In ‘Blue on Blue,’ Under the Dome took one step forward, two steps back, despite trying to deliver the drama. But, where to begin? Last week’s episode ended with Big Jim standing in the bomb shelter doorway, staring down a chained up and soaking wet Angie (Britt Robertson), and this week we discovered that he left her in there. Only when Big Jim found out that a bomb might fall on their heads did he relent and agree to let her go. So, Big Jim might be more crazy than his son, crazy eyes Junior (Alexander Koch). This begs the question, if the dome didn’t exist, and Big Jim just happened to find out that his adult son had kidnapped a girl and chained her up in the basement, would he just do nothing and pretend he never saw her? That’s kind of what it looks like. On the other hand, Big Jim’s scenes with Angie and Junior gave me the impression that he wanted to protect his son, but didn’t really want to be guilty of kidnapping either, and I was pretty sure he’d set Angie free.

However, the fact that the question lingers is what makes the show frustrating – the characters of Chester’s Mill have all the traits of complicated characters without actually being interesting. Instead, most of the ambiguous characters (i.e. Big Jim) are just plain confusing. Big Jim and his wishy-washy loyalties and need for power are just the tip of the iceberg. Angie, too, is a seriously flawed character – she barely makes it out of the bomb shelter prison, and, instead of being scared for her life when Junior shows up at her house (with a gun!), she cuddles with him. Now, I don’t care how noble Junior’s intentions might have been, he still kidnapped her, and he is still creepy as hell. This kind of irrational emotional connection doesn’t make Angie or Junior more real or complex as characters, it just makes them idiots. And, believe it or not, I don’t want to watch a show about a town populated by idiots.

Thank goodness for Joe (Colin Ford), Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz), Barbie (Mike Vogel), and Linda (Natalie Martinez) – the only sane people around with semi-consistent character arcs. Barbie is fascinating to me, and I’m still hoping he’ll join forces with Joe to investigate the dome as time goes on. The show could use some fun, detective adventures, and Joe is the perfect guy to do it. Speaking of Joe, he finally realized that his sister was, in fact, missing, and not just a flake. About time, Joe! I hope we get to see the siblings reunite soon. Of course, now that she’s all buddy-buddy with Junior, who knows how long she’ll actually be free and above ground.

Despite the problems with the characters, I liked the episode because Under the Dome is finally getting into the family/romantic drama, and not just depending on a series of crises to keep the story moving. (Who else was giddy when Joe and Norrie finally kissed?!)

On a different note, I was extremely disturbed by the fact that Linda apparently made a bunch of dumb teenage boys her deputies (because nothing screams safety like a bunch of bros in uniform?) And, did Joe’s parents actually show up to see him? We never saw them… I’m starting to think Joe made them up.

And, who else thinks Under the Dome would be exponentially better if the show were all about Dodee (Jolene Purdy)? I mean, she’s a genius mechanic, knows sign language, and is just a whole bunch of sassy awesomeness. Hopefully she’ll get more screen time as the season continues.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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