Last week’s Under the Dome episode was another disappointment in a trio of ones which got progressively more groan-worthy. However, it ended on an intriguing note when Big Jim finally looked into his bunker and found Angie chained by the ankle to a bed. (In case you missed it, read the recap from the last episode here.)
The show redeems itself in Episode 5 and the mystery of the dome becomes the center focus again. In the opening moments, Joe and Norrie see a swarm of monarch butterflies fluttering against the outside of the dome, which Joe points out that it’s bizarre because it’s not the time of year for them to migrate to Chester’s Mill. The teens decide that the dome is trying to send them a message, and Norrie says, “Maybe the Dome is a cocoon and we all are going to be something new.” (Sometimes, Norrie’s lines are the most painful to listen to and may very well be penned by a third-grade class.) Joe and Norrie, along with Barbie, see hordes of civilians on busses arrive right outside of the dome with the military in tow. Norrie compares it to “visitors’ day” at summer camp, but Barbie remains suspicious as to why they are getting visitors now.
Meanwhile, Reverend Lester comes by to visit (and annoy) Big Jim at his home, telling him he’s been hearing the voice of the Lord through his hearing aid repeating the word, “Moab”—which he connects to the conflicted town with the same name in the Bible.
Families get reunited at the dome’s border for visitors’ day, and a long montage of folks finding different ways to communicate with each other ensues—through writing notes on paper to sign language. Norrie gets a surprise visitor at the dome—her biological father whom she’s never met before and thought was an anonymous donor until this moment. He shows her his collections of her baby photos and a photo of him with her lesbian mother, Alice. Norrie is in disbelief and then goes through a bout of teenage angst, confronting her mothers at the dome. Alice and her wife, Carolyn, stand there uncomfortably as they’re caught in a lie, and Alice eyes the man some icy daggers. Julia is visited by her sister-in-law Marie, who lets her read a letter from her husband, Peter, saying, “Tell Julia I’m sorry, she deserves better”—which conveniently further supports Barbie’s lie that Peter ran away from gambling debts (although he is actually dead).
While the civilians aren’t allowed to touch the dome, Sheriff Linda has the upper hand since she runs the town and makes out with her fireman fiancée Rusty through the wall of the dome. In a strange moment, he shows her how they’re on the cover of People magazine, with a front-page headline that reads, “Dome-estic Disturbance.” (No pun shall be wasted in the writers’ room!) She struggles to tell him the news that his brother is dead, and expects him to lip-read the sad news. He responds by writing on a tablet—apparently the only one in the whole dome—and leaves upset.
Barbie is convinced that something is amiss, and gets Dodee—who is able to lip-read—to talk to one of the soldiers across the dome. He flashes his military medal and the soldier instantly recognizes it and tells him it’s an honor to meet on of the “Jackrabbits.” He reveals to Barbie that this visitation day is actually for goodbyes, and they have orders to not return. Barbie realizes “M.O.A.B.” is actually an acronym for “Mother of All Bombs” and that the military plans on nuking the dome, with little expectations that the residents inside of it will survive. Barbie makes plans to evacuate everyone into a bomb shelter for protection, and Julia announces this over the radio. And Phil? He makes a sweet end-of-the-world playlist for the radio before he heads out to the shelter. Priorities, priorities.
In the continuing saga of Angie Bunker, Big Jim has a tough pill to swallow as she reveals to him that his son Junior is the one who’s kept her captive. It takes Big Jim an awful long time deciding whether or not to let her go, later explaining he’s having a hard time processing the fact that his son has gone crazy. Since Big Jim knows about the M.O.A.B. plan, he lets her go, telling her she should spend her last day alive as a freed woman. She has no idea what he’s blabbering about and for some reason takes the time to ask him, “Why are you doing this?” before running away. Junior returns home–now a full-fledged member of the police force in his blue uniform (as mentioned in the last recap, it is easy to become a sheriff in Chester’s Mill)–and is confronted by his father about the kidnapping, and runs away in a fit of anger to find Angie. Back at her house, Angie goes in search of her brother and finds Junior in her bedroom. He explains to her the town’s about to blow and he’d like to spend his last moments with her, and in response, she tenderly holds him to comfort him—which is the last thing anyone in their right mind would do to their kidnapper. Maybe Junior is right that Angie changed since the dome arrived; perhaps she lost her mind or has an affinity to cuddling now.
Since the world is about to end, everyone gets a little romantic in Chester’s Mill. Over a glass of wine, Barbie tells Julia about the gold medal he flashed earlier and that he received it during his deployment in Iraq for mistakenly getting credit for saving a soldier’s life. They get interrupted by Alice and Carolyn who are hysterical because Norrie is missing after her daddy surprise. Joe and Norrie go in search for Angie by screaming her name through the neighborhood streets—something they didn’t seem to be concerned about until recently. Teens, they’re so fickle! Right before the bomb erupts, they decide to kiss. The dome is unaffected by the nuclear blast, and the two wonder why they didn’t go into seizures like they previously had when they touched.
After the dust has settled, Big Jim is accompanied by Reverend Lester by the edge of the dome. The land around the space is decimated, and Lester tells Big Jim that they were saved because he repented and that Big Jim needs to do the same and reveal his sins. Big Jim finally can’t stand any more of his talk and pushes his head against the dome wall. The magnetic reaction of the dome to Reverend Lester’s hearing aid kills him on impact.
Things are starting to get a little more interesting in Chester’s Mill.