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Under the Dome Season 2, Episode 1: Heads Will Roll

Title card
Title card

The second season of "Under the Dome" kicked off and Stephen King himself penned the script. It seemed like the show really wanted to hit the ground running in order to kick things up from the season prior.

Unfortunately, it didn't go as well as planned. The episode is very strange, but not in a gripping way. It's goofy, but I can't tell whether it was intentional. The characters all felt off. The dialogue felt hollow and the story didn't seem to give them a whole lot to do.

There's a lot of action that comes from the dome suddenly magnetizing itself for no apparent reason. Things fly around, houses get torn apart, and Linda promptly gets killed off. It was going for spectacle, but it fell flat for me. I never felt any tension and it was more chuckle inducing than anything else.

We do learn that the dome uses magnetism to some extent to achieve its goals, as one character says that magnetic frequencies could cause a lot of the strange phenomenon that have occurred. It's eyebrow raising, but not everyone seems to buy it. The whole "mysticism vs science" thing could be engaging had it been handled better, but we'll see if it goes anywhere.

One of the things that I consistently praised last season was Dean Norris. He was always a highlight, but this is one of the rare instances where even he couldn't do anything to help salvage the episode. He has an arc of sorts, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I don't get why the Dome has it out for him and the accusations leveled against him by ghost Dodee ring hollow seeing as he had nothing to do with the Dome coming down. If anything, it's all their fault as they were the ones who put him in the situations that resulted in people dying.

I'm not sure if his turning over a new leaf is legit or not. It's possible, but at the same time, that would take away one of the big draws of the series. It could result in some character development, but it's too soon to tell.

The resolution of this makes no sense. Granted, this isn't the first time the show used a goofy deus ex machina to wrap up the dilemma, but this tried to throw a corny and obvious moral about not killing people in to the mix. Why would the dome reward them not killing Big Jim when it told the "four hands" to do just that? Why didn't Jim pull the lever first, then tie the noose around his neck and just jump? If the dome wanted Jim alive, why tell him to kill himself in the first place?

I did get a kick out of the Stephen King cameo. He only has two lines, but it somehow became the highlight of the episode for me.

Hopefully the show rights itself because if it's 12 more episodes of this, we're going to be in for a long season.

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