Consider the butterfly. A peaceful creature of beauty flying from flower to flower bringing with it the possibility of new life; a sanguine symbol, the harbinger of hope. But this is Stephen King — hope is the string he dangles in front of us. This episode opens with a rabble of butterflies settled on the dome wall. That much hope in one place does not bode well for Chester’s Mill.
As it turns out, the butterflies have appeared right where the military has reappeared. People with family trapped under the dome have been allowed visitation rights by the army. We get some mushy moments, some sad moments, and even some painful moments. Linda reunites with her husband, but has to inform him of his brother’s death; Norrie finds her father, who she’s never met before, and her mothers lied to her about; and Julia tells Barbie to “Keep an eye out for [her] husband.” Nothing makes you feel guilty like the wife of the man you killed asking you to look for him. And Joe could not find Angie—which troubles him. All of this is incredibly disturbing. These aren’t loved ones coming to check in, those are survivors saying goodbye. But we’ll come back to that.
Last episode ended with Big Jim stumbling across his son’s secret prisoner and we’re left with one question: What will he do? Leave her there and lock the door, of course. Was anyone surprised? I suppose Angie was, but who else? Were we supposed to be surprised?
Back to visitors’ day, as it’s been creatively titled. Barbie flashes some special forces credentials to get some information from a soldier. Apparently Barbie was a big deal. The soldier informs Barbie the military is pulling out — forever. Barbie puts it together: a bomb. They’re going to bomb the dome, believing it will destroy the dome at all costs. Apparently, the dome is magnetic, throwing off Earth’s own magnetic poles. The butterflies were a symptom of that effect; they navigate using a magnetic field. How quickly the harbinger of hope becomes a doom-bringer.
At least one citizen is prepared for this event: Angie has already found refuge in a bomb shelter. Until Big Jim decides she should spend her last day on Earth as a free woman. I don’t understand why, upon hearing a bomb is coming her way, Angie would flee from the safest place possible. Angie sprints back home in search of her brother, who isn’t there. But Junior is. Why can’t he just let this go? She hasn’t been free from his grasp for fifteen minutes and he already has her again.
Most of the other townspeople have moved underground together. Phil, the town’s DJ, has rigged an ‘End of the World’ playlist. Phil takes a page from the Titanic music book, and starts out with some Beethoven. Everybody begins to unload their souls: Big Jim connects with Rose (but fails to use the classic ‘we should spend our last night on Earth together’ line), Barbie returns Phil’s gambling losses (even though Phil bet on the Browns), Phil and Dodee share in a loving “I hate you,” and Barbie and Julia share a different kind of moment. Then the final song plays: Skeeter Davis’ “End of the World”. Everyone, including me, believes this to be the most fitting song for the moment. Phil is right — Skeeter Davis has a hauntingly soulful voice that captures the unique concoction of woe and longing only the loss of true love can create.
The bomb hits the dome. Surprise! It doesn’t make a dent, although it does scratch it. Everyone is relieved, but should they be? Who is behind the dome? Why would they place the dome there? Who is Chester? Why would they make a full-fledged series out of this? Unfortunately, I don’t completely care anymore, so I won’t continue to review this show, but I will watch the rest of the season. In for a penny, in for a battery—Chester Mill’s preferred currency. But I’d like to congratulate Under the Dome for being my first Turning Point.