Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 4 of CBS' "Under the Dome," titled "Outbreak."
It's been four weeks since we met the residents of Chester's Mill and things are pretty much how you'd expect they'd be when an entire town is stuck in a snow globe-like enclosure controlled by Stephen King. The residents are still trapped under a mysterious dome, half the town is quarantined due to illness and apparently, it's all God's plan ... at least according to the nut-job town reverend.
When we first meet the Chester's Mill prisoners again, they're throwing food-like objects at the dome, yelling and rioting because the military is packing up their stuff and going home. Unfortunately, smashing their very limited resources against the barrier does nothing, and the military men head for greener pastures.
Which means they aren't around when most of the Mill residents become severely sick, and the hospital finds itself overcrowded and without resources. It seems like all the doctors are missing in action, and the nearest hospital is outside of the town limits. Luckily, one of Norrie's mothers is a psychiatrist who briefly studied medicine at school -- which means she's now in charge of saving an entire town. But never fear, she has really smart-looking hipster glasses, so she has to know what she's doing. She quickly diagnoses everyone with meningitis but -- surprise! -- there aren't enough antibiotics to go around.
To summarize: the town has been struck with a deadly disease and an ensuing supply shortage, and a shotgun-wielding Junior is on guard duty. Things couldn't get any worse.
Because this episode has a lot of action, I'm going to separate this recap into plot points for easier consumption.
Julia and Barbie
At the start of the episode, Julia resumes her questions for Barbie, having grown more and more suspicious since she found that Chester's Mill map with an X marked on it. Her murderous roommate continues to plead ignorance. All the while, Julia is suffering from a mysterious headache, which we'll soon find out is part of the town's outbreak of meningitis. But before she finds herself at the hospital, she comes across her husband's BMW in front of Phil the radio host's house. Phil faints as she accosts him, and she rushes him to the hospital.
Julia may be faced with a very deadly illness, but she isn't giving up on finding her husband. After bugging a delirious Phil, she gets him to reveal something about "a cabin," and finally, after pleading with Junior to escape the hospital, learns its location. Since she can't escape past Junior and his huge gun, she sneaks into her missing husband's former office, steals his key card, and finds a back exit.
When she makes it to the cabin, she comes across papers that detail her and Peter's grave financial situation. She doesn't really get time to process this because she quickly faints from the meningitis. There was a moment when I expected Julia to die where her husband died, but Barbie shows up and carries to her safety. Maybe their love story is back on the table?
A groggy Julia wakes up, alive but not too happy. Barbie admits that he was the enforcer for a bookie, and hunted down people who didn't pay their gambling debts. Barbie plays Julia a voicemail where Peter promises to give him "the money." Barbie is in a pretty giving mood, but he doesn't admit to Julia that he killed Peter over this debt -- just that Peter probably left town and that's all he knows. Julia seems to believe him, but still kicks him out of her house. On the bright side, at least the dome has staved off her impending foreclosure.
Junior and Angie
This week, Junior brings Angie some clothes, including the dress she wore to a middle school dance with him. For some reason, this doesn't win her affection. Instead, she tries to stab him with her stolen scissors and ends up upsetting him even more. When Junior leaves to get his cut taken care of, Angie starts to bash the water pipe over her bed, ends up springing a leak and flooding the bomb shelter. She is knocked out by the rush of water.
Meanwhile, Junior is at the hospital trying to make his father proud. In the biggest shocker yet, Junior proves that when he's not being a psychotic, jealous, kidnapping weirdo, he's actually a pretty standup guy. When the patients start to riot he calms them down with a heartfelt speech about how they're all in this together. This only comes after he's fired a few warning shots into the ceiling, but it's the thought that counts. He even drops his gun and convinces the townspeople to stay in the hospital on their own.
Deputy Linda, who is also fighting meningitis at the hospital, sees what Junior did and raves about his heroic actions to Big Jim, who says he knew he was a "chip off the old block" all along. In what is probably the worst decision so far in the show, Linda decides to give Junior a police badge and welcomes him onto the team. According to very recently delirious Linda, all you need to protect the city is a good heart.
While Junior is getting more power than any 19-year-old should have, Angie is still screaming for help. At least she's avoided the meningitis outbreak. Big Jim returns home after his long day of saving everyone when he hears her screams and finds her shivering in the flooded shelter. The episode leaves us hanging in terms of what Rennie will do with this discovery.
Big Jim and the Propane Scandal
As per usual, Big Jim spends this episode being the town hero. I have to admit, it's getting harder and harder not to like him. He didn't even do anything horrible this episode. When the hospital realized it was out of medicine, he and Barbie set off to the pharmacy to get more supplies. When they arrive, they see it's been ransacked and stripped of everything. Big Jim immediately guesses it was the reverend and sure enough, they find him burning pills in a bonfire outside of his house. He claims the dome is God's will and everyone who is going to die from this illness is meant to die. Luckily, he doesn't burn everything before Barbie and Rennie snatch it back and take it to the hospital.
When Big Jim returns home after the outbreak calms down, the reverend is sitting in the dark on Jim's porch swing, waving a bandaged hand. He brings Rennie all of his profits from their propane scheme, claiming they upset God by doing ... whatever it was they were doing. He "washes his hands" of his sins and takes off. Big Jim is left standing with a bag of money, but I'm not sure what they need money for at this point anyway.
Joe and Norrie
When we left our teenage lovers, they had just a seizure after touching. This week, they're at the hospital while Norrie's mom runs inconclusive brain scans on them. Both of them are seemingly fine. Later, they find themselves in a room alone, taking selfies. I guess teenagers will still take a zillion selfies even without Facebook. Norrie suggests they test their hypothesis that the seizures only occur when they touch. Like many a teenage boy before him, Joe suggests they film it.
Their touch again forces them to the ground but when they watch the footage, they see that Joe channeled "Poltergeist" and "shhh"-ed the camera during his seizure. He doesn't remember doing it and Norrie concludes that the dome doesn't want anyone to know. Instead of sharing their findings with anyone, they make what is probably a good decision and keep it to themselves. If their shared secret wasn't enough to make Joe and Norrie fall in love, Joe offers his home to Norrie's family and they accept. Basically, Joe is living the teenage dream -- if the teenage dream happened under a terrifying bubble.
Biggest developments this episode
- Peter gambled all of his and Julia's money, and that's why Barbie hunted him down. We still don't know what Big Jim's role in the gambling was (if he had one).
"Under the Dome" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.