by Kelly M. Smith:
Under the Dome Recap: “Outbreak”
Original Air Date (CBS): Monday July 15, 2013
Season 1 Episode 4
“We’ve gotta fight through this thing together and trust that we’re all in here for a reason.”- James “Junior” Rennie
After discovering a map with coordinates inside Dale “Barbie” Barbara’s backpack, she decides to confront him the next morning, asking him how he knew the town so well when he claimed to have been “just passing through”. He tells her it was his military training and it wasn’t hard to get to know a small town like Chester’s Mill. She gets up and storms out, frustrated and nervous.
Outside her home, where the Dome that has encased The Mill completely ends, there is a protest from concerned citizens when they realized that the military that has been stationed outside the Dome since day 1 is leaving. New sheriff Linda Esquivel tries to stop it, but the local reverend, Lester Coggins, seems to want to stir up the rowdy crowd (who have been throwing eggs and other things at the Dome to get the military’s attention). It takes Second Selectman James “Big Jim” Rennie to get them to calm down. When one older gent in the crowd asks him, “How can we trust you? You’re a selectman,” Jim responds with, “You want to know how you can trust me, Ollie?They’re out there; I’m in here.” As the crowd starts to disperse (because, really, how could any of them deny Jim’s logic?), Linda starts to faint suddenly and Jim rushes her to the medical center in town.
Back in the secluded bomb shelter beneath the Rennie household, Junior’s girlfriend and captive, Angie McAlister, is trying to unchain herself using the sharp medical scissors she filched from a first aid kit (see episode 3:Manhunt). She almost has it when she hears the large locks rattling, signaling that her captor has returned. She hides the scissors and meets Junior at the door (which is as far as her chain will allow her to move) and tries again to flirt, to get him to let her out. She tells him to turn around in a teasing, sensual manner and, when he does, she goes for the scissors, but he is faster. She cuts him, but does no more damage than giving him a superficial flesh wound before he ties her up even closer to the bed and leaves again, leaving her locked underground yet again.
Julia, who ran off in her car during the protest at the Dome’s edge, drives out to the coordinates marked on Barbie’s map and finds that it id the local DJ’s (Phil Bushey) home (well, trailer) and goes to ask him if he saw Barbie out there and if he knew why he would be there. She sees her husband, Peter’s, car in the driveway and a neighbor tells her it is Bushey’s. But when she knocks on the trailer door she finds Phil seriously ill and immediately takes him to the medical center.
Norrie Calvert-Hill and Joe McAlister (Angie’s genius younger brother) are taken to the same medical center by Norrie’s parents, Carolyn Hill and Alice Calvert (played by Samantha Mathis: Little Women, American Psycho and The Punisher) to get checked out to see why both teens are having sudden seizures, where, as they are led to an examining room, they see Junior getting his hand stitched together from Angie’s cut. When Joe asks him if he’s seen Angie, Junior replies, “Oh, I see her around.”
The medics on staff find out that Alice Calvert is a doctor (a psychiatrist with three years medical training) and ask her to help them out, as the center is quite full and they are short-staffed since the Dome cut them off from the rest of the world.
Jim, as this is going on, brings a feverish Linda to the center and she is rushed in with Phil and other fever patients.
Down in the bomb shelter, Angie grabs hold of a pipe to call out for help through a water vent that leads up to the Rennie house. She grabs a bit too hard in her haste and breaks the pipe, causing it to hit her in the head and knock her out as a huge gush of water comes through the pipe, filling the small, underground space with no way out.
Back in the med center, Alice draws blood from Norrie to have it checked as she scans Joe’s brain for any anomalies to see why they are seizing. They show nothing wrong with either teen. Jim walks in and requests Alice’s help in the medical center until the Dome is dealt with, as they are short on doctors and Alice agrees.
Julia is still on the warpath and finds Barbie in the makeshift hospital helping out and demands answers as to why he had down Phil’s address when he claimed to know no one in town, but she falls ill as well, and becomes semi-conscious as Barbie calls for help for her.
More and more people are getting sick in the town and Alice discovers that is it a severe outbreak of meningitis, that only children and college kids (because of their mandatory school vaccinations) and those who have been vaccinated for other reasons besides school are immune. Everyone else is at risk of catching the deadly infection and so Jim decides to quarantine the building. As his only living cop is down for the count, he commissions the only other adult he can trust who is still on his feet to guard the center until he and Barbie (who was vaccinated in the Army) come back with more antibiotics: his son, Junior.
Junior with a gun? The viewer is left to wonder for a bit how that will play out!
Angie, underground and nearly underwater, wakes, gasping for air with no way out of the room that is rapidly becoming a fishbowl.
Julia leaves her hospital bed to find and question Phil, who has not had his medicine yet for the meningitis. He tells her he’s sorry, her husband sold him his car because he needed money to leave. A nurse comes and orders Julia back in bed, that Phil’s fever is so high he is half in a hallucination.
Jim and Barbie get to the pharmacy to find it raided, with all of the medications stolen…which means that there is no more antibiotics for the townspeople. Hell, the thief (or thieves) didn’t even leave any aspirin! But Jim has an idea…
Inside the med center, the patients are getting worse. Linda, who is sharing a room with her old elementary school teacher, gets worse, passing out after her fever goes over 104 degrees. There is only one vial of medicine left, as the men hadn’t returned with the promised refills, and the teacher demands that the nurse give it to Linda so she could live and protect the town.
Julia, unmedicated and angry as Hell, begs to be let out, but Junior is under strict orders from his father and tells her as much. She huffs and goes to find an exit that isn’t blocked by a young pup with a gun and hits jackpot. Next to an empty nurse’s station is a door leading to the outside. Swiping a key, she lets herself out without being seen.
