Force Majeure (Spoiler Warning!)

The plot thickens in Chester’s Mill as we learn a bit more about the season 2 newcomers. Instead of Big Jim being the dome’s answer to David Koresh, it looks like it’s actually the town barber Lyle Chumley (Dwight Yoakam) who’s expecting the rapture. Not only is Lyle seeing the recent events as the ones from the bible, but it turns out he’s in cahoots with Pauline–Junior’s dead mother.

Thanks to the internet mysteriously coming to life, Joe is able to check his emails. After Joe worries over whether he should tell his father about Angie’s death, he gives his device to Junior. When Junior clicks on a link contained in one of his emails, it takes him to a site dedicated to the dome, titled “Hounds Of Diana.” There’s a box to key in a date of birth so Junior enters his mother’s. A stunned Junior watches a recent video of his mother telling him to seek out Lyle, who can give him answers about the dome.

Under The Dome
Created for Television by
Brian K. Vaughan
Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Alexander Koch, Dean Norris
Episode Air Date
14 July 2014
Ed’s Grade: B

It has started pouring down with red-colored acid rain but staunch Jim Rennie supporter and town brainbox Rebecca thinks she knows how to stop it. Before she can put her plan into action, Lyle kidnaps Rebecca and in the process dumps Big Jim outside in the acid rain. While Jim is waiting to be saved from being slowly dissolved, Lyle is using the acid rain to torture Rebecca. He wants her to say she believes in the dome, and also that she promises not to use nasty science against it. Lyle is convinced the dome will wipe out all the infidels and that the acid rain is just one more message from the dome. Junior, Julia and Barbie arrive just in time to help save Rebecca from getting a bullet in the noggin.

Joe, a very jealous Norrie and the other newcomer are at the school trying to discover where the internet signal is coming from. It turns out to be coming from the locker where Angie left her bloody handprint. After newgirl unlocks it using the combination she shouldn’t have known, Joe thinks he might know how she knew. The combination was also Pauline’s date of birth. They go through the yearbooks and discover newgirl’s name is actually Melanie Cross. The problem is, the photo of Melanie was taken 25 years ago but she doesn’t appear to have aged a day.

We learned last week how Chester’s Mill was rapidly running out of food resources, thanks to there being too many people in the encapsulated town. Well, the acid rain made matters even worse, and now Julia realises why Big Jim and Rebecca wanted everyone in town to fill out the form. It’s so they know who to bump off. Julia lets them know what she thinks about their scheme to cull the elderly townsfolk, and because Barbie doesn’t condemn Big Jim’s plan, Julia dumps him for a second time.

As well as Pauline being very much alive, the secrets don’t end there. There appears to be a connection between Junior’s mother, his uncle Sam and Lyle. While Lyle is in jail, Sam pays him a visit, but what they don’t realise is, Junior can see and hear everything through the security camera. Sam is angry at Lyle for breaking some agreement they had 25 years ago, and after Sam leaves, Junior goes to Lyle’s cell and questions him. Pauline told Junior that Lyle would answer his questions but whatever the secrets are, we’ll need to wait until next week to find out.

So, this episode was a definite improvement over the first two, and with all these new characters and story arcs, it’s shaping up to be as good as season 1, if not better.

by Ed Blackadder