Under The Dome: ‘Pilot’ Review


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Nervous. That is how I feel about this show, only because I am so worried that CBS is going to screw it up completely. While I personally believe the show would have been better served on Showtime (the book is extremely violent, there is a ton of cursing, etc), I understand the decision to put it on CBS—they want to get this out to the biggest audience possible.

I had the privilege of reading Stephen King’s epic novel Under The Dome a couple of years ago, and what I realized after watching the first 5 minutes of the Dome pilot is that the book is only a guide, the series will have some similar storylines and characters, but a lot has already changed just in the pilot alone. So folks, even those that have read the book, throw it aside and enjoy the ride. Heck, even some of the characters, while keeping their book name, have changed completely for TV (See: Rusty Everett—his character and story have significantly changed from the looks of the pilot). And while a lot of the major events that took place in the pilot were still in the book, I won’t spoil any future events for those people that like surprises! So yes, as I watched the first 2 minutes of the show, I was slightly worried that this was going to turn in to another Terra Nova….. until…..

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“Mooooo-owww?”

A COW WAS FREAKING RIPPED IN HALF BY THE DOME IN THE MOST DISTURBING WAY POSSIBLE! In the book, the Dome cut a woodchuck in half, so this was, in my opinion, just plain AWESOME! You have my attention now CBS! The visuals were stunning and I loved some of the changes they had made regarding the dome itself, but if the show can keep up this level of epicness, then Under the Dome might just be here to stay. The Dome-Focused pilot was great to bait the viewers into watching, but now the series needs to find a way to make us LOVE and HATE the characters as much as the book did. So my first review will attempt to take us through the characters we met in the pilot and summarize some of the more important events!

Enter The Dome

Simply the best character in the book, Dale “Barbie” Barbara has a lot to live up too. I’m not sure why he was burying a body in the woods at the beginning of the episode though as this is a new mystery for even those who read the book (I think?). So Barbie is chilling out in the woods, and BAM here comes the Dome, and there goes that cow. We are also introduced to Joe, a clearly intelligent, young teenager. Joe touches the Dome and gets a static shock and he mentions that it only zaps you the first time you touch it. Our first mystery? 🙂

Then, from the sky, we see a plane crash into absolutely nothing sending body parts and metal to the ground, almost killing Joe in the process. The book was so much more brutal and gruesome in describing this scene, but an awesome shout-out to readers of the book, as Joe identifies the body as Ms. Sanders!

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“So that’s where I put my leg!!!”

Barbie sees a firetruck heading towards the dome and Joe mentions that they can’t hear the sirens (more on this a bit later). Barbie gets the truck to stop just in the nick of time—and who else loved Barbie’s jab to the government, he is probably right, the Dome works and hence the Government cannot be responsible for its creation, since, well….. IT WORKS!!! Loved that!

Next, Linda Everett and Duke Perkins show up on the scene. They had also mentioned prior to the Dome coming down that the fire trucks were on their way out of town to attend an annual parade (this is fairly important).

Other important people show up at the Dome but don’t really do much besides Linda Everett. An amazing scene follows showing the two different perspectives—one from inside the dome in silence and one from outside with lots of noise and military personnel setting up camp outside the Dome. I really loved how they did this on TV, it just worked for me. And in fact, I don’t believe the Dome was sound proof in the book, so I loved that they added this into the show (also worth noting is that Rusty Everett, Linda’s husband, was actually not a firefighter and was not outside of the Dome in the book, so I’m very very curious to see how this plays out because Rusty was a major character in the book).

Creepy Junior

We first meet Angie and Junior having sex before the dome comes down. Some lovey dovey words are spoken and Junior snaps on Angie and tells her he dropped out of school, to which Angie responds “Are you insane”? Hmmmmmm. I think this might mean Junior is actually insane!

Later on, Angie bums a smoke off Barbie and makes some creepy quote about the dome being like a fishbowl and fish eating each other—foreshadowing much? Junior sees Angie talking to Barbie as well, and later approaches him to introduce himself. He also called him a dumb ass for some reason—and this is a scene that would have benefited from some dirty vulgarity. These people were not well spoken in the book, they were mean and said nasty things and I want to hear those things on TV so I can love and hate these characters just as much as I did when I was reading the book (they really could take a lesson from Game of Thrones and King Joffrey).

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This dull looking knife is not doing anything for me.

