Warning: The following recap contains spoilers from the Season 1 finale of CBS’ Under the Dome.
Each time I went to get this recap out of me, I started shaking my head, because that closing image failed to whelm. Frankly, I found the idea of the black dome to be far “scarier” (all things being relative with this chills-free Stephen King adaptation), because at least that would have left us with obvious questions.
I’m also agog at how “plotty” so many of the characters came to be, their behaviors dictated simply by what that week’s episode needed from them. How are we to assign any weight to Junior allying with his father toward the end when things between these two have been a season-long yo-yo? That said, if I were a betting man, I’d have placed all my money on Junior siding with his dad, so why is that a “moment”?
And then there is Linda, who at the very start of the season had the trappings of a root-for character, tragically separated from her love and the witness to her mentor’s grisly death. Yet in the final, pivotal weeks, she was little more than Big Jim’s lackey. And not a smart one, at that.
Also, think about Barbie’s past couple of weeks. How many times was he in and out of lock-up? In the finale alone, he was set free strictly to be dangled as a false “monarch” in one scene, and then promptly recaptured. He didn’t even have time to get out of his handcuffs.
The kids introduce Linda to Dome Jr., and she insists on seizing the egg as “police property” — as all supernatural entities, you know, are. Before she can, the monarch butterfly emerges from its cocoon and repeatedly clanks against the dome, leaving dark splotches — which are mirrored above Chester’s Mill on Daddy Dome. Linda goes to touch Dome Jr., despite every smarter person’s advice, and gets zapped across the room for her effort.
Knowing that Big Jim is closing in, the kids abscond with Dome Jr., transmitting a clue about the destination to Angie, who is busy helping injured Julia spring Barbie from the clink. (“Something wanted me back on my feet,” she tells him, before he manages to subdue a jailer or two with his hands cuffed behind his back.) Everyone meets up to lay hands on Dome Jr., causing it to disintegrate and leave behind only the soil inside, the black egg and a listless monarch. The butterfly rises to life, flits around the room and seemingly flags Barbie as the new monarch. But when the egg starts triggering a quake, it is Julia‘s touch that soothes it. Ergo ipso facto she is the monarch.
Elsewhere, Big Jim finds the townsfolk gathering at church, having decided that the blacked-out dome is a sign of judgement day, waving their bibles and quoting “Revelations” like they are Sleepy Hollow characters. Big Jim calms the crowd with a few words about “faith,” and then sets out to build a gallows in the square — and it gets erected pretty quickly for a bunch of people working in the dark and presumably building one for the first time. (Forgetting for a moment all of the special measurements required for a hanging, as The Killing Season 3 taught us.)
Back at the egg, Junior pulls a gun on Julia, wanting to turn the object over to his dad, but she lobs it to one of the kids, while Barbie grapples, handcuffed, with Junior. Big Jim meanwhile shows Linda a painting his wife made before she died, of a black egg with pink stars — and says that she used to utter, mantra-like, “The pink stars are falling in lines.” But he doesn’t really do anything with that epiphany. It just fills time.
Having escaped Junior and run into the woods, Julia invites Norrie to ask the egg what they should do — and the egg answers in the form of the lass’ dead mother. Except it is not Alice. “Forgive us, we’re still learning to speak with you, using a familiar appearance to bridge the divide,” the entity says. Confirming that she represents those who furnished the Dome, she explains, “The dome wasn’t sent to punish you. It was sent to protect you.” (From what? someone smartly asks. You’ll see, says Not Norrie’s Mom.) But to erase the blackness, “You must earn the light, by protecting the egg,” she/it says.
Julia’s reign as monarch is tested when Big Jim transmits an ultimatum: Gimme the egg or Barbie pays. After Julia decides the only course of action is to do nothing, Big Jim leads Barbie to the shiny new gallows. But just as Junior is rarin’ to send Barbie for a plunge, Julia (who has rushed out to a boat) lobs the egg into the lake, and almost immediately rays of pink stars shoot straight up into the sky toward the blackened dome. As Big Jim tries to spin this light show as a sign of “good favor” validating the imminent execution, Chester’s Mill is blinded with light, as the Dome, seen from outside, seemingly goes an opaque white.
So… yeah. That’s your set-up for Season 2!