Kristina Carroll ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Editor
I’m going to be honest with you. When I first saw the commercial for CBS’s new summer show Under the Dome, I wasn’t very interested. It appeared to me to be nothing more than what the title suggested—a show about a town trapped in a dome. While the idea seemed intriguing at first, I struggled to imagine the show being successfully carried out all summer long. I mean, there are only a limited number of things that can happen to people stuck under a dome, right?
Well, after deciding to give it a chance, I discovered that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Under the Dome is jam-packed with suspenseful, and sometimes horrifying situations that have never before been depicted on television. I have no doubt that with each episode, life under the dome is just going to get crazier and crazier.
From the minute the episode started, I knew I was in for a terrifying experience. A crow hatches from an egg in a dark forest, eerie music is playing, and a man is in the process of digging a huge hole. If this isn’t creepy enough for you, he dumps a dead body inside, and continues to bury him. That’s right, it’s only been the first 30 seconds of the pilot and somebody is already dead.
We’re then taken to a police station, where one can assume that we are going to find out more about the death of this unnamed person. However, a young police officer named Linda (Natalie Martinez) is merely waking up the Sheriff Duke (Jeff Fahey) to alert him of a call that she received, in which she was notified of a large bang. Although Duke seems less than concerned, he agrees that it is worthy of investigating, because according to him, “you never know with this damn place.” By “this damn place”, he means Chester’s Mills, Maine. What seems like a quiet town on the outside, Chester’s Mills definitely appears to have a significant history.
Meanwhile, a young couple Junior (Alexandor Koch) and Angie (Britt Robertson) are hooking up, and judging by their actions, they appear to be head over heels in love. However, we immediately find out that this “love” is only one-sided; Junior wants to be with Angie forever, but Angie only considers this to be a summer fling. She reminds Junior that he’s going back to school soon, and he reveals to her that he’s dropped out. Angie flips out, resulting in Junior violently grabbing her wrist, and Angie slapping him across the face. Apparently, Junior has anger issues. And trust me, to say they get worse as the episode goes on would be an understatement.
Now we find ourselves outside the home of an older woman, with Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre), editor of the town newspaper The Independent. The older woman apparently called Julia after receiving a tip about the house across the road. As the older woman points out to Julia, there is a propane truck that has been making an abnormal amount of deliveries. She expresses her concern to Julia that there may be some sort of planned terrorist attack about to take place. When asked why she didn’t call the police, the woman tells Julia that she spoke to Duke recently, and that although he didn’t do anything about the problem, he did sound nervous. And according to the woman, “Duke has never sounded nervous in his life.”
Once again, we return to the blonde man who was last seen dumping a body in the woods. He packs up his car and speeds away, while simultaneously talking to somebody on the phone. He sounds angry, and lets the person know that there was a problem. He says something about a man showing up, not having “the money”, and trying to negotiate. What that means exactly, I have no clue. But I’m sure we will soon find out.
Suddenly, he realizes that there are two cows standing in the middle of the road. In an attempt to avoid them, he veers off of the road and into a fence. Luckily, he escapes unharmed, but his car is wrecked and he is now stranded in the middle of a field.
All of a sudden, chaos ensues. Crows start flying in the air, and the ground starts shaking. Back at city councilman Big Jim’s (Dean Norris) office, the wind is blowing things around. Church bells are ringing as Angie is walking to work. Then, Duke starts to have what seems to be a heart attack. And when we think it couldn’t get any worse, we are taken back to the field where the blonde man witnesses a cow get split it half. Sound terrifying? Wait until you actually see it happen.
The blonde guy walks over to the dead cow, and reaches out to touch it, only to be shocked by an invisible wall and have his hand become completely drenched in cow’s blood. He then tries again to touch this invisible barrier, this time much more slowly. He feels the wall, and when he takes his hand away, discovers that he has left a handprint in mid-air. At this very moment, a younger boy named Joe (Colin Ford) runs out of his house to see if he’s OK.
Back at the field, the two men continue to investigate the phenomenon that they have just witnessed. Joe, who repeatedly touches the wall, explains to the blonde man that it’s some kind of invisible fence, much like the kind that dogs have, and that it only zaps you the first time. Suddenly, a couple of crows fall from the sky, and it appears that they have snapped necks. A plane, which was just previously seen flying above Duke and Linda, is now flying over them. All of a sudden, it explodes, and comes barreling down toward the two men. They barely escape, and see detached limbs as well as a purse among the rubble. Inside of the purse, they find the ID of Mrs. Sanders, who apparently worked at the town bank and sponsored Joe’s Little League team.
