Under the Dome 1.09 "The Fourth Hand" Review

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill

New best title thus far. Doesn't it just sound spooky and maybe a little mystical, like a cross between an old Boris Karloff devil worship movie and an Orson Welles noir? Come to think of it, that's pretty much Stephen King's whole wheelhouse, right there. I'm just going to have to pretend my neck isn't whiplashing back and forth between action episodes like last week's and this type of mostly eerie and inexplicable outing.

Okay, so we do get a little plot, but it's mostly about Max, the alluring dragon lady (Gwen from Passions, for those who remember that similarly supernatural and much more inexplicable soap!) who has been hiding since the Dome came down, but is finally ready to show herself. The show paints her as smart and observant in her sneaky low-profile strategy, but—isn't she? She's managed to stay impeccably groomed, and kept out of all the stray bullet ricochets, the water wars, the propane explosions and so much else that has felled many of our main and minor characters already.

C'mon to think of it, the body count didn't go up this week. Alice's wife Carolyn is still mysteriously off camera upstairs in Joe and Angie's house (on some soaps, people have gone up and never come back down, but she deserves more), but I don't think anybody died at all. A welcome change.

There was something really nice about the scene where Jim and Barbie are both confronted by Max, who flaunts her surprise relationship with Barbie in Big Jim's face, only to underline the way both of them have ALWAYS been working for her. Natalie Zea works hard to sell these tense scenes, and succeeds. Clever mix of sexy and smarmy, cold steel wrapped in velvet. Seems she and Jim and Barbie all have something to do with a new designer drug (Rapture) that was going to make them all rich. Made out of propane. And household products. Or something like that. Blah blah blah, who really cares, let's get back to the tiny dome!

At first we only found a perfectly hemispherical hole where it used to be, but Joe's dog knows how it smells, and it turns out Angie saw Joe sleepwalk the night before and put it in their barn. He doesn't remember, but after Angie has a seizure just like those of Joe and Norrie (meaning she mumbles "the pink stars are falling"), they all intuit that the Tiny Dome (and thus the bigger one, probably, which they think is sentient, remember) wants the three of them to touch it. And when they do, they realize there's space for one more hand. You got it, a fourth one! And each one is a key.

Who will it be? Probably not Junior, who has mostly stopped being a creep and just settles for being creepy by showing Angie his dead mom's decrepit studio. Where, nine years ago, she painted pictures of Little Jim standing on a hill, under falling pink stars.

I'd love to get into more mysteries of that sort next week, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be back to guns (even though Jim ran a surprisingly successful buyback program this week) and grenades and … hmm, mudslides? Sinkholes? Tiny tornadoes? Anything can happen after all … when you're under a dome.

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

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