Things are starting to come apart for the residents of Chester’s Mill living under the dome. The fourth episode, “Outbreak,” begins with an epidemic making its way through the small town. An outbreak of meningitis has befallen several inhabitants and they need to be quarantined in the hospital. Only problem beyond the obvious spreading, there are few doctors and fewer medical supplies. Barbie and Big Jim head out in search for antibiotics, ending up at the local pharmacy. But when they cut through the chains on the doors, the pharmaceuticals are all gone. Big Jim has an idea where they may be, and the two head over to Reverend Coggins home. Sure enough, the good Reverend is spouting off religious dogma as he tosses bottle after bottle into a fire. Shouldn’t he be staying away from fire since he almost killed himself and burnt down most of Chester’s Mill two episodes ago?
Upon retrieving the meds, Barbie is confronted by Julia back at the hospital. She’s been rummaging through his bag and found a map of Chester’s Mill, making his story of just driving through town when the dome came down less believable. Overcome by the outbreak, Julia too is quarantined. But she escapes and makes her way to the cabin where Barbie and her husband had their fateful duel. What she does learn leads to Barbie revealing partially why he was in Chester’s Mill and that he lied, thus ending their potential love interest, at least for now.
The best part of “Outbreak” is perhaps its ending. Big Jim finds something that shouldn’t be in his bomb shelter. Will he tell, or let Junior’s secret stay chained to the bedpost? Doubtful, as Big Jim is now proud of Junior for handling the mutinous crowd in the hospital, wanting to leave the quarantine. Would Big Jim, someone very cautious of how he’s perceived in the community, reveal that his son is a total psycho? Big Jim is a politician, and if stereotypes fit, they like to lock up their secrets. A cliffhanger such as this has me eager for next week. It has given me some faith that Under the Dome is still worth watching. I have to admit; there was a little drool at episode’s end, as I’m salivating for next week, something I haven’t felt since the pilot.
The spreading of meningitis isn’t the only outbreak in Chester’s Mill. From Reverend Coggins spouting damnation or Junior telling the quarantined what they wanted to hear yet meaning none of it, the townspeople are changing. Or are they? Perhaps a deeper part of themselves, a part they confine deep within themselves because of societal pressures and laws, is given the opportunity to come out. Now Rev. Coggins, Junior and even Big Jim are easy targets as they don’t have the highest morals. But what happens when the pressures living under the dome get too tense for everyone else. Will it warp the minds of the good in Chester’s Mill? Will there be an outbreak of bad intentions on the horizon? Carolyn Hill, partner of the good psychiatrist Alice Calvert, is caught near episode’s end stockpiling insulin. Alice is a diabetic and Carolyn fears they may run out. Alice forces her to return it, but fear is a fickle beast. It snared Carolyn into a selfish act. Fear can warp and twist even the best intentions as its beginning to do to those trapped Under the Dome.