The Dome’s Tyranny May Be Close to an End, but ‘Under the Dome’ Remains as Horrendous as Ever

Everyone can get out from under the dome now. So this show needs to raise the stakes again.

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Let me tell you what happened on Under the Dome this week. Two characters, Sam and Barbie, fell down a cliff in the locker-tunnel, both kinda accidentally on purpose, and vanished into a void that transported them to the city of Zenith. So, uh, good job guys. You found a way out of Chester’s Mill. You can get around the dome! Every townsperson should just jump into the void and zap over to some random playground in Zenith, where they can continue to live their lives. Who cares about the mystery of the dome? Leave that to the scientists. Just get the hell away from it.

I understand that it took the dome-kids and Julia (who has an amoeba-like brain, responding only to simple and direct stimuli) an episode to figure this out. Sam and Barbie didn’t fall to their doom, but into some kind of magic portal. However, I also know that next week probably will not feature every member of Chester’s Mill diving to their rescue in Zenith. They’ll cook up some reason or other to keep ‘em around. Maybe Big Jim, who is becoming a religious figure in town because sure why not, will give a big speech and everyone will forget he’s a heartless murderer. Maybe Rebecca the scientist will scare everyone away with talk of her compass going haywire.

I could not care less. This show is called Under the Dome, but 19 episodes in, it found a way out of the dome. The dome, which people still speak of reverently like it’s some sort of God, bears no threat if people can get out from under it. The show should now be called “A Minor Dome-Shaped Inconvenience.” At worst, it’s going to make everyone in Chester’s Mill have to move. A hassle, to be sure, but not quite the apocalypse.

So how do we raise the stakes now? Here’s what I’d like to happen next week. Sam and Barbie are milling around in Zenith causing trouble—Sam finds out that Lyle is alive, although catatonic, in the loony bin, and Barbie goes to talk to his dad (played by Brett Cullen) about trying to get back to Chester’s Mill and the dome, which is guarded by the military. No, Barbie. You must incite revolution. This dome is basically a reformation of power—in Chester’s Mill, it put things in the hands of mildly horny teenagers. None of the old rules can stand anymore. It’s time to acknowledge that things are just as different outside the dome as they are inside.

I’d like to take a moment to quote Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, a leader in the French revolution, writing in Sur la Constitution de la France, Discours prononce à la Convention on April 24th 1793. Saint-Just said of the royal families of Europe:

Soon, the enlightened nations will put on trial those who have hitherto ruled over them. The kings shall flee into the deserts, into the company of the wild beasts whom they resemble; and Nature shall resume her rights.

This is what Barbie, foolishly trying to find his way back into Chester’s Mill, doesn’t understand. The world has inexorably changed, and his boring, warmed-over Lost ripoff of a storyline about gun-toting gangsters and an emotionally distant father should be discarded with all of the other cruddy plot detritus I had to put up with last night. For crying out loud, at one point, the dome kids flew a science project down a cliff to tell me something I already knew (the cliff leads to Zenith!), only to have that same information conveyed to them again by a glowing egg later on. At another point (this is 19 episodes into the show) Joe says that he wants to know certain things about the dome, like “Where did it come from?” and “Why is it here?”

No, Joe. Such questions were for the first season, and it is your own fault for not bothering to ask them then for whatever imbecilic reasons. Why even care about the dome now that we can get away from it? What’s important is what happens next, and what happens next should be an upending of society, pure and simple. In Chester’s Mill, they’re cooking up swine flu, murdering kids with axes and setting fields on fire like it’s nothing. Time for the rest of America to get a taste.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.