The first season comes to an end and it ends with something of a bang. Quite a lot happens in this episode as arcs reach something resembling a resolution. As is standard procedure in shows like this, these answers only end up raising more questions. It is to be expected, however, as there are future seasons to think of.
At long last, the butterfly inside the mini-dome hatches. I'm not going to lie, I was expecting something akin to the birth of mothra, but it turns out to be a perfectly normal butterfly. Said butterfly begins to crash against the inside of the mini-dome, which results in bizarre black spots appearing and starting to spread. The phenomenon is echoed in the larger dome, which envelops the town in darkness. How or why is never explained, but it sure is weird, as is a lot of what happens in this episode.
The identity of the monarch is revealed and, contrary to Joe's theory, the monarch turns out to be Julia. Of course, what "the monarch" is has yet to be revealed. It's odd how the group assumes that Julia will just be able to rise to "the throne". What are they going to tell the townspeople? A butterfly flew in her general direction so we decided to make her the town leader? Even if the rest of the town bought that (which they wouldn't) that's a horrible way to make major decisions, let alone use as a basis for the selection of a government official. The sword in the stone has more merit.
We're also told who is behind the dome...sort of. Whether it's aliens or extra-dimensional beings has yet to be explained but they did take a page from "Contact" and appeared to Norrie in a form that she would be comfortable with, her dead mother. I'm surprised Norrie wasn't more outraged at that. You can tell it hit her hard, but it would have been nice to see her tell off the aliens for their insensitivity.
Oh! Speaking of insensitivity, Big Jim builds a gallows to hang Barbie. Not only that, but he asks Phil to gather the crew to build it. Yeah. Phil doesn't say anything, but the look on his face speaks volumes. Really, that was dumb on Jim's end.
Going back to the dome representative, unlike the aliens in the book, who basically put the dome down "for the lulz", it seems like these guys have a legitimate reason to put the dome down. Said reason is to keep the egg safe.
I still don't trust that egg. I'm telling you, whatever's inside that thing is very, very bad. I actually thought that the domes were a security measure to keep that thing contained, but we'll see.
Not only is the "monarch will be crowned" arc phrase addressed, but the oft mentioned pink stars come into play. The visions that Junior's mom had are brought up, but we do see the pink stars appear near the end of the episode. Oddly enough, they don't so much fall in lines as they do rise. Maybe they'll come down next season? I don't know.
The stars thing did make for a pretty solid spectacle. You have to feel bad for the people trapped in this town. The mundane stuff is troublesome enough, but now things are getting downright weird. It would be interesting to have an episode that is told from their perspective.
While this show has generally been pretty good about cliffhangers, this one was lackluster. The dome starts to undergo some sort of transformation, but it really doesn't mean anything to us as all we see is some light. It would have been nice if the episode ended on something with a bit more oomph behind it.
On the plus side, we got some fairly strong performances. Dean Norris is fun to watch as usual. You can almost see the wheels spinning in his head as he tries to figure out what his next play is, especially in regards to the machinations of the dome itself.
I'm really surprised how well Junior fared. He really is one of the more sympathetic characters in the show despite his disturbed nature. He doesn't take kindly to hearing his dad rundown and is quick to call the others out when they try to take the moral high ground.
Apparently, the finale has gotten a fair amount of backlash. Honestly, I didn't hate it. It had some faults, but nothing "shark jump" worthy. The fact that the "alien" disappeared just as they started to get in depth with questions was a bit obvious (not to mention plot convenient) and that sort of intentional cryptic writing can be frustrating. It was still fairly gripping and the plot took some interesting twists. When the writers said that they were veering away from the book, they clearly weren't kidding. I'm not on the edge of my seat wondering how season 2 will play out, but I am somewhat curious.