Crowning the Monarch in ‘Under the Dome’: Recap of Season 1, Episode 8

under the dome 2

Power struggles grow as more time passes inside the dome. (In case you missed it, read last week’s recap here.) Although the last episode was more dome-centric, this week’s focused more on the individual stories of the residents of Chester’s Mill—from Junior’s family history to Norrie’s acceptance of her mother’s death.

Junior struggles with his father’s recent plans to disown him, and shows up at his home like a sad puppy. Big Jim is still disturbed that his son chained up Angie in his bunker for a week (as he should be), and lectures him on how he killed one of the Dundee brothers in order to protect her. It’s ironic though that Big Jim is giving his son lessons about morality even though his own personal kill count is increasing—adding Reverend Lester and Ollie’s henchman to that list. In a heartbreaking move, Big Jim compares Junior to his late mother and hints at her mental issues that haunted her until her death, and then says, “You’re no son of mine.” Dramatic? Yes. Overused line? Yes.

Back at Rose’s diner, Angie confronts Big Jim and compares Junior to a cat bringing a dead bird as a present. (Last week, Junior stopped by to proudly tell Angie that he killed the Dundee brothers and they would never hurt her again.) How can Big Jim promise Angie that he can keep Junior away from her if he cuts him out of his life despite knowing that he needs mental help? He doesn’t seem to have anything backing his word.

Sheriff Linda and Barbie find Junior rifling through the gun cabinet in the police station. Awkward… She takes his rifle away from him and puts him on probation, telling him if they weren’t so short-staffed, she would’ve already fired him. After Junior shot one of the Dundee brothers point blank despite Sheriff Linda’s explicit instructions to keep them alive, one would think she would have more reservations than just putting him on probation. Worst cop ever.

Ollie threatens Big Jim that he has control over the Chester’s Mill water supply, and Big Jim is personally hurt that he is no longer the head honcho in town. He devises a plan to bring a paltry law enforcement team, including Junior (they must be really short-staffed!), to the farm to threaten them. However, Ollie seems to have quickly gathered a huge team of salty and bearded men equipped with rifles and cowboy hats; they prove to be a little more threatening. Junior is starving for acceptance (and probably some new digs now that he’s been kicked out of his home), and joins Ollie’s team—which is a slap in the face for Big Jim.

Back at Joe’s house, 12 hours have passed since Alice’s death and Norrie is mourning—even going through all the stages of grief in one episode. Norrie first blames Joe for Alice’s death—that he was the one who insisted they go to the center of the dome and touch the mini-dome together. Whenever they get together, she says, bad things happen, and they should stay away from each other.

Julia catches a depressed Joe in the diner drawing a picture of the mini-dome with the onyx egg in the center. It’s unclear why he would even recreate what he saw since the imagery is so simple that a two-year-old could draw it. However, a common element in this show to use characters merely as vehicles for driving plotlines forward, and Joe lets Julia in on the secret about the mini-dome. He takes her to the forest and they bond over talks about Norrie. Julia tells Joe, “Women say a lot of things they don’t mean,” which seems like something that could make an indelible mark on Joe’s life. Hopefully, he doesn’t grow up to become a douchebag towards women. Julia touches the mini-dome and sees another Joe standing in the forest saying, “The monarch will be crowned.” There were groups of monarch butterflies circling around the dome in an earlier episode, but the connection between a monarch king and a monarch butterfly might just be a form of the exaggerated symbolism the show uses. Since Alice’s death was foreshadowed by the appearance of her doppelganger at the mini-dome, Joe fears his twin image might mean his end is coming near as well.

Norrie continues her journey through the different stages of grief and is at anger by this point. Apparently, it was Alice’s idea to drive them from Los Angeles to a reprogramming camp for kids with attitudes. “It’s the bitch’s own fault that she’s dead,” she tells Angie. Harsh! Angie helps Norrie release her stress with a cathartic activity consisting of smashing her large collection of snow globes onto the wall of the dome. (We get it—dome-on-dome irony.) Finally, Norrie breaks down and blames herself for her mother’s death—even though it was clearly an insulin issue—and Angie comforts her.

Junior finds out from Ollie that his mother died from a suicide, not from a car accident like his father told him. Infuriated with Big Jim’s lie, Junior tells Ollie, “Promise me you don’t kill him because I want to do it.” Big Jim is still insistent on rounding up the townsfolk to take over Ollie’s farm, even though Barbie tells him it’s not worth risking everyone’s lives for this task. Julia’s DJ partner, Phil, gets shot in the chest, five townspeople die (although none are main characters), and Junior knocks Big Jim out with a hit to the head with the butt of his rifle. On the verge of shooting his father, Junior confronts Big Jim about the real reason for his mother’s death. Believably pained, Big Jim tells him he lied because his mother was mentally ill and he didn’t want Junior to think that she chose to leave the both of them. Junior believes him, save his life, and shoots Ollie instead with the rifle. On a rogue mission, Barbie blows up Ollie’s artisan well with dynamite to help the town regain a reservoir.

The town is once again in Big Jim’s hands, and Barbie is now aware that the councilman only cares about power. The end of the episode hints at the potential new monarch that was prophesied, with some focused shots on Joe and Norrie—who have made up their differences by this point—and also on Angie, who does have a monarch butterfly tattoo on her lower back.


4 thoughts on “Crowning the Monarch in ‘Under the Dome’: Recap of Season 1, Episode 8

  1. WOW!!! it has gone so far away from the book!! None of it is same anymore. I wonder why King lets it drift so far away. So so sad. I really love the book and expecting it to be at least equally good 😦

    Great write up Jean 🙂

  2. Pingback: Weekend Roundup: Three Entertainment Stories You Need to Know | Culture Composition

  3. Pingback: Weekend Roundup: Three Entertainment Stories You Need to Know | Q L C

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s