‘Let The Games Begin’
What to say about Let the Games Begin that’s constructive… Sadly it was so uninspiring that there’s very little to say about the tenth episode of Under the Dome that presents it in anything but a negative light. After an achingly slow start, the series was finally starting to get good and then this week’s episode happened, taking us right back to square one. The inane chatter, the awkward performances, the false reactions to situations, everything that made the first half of the series so absurd returned, and it returned with a vengeance.
With a title like Let the Games Begin you’d be forgiven for thinking something exciting might happen in this episode. With Linda and Julia snooping around like a gone-wrong Thelma and Louise (more like Romy and Michele!), they stumbled across a letter written by Duke before he died, explaining that his involvement in manufacturing the Rapture drug was actually trying to keep the drugs out of Chester’s Mill because his son had died as a result of addiction. This was a useless bit of information as we never got to know Duke well enough to care about his character, let alone his involvement in the Rapture scandal. The letter also identified Big Jim as the main cog in the drug making machine, sending the new gal-pals on a mission to bring Big Jim to justice. I imagine this will lead to yet another missed opportunity in the approaching episodes.
The arrival of Max last week indicated trouble in Chester’s Mill but instead of fireworks going off between her, Barbie and Big Jim, all that materialised was a weird underground fight-club plot that was more ridiculous than all the stupid things that have occurred under the dome combined. In an attempt to give the series a gritty feel, the writers succeeded only in creating yet another empty narrative that added nothing to the overall story. The chemistry between Barbie and Max was dancing under the surface but it’s yet to develop into anything more than tense looks.
With Max on the cusp of telling Julia that Barbie killed Peter, Barbie decided it was time to come clean. Only Julia already knew. Of course she did! She’s a journalist! Or perhaps she knew because she found a life insurance policy which revealed that Peter wanted Barbie to kill him in order for Julia to get the big insurance pay-out. Barbie and Julia chatted about Peter and his strange reasoning and Julia decided that she and Barbie still have a shot at happy ever after. That’s right, shack up with the guy who killed your husband…all perfectly normal behaviour under the dome as always.
Refusing to bow down to Max, Big Jim popped across the lake in his boat – as you do – and paid a visit to Max’s house, where he found her mum, Agatha, posing as her housekeeper. After a load of humdrum gun pointing, Big Jim kidnapped Agatha and successfully managed to make her fall off his boat into the lake, where he left her treading water with her hands tied. If this is the end of Agatha, Max is sure to be mighty peeved come next week.
Meanwhile, the teenagers were still running about town, chatting about pink star-filled eggs and the like. Angie confirmed that Junior was the fourth hand when she remembered that he had a seizure when they were younger and, after a bit of protesting, Junior joined Angie, Norrie and Joe in the barn with the mini-dome. Upon touching the mini-dome in unison, it came to life and projected pretty pink stars all around them. It was a chance for the visual effects team to work their magic and it looked great but the characters had such lacklustre reactions. “It’s beautiful” Angie exclaimed. Uh yeah, ok Ange. There’s nothing scary or weird about pink stars floating around a barn like constellations. Why just the other day I had a galaxy of pink stars floating around my garden shed. Junior had a slightly more realistic reaction by asking what it all means; his stupefied face is the best.
With just three episodes left of season 1, there’s not a whole load of hope for the finale. This keeping-us-hanging-with-no-answers malarkey has Lost written all over it. At least Lost was exciting in its nonsense. At this rate it’s going to take more than a miracle to rescue the storyline.