Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Under the Dome Review: "Let the Games Begin" - Under the Thunderdome

The fourth hand waits for one man on "Under the Dome"

So “Let the Games Begin” was not a terrible episode of television, it was just so unfulfilling.  It took me about ten minutes to come up with that adjective as I cycled through boring, uneventful, and others.  The thing is, it wasn’t boring or uneventful.  There was a lot of action and a few interesting plots.  But this show is so free of consequences right now and abandons its storylines so quickly that it’s hard to really get invested in anything.

I think the reason I’ve taken to the teenagers in Under the Dome is because theirs is the one story that is consistently interesting and that the show feels is worth returning to week in and week out.  This week, the group discovers that Junior is the fourth hand and they open the mini-dome, causing the egg to release pink stars into the barn.  There’s some other stuff involving Dodee getting zapped after touching the mini-dome, but it really has no purpose other than to make us fear for Junior as he prepares to touch the dome later.  I’m a little worried moving forward as this plot has shades of all of the Lost rip-offs in the past (in terms of answering every question with a new question), but as long as the characters are invested and the show follows through, it’ll keep me interested.

As for the unfulfilling parts of the episode, I have a hard time caring about the fight club or about Max’s crazy mother because neither is likely to ever turn up again, much like the supply shortage, the water shortage, the meningitis, the insulin shortage, and the half dozen other plots that have come up as “Crises of the Week” in the past.  The fact that Max got one over on Barbie is mildly interesting, but if she’s so smart then why is she breaking the first rule of bookies: “take the bets, don’t make the bets.”  A smart bookie isn’t betting against her customers and taking their stuff when they lose.  Win too often and people start to think the whole thing is rigged.  A smart bookie lets people bet against each other and charges a cover to gain admittance or takes a piece of the winnings.  It’s not a big deal certainly, but details matter and setting up an incomprehensible gambling ring that’s never been seen before and will likely never be seen again without getting the details right just screams laziness.

The story of Max’s mother isn’t much better.  She apparently lives in an enormous mansion nobody’s ever mentioned on an island nobody’s ever mentioned in the middle of the (poisoned) lake.  So where, exactly, is she getting clean water?  Never mind all that, though, because all she does is crazily point a gun at crazy Big Jim before falling out of a boat and being left to drown.  What purpose does this character serve?  Really?  She shows up for one episode, acts crazy, gives us only the barest of information on Max and then is gone.  Is her apparent death setting up a revenge plot for Max?  If so, who cares?  Max has been here for all of twenty minutes.  Why am I supposed to care about her revenge?  Ugh, this entire show right now is just so…unfulfilling.

A couple of spare thoughts –

Sherriff Linda finally does some good police work, finding Duke’s confession about the drug operation.  Apparently he was working with Max, the Reverend, and Big Jim to manufacture drugs on the condition that they be kept out of Chester’s Mill.  It’s an interesting twist, but wouldn’t that have been nice to know five episodes go?  With Duke and Reverend Coggins dead and the drug operation shut down (or at least nobody talking at all about it and only one person shown actually on the drug) who cares at this point?

So what happened to the chrysalis inside the mini-dome after it opened? 

So thoughts?  Comments?  Just want to tell me my blog sucks?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @TyTalksTV.

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