The major focus of the episode is demagnetizing the Dome to prevent further harm to the unfortunate inhabitants of Chester's Mill. Two solutions are proposed which, in true Lost fashion, result in the classic science versus faith in an inanimate object that seems animate.
The first solution is offered by newcomer Rebecca Pine (Karla Crome), a high school science teacher who has been studying the Dome since its appearance. She thinks that the Dome can manipulate electromagnetic fields (insert collective groan here) and that these fields are interfering with people's brainwaves. If they don't find a way to counteract the Dome's electromagnetism, the people of Chester's Mill won't just be unconscious, they'll be dead (like how [spoiler if you never watched Lost] Charlotte died in the fifth season of Lost except without awesome time travel and temporal displacement). Her great solution: build a giant magnet in the center of town using the town's copper wire.
The second solution can basically be summed up as: believe the Dome is angry and has a will to which everyone in town must submit or risk losing more than a church bell and an incompetent sheriff. Everyone who is still conscious and doesn't think this is the best time for a community-building project realizes that the Dome is pissed off with Big Jim for murdering people. Throughout the episode, the Dome, doing its best impression of the Man in Black, appears to Big Jim as characters who have died—Dodee and Linda—and tells him that he needs to make a sacrifice and abandon his quest for power or risk losing his son. It's not until Junior faints in the town square that Big Jim does what needs to be done. He goes over to the gallows and tries to hang himself, but is stopped by Julia, who cuts the noose before it can hang Jim. Luckily, his willingness to sacrifice himself is all the Dome needs to stop trying to kill everyone.
The show conveniently chooses to ignore the fact that the Dome put everyone's lives in danger even though the first season finale led to the conclusion that it was there to protect them. But hey, it's Under the Dome where everything's made up as the show goes along and continuity doesn't matter.
Thanks to Dean Norris, Big Jim's A Christmas Carol-like plot in this episode is only slightly more interesting than the "let's build a giant magnet" story line. The Breaking Bad actor continues to give the best performance of the cast as he commits fully to cheesy lines like, "See you sweetheart. Go back to the Twilight zone; I've got to work to do," and "Shut up and be dead. I've got work to do." If we at EW gave out a "hardest working man in TV" award, Norris would definitely earn it for his work in tonight's episode.
NEXT: Big Jim isn't the only one taking to ghosts.