TV Recaps

‘Under the Dome’ Review: ‘Let the (Revelations) Games Begin’


Despite moving at a snail’s pace, last night’s episode of Under the Dome gave viewers a lot of answers or at least partial answers to some major questions. Sadly, the characters’ reactions to the revelations seemed to fall a little flat.

“Let the Games Begin” reminded viewers that Chester’s Mill has been trapped under the dome for nine days (not sure why the show has decided to start stressing the numbers, but we’ll roll with it until it gets super annoying). There’s still not a lot of panic happening in the town, which remains weird, but residents were riled up enough to think fight club was a super awesome idea.

But despite the preview hyping it, the fight club was only a small part of the episode and only a tiny bit interesting. That tiny bit came when Barbie thought he outmaneuvered Maxine by throwing the fight, but it turned out that she’d been counting on it and she’d won big because of it. Barbie was not amused, but I was because Maxine is awesome (although I’m sensing this is not a popular opinion?).

Anyway, let’s talk about the big revelations from the episode, shall we?

Who is the Fourth Hand?

Photo Credit: CBS

Photo Credit: CBS

Angie, Joe and Norrie have taken to sleeping in the barn with the mini dome. Joe was happy that he didn’t sleepwalk again, but Angie was more concerned with finding the fourth hand. She adamantly shot down Norrie’s idea of including Julia once more (is it just me or does Angie seem like she’s on a power trip?). The teens discovered a caterpillar inside the mini dome and this one was the right colors to turn into a monarch butterfly (I don’t know what this means for the overall mythology).

Once the kids vacated the barn, Dodee came in and tried her hand (pun totally intended) at the mini dome activation game. It burned her and knocked her unconscious, but thanks for playing! It’s okay though because Angie was convinced Junior was the fourth hand. She told the kids about him kidnapping her and Joe was ready to fight. Too bad Junior was bigger and stronger and almost choked the life out of him later in the episode when he discovered the kids in his mom’s studio.

But Angie was able to calm him down and they returned back to the mini dome. Sure, enough, Junior was the fourth hand (boo!) and once all four touched the dome, pink stars began floating around them inside the barn. Junior spoke for the audience when he asked, ‘what does it mean?’ Good question, Crazy Eyes.

What’s the story behind the propane?

Linda and Julia, two characters who should be far more interesting than they actually are, broke into the bank to check out the safe deposit boxes. Inside Duke’s box, Linda found a sheriff’s pin that she’d given him and a note that explained all of his evil doings. It turns out that he wasn’t really evil at all. Maxine made a deal with the three men that if they allowed her to keep her propane in Chester’s Mill and claim it was the town’s, she would make sure that her drugs were never sold there.

Is it just me or was that a totally lame reveal? Sure, it’s nice that Duke wasn’t a bad guy, even though the jury is still out on the reverend. Was he always crazy or was it just a drug addiction that made him that way? I suppose it doesn’t really matter since he’s dead. As for Big Jim, I’m assuming he did it for the power as opposed to the good of the town.

What’s the real deal with Julia’s husband?

Photo Credit: CBS

Photo Credit: CBS

Julia went digging through her husband’s safe deposit box too and found a life insurance policy and suddenly everything clicked in her head and she wanted to talk to Barbie. It was great timing too since he’d decided that he was done being Max’s patsy and he’d rather confess his sins than keep spending time with her. So as he started to tell Julia the truth, she interrupted him and showed him her husband’s empty gun box…except for all the bullets.

It turns out that Peter wanted Barbie to kill him. If he’d committed suicide, his insurance policy would be null and void and Julia would be left with his debt mess. Somehow, Julia took this as a romantic gesture and not only that, she was cool with Barbie’s involvement as long as he promised her not to lie anymore (um, I know he’s hot, but really, Julia? I think if/when the dome ever goes away, you need to spend a lot of time in therapy).

What else is Maxine hiding?

Early in the episode, Barbie and Big Jim decided to team up to find out the truth about Maxine. Neither of them believed her claim that she’d just happened to be in town and sure enough, it turned out that her real estate company owned several properties in town, including an estate on the lake that was just barely under the dome. Before the men could go check it out, Max came to claim Barbie for fight club and Jim headed out there on his own.

Here’s where things got even weirder. There was a woman there, Agatha, who claimed to be waiting for the owner to get back, but it turned out that she was Max’s mother and she pulled a rifle on Big Jim. Then she told him the story about how she’d once been his classmate named Claire, but everyone had turned on her when she got pregnant with Max so she had to become a hooker (random backstory, much?).

Photo Credit: CBS

Photo Credit: CBS

She also spilled everything she knew about him, dropped Barbie’s secret too and then taunted Big Jim until he easily disarmed her. Then they were in a boat heading back to town and she fell overboard (seriously). Her hands were tied so she couldn’t stay afloat and instead of helping her, Big Jim left her to drown because that’s the kind of guy he is.

Linda was waiting at his place when he came home and she wanted answers, but he more or less told her that he wasn’t in the mood and they could talk tomorrow. Linda backed down, which seemed lame, but at the same time, what is she going to do? Big Jim likes to kill people and she was there without backup.

So where do we go from here? Maxine has been stripped of her blackmail power, but I don’t think she’s just going to fade into the night. She probably has more tricks up her sleeve or at least I hope she does because I like having her around. She’s more interesting than the other female characters because she’s actually allowed to have a personality.

Will the teens figure out how to work the mini dome? What’s up with the pink stars? More importantly, are we supposed to believe we were wrong about Junior and he’s not so much crazy as he is possessed? I’m not ready to forgive and forget yet, but I’m also not sure Angie is the good guy either. She just seems a little too controlling lately, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

What do you guys think? Does anyone else like Maxine? Will anyone be able to stop Big Jim? Was Julia too easy on Barbie? What’s up with the pink stars? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below! Three more episodes to go…

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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