This episode didn’t really work for me. For all of the subplots that involved the characters investigating something, not a whole lot is uncovered. More than that, there is some really, really bad dialogue.
The teen squad learns that there is a caterpillar inside the mini-dome and Joe announces that it’ll form into a monarch butterfly. At this point, Norrie decides to remind us about an arc phrase both the viewers and the others already knew about by repeating it verbatim. It was really unnecessary and the way the line was delivered was just weird.
Maxine also gets stuck with some bad dialogue that really doesn’t make her all that compelling. I get what they’re trying to do with her, but it isn’t coming off that way. I don’t really buy her as a credible villain. More than that, she’s a tad silly. She makes a point to say that she doesn’t, nor will she ever, deal in prostitution, but then she reveals that she started a fight club. It isn’t helped by the fact that, for all her bluster, she’s pretty one-dimensional. She does get one good moment when she reveals that she anticipated Barbie throwing the fight and bet against him, but that’s about it.
While she’s only in it a short while, I found her mother far more interesting as a character. She had a more interesting back story and she had far more menace than her daughter has ever displayed.
Seeing Big Jim turn the tables on said mother was pretty fun to watch, but it’s a shame that the character had to meet such a quick end. It wasn’t surprising that Big Jim left her, but at the same time, it looked like she fell off on purpose as a means of getting away from him. It made it somewhat perplexing when she immediately started asking him for help. How Big Jim reacts would have been a cool moment, but you pretty much see it coming. Compared to his other big moments, this one seemed a tad tame.
I’d say that the weakest subplot is the Julia/Linda one. I mean, come on, the key to the safety deposit box was in the hat? That’s ridiculous, even by plot convenience standards. It does allow Linda to get a full grasp of what was going on in the town and, by pure coincidence, Julia decides to open up a deposit box that her husband had. Why didn’t she do this before? Whatever, she finds out about a life insurance policy that her husband had left for her. Add that to the fact that she finds their gun was missing and she puts two and two together fairly quick.
For all of the build up, Julia is surprisingly OK with the fact that Barbie killed her husband. Even taking into account the fact that the husband was essentially making a sort of kamikaze run as a way to ensure Julia got the money, you’d think that she’d harbor some sort of resentment towards Barbie for his hand in everything. Instead, she’s cool with it and still sees a possible future with him. She was somehow angrier with him when she learned that he was just a loan shark who had dealt with her husband than she was when she found out that he flat out killed the guy; it doesn’t make sense.
The episode does end on something of a high note. While Junior does turn out to be the fourth hand (truthfully, I was expecting the last second reveal to be that he wasn’t the one and that he would get shocked like Dodee did), the egg lights up and reveals a sort of star map. Said stars are, of course, pink, tying into the other arc phrase of this series.
The good news is that they didn’t awaken any sort of extra-dimensional eldritch abomination; the bad news is that they still don’t know anything. I guess the implication is that there is some sort of extra-terrestrial involvement, but that doesn’t explain why the stars are pink. Even Junior isn’t sure what it means.
With the season coming to its end, I was hoping for more than this episode delivered. A lot of it was wheel spinning and the weak script didn’t help matters. Even Dean Norris isn’t given a whole lot to work with and he’s always been one of the more reliable parts of this show. Judging by the preview, the next episode should bring a lot more to the table and should, hopefully, start gearing things up for the big season finale.