Under the Dome Finale Review: "Curtains" (Episode 1.13)
In case you’re curious, here’s a quick recap of CBS’ Under the Dome: One day, a sleepy Maine town called Chester’s Mill is encapsulated—half-snowglobe style—in a clear, semi-solid Dome. Over 13 episodes, the town has had its scuffles; people died; the youngsters have fostered a li’l Dome; there was an epic #DOMEKISS; the two leads, Julia and Barbie, cultivated a seriously effed foundation for a relationship. But most importantly, Chester’s Mill is still Under the Dome, and with second season on the way, spoiler alert: we’re going to be there for a while. This isn’t an exercise in patience, people—it’s Monday-night TV. Hell, at this rate, maybe Big Jim—who we’ve long ago realized to be a total piece of crap—will run out of people to kill if we make it to season three, unless they start letting people filter into the Dome.
But most importantly, this thing is over (for now) and we won’t have to keep up with the rocky road that has been Under the Dome for a while. And so, here we are. “Curtains.” The season finale. We made it. For a show that was promising to start —Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and Brian K. Vaughan (who is writing basically the best comic available right now, Saga) were only a few of the names on-board—it’s been a rough ride. Some episodes dragged us through the season, and others shed light on the show we’d hope for from this summer-event-turned-multi-season-series. I can’t say this has been hate-watching, because there have been moments (even episodes) I’ve genuinely liked, but that’s not true for the majority of this long, long season.
So it’s no surprise that, even as a season finale of what might have been a one-time summer event, one that ends on a massive cliffhanger, “Curtains” still underwhelms. The events are captivating enough: Chester’s Mill is faced with pitch-black surroundings after both Domes are mysteriously blackened. The young’uns finally unveil the mini-Dome’s Monarch butterfly, which they’ve have determined will reveal the town’s new leader (Julia) after Big Jim’s credibility starts looking as dead as Dodee or Rev. Coggins. Big Jim erects gallows to make an example out of
Barbie anyone who opposes him—a device that will set the final cliffhanger ending with the series’ semi-hero. We finally see those real “pink stars” and a representative of the Dome has a spoken message for the gang—and it comes in the form of Norrie’s dead mom, who clarifies that these people aren’t trapped—they’re being protected, and judged.
But with the season straining along as far as it has, this ending that’s built to something that should feel exciting and leave us yearning for more. These are all the things we’ve been waiting to build to since episode three or four. And with the struggle I’ve had relating to characters and getting into performances, it was easy to drop the finale right here and just stop with Under the Dome—or wish this would be the end for real. So as the pink streaks lined the sky, as we waited to see if Barbie would be dropped through the platform and killed, as we anticipated a Chester’s-Mill-as-led-by-Julia-Schumway, as we guessed whether a faith-led town will fall for Big Jim’s tricks, it was just hard to care about the fate of an entire town we’ve been conditioned to not care at all about. As I’ve said since early on in the show, it’s difficult to find yourself involved in a story that hinges on the fate of a group of people if you can’t relate or feel sympathy toward most of them.
So that’s it for me. No more Dome, even to see what happens in Season Two. Can’t even do it. It’s been a sorta fun ride, but like any relationship that you just give up on, there are way more groan-worthy moments than happy, interesting ones. And while I was saving these well-crafted Dome puns for the second season—they’ve been pretty much my favorite part of these reviews—I’ll pass them on to you. Enjoy.
Tyler’s Unused “Dome” Puns
A House is Not a Dome
A Real Dome-Run*
Dome Away from Dome
Dome is Where the Heart is
I Have a Dome to Pick With You
Kentucky Maine Dome
Sweet Dome Alabama
The Dome Ranger
There’s No Place Like Dome
When in Dome
*-I was saving this for a real standout episode but was unable to use it in the course of the season for obvious reasons