Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 12 of CBS' "Under the Dome," titled "Exigent Circumstances."
It's the second-to-last episode of "Under the Dome" Season 1 and Chester's Mill is no closer to being dome-less than it was weeks ago.
This week's episode opens with Big Jim making an announcement to the town about dangerous criminal Barbie. He decides to check every inhabitant's home to ensure Barbie is not hiding out anywhere. No matter how sketchy Big Jim gets, every single townsperson continues to follow his lead.
Meanwhile, the teens still think the dome is "angry" at everything, and they're all torn on whether or not Big Jim needs to die. While they are contemplating murder around the mini-dome, Norrie's mother comes in (the one that didn't die) and discovers the egg. When asked what on earth it is, Norrie replies, "It's like, the dome's heart." Because Carolyn's a "cool mom," she says she'll keep the discovery a secret.
Before the search for Barbie starts, Big Jim sends Junior to guard Julia's hospital bed. He claims it's because Barbie will probably try to "finish the job" and he only trusts his son to keep watch.
Radio station tech guru Dodee then comes in to inform Big Jim that she has even more news. She overheard more military radio chatter so Big Jim follows her to the station. Dodee shows Big Jim a picture of the magic egg on her phone and tells him where to find it. But not too fast -- before they become the best of friends, Big Jim turns on the radio and hears the military authorities discussing him, saying he cannot be trusted because surveillance cameras caught him murdering the town's reverend. Dodee overhears and when she becomes skeptical of Big Jim, he points a gun at her. He tells her that no one can find out about the mini-dome, because he cannot have the dome lifted. Dodee speaks her mind for a minute or two, telling Jim he's a "sick bastard" but predictably, Big Jim shoots and kills her. He then sets the radio station on fire.
While Big Jim is continuing his killing spree, Barbie jumps out of some bushes and grabs Angie while she's leaving the barn. He explains to her that Big Jim can't be trusted and that he needs her help to break Julia out of the hospital. He fears that Big Jim will kill her if she wakes up -- before she can tell everyone Barbie wasn't at fault. Angie agrees to help and they hot wire an ambulance to use as a getaway car.
At the hospital, they find Junior being the obedient son and guarding Julia's room. Angie decides to distract Junior by telling him she just needs to take a walk and talk. Junior obliges, leaving Julia unattended. During their walk, Angie makes out with Junior to keep him distracted, but Junior pulls away when he tastes cigarettes in her mouth. He may be a psychopath, but, hey, he's got standards. Junior catches Barbie as he's loading Julia into the ambulance and the two get into a fight. Barbie knocks him out and tells Angie to drive away while he waits for Linda to come arrest him. Barbie immediately surrenders when Linda shows up, because he's stuck in a 10 mile-wide dome and where else is he going to go?
On the other side of town, Big Jim has officially hit rock bottom and arrested two teenagers. When he broke into the barn and didn't find the mini-dome, he accused Joe and Norrie of hiding it and took them to the station. While he has them securely behind bars, Big Jim tries to get them to tell him where the magical egg is but they refuse. He then uses them as bait for Barbie, saying he'll let them go if Barbie confesses. Barbie agrees to take the fall and Joe and Norrie head to Ben's house to check on their mystical pet. As they leave, Big Jim tells Linda to trail them because they have a secret the whole town would like to know.
At Ben's house, Norrie, Carolyn and Joe find that dome 2.0 has been making an incredibly loud, painful squealing noise. They lift blankets Ben has used to try and muffle the sound and find that the egg is now glowing orange instead of pink, which means ... well, nothing probably. As they lift the blankets, Linda barges in and sees the egg.
Angie is still with Julia (in a supply closet at the clinic) when Julia wakes up after being shot in the chest, saved from the brink of death and rushed around on a gurney, still managing to look better than most people do on a good day. Apparently even a bullet wound can't keep Julia Shumway's perfect ringlets down. Angie tells Julia that she has to be careful because Big Jim will hurt her if she tells the truth about who shot her.
Just as the episode is ending, we see Big Jim standing before town with a handcuffed Barbie. He tells the townspeople that Barbie wants to confess, but --surprise, surprise! -- Barbie takes it back at the last minute and denies his involvement in the crimes.
With one more episode left, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the dome doesn't come down. Looks like it'll be another long year for Chester's Mill.
- The military knows about the mini egg and knows that Barbie is the only person who has the "authority" to help.
- They also have surveillance of Big Jim committing murders, so it's in his best interest to keep the dome sealed.
