Last summer's silly sensation Under the Dome returns for a second season on Monday. The show, a Stephen King adaptation that is, upon closer inspection, about a town that finds itself placed under a mysterious dome, was at turns junk and addictive and infuriating, and somehow all of us here at The Wire missed out on it.

In the interests of catching up in time for the season two premiere, we've decided to employ a lighting-quick catchup method. Rather than marathonning all 13 episodes, the three of us are going to play a bit of TV Telephone. The game of Telephone, as is classically understood, involves whispering something to a friend, who then whispers it to the person on the other side of them, who then does the same, so on and so forth, until the story gets back to you with hilarious embellishments. (As with most concepts, this one was best illustrated by The Simpsons.)

So that's what we're doing with Under the Dome season one. One of us will watch the first episode and tell the other two about it; then we'll pass it off to the next person for the second episode; and so forth. We won't be watching the episodes we're not writing about, so we'll be dependent on each other's reports to fill in the blanks in between. Hopefully by the end, we'll have a better understanding of just what is happening under that dome, and we'll have had a little fun at the expense of Chetser's Mill, Maine in the process.

Previously: Episodes 1-4 Episodes 5-8 Episodes 9-12


Episode 13, "Curtains"
Watched by: Ben Cosman, Joe Reid, David Sims

So the Dome got coated twice in this episode. Once in black when the hatched monarch inked up the mini-dome and the big Dome reciprocated. And once at the end when Julia dropped the egg in the lake and it shot pink stars up into the sky, which then coated the Dome white. What is even going on? On a Dome level, clearly this is aliens at work, as they appear to the DomeTeenz (and Julia) in the guise of dead Alice. They say to protect the egg or all will be lost. Also, are we cool with Julia being the Monarch now? How does she make any more sense than Barbie, who was a rando selection by Joe to begin with?

Meanwhile, Big Jim is certainly progressing as a despot by leaps and bounds. That old-school wooden gallows he hauls out is a classic Stephen King maneuver. Look how they've regressed to primitive, primal instincts! The actual cliffhanger this season ends on is whether Junior is actually 100% on Team Dad and his willing to pull that gallows lever and execute Barbie on Dad's command. Oh, and also, Junior's mom, who predicted the whole dome/egg/pink stars scenario in her art before she died several years ago, is totally going to show up next season, if not alive, then at least as an avatar for the aliens.

Guys, what did we all learn from this season?

David: Americans don't mind domes as long as they have their propane and sunlight. After that, they start getting antsy. If someone refers to a monarch in a vision, they're probably talking about butterflies. There is no visual symbolism outside of this show that isn't to do with pink stars or black clouds, and one is obviously the most beautiful thing in the world whereas the other is the most terrifying. Also, imagine if CBS hadn't picked up this show for a second season. People would have been so mad at that incredibly open-ended, vague cliffhanger.

Ben: If Under the Dome has taught me one thing, it’s that drifters can do EVERYTHING. Seriously, Barbie (aka the almost-Monarch) has delivered a baby, operated on a gunshot victim, convinced the widow of the guy he killed to become his lover, and managed to still kickass in an episode he spent the entirety of with his hands cuffed behind his back. Sure, he finished season one about to be publicly hanged (another thing I learned: quaint townspeople will turn out in droves if you tell them there’s a hanging), but I’d vote Barbie for Councilman at this point, and we all know how big of a deal that is, considering Big Jim wields absolute power over his constituency. Also: propane = power.

Joe: Who's in for season 2, starting tonight?

David: Me. I assume Rachelle Lefrevre has been replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard.

Ben: I'm too invested in the Dome Teens relationships not to watch. Also, I'm hoping the Dome smoke monster will have a more satisfying explanation than the island smoke monster.

David: Well, that's the lowest bar possible.

Ben: Do you think they've updated the pre-episode narration for season two?

Joe: Yes, it will be entirely propane-based.

David: It'll be the Kenan and Kel theme tune.