Duke also turns out to be OK, and explains to Linda that it was probably just his pacemaker skipping a beat. He and Linda pull up to the two guys, and Linda sees her fiancée Rusty, who is a firefighter, on the other side of the wall. They try to talk, but once again, neither of them can hear what the other one is saying. Duke expresses that the wall has apparently cut off the entire town of Chester’s Mill. At this very moment Julia pulls up to the crowd. Duke asks her to leave because they are dealing with a “crime scene”, but she fights back by saying that it’s “news”.
Julia approaches the blonde man, and he introduces himself as “Barbie”. Definitely not a name one would associate with a mysterious, attractive male, she gives him an inquisitive look, and he responds by saying that it’s a nickname. They take a walk in the woods in an attempt to piece together what is happening, and they find a girl whose arm had been cut off by the wall. They take her to the hospital, where Julia’s husband Peter works as a doctor. Learning that Julia is married was definitely a disappointment for me, because I feel like there’s a special connection between her and Barbie. But who knows…maybe we’ll see their relationship develop further as the season goes on.
As if keeping track of all of these characters and their more-than-complicated backgrounds wasn’t hard enough, we’re introduced to two more in the town radio station, Phil (Nicholas Strong) and Jodie. Jodie, nervous about everything that’s happening, uses her audio equipment to pick up sound from what they believe are the ones responsible for planting this invisible wall. At first they think that they can hear aliens, but soon realize that they are human voices. It’s difficult for them to make out what the voices are saying, but they hear one word very clearly: “dome”.
Chester’s Mill also has a new family in town. This family, which is made up of a lesbian couple Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) and Alice, and their daughter Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz), have moved to the town apparently because Norrie has had somewhat of a troubled past. What do I mean by troubled, you ask? Well, she’s been found guilty of sending nude pictures to strange men and knocking out a girl’s tooth, to name a few things. So she’s not exactly thrilled about their big move. Her parents try to reassure her that it will be good for her, but they themselves have absolutely no clue what they’re getting themselves into. When Norrie and her parents see the destruction the dome has caused, they get out of their car to investigate. Suddenly, Norrie collapses and starts having a seizure. She is foaming at the mouth, and begins to mumble something to the effect of “There are stars falling in lines.”
We soon find out that Angie and Joe are actually siblings, and that their mom, who went out to eat at the new restaurant, is trapped on the other side of the dome. Joe leaves his house once again, this time in search of an “off switch”, or whatever power source is being used to control this dome. During his search, he too collapses, starts having a seizure, and repeats the phrase “The stars are falling in lines.” What does this mean? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Now, back to Julia and Barbie. We left off with them rushing somebody to the hospital. When they get there, she asks one of the medical personnel where her husband Peter is, and he replies that Peter hasn’t worked Sundays in weeks. We all know what this means, right? Peter is obviously having an affair. At least, this is what Barbie thinks. He goes outside to smoke a cigarette and is approached by Angie, who works at the hospital as a candy striper. And of course, Junior’s spying on them. When he sees them enjoying each other’s company, he gets very upset. So upset, in fact, that he pulls out a knife. Look out Barbie, I’d be pretty scared right now if I were you.
But Junior doesn’t hurt Barbie. Instead, he sneaks into Angie’s house, and when she gets home he attacks her from behind. He puts his hand around her mouth and warns her that if she does everything he says, she won’t get hurt. However, this offer isn’t good enough for Angie, and she struggles to break free from him, while simultaneously screaming frantically for help. Unfortunately, nobody is around to hear her, and she ends up hitting her head, causing her to lose consciousness.
When Angie wakes up, she finds herself locked in a cell that is filled with about 2 inches of water. Minutes later, Junior walks in, and explains that they are in his dad’s fallout shelter underground. It’s official, Junior is a psychopath. He keeps her locked in the shelter, and as he’s leaving he sees his Dad. And who is it? None other than Big Jim himself. I definitely didn’t see this coming, and it was perhaps the biggest shocker of the episode.
The saying “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” definitely applies to Big Jim and Junior, because earlier in the episode we learn that Big Jim is also in trouble. Duke meets him in the town hall to discuss the fact that the majority of the town’s police force is trapped on the other side of the dome. During their conversation, Big Jim asks Duke what they should do when people start asking about the propane tanks. Apparently, Junior is involved in something bad, and it looks like Duke is the only one who knows about it. Could the newly-planted dome cause their secret to be unleashed?
The sun sets in Chester’s Mill and Barbie is now left without a place to stay. Julia ends up taking him in…maybe there will be romance after all! When they get to her house, Peter still isn’t home. She points him out to Barbie in a picture, and he suddenly realizes where he is: buried ten feet in the ground. That’s right, Peter is the dead man we see in the very beginning of the episode.
And with that, we have the series premiere of Under the Dome. Guaranteed to provide you with a weekly dose of terror, suspense, and just pure insanity, this show is definitely one of televisions hottest summer shows that you won’t want to miss.
Be sure to catch Under the Dome on Mondays at 10/9c on CBS.
Kristina Carroll ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Editor