Under the Dome series premiere recap: They Eat Goldfish, Don't They?

In the first episode of CBS' summertime Stephen King adaptation, the small town of Chester's Mill is cut off from the outside world
Ep. 01 | Aired Jun 24, 2013

SENDING OUR LOVE THROUGH THE DOME Barbie has a message for the outside world. The outside world responds: "So. Barbie, eh? Boy, in the nickname lottery, you sure missed out."

Michael Tackett/CBS

Barbie just wants to get out of Chester's Mill. He's on the road out of town, making that mysterious phone call, when he sees Duke and Linda passing by. He makes a move for the gun in his glove compartment. The cop car drives by -- but they call in his plates, just in case. Barbie watches them drive away -- and almost hits a row of cows. He crashes off the road, losing his front tire. He doesn't have a spare. And then things get weird. The cows start freaking out. The birds fly away. There's a loud rumble, like some kind of earthquake. All the cars in Big Jim Rennie's car lot suddenly sound their alarms. The churchbells start ringing. Duke's pacemaker skips a beat. And then the big invisible thing comes down.

At first, Barbie doesn't see the Dome. He just sees the collateral damage. Specifically, he sees the Happy Cow, which has now become Two Happy Halves of a cow. It is definitely the grossest thing on CBS since every episode of Criminal Minds. Barbie tries to touch the half of the cow that didn't fall down, and his hand touches...something. He gets shocked. Then he tries touching it again, and a bloody handprint hangs in the air. A local kid named Joe runs over and describes it as "An invisible fence...like those ones for dogs."

That's when the birds start falling down in front of them, their necks broken. That's also when they see the plane crash into nothingness. Barbie saves Joe's life, pushing him out of the way of the wreckage. Somebody's leg lands right in front of them, in a moment of dark horror-comedy worthy of Sam Raimi. (ASIDE: Part of what made the first hour of Under the Dome so interesting is that the show was operating in so many different tones -- gory horror, small-town drama, Abrams-y mystery. The premiere sort of suggests Deadwood crossed with Picket Fences mashed with True Blood and just a little bit of Desperate Housewives; it's a fascinating mixture of tones, even if you have no idea what the second episode will look like. END OF ASIDE.)

A fire truck almost crashed right into the invisible wall; Barbie stopped them just in time. They couldn't talk to each other. Sound doesn't travel through the dome. So Barbie wrote them a message: "Call FAA. Shut airspace." (Meanwhile, in the radio office, Phil and his assistant Dodee -- Cherita Chen from Donnie Darko! -- noticed that all radio signals besides their own weren't getting through anymore. As far as Telecommunications go, Chester's Mill appears to have rapidly devolved to the Dawn of the Age of Radio Technology.)

Our players rapidly assembled at the plane crash site. Duke and Linda showed up. Linda shared a moment with her husband, Rusty. They stood on either side of the invisible wall, not able to see each other or touch each other. Big Jim showed up and declared himself the ranking politician on the premises. When Julia showed up, he ordered her to leave. It's fair to say that in Chester's Mill, politicians and journalists don't really get along. Duke requisitioned Julia's car for use by Deputy Linda, leaving Julia and Barbie together for a walk through the woods.

NEXT: Hey, Jealousy!

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