Under the Dome 1.06 “The Endless Thirst”

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill

The best-titled episode yet is also one of the most satisfying, because finally some logical things start happening. Well, first, an unfortunate bit of bad luck, as the town’s newly resident diabetic lesbian mother Alice (suffering from an insulin shortage even though she’s a doctor and already saved everyone from meningitis single-handedly) wanders distractedly in front of an oncoming truck. She survives (thank goodness, because this cast needs all the vets likes Samantha Mathis it has), but the town’s one water tower does not, which sows the seeds for the panic we’ve all seen coming since the start.

Now, where was the truck going at such a breakneck speed inside the limited ten miles of the Dome, you might ask? Don’t, because that’s not this week’s problem. This week’s problem is how killer lesbians want to deprive everyone of life-giving water – no, not really. This week’s problem is that everyone has noticed that money doesn’t really work outside of a larger economic system, and have started bartering with batteries and foodstuffs and now, it seems, whether or not they have an artesian well. Except for the enterprising souls who skip over the bartering part and go right on to looting, bludgeoning, arguing and shooting to get what they think they need.

All of this gives Acting Sherriff Linda and her untrained deputies quite the headache, to which she has two solutions: believe in people’s innate goodness, but shoot ‘em when you’re wrong. Maine Justice, ya’ll!

This distracts Junior from the most dispensable ongoing storyline, which is trying to keep Angie secured somewhere against her will, until she starts to like him again. His vaunted skills at non-violence vanish somewhere along the way, but she does herself no favors by racing through the woods away from anyone who might help her or witness her plight. She’s a feisty Kim Bauer so far, writers; is that really what you want?

She finally runs to Rose in the diner, who believes her and promises help, cut tragically short by some meat-looting brothers who wrest her own baseball bat from her and plan a different kind of violence for Angie. They fail thanks to Barbie, but then he hands her over to Big Jim (Junior’s dad) in complete ignorance of what a mistake he may have just made.

The most beautiful reporter from Twilight is shaking her ginger tangles at the radio station again, as she and the station engineer Dodee try to figure out the weird signal that has been blocking transitions since last week’s missile exploded harmlessly outside the dome. The former is so pretty it doesn’t matter that her acting is mostly about her voluptuous Renaissance tresses, and thankfully Jolene Purdy picks up the slack in their exposition-heavy scenes. Weirdly, the tracking box they use to triangulate the interference is the same one used on the Nostromo in the first Alien movie. Which didn’t do so much for Tom Skerrit, and has got to be a call back of some kind.

This leads them to Joe and Norrie, teens on the run (looking for insulin for Alice even if they have to steal it from patient’s homes) who surprisingly fess up to their connected seizures and other bizarrely dome-related experiences. These two weird kids generate their own sphere of buzz within the dome, somehow. We may find out what “Pink Stars are Falling!” means someday, but Julia and Dodee promise not to tell.

Barbie grows closer to Julia (despite having killed her husband), clearly solely because they are the two hottest people on the show. Big Jim tries to deal with an old enemy who feels little need to share his water for free, and then a sort of miracle happens at just the right last minute, averting further tragedy for the moment. The show doesn’t want to get into too much of this sentient Dome stuff, because it will just make every plot development a deus ex machina, but they haven’t dipped in to that well (ha!) too often yet.

This show is like a very dumb version of Lost, honestly. There’s a central mystery that is only being chipped away at, but maybe it’s a good thing that there’s only the one so far. Not being smart enough to get caught up in all the philosophical ethics that ultimately turned Lost into a religious parable, UTD has a simpler moral query on its mind. Are people good, bad, or stuck in the gray purgatory in between? We’re finding our answers, week by week, as the body count is also slowly rising.

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net

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