Wow, the feces really hits the fan in this episode. As if running low on medicine wasn’t bad enough, the town finds its water supply drastically reduced when a car accident drains the water tower. No worries though, there’s a lake, but it turns out that it’s been tainted by methane and is no longer drinkable. Honestly, I’m surprised that the lake was in the dome, I was expecting it to be just beyond the barrier, but fate cut them at least a little bit of slack in that regard.
That doesn’t stop the people from going nuts in fear. Linda has a line about how the first job of a police officer is to believe in people’s inherent goodness. It’s one of those things where she really shouldn’t have said anything because fate loves to turn statements like that against you. It’s why you never ask someone, “you and what army?” You’re almost asking for things to go awry.
And, boy, does it go awry. The people of Chester’s Mill are pretty brutal when they want to be. They put the passengers from “Midnight” to shame. Riots break out, Angie very nearly gets raped, and another person turns up dead. The town’s police squad is overwhelmed and while they’re not quite as inept as they were in the book, they’re not exactly Maine’s finest.
Even Barbie isn’t very good at it. A riot breaks out and he becomes dead set on chasing down some putz who hit him with a soda can. I said before that Junior was more sympathetic than Barbie, but he’s also the better cop. It’s an interesting twist. It doesn’t do Barbie any favors, on the contrary, it makes him hard to connect to or root for, but it’s an intriguing turn around.
Joe and Norrie set out to find insulin after Norrie’s mother starts to suffer the effects of her diabetes. Considering they made a point to say that the entire town’s supply of medicine has been wiped out, it was awfully convenient that Norrie could just go to nearby house to find a stash, but the writers needed some out. Although I can’t help but feel like this is going to be a problem again later on down the line.
When one of the people confronts Norrie about what she’s doing, she asks “who the hell are you doing here?” That really threw me. Had it been “who the hell are you?” or “what the hell are you doing here?” it would have been an expected line but the actress threw the two together. Not only did it sound weird, but it has a completely different connotation and implication.
Again, there are hints that the dome is sentient. People talk about how the dome was shrieking due to the missile strike and it is later suggested that the rain that magically eased people’s fears came about due to the dome appeasing them.
I know that the origin of the dome is different, but honestly, this could very well support the book’s origin. Let’s say that extra-dimensional aliens did put the dome down for entertainment purposes, maybe they view the people as pets of sorts, like ants in ant farm. They want to see the people do what they do and are offering what protection they can against external threats. Of course, it’s moot, but it’s something that occurred to me as I was watching.
If this episode has problems, they all come in the final act. The resolution is pretty abrupt and I don’t really buy this romance between Barbie and Julia.
It does end on a high note as we get yet another strong cliffhanger. That scene as a whole was really well done. It’s obvious that Jim is just buying Angie’s silence, but at the same time, you get the sense that he really does want to help her get better. Or he could just be putting on an act. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Dean Norris’ performance? Because he’s great.
While we’re on the topic of Big Jim, he has the tables turned on him once again as Ollie, a town farmer, basically strong-arms him into giving up some of his propane so that the town can get access to his water. Unlike the Reverend, Ollie’s survived, but I doubt that Jim is going to take that lightly.
I have a feeling that this is where Big Jim will really start to make his play for power. With people’s moral fiber breaking down so quickly, it could be just the time to start laying down harsher rules in order to maintain order. I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the case.
The questions about the dome are intriguing and the mystery has been done well, but I really can’t help but wonder how Chester’s Mill is going to survive. We’re only halfway through season one and they are already suffering supply shortages and lunging at each other’s throats. CBS may have a contract, but I doubt the town has the wherewithal to make it that far. I don’t think that they can count on the dome to provide for every emergency because that would get lame fast.
This was a strong episode overall. You see people in panic and the ensuing madness keeps you engaged for the episode’s entire runtime. Hard as it may be to believe, this had more tension and jaw dropping sequences than the episode with the huge freaking missile.