Jim and Barbie, on Jim’s hunch, head over to the reverend’s house, where they find him a little more than manic, burning the medications. When they ask him why he responds that those who are sick are meant to be sick and don’t need the medicine as they would be with God. Getting the man to calm down, they manage to salvage enough of the medication to bring it all back to the medical center to cure those ill with the meningitis.
Linda wakes up, feeling better after the meds were administered, and talks with her ailing teacher about her years as her student, that she was never the teacher’s pet. “But look at you now,” she says, “you’re all grown up and the sheriff.” When Linda protests that it was all because of the help deceased former sheriff Howie “Duke” Perkins gave her, the teacher scoffs. “Don’t sell yourself short,” she tells her…before she flatlines in typical TV drama fashion.
Julia has taken her car and driven back to the cabin, where she finds the carnage that is left over from Barbie’s battle with Peter…which includes the bloodstains from her husband’s murder.
People in the center want to leave. They don’t like being locked in there like prisoners. They know they’re all sick, but panic and anger override their good sense (if they ever had any to begin with, that is). Junior threatens to shoot if he has to, but they keep coming closer to the exit, not believing him…until he fires a warning shot at the ceiling. He then talks to them, calming them down and sounding nothing like the unstable lunatic who took his girlfriend hostage. Linda, now well enough to move hears and commends him for his actions.
The scene switches back to Julia, who is reading letters and papers that her husband had left in the cabin. Before the viewer can find out what it is that she is reading, she passes out from the fever.
Norrie and Joe decide to test a theory of Norrie’s: that the seizures might be occurring when they touch. Joe decides to film it so they can see exactly what happens when they are out. They clasp hands and, after a minute, Norrie giggles embarrassedly and says, “I feel stupid.” As those words leave her lips, both she and Joe go down, seizing in unison.
Jim and Barbie have returned with the meds and Barbie immediately goes to talk to Phil, who tells him the truth: Peter wanted to leave, that he sold him his car because he needed cash fast. The ailing Dj thinks that Peter is still alive, not buried in a shallow grave not far from the cabin where he died.
Julia, in the cabin, hallucinates Peter has come and she says, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
After the teens wake up, they watch the video of their seizures. They hear themselves saying the same thing: “pink stars are falling…pink stars are falling in lines.” What does it mean? During the seizure, Joe looks up, puts his finger to his lips and says, “Shhh,” to the camera. He has no memory of doing that. When Norrie asks why he said to be quiet he responds cryptically, “Maybe the Dome doesn’t want anybody to know.”
When Barbie finds out that Julia is missing, he goes searching for her. Junior tells her that he told Julia that he had seen him (Barbie) in the cabin, so that was probably where she has gone. Barbie (being one of the people who could leave because he couldn’t catch the disease) badgers Junior to loan him his truck, as he is car-less, and goes to get her. he finds her on the floor of the cabin and she says, “Peter? Is that you?”
The quarantine is lifted from the med center as everyone has been medicated and vaccinated and Lina praises Jim and Junior for their quick-thinking and heroic efforts of the day. Jim, learning how professionally Junior handled the mini-mob, offers him a job as a temporary police officer until the Dome is lifted and Junior agrees, flattered.
Barbie brings Julia back to the medical center to get treated and, after she wakes, she asks him if he was the one who “saved” her from dying in the cabin and he tells her that he was. She admits that she was hallucinating it was her husband and tells him what he already knows: that Peter had drained every bank account they had and the house was in foreclosure before he disappeared. She knows something happened in that cabin so Barbie tells her the truth: Peter was a compulsive gambler and was in deep doo-doo with a bookie. Barbie was the bookie’s enforcer and had been sent to either collect the money Peter owed or “convince” him to pay up. He hadn’t meant to kill him, but it had happened and he was sorry.
Julia doesn’t believe that the love of her life was a gambler, even after reading the bank statements, so Barbie plays her a recording on his cellphone that proves his story is true. Julia, being upset beyond belief, orders Barbie to leave her house and never show his face to her again, and he complies.
As the Calvert-Hill family is ready to leave, Norrie complains that their accommodations are above the local diner and her mother, Carolyn, says, “Where else is there for us to stay in this town?” Joe, telling them how he was alone in his house, offers them his place until the Dome lifts and they accept.
As they get ready to go, a panicked Carolyn tries stealing some bottles of insulin for her diabetic wife but Alice catches her and tells her not to worry, it would all be okay. It was a very tender moment in a story that was one tense scene after another and really gave this episode a nice sense of humanity and love.
Junior takes Linda home and she cries that it was her fault that her teacher died. Junior comforts her and she tells him that he has a good heart (if she only knew!) and gives him his badge to be a temporary police officer.
Back at the Rennie home, Jim is startled by Lester Coggins showing up on his darkened porch with a bag full of money. He says he wants no part in “this” anymore (what is “this”, the viewer wonders) and says that this was what was left of his share. “You think you saved this town, but you damned them,” Coggins tells Rennie, referring to not letting him destroy the meds and let the townspeople die in peace. He leaves a stunned Jim behind and the viewer again wants to know just what is going on and is one of the two big cliffhangers with which the episode leaves us.
The next one is this…
Jim, entering the house, runs the faucet but the water is weak. Leaning in towards the pipes, he hears it gushing below and…is that screaming? He goes into the bomb shelter to investigate and finds a wet, cold and sickly Angie chained to the bed, prisoner.
This episode cleared things up, but what they cleared up was replaced by new mysteries and another shocker, that Angie was discovered. I can’t wait until next week for CBS’s installment of the televised version of Stephen King’s amazing 2009 sci-fi epic! And I hope you will join Barbie, Julia and everyone else in Chester’s Mill next Monday at ten pm as well!