The monarch was crowned on the first season finale of Under the Dome, “Curtains,” and it’s Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre).

The episode picked off where last week’s left off: with Barbie (Mike Vogel) declaring his innocence to the town square, despite his deal with the devil, a.k.a Big Jim (Dean Norris), and Sheriff Linda (Natalie Martinez) taking possession of the mini dome. Linda refuses to listen to Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) and Joe (Colin Ford) when they tell her that they must keep the mini dome secret, safe and, most importantly, away from Big Jim. Linda wastes no time in radio-calling Big Jim and telling him she has the mini dome.

The monarch butterfly inside the mini dome hatches out of its cocoon, and Norrie and Joe are desperate to figure out a way to get it out before it dies, stuck inside the mini dome. When Linda announces that she is confiscating the mini dome, the butterfly begins to fly erratically, crashing into the mini dome walls, creating black blots around it, until finally, the entire mini dome is covered in solid black. The dome around Chester’s Mill soon follows, and the whole town becomes cloaked in darkness.

Norrie, a quick thinker, tricks Linda into touching the mini dome, causing her to get shocked and knocked out. Norrie, Joe and Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) escape unscathed and Norrie and Joe head out to hide the mini dome. They decide they need to reunite with Angie (Britt Robertson) and Junior (Alexander Koch) before they figure out what to do. Joe sends out a message over the radio for Angie, telling her to meet them where they hid from their parents – the cement factory. Angie and Julia, who is awake and alert after being shot, head over, but not before they go to the police station to try to break Barbie out of prison.

They escape and head to the cement factory, with Barbie still in handcuffs (they couldn’t find the keys). There, the three meet up with Junior, Joe and Norrie. Seeing Barbie, Junior takes out his gun, ready to take Barbie into custody – he’s still loyal to his father, and his father says Barbie is a criminal. Julia assures Junior that Barbie didn’t shoot her, Maxine did. Junior, who was introduced to Maxine through his father, tells Julia that she’s nothing but a liar.

Regardless, Norrie, Joe and Angie need Junior to focus on the mini dome, and they all place their hands on it to try to save the monarch butterfly. The mini dome blackness disintegrates into black powder, falling down, and taking the butterfly with it. The egg that was inside the mini dome sits quietly, undisturbed. Norrie touches the butterfly and it springs to life, moving to hover over Barbie. Joe says that he was right: Barbie is the monarch. The earth begins to shake; they have to get out of the cement factory before it collapses on them. Julia moves to grab the egg, but Angie says it’s too dangerous. Julia doesn’t care and picks it up carefully. The shaking stops and the monarch butterfly goes from Barbie to Julia. Julia is the monarch.

Before any of them can process what it means now that the monarch has been crowned, Junior decides to take Barbie into custody. He pulls out his gun and instructs Julia to hand over the egg – he is going to bring it to the ‘real authorities,’ his father. Julia tosses the egg to Joe, Barbie rushes Junior and Julia, Joe, Angie and Norrie all escape into the forest with the egg.

Meanwhile, Big Jim continues on the path to become Chester’s Mill’s first dictator. Worried townspeople are seeking solace in the church – with the darkness from the dome and the earthquake, they believe that it’s time to make amends before the end of the world. Big Jim takes the opportunity to address the people, and he promises that he, and he alone, will save them. Big Jim believes he was destined to take control of Chester’s Mill once the dome came down. Linda told Big Jim about the line, ‘The pink stars are falling in lines,’ which she saw written on the walls in Joe and Angie’s barn, and Big Jim suddenly remembered the paintings of his dead wife. As he explains to Junior, he believes that his wife had known that they were destined to rule, that she had seen it.

High on his power trip, Big Jim also decides that what the town needs is a public execution. He enlists Phil (Nicholas Strong) to gather some men and build a platform upon which to hang Barbie. Barbie, for his part, seems at peace with his impending death and he walks silently up to the gallows, joining Big Jim and Junior.

Joe and Norrie desperately want to save Barbie, but Julia tells them that if she is the monarch then she must decide what to do. She must protect the egg. The beings behind the dome came to the group as Norrie’s dead mother, Alice (Samantha Mathis) and warned Julia that if she failed to protect the egg, everyone in Chester’s Mill would die. She said that the dome had gone black to help them, and that they must earn the light.

Julia decides to drop the egg in the middle of the lake. The second the egg hits the water, pink light shoots out of it, and the dome is lined by pink stars. The glow amazes the townsfolk at the square, but Big Jim is desperate to kill Barbie tonight. He yells at Junior to pull the lever that would leave Barbie hanging. He says that the pink stars are a sign that Barbie’s execution must take place, and the episode ends with Junior looking up at the pink stars falling in line.

Outside, the dome goes opaque white as light flashes across Chester’s Mill.

Under the Dome will return for a second season next summer on CBS.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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More on Under the Dome:

'Under the Dome' Recap: Big Jim Murders Dodee, Arrests Barbie

'Under the Dome' Recap: Barbie Goes On The Run After Big Jim Frames Him For Murder

'Under the Dome' Recap: Barbie Tells Julia The Truth; Big Jim Kills Again; Junior Is Fourth Hand

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