Heading into this episode, I was expecting the worst after last week's debacle of an episode. But this week's episode titled ''Exigent Circumstances'' showed just how good Under the Dome can be when it wants to be!
Further escalating the conflicts that were set in motion last week and setting the stage for next week's season finale episode.
Most of the episode was about Big Jim, with the manhunt for Barbie, Dodee and the black egg and Jim trying to locate the black egg. I liked the short town meeting at the beginning of the episode that explained some of the rules that are now in effect in Chester's Mill and what kind of jobs people are doing. Big Jim might not be the best leader, but it is clear he is getting things done.
One of the biggest things coming out of this episode was Dodee's death at the hands of Big Jim. Not someone who I am sorry to see go after she developed instant distrust of Joe and Norrie when they told her and Julia about their ability to interact with the dome. She seemed spiteful and it wasn't really based on anything. Dodee wanted to trust Big Jim, so she told him the few details there were about the mini-dome/sphere and the black egg inside it. Of course this would spell trouble for ''the dome four'', but more on that in a bit.
Dodee invited Big Jim over to listen to radio transmission of the military who were looking for both Barbie and the egg. Her trust in him soon came to bite her in the ass when she overheard the military saying they saw Big Jim kill Reverend Coggins. Despite Big Jim's attempt to talk his way out of it Dodee was having none of it. Realizing she couldn't outrun Big Jim, nor sway him otherwise, she had to some terrific parting words for him. ''They're going to smile when you die.''
Yes, I am Dodee. Yes, I am.
Also gleaned from the radio transmission the military is looking for Barbie because he has a certain expertise that somehow connects to egg. I wonder what's up with that.
Another thing, wasn't it weird how the radio station just burned down perfectly and nobody panicked or rallied the whole town? Other than a short mention of the fire and the volunteers, the fire didn't appear to be a very big deal. By the time Sheriff Linda and Phil got there, the fire was already out!
Despite Carolyn's best efforts to stop Big Jim from searching the barn, he forced his way in there only to find out the egg was gone. So he arrested Joe and Norrie for obstruction of justice, in what seemed like a desperate move. Trying to rattle them in the police station also had little effect and I liked Norrie's resilience to Big Jim's power trip. I feel Norrie's statement over how doing nothing lets evil triumph was spot on. To take down Big Jim ''the good guys'' needed to be a little more organized.
The manhunt for Barbie ended about halfway through the episode when he surrendered himself to Linda after rescuing Julia. It was preceded by another of those cringe worthy Angie/Junior scenes. Stop it writers, willing this relationship into happening won't make it work. Preferably Barbie would have just shot him in the knee, well the head actually, but we need him to open the mini-dome/sphere. So Barbie gave himself up to give Angie some time to get away with Julia. The look on the faces of Norrie and Joe were pretty great as their 'monarch' was escorted to his cell in front of their eyes. Things seemed hopeless.
I still feel Julia is the monarch, especially when the butterfly started to emerge from the chrysalis and egg started shrieking as she began to wake up. Great to see she doesn't have that cliched amnesia too and remembers being shot by a woman she hasn't seen before. And thanks Ben for backing me up and calling it a sphere, because that's what it is! High five!
Though I do have to knock down a couple of characters, Junior is still over the map with loving/hating/loving and then again hating his father. Pick one and stick with it, but I liked him questioning his father. As much as I hate to say it, Junior might be the deciding factor in the war against Big Jim.
Then there is our Sheriff Linda, who is by far still the dumbest character on the show and just does whatever Big Jim tells her at this point. And Phil is just as stupid and tags along with Linda just to rile her up. Neither of them questioned why Barbie would kill Dodee, he just killed her because they were broadcasting information about him. Because the guy that went out of his way to help people and find diplomatic solutions to pretty much every conflict that has arisen would just kill an innocent. Makes sense. Which begs the question, why didn't Barbie try to reason with Linda on the way to the police station about the accusations made against him?
Of course it all led to Barbie negotiating with Big Jim to release Joe and Norrie from custody in exchange to Barbie pleading guilty in public to the charges. Not that Joe, Norrie and Carolynn are very smart as they lead Linda straight to Ben's house where they hid the egg. Perhaps the egg can knock some sense into her? Wishful thinking on my part probably. At the same time Big Jim took the stage with a handcuffed Barbie next to him for his public trial. I loved Barbie's defiant ''Not guilty.'' Big Jim was played by Barbie, though that probably won't stop him from trying to kill Barbie anyway.
Big Jim is becoming a Caesar-like dictator of sorts, like I speculated in my previous review, and that makes the knife metaphor shown by the dome last week so fitting. Will Big Jim die at the end of the season? Probably not, but it would be a good move to do so. A lot of shows keep their villain alive too long and it diminishes the villains character in the end. But all in all, this was easily the best episode since the pilot. I came out pleasantly surprised and actually looking forward to next week's season finale!