‘Under the Dome’s’ Big Twist Isn’t All That Revealing (SPOILERS)

Under the Dome Season 3 Review

“All Will Be Revealed” the on-air tease promised at the end of last week’s two-hour “Under the Dome” premiere, offering an incentive to brave another visit to the hermetically sealed-off town of Chester’s Mill. And while certain facts did come spilling out in rather ungainly fashion, either that ad was misleading (hardly a shock in the world of network promotion) or the words “all” and “revealed” must mean something different in TV circles.

It’s worth remembering only a few weeks have passed, in actual time, during the two-plus summers the show has been airing on CBS, seeking to wrangle Stephen King’s book into a manageable series. As with many past King productions, the mystery-shrouded premise reeled in viewers initially, only to watch those big numbers erode as the program became increasingly frustrating in its absurdity.

Until now, the producers have done a pretty fair impersonation of Lucy with the football, pulling it away from poor Charlie Brown every time he tried to kick it. So Thursday’s episode (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched) did notably advance the story, but also left as many perplexing questions as it answered, perhaps especially for those trying to watch without the benefit of having absorbed King’s 2009 novel.

After a strange flight of fancy to kick off the season, characters emerged from strange cocoons, in which they experienced extraordinarily real-feeling visions. The big reveal, such as it was, is that confinement represents part of some alien plot to control these hapless humans, being presided over by the newly arrived Christine (Marg Helgenberger), who has told the townsfolk that she’s a therapist seeking to help them, but who in fact is an anthropologist doing the aliens’ nefarious bidding.

“We’ve hatched and we’re under a dome?” asks Christine’s sidekick, Eva (Kylie Bunbury). “None of this makes sense.” See? Everyone really is a TV critic these days.

Obviously, the producers can’t dump everything into the open in one burst, and network marketing gurus have a knack for, shall we say, turning the snippets afforded them into lemonade; still, these revelations were hardly satisfying – providing no details about, say, why a malevolent alien force would place a dome over the town (particularly this town), given the resources presumably at their disposal. What once had the potential to be a cool “The Twilight Zone”-like scenario — testing how puny earthlings behave under pressure, a la “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” — drifted away on a pile of red herrings and the gossamer wings of all those glowing butterflies.

Although the ratings have dropped, “Dome” started at such lofty heights that it’s still a relatively robust performer by summer standards, especially in light of CBS’ Amazon deal and international sales. Even so, the steady audience decline no doubt indicates a sizable percentage of viewers became fed up with the show, something that seems unlikely to be remedied by its latest twists.

Thanks to the aforementioned factors, “Under the Dome’s” creative shortcomings alone might not undermine its commercial viability, but the third season nevertheless offered another chance to smooth over some of the program’s rough edges. Yet while the inhabits of Chester’s Mill remain in peril, after the opening chapters of season three, without the promise of finality and closure that would come from an announced end date, it’s going to be hard, frankly, to give a dome.

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  1. Catherine LaGrange says:

    I too watched season 1 and enjoyed. Season 2 tolerable but I recorded season 3 up to now because of life conflicts. Sat down to watch on Sunday for a marathon session to get caught up. Watched 2 episodes and then deleted the rest. Most people I have talked to agree the series is now a waste of time. Too bad.

  2. lakawak says:

    I know what happens. Homer finally gets fed up and rides up the dome with a motorcycle with Bart along for the ride carrying a bomb to throw on top of the dome to smash it. After the bomb almost falls back down, it blows up, causing the dome to crack, killing Hans Moleman but freeing the town of Sprinfi…er..Chester Mill

  3. Floyd Lewis says:

    CBS pulling the old “all revealed” trick again…how many times can people fall for this?..should ended here.

  4. apres says:

    Face it folks, if you really want to know what’s Under the Dome, we’ll have to read King’s book.

    Otherwise, get dome alcohol, light up a joint and just laugh through the rest of the summer.

    Or turn off the TV, go outside and for once this have a face-to-face conversation with people known as your family that you can write in your journal about. Discover your own ” under the dome” in real life.

  5. JS says:

    I watched the first two seasons and enjoyed the show for the most part. My DVR automatically recorded the season 3 opener for me, so I gladly sat down to watch it but soon regretted wasting the time.

    Needless to say, I turned off the series DVR recording for UTD. There are better things to occupy my time this summer than watch such a fiasco.

  6. Gary Littlejohn says:

    I would live Under The Dome if Brian Lowry were the resident TV critic!