- The town now also thinks Barbie is to blame for Dodee's murder and the fire at the radio station.
- Junior tried to confront his dad about his many lies near the end of the episode, saying he didn't believe him, but Big Jim told him that Barbie confessed, so Junior is back on his dad's side.
- Julia knows a woman shot her, but she doesn't know who she is. Probably for the best.
"Under the Dome" airs Mondays, 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
"Big Jim doesn't see himself as a bad guy. He thinks he's doing right, he thinks he is the chosen leader of the town. He does save the town a number of times. Certain people, if they keep the trains running, see themselves as the right person for the job even though the way they go about doing that isn't necessarily all that kosher. There's a side of him that's as dark as ever. He has moments where he'll go to the dark side like that, which is really the fun part about playing him. I would really like the audience to go, 'Big Jim's a sweet guy, he's not really a bad guy,' then all of a sudden, in a heartbeat, the reptilian part comes out."
"The dome is a device, it's a fish bowl, and you put a bunch of fish in a fish bowl and bang on it and you see how they react. You'll see some fish eat other fish, you'll have other fish fight the fish that are eating the other fish, but that's kind of what this is, an experiment. But, also, we're dealing with the added element of what is this thing, where did it come from, is it man-made, is it other-worldly? What are the limitations of this world in which we now find outselves?"
"How do I play a character who is so determined not to examine her own life and her own choices and how far will I go in pursuit of a story to avoid that? The more my own life starts to fall apart in the show, the more obsessed I have to be with the dome and everything that's happening in Chester's Mill. We flirt with every possible outcome that thing could be. We examine it in many, many, many ways and it's still standing at the end of the day, so draw your own conclusions as to what that is, why that is, how that is, but as far as where we are in episode 10 right now, we're still perplexed and finding out some interesting stuff."
"There are two sides to Junior, the public persona that his dad wants him to be, the town jock and bully jerk, and there's the broken child that is inside Junior that he probably is more connected to because of past history with family and losing his mother at a young age. He finds this thing in Angie that fills this gap that's missing in his heart. He gets obsessed and wants to keep that quality. He wants to keep that love as much as he can so he does what he does."
"It's not like we have a clear trajectory of where we're going. We just get to play it episode by episode, which is awesome. It's so much more fun that way because we're living it as the characters are. In a show like this, we can go at any moment. I'm not dead yet..."
"I felt he was kind of simple, but because of his lack of parents (who are on the outside) and his sister isn't around, he has to grow up a little bit. He has to figure things out. So Joe does a lot of growing up in the first episodes. He goes on his instincts. Joe loves this. The dome may be a scary thing but it's also the most exciting thing that's ever happened in Chester's Mill. It's something to talk about, to think about; what is this thing and how can he figure it out? What does he have to do?"
"With Linda, what you see is what you get. As to why I stayed in town and why I became a cop, why I'm such a tough girl and I don't have parents, there's a story to be had there. But for the most part, what you see is what you get. It's very vulnerable, when you have somebody that doesn't have a clear past or history, it's like, Where are you gonna go? Who are you, really? Is the dome going to change you?"
"It's interesting where [the writers are] going; we make our speculations and we're totally wrong and blown away. There are some skills you have in life and in a crisis situation, they're heightened. [Dodee] gets a line to the outside world. Technology makes sense to her, people don't. Stepping out of the radio station and getting to interact with everyone, it's different. Because she doesn't necessarily trust anyone. She's keeping everything that she's finding pretty close to her and not really trusting everyone. She has some unique skill sets that she doesn't want everyone to know that she has."
"A lot of times, network TV isn't notable for bravery because what happens is you have a lot of executives who feel like the concept is a Christmas turkey. This is the most beautiful Christmas turkey I have ever seen. Let's sit down and have dinner. And when dinner is over, we're going to turkey sandwiches, and then the next day we're going to have turkey meatloaf and the day after that we're going to have turkey tetrazzini, turkey soup until there's nothing left but the bones. There's a tendency to run things until they're threadbare. I have no idea how far they're going to go or what they're going to do with it. But the one thing I've said to all the writers and to the people, the executives who are involved with this is, let's be thinking ahead all the time about how we're going to button this up. Because what guys like me do is, I run the story. And there's always more surprise. There can always be another story. And if you like 'Under the Dome' well then maybe there'll be something else that will come along. Who knows?"
Follow Ashley Knierim on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ashknierim