I’m hoping Junior stands out a bit more in future episodes as the guy we love to hate, but as it stands right now it came across as lame on the show (see above knife photo—like what the hell?)

After this happens, Junior attacks Angie and she bangs her head, so he decides to lock her up in his father’s bomb shelter. Ahhhh, the bomb shelter! So cool, for reasons I will not go into here (just really cool to see something from the book come alive on the screen)! Junior is revealed to be Big Jim Rennie’s son, and of course, Junior wants to help… I hope the rest of you can see where this is going!

The Out-of-Towners

For those that read the books, we obviously know that the portrayal of the out-of-towners is not accurate, but I like the change and it keeps it fresh. We’re introduced to Alice and Carolyn and their daughter Norrie who are making their way through town, but end up getting stuck because….. you know…… that dome thingie….. and this:

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“Dome Smash Truck!”

The next thing we know, Norrie is having a seizure shouting out “Pink Stars Are Falling”. Add it to our expanding list of mysteries Scooby Doo! To complement this event, Joe is also seen meeting up with a friend, Ben Drake, and they do some investigating. Joe is clearly a smart kid, he thinks there is an “Off” switch, that the Dome has to be powered by something and he intends to find it. But then, Japanese cartoon seizure mode occurs and once again “Pink Stars are Falling in Lines”. WTF! For those that didn’t pick up on this as well, notice that only the teenagers are the ones having seizures (Norrie, Joe).

Two Interesting Twists

Finally, we go back to Julia Shumway and Barbie and it is discovered that the body Barbie was burying at the beginning was in fact Julia’s husband, which he of course did not admit to. I’m very curious to see the results of this situation play out as this is a new twist different from the book!!!

We also got to meet used car salesman Big Jim Rennie. After the Dome went down, he sent out an emergency broadcast at the Radio Station (not too much to say about Phil Bushey and Dodee at the radio station since they didn’t add much to the pilot and I just had a completely different image of Phil Bushey from the book). Big Jim also had a long talk with Duke Perkins about propane shipments. Obviously something is up with this! Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris is beyond perfect for the role of Big Jim and you will all see why as the show progresses. Julia Shumway also made this discovery about the propane at the beginning of the episode—so this is a mystery that needs solving, add it to the list!

In a really cool scene, Big Jim suggests to Lapidus… I mean, Duke that he needs more policemen, etc (and don’t forget about Junior asking how he could help out), but this idea is completely rejected by Duke upon which Big Jim goes into “I’m a dick” mode and threatens Duke. Which leads me to the last and best scene of the episode:

Duke dying

“Probably shouldn’t have had that spicy Mexican food for dinner”

So glad he died. This had to happen, there was no way around it. And sorry Linda, but the guy just had his pacemaker explode out of his chest, I’m pretty sure there is no one that can help the man (I LOL’ed at her reaction trying to save him). So Duke’s dead, but the big question we all need to ask is: Did the Dome have some kind of effect on Duke’s pacemaker, and if so, what exactly?

I thoroughly enjoyed the Pilot episode and the show should only get better going forward now that they have introduced most of the main characters (Dome included). Just to keep everyone thinking, here are my list of mysteries that will need solving as the show moves on:

(1)   Why does the Dome give off a static shock, but only the first time you touch it?

(2)   What do the seizures mean and is there any meaning to “Pink Stars are Falling in Lines”?

(3)   What is up with the propane? Why did they need so much of it?

(4)   Did Barbie murder Julia’s husband? If not, why is he burying the body?

(5)   Why did Duke’s pacemaker explode?

(6)   What is up with Junior? And how is Angie going to survive?

I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode and I’m almost positive the show will only get better with each episode (If I had to rate it, I’d give it an 8/10). Let me know what you think…. Fan theories, reviews, thoughts, comments…… discussion is most definitely encouraged! Cheers fellow Dorphans! 🙂

Episode 2 Review will be out next Tuesday!

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4 responses

  1. Are we allowed to leave spoilers? If it goes by the book a bit then I know the answers to 1, 3, 5, and part of 6. Using the book and SK’s other books I can guess at 2 & 4.

    1. No spoilers please! 🙂 I read the book as well but a lot of people haven’t! And plus I have no clue whether the show is sticking to the same ideas regarding these mysteries as the book.

  2. Good review … but please use the proper words … you repeatedly wrote “than” when it should have been “then”!

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