TV Review - Under the Dome: Season 2

Dwight Yoakam (left) faces Karla Crome as
faith faces science in Season 2 of "Under the Dome"
The more and more I watch this CBS summer series, the more and more I believe it wants to be like ABC's Lost. This series is based on the novel Under the Dome by Stephen King. Lost wasn't a direct adaptation but it was reportedly inspired by Stephen King's The Stand. This series is produced and directed by Jack Bender who was also a producer and director on the series Lost. The first episode of Season 2 here deals with the characters having to run from a giant magnetic force. In Lost, the finale to Season 5 also had characters running from a large magnetic event. Similarly to being trapped on an island, the characters here are cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible and impenetrable bubble.

The problem with Under the Dome is that its characters are no where near as interesting or as compelling as the characters on Lost. Another problem is that even if they were as interesting or as compelling, the writers aren't allowing us to get to know them. The writers are too busy having the characters act out plot points that service mysteries the show is drawing out.

This is what Lost did, but this show doesn't balance with deeper or more insightful character moments. The example is what happens at the end of Season 2's first episode. The character of Angie is killed. Supposedly, Angie was a key character who was crucial to learning what little was learned about the dome last season, but her character is then eliminated rather unceremoniously, and the emotional resonance is practically hollow.

The next episode did have two characters who loved her react, but it's played as not a big deal. The two characters who loved her barely get any screen time to mourn her or remember her. No one else in the town even seems phased by a bloody ax murder. The endgame for killing her might be important, but it's made to feel so inconsequential in the moment and even in its aftermath.

The show instead wants to build the same dynamic between Julia, played by Rachelle Lefevre, and Rebecca, played by Karla Crome, as the dynamic between Jack and Locke on Lost. The dynamic between Jack and Locke was that Jack was a man of science and Locke was a man of faith. Whatever issue arose, Jack and Locke approached and dealt with it from those two opposing perspectives. The same happens for Julia and Rebecca. Except, Rebecca is the woman of science being a school teacher and Julia is the woman of faith, having witnessed the magical powers of the dome.

Aside from the mystery of who killed Angie and who the new girl is that Julia found, the major problem that is going to plague the residents of Chester's Mill is the fact that resources are diminishing. Rebecca points out that there is not enough food to sustain all the residents any more. It's implied that population control or population elimination will be necessary. The new film Snowpiercer deals with the same thing but does so mainly through action violence. This series probably will deal with it more through drama.

There's also the side story of James aka "Junior," played by Alexander Koch, learning his mom is alive. He also stumbles upon a conspiracy between his uncle Sam, played by Eddie Cahill, along with barber and religious zealot Lyle, played by Dwight Yoakam. I doubt this side story would lead to a way out of the dome. It will probably lead to more crumbs about what the dome is.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14-LSV.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Mondays at 10PM on CBS.


Popular Posts