Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Under the Dome 2.10: "The Fall"

I was strongly tempted to have this week's Under the Dome review consist of a single sentence:
Fuck this show.
But, no, let's power through it and see if we can find something a bit more illustrative than that to say.  We'll begin by acknowledging something: I sent in some comments to the podcast Under The Dome Radio last week, comments which more or less echoed the sentiments I expressed in my review post about how I thought that "The Red Door" might have been the best episode of the series and how it might point the way toward a new sophistication for the series.  And so forth.
Listening to their discussion about my comments, I got the feeling that Wayne and Troy sort of felt I was off my rocker.  And they might not be too off-base there.  I stand by what I said about "The Red Door," but I would have to say that "The Fall" refutes -- or, at the very least, delays -- the idea of Under the Dome developing any sort of newly-sophisticated feel.
"The Fall" was a lousy episode through and through, one which will almost certainly -- albeit without your knowledge -- reward those of you who decided to stop watching after the end of the first season.  Your lack of faith has been rewarded.  Darth Vader does not find it the least bit disturbing; he gives you a thumbs-up and, in a beautifully basso-profundo voice, tells you that you have chosen well.
Me?  Not so much.  I am rewarded for my several-weeks' growing interest with a runny turd of an hour of television that not only fails to work on its own merits, but also seemingly closes the series off from some of the promising developments we'd seen in recent episodes.
Anyways, I just can't bear to put much more thought into this, so let's go into screencaps-with-commentary mode:
Were you intrigued by the final scene of last week's episode, in which Big Jim sees Pauline?  Me too.  Know ye, then, that this week's episode tries to do something with that idea, but mostly fails at it.  Even Dean Norris isn't very good; he mostly just makes Jim-face a lot and then goes off to do other things.

Did you find yourself hoping that the series was done with weird-effects-caused-by-the-dome plotlines?  Me too.  Know ye, then, that this week's episode makes it clear that such plotlines are far from done: it foreshadows next week's episode being about the temperature inside the dome rapidly getting cooler, due to the seasons being greatly accelerated.  Can't wait to see what sort of hogwash gets them out of that one.

Don't do it, Norrie.  You are better than this. 

Melanie kisses Junior, which causes the spectre of Angie to show up to try to talk him out of going in that direction.  This is a misuse of Britt Robertson, who has been off filming Tomorrowland, which hopefully will be about 106 times better than Under the Dome.

Were you intrigued by that flashback/vision Barbie had of meeting Melanie as a child?  Me too.  Know ye, then, that this week's episode includes a scene in which Barbie puts two and two together and figures out that Melanie must be his half-sister.  He apparently even knew that he had a half-sister, but I guess he never decided to try and find out who she was.  Weak.

The egg starts glowing white and "screaming," which makes Pauline freak out.  Sherry Stringfield is a good actor, but I don't think you'd know it from this episode.

Meanwhile, there's this asshole.  Last week's episode included a funny joke from Big Jim in which he wryly asked Rebecca to go make him an "egg detector."  A silly idea, but one which Under the Dome is not too good to actually use; which is what made it a funny joke last week.  Except, during "The Fall," this asshole DOES make an egg detector.

Pauline flips out.  The only good thing about this is how Big Jim stays on her side and insists that he will try to help her.  Here's a thought: what if we had been shown a flashback to Pauline having a fit like this years ago?  What if we had seen the inverse of tonight's scene?  By which I mean, what if we had seen a younger Big Jim have a much different reaction to Pauline freaking out?  Would that, then, have made his total acceptance of her here that much more powerful?  It certainly would have, because that might have had a shot at being good cinematic storytelling.

Julia and Barbie are reunited, and it feels so good.  The show has really bought into the idea that these two are the world's most star-crossed lovers since, like, Bella and Edward, or Katniss and what's-his-name.  It does not work, to be kind, in my assessment.

The egg looks more like an egg than ever when it's white.  Not sure why I felt the need to mention that.

Joe and Norrie have used Hunter's honest-to-gosh egg detector to find the thing, and they've gone to get it.  But Jim found it, too, and now he's got a gun.

I cannot tell you how much I wish he had shot Joe in the eyeballs.  Instead, the three of them go into the cave, and he flings the egg down into the darkness, which causes a massive earthquake to begin rumbling all through the town.

Hey!  Look!  Nicholas Strong's name was in the credits again this week, and here he is in jail, yelling for someone to come let him out.  The earthquake obliges him, and he runs off.  He's overheard Joe and Norrie talking about the exit inside the cave, and he runs there, leaps into the darkness and...

...is impaled on a stalagmite.  (I'm pleased with myself for remembering that this is indeed a stalagmite and not a stalactite.)  Which means that the exit from the dome has been sealed off.  Which presumably mean that we will have no further contact with the outside world, so whatever interest you might have had in Aktaion Energy and the backstory developing there has been dashed on the rocks just as surely as Phil has.  Maybe not, though; time will tell.  But do you have any confidence in this series at this point?
I damn sure don't.
But who knows, maybe next week I'll once again find myself trumpeting the series and theorizing that it still has a shot at being something good.  Fool me once, you can probably fool me again, because that's how I be.  This week, though, it feels like giving-up time has arrived.  There are three episodes remaining, and while I will definitely watch them, and I will definitely write about them, I assume that we're just in for more bullshit.
Said more succinctly:
Fuck this show.


  1. Two strikes this episode definitely has against it:


    2. To the shows writers: Don't you think you've made a mistake in literally blocking off a lot of story potential?


    1. A better question for the writers might be: "Don't you think?"

      I'm not sure they do.