This week's 'Dome' floats the idea that, with resources ever dwindling, some Chester's Mill residents might end up better serving the community by, you know, not being alive anymore.
This bright idea comes from Science Teacher Rebecca, who has pretty well attached herself to the hip of Big Jim. Or his right hand. She's certainly been in his ear a whole lot these last couple episodes. ... Look, whatever body part of Big Jim she's attached herself to, the point is that Rebecca's woman-of-science routine is registering with Big Jim. This week, after a burning red rain arrives, sending most scrambling for shelter and driving a previously unseen Dwight Yoakam into acts of extreme religious devotion and paranoia, Rebecca seems more determined than ever to be a rational thinker.
We've seen this kind of post-apocalyptic Man of Science/Man of Faith stuff before. Most famously, Lost addressed this conflict in those very terms. This episode, "Force Majeure," sets up two women in these atavistic roles: Rebecca, cold and rational and science-y; and Julia, who believes that the Dome, ever-guiding and benevolent, has a plan for us all. Being that this is ultimately a Stephen King story, you shouldn't be surprised when the thumb immediately gets pressed on the scales towards the faith-based side. Julia's "the Dome provides" beliefs may seem foolish, sure, but she's not the one advocating forced euthanasia of the town's weakest residents.
And, sure, Rebecca is galvanized by her experience being tied up and tortured by religious maniac Lyle, but the fact remains that it is Rebecca's cruel analytical brain is what comes up with an idea to deal with ever-more-scarce resources by, to use her metaphor, sending the elderly and infirmed up into a tree, shaking it, and see who falls out. Three-quarters of the Chester's Mill population could survive on rations, she says, if they just ... you know, got rid of the other twenty-five percent.
To be fair, Rebecca doesn't outright say that the surviving Chester's Mill-ians ("Chester's Millionaires"?) would eat those who were sacrificed. But ... you know ... in for a penny, in for a pound, right? So obviously if we're assessing the merits of the Dome denizens to decide who should and should not get bumped off for the greater good, it's only rational that we make a list.
Under the Dome Characters, Ranked by Who Should Be Eaten First
1. "Big" Jim Rennie. It's right there in his moniker. Big Jim would make for quite the hearty meal for his fellow townspeople. And while killing Big Jim might make for a rather volatile vacuum at the top of the Chester's Mill power structure, it seems like there are quite a few characters who would be pretty okay with that.
2. Lyle Chumley. Quite the debut on the charts for Lyle, the brand new character played by Dwight Yoakam. Lyle fills the crucial role of the town religious zealot, who believes this whole Dome experience is a test of his spiritual devotion. We also learn, via a conspiratorial jailhouse conversation, that he and Sam are connected and have been marinating in some big secret for 25 years or so. And you know how good marinade makes things taste.
3. James "Junior" Rennie. Everybody likes ham, right? And there's no bigger ham on Under the Dome than Junior, who is pulling major faces as he experiences one internal crisis after another: he maybe killed Angie and doesn't remember it; his not-dead mom sends him a video message from Beyond the Dome; he tries to get Lyle to tell him what he knows about his mother and her secrets. Each scene a fat slab of ham steak. Dig in.
4. Joe and Norrie (tie). While separately, Joe and Norrie are a bit thin and stringy, their dynamic together is no doubt taking on a sweet-and-sour quality that could be appealing. While Joe is acting nice towards Melanie, our mysterious Dome Child who was seemingly borne from the water (after Julie dropped her egg in there, all the metaphors alert) who apparently did not kill Angie, Norrie is letting good old-fashioned jealousy take hold and acting like a suuuuuper bitch to her.
5. Melanie the DomeChild. So we still don't know who she is or why the Dome sent her to us (looks like that's next week), only that she can magically visualize combinations to lockers, and what appears to be a photo of her is in a 1988 Chester's Mill High yearbook (the same year that a portentous photo of Sam, Pauline, and Lyle was taken). Melanie's probably an acquired taste, but you could easily describe her as Dome-aged on a menu and people would order her.
6. Barbie. Tough but bland.
7. Julia. More and more, it's looking like we're expected to see Julia as the hero of this story. She's the truest of true believers in the Dome. She's the one who the butterfly landed on that one time, which apparently makes her special. She's the one who's like, "Hey, maybe we don't euthanize our elderly, huh?" Perhaps a shade too sweet for your taste.
8. Pauline Rennie. So when the internet temporarily returns to the Dome (which, true to this show's form, is a woefully under-investigated development; did the internet come back everywhere in the Dome? or just the high school? did Angie's death create a temprary wifi hot spot? and if the internet DID come back all over, did anybody notice? did Joe and Norrie and Junior not think to send out information to the outside world about, oh, ALL THE CRAZY SHIT THEY KNOW ABOUT THE DOME?), Junior gets a surreptitious encoded message from his mom, who is a) not dead, b) outside the dome, and c) really cryptic, as she tells him, basically, "Go ask Lyle." Pauline may well taste delicious, but as she'd have to be imported from outside the Dome, she's way too expensive.
9. Sam Verdreaux. That thing about a 25-year marinade of secrets applies to Sam, too. Obviously, Sam is deeply connected to Pauline's non-death, and maybe to the existence of the Dome itself. Guess we'll just have to keep watching to find out! But Sam's way too withholding about basically everything to provide for a decent flavor profile. Sam is boring.
10. Rebecca Pine. Our woman of science is the one who came up with the idea to start thinning the herd in the first place. What a coincidence that Rebecca's big juicy chess-club brain is too much of an acquired taste for these Maine folk raised on lobster rolls.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.