface: “Not safe out here. Don’t j—.” But before he can finish, he is apprehended by the military. As he’s being dragged away he yells, “Don’t jump.” What’s worse? Big Jim sees all of this transpire, which means there’ll be more drama next week.
–Joe is starting a video blog…. jokes!
–Julia yelling at the Dome toward the end of the episode is unintentionally funny.
–Under the Dome crossed “Not Penny’s Boat” and “We have to go back” off its Lost checklist. Wonder what’s next? Maybe they’ll set off a nuclear bomb to bring the Dome down… or did they already do that?