  7. Dunstan says:

    I didn’t have to watch a single episode of this piece of turd to know it would be laughable and beyond ludicrous. The commercials told me all that. I really learned my lesson after watching the first three episodes of “Lost” and even more pathetic attempt at ripping off an audience. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • Guest says:

      At least the potential was there for lost to be great if they would have had the whole story planned out from the beginning. Here they had and yet managed to make it an astoundingly unbelievable mess. Concept stories like these need a solid plan from the beginning. Winging it doesn’t seem to work out too well.

  8. Another Poster says:

    After Under the Dome was renewed in the middle of the first summer season, (due to really great ratings), it became very clear they did not have any long term plans and were making it up as they went along. People changed from week to week. People die and come back somewhat often. They will try out almost any idea on the show, no matter how inconsistent it is with the program. There are more new people every week in Chester’s Mill, (supposed to be an isolated small town in the middle of nowhere), than there are in many large cities. As long at it gets a decent amount of viewers, the show is going to stay on the air, no matter how absurd it gets. Under the Dome would have been a good one season summer show. Into it’s third season, it’s a program you can read the reviews the next day, go away for a few weeks, come back, and nothing of importance has really happened. It really is like a truly bad movie on the SYFY channel. I would not be surprised to see a “sharknado” in Chester’s Mill.

  9. Jimmy Green says:

    Too many plot lines, too many characters, too many loose ends, too many episodes, too many absurd temporary resolutions, too many commercials, too many twists, too damn drawn out. Hopefully it will be put out of its misery and end NOW. It would have been spectacular if it had been only five episodes long.

  10. Cath says:

    I liked it better when the only really “evil” character was Big Jim (although I love it when Big Jim is semi-nice too; almost felt sorry for him in yesterday’s episode) and the mystery was still a mystery. All Marge Helgenberger needs is a moustache to twirl…telegraphing “I am an evil alien enabler” with every look.

  11. Ronda Bandy says:

    Don’t blame Stephen King, the only similarities to the book are the character’s names at this point. The book is way darker and frankly a much better story.

  12. Bill B. says:

    I already don’t give a dome. I stopped after the first season and from what I am reading, I got lucky. Barbie left the dome and came back?! It had an interesting premise, but it became clear quickly it was similar to a soap opera with stereotypes & cliches running a muck with only one question of importance. Why are are they trapped under a dome and I can’t wait years to find out the one & only thing that is of interest in the damn show. This might have made a good 8 episode mini-series or something, but this is just dragging out one gimmick for far too long.

  13. Muz says:

    the first season was watchable but confusing, the second series was almost watchable and I threatened to stop watching…. I gave the 3rd season a look…. it was garbage and I only watched half an hour and gave up. That’s it for me…. no more….. pure rubbish….. not watching any more of it.

  14. jaca says:

    Love this show

    • bstnh1 says:

      Me too! Those who complain about too many plot lines or that it’s “too confusing” would be better off watching Sesame Street or a Charlie Brown rerun.

  15. BillUSA says:

    The show lost me when Barbie was able to leave the dome and return. For me, it’s much more plausible a premise if things are absolute. I despise that about sci-fi writers – their penchant for squeezing in all sorts of ways to get out of jams that – when added up – makes you wonder how any characters like they create can manage to get through the simplest of problems.

  16. Michaela says:

    This show is so messed up now! I’m honestly contimplating not watching it anymore, just can’t handle it. What is going on???! Like them all staring at the mood I’m sorry but too weird for me!

  17. Guest says:

    This is still on the air???

    • Some how.I would be shocked if it isn’t cancelled at the end of the season. To be honest, right now the only thing I’m interested in is which female Dale picks because Julia has been getting on my nerves for the longest time and I’d love to see him and Ava stick it out. Especially if it turns out that somehow, Ava is actually pregnant with their child. Everything else has been uneventful. Emo girl turns typical tv land sorority jerk, pushes the guy she should be dating away to get with the guy who isn’t even a main character who will likely be killed off. Junior and his daddy issues. Big Jim stalkering around to get a leg-up as usual. Pretty much the same stuff from the end of the first season but with a different bow.

      • Giana says:

        Chris, you seem to be the one taking the romance so seriously that you attack a fellow poster over how much Julia deserves Barbie like he’s some prize for being with the longest.

      • chris says:

        What the hell do you even know about how tv shows run. You seem like that type of viewer that always wants a damn romantic drama in ever damn show. I’ve seen many shows go that path and eventually led to their end. Why the hell do you want to see Ava come through and steal Dale from Julia? Ava hasn’t even been around for Dale like Julia has (1 episode vs entire show).

  18. Rick says:

    Mr Lowry, make no mistake…except for the broad outline and some basic character similarities, this awful show has NOTHING to do with King’s novel…

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