CBS’s second episode of Under the Dome delved deeper into the mystery behind the dome, but didn’t provide much in terms of characterization.

"The Fire" begins with a flashback to the death of Julia’s (Rachelle Lefevre) husband, Peter (R. Keith Harris). Apparently he owed Barbie’s boss money, and in the scuffle, Barbie (Mike Vogel) accidentally killed him and lost his dog tags. Meanwhile, Sheriff Duke’s (Jeff Fahey) death leads to the discovery that the dome affects battery-operated objects, and Julia tunes in to radio stations outside the dome for incoming news. Joe (Colin Ford), who suffered a seizure in the pilot, determines the dome also serves as a sieve and that the military is not responsible.

Down in the fall-out shelter, Junior (Alexander Koch) chains Angie (Britt Robertson) to the bed after she tries to escape. He thinks the dome screwed with her mind and vows she’ll love him again. Angie irritates Junior by bringing up her fake affair with Barbie. Later, Junior follows Barbie to the cabin where he shot Peter and attacks him in a fit of jealousy.

Big Jim (Dean Norris) and Reverend Lester (Ned Bellamy) seem to be in on the dome’s secrecy. After Linda (Natalie Martinez) is bequeathed Duke’s house, Jim orders Lester to break in and destroy any propane documentation. Lester succeeds in burning papers for Jackson’s Propane, but not before setting the whole house on fire and trapping himself inside.


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Spotting the smoke, Barbie rallies the town to help since the fire trucks are outside the dome. The buckets of water hardly do anything to quell the flames, and Linda rushes in to save Lester. Jim flees, only to return with a bulldozer to tear down the house.

Amidst the ensuing celebration over stopping the fire, Linda’s fellow officer, Paul (Kevin Sizemore), rants about the town’s safety and shoots at the dome. The bullet ricochets and kills another officer while everyone stands in stunned silence.

I hope Under the Dome doesn’t become one of those cliché sci-fi dramas full of wooden acting (see: Linda mourning, being tough) and cryptic dialogue (someone says, “We’re all gonna die in here” during a cliffhanger moment). It was a bit too typical having Barbie, the certified stranger and do-gooder, gathering everyone to action and actually having them listen. The fire was a great plot point to establish further tension, however, and I’m looking forward to seeing how another death affects the town. Also, Junior needs a worthy come-uppance for what he’s done to Angie.

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