There have been so many shows since the finale of Lost that have tried to recapture that same feel, and none have come close for me until watching the pilot episode of Under the Dome on Monday night.
Based on the novel by master of horror Stephen King, Under the Dome is about a small town that is suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world for no apparent reason. I have had this large novel sitting on my shelf for ages and haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet, so all my reactions of watching this show will be based on the TV show alone. And, of course, that means this is a big ol’ SPOILER WARNING since I will be discussing the first episode!
The show opens up on a unassuming tranquil scene with birds before cutting to a guy digging a hole to bury a dead body. This rugged man (who is totally slated to be the “hot bad boy” of the show) I originally thought was the brother in Bates Motel but is actually Deputy Shelby from Bates Motel! Cut to another relatively unassuming scene of a sheriff’s office and who’s the sheriff? Frank Lapidus from Lost. Awesome. Another scene where a college-aged guy & girl are having some fun until he declares his love for her and she doesn’t reciprocate. He has a moment of anger that snaps in, and then is gone. Yeah, this guy’s going to be dangerously scary. The deep-seated anger that’s hovering just below the surface. He reminds me of a non-vampire Edward Cullen. He’s got the hair, the pouty lips and the uber broody possessive weird quality.
For the first 10 minutes, it’s setting the scene on the quiet Maine town of Chester’s Mill. Cue the crazy unexplained phenomenon, as an invisible force field slams down all around them. Cars and planes, not seeing the barrier, go slamming into it. A cow is sliced IN HALF because it was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. A woman’s hand is sliced off because she had her arm extended right where the dome slammed down. Chaos everywhere. And I am hooked.
Throughout the episode, more is revealed about the people that are trapped in the dome. They’re completely sealed off and can see others on the other side but can’t hear them. So far, 2 teenagers have had mouth-frothing seizures while being in close proximity to the force field of the dome. A journalist, who was talking to townspeople about weird trucks of propane that have been shipping into the area is now trying to get the dome story from someone on what is going on. Human-Edward-Cullen (HEC – or “Junior”) is established to be the son of “Big Jim”, the councilman in the area and has serious issues. He lurks in the car watching the girl who turned him down chat with Hottie-Bad-Boy (HBB – aka “Barbie”), HBB trails HEC and tries to threaten him not realizing that HBB had just killed a man. HEC, as a broody, knife-flipping, pouty possessive psycho kidnaps the girl, knocks her out and holds her captive in the underground bunker that his dad has. Forget all the other weird scary stuff going on – the mental state of this guy is enough to creep anyone out.
The journalist offers her home that she has with her husband to HBB to stay so he wouldn’t have to sleep outside since it doesn’t look like HBB is from that area. It’s in the home that he sees the couple’s picture on the mantle and realizes that the man he was burying is her husband – who she thinks is missing because he’s been cheating on her, based on a conversation with an orderly at the hospital where the husband works. The first episode ends with the Sheriff reaching out to touch the weirdly charged force field and clutching his heart as his pacemaker explodes out from his chest. (For a moment I thought he had been shot!)
Like Lost, there are so many characters with all their own stories and secrets that I’m sure will all be slowly revealed as the episodes come out. It feels like Under the Dome will be a similarly paced show in that it’s a character-driven series, but these characters are placed in a strange situation and circumstance. A little like Lord of the Flies… survival of the fittest… and I’m in it for the long haul with this one.