Chester’s Mill is burning, but its cause isn’t only the fire at episode’s end. The townspeople themselves are starting to burn, smoldering having to live under the dome.
“The Fire” opens with a flashback. Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara is locked in mortal combat with Julia Shumway’s recently deceased husband. Barbie tells her husband to pay up. A fight ensues with Julia’s husband being shot inadvertently. Barbie then wakes up from his nightmare to Julia knocking at his door. For some odd reason, Julia let Barbie spend the night in her house after only meeting him that afternoon. Of course, she doesn’t know he’s her husband’s killer; she believes he’s outside the dome. But the fire burns in Barbie, fueled by remorsefully doing a job. His recent nightmare has lit the match. Not to mention his obvious attraction to Julia.
The fire has also consumed most inhabitants under the dome with fear and panic. With no Sheriff in charge and another police officer stockpiling assault rifles for fear of widespread mobs, Linda takes charge (being the most level-headed of the police department). Junior caught fire last episode, locking Angie, his ex-girlfriend (although he doesn’t believe they’ve split) in a bomb shelter. Now he’s gone one step further, chaining her leg to the cot. Junior’s father, Big Jim, is starting to feel heat from the fire within himself as well. He, Duke and Reverend Lester Coggins know more than they are leading on. Big Jim and Rev. Coggins decide they need to eliminate any paper trail leading back to their involvement in the recent propane dumps in Chester’s Mill. Rev. Coggins goes to Duke’s home to eliminate the evidence. Unfortunately, he lights the propane papers inside the house and the fire consumes it. With threat of the fire spreading and killing everyone under the dome, the residents of Chester’s Mill pull together, putting out the fire with hoses, pails and a tractor. The fire itself has proven that unless they work as one, they will all perish under the dome.
“The Fire” left me a tad disappointed. It lost definite momentum from last week’s premiere. Episode 2 delves deeper into the characters of Under the Dome, but at the expense of the plot. Outside of the fire, I was left waiting for something to happen, some mystery to entice me, some more blood or gore. The citizens slowly get used to being under the dome, but for how long?
“The Fire” was a natural let-down episode from a good premiere. This follows suit with much of Stephen King’s work – heavy on the characterization but with worthwhile payoffs. There is still enough intrigue to keep me going, for now. Barbie’s involvement with Julia and her dead husband will likely heat up. Junior will possibly get what’s coming to him, hopefully in a satisfyingly bloody way. Plus, there is still the mystery surrounding the dome itself and what Big Jim, Rev. Coggins and Duke were up to. Did they have some involvement in the dome coming down? Or is the propane storage a whole other issue for the townspeople of Chester’s Field to deal with? Perhaps the most fun will come from watching everyone under the dome get cabin-fever. Will they band together or pull each other apart limb by limb? I’m hoping for the latter, at least a little.