It's what, day three? The episode opens promisingly with the townspeople spray-painting the dome and raising a ruckus over what appears to be the army pulling out (Ollie has gone from "don't worry, the feds will save us" to "can't trust any gummint!" literally overnight) but then that just peters out and goes nowhere. It's like this place is a Sims-like game where the townspeople were given the task "riot" and it lasted a set amount of time and the experience points were earned and now they'll wander aimlessly until they're given something else to do (like come down with meningitis, I guess).
Yes: the Weekly Crisis this week is a meningitis outbreak, which has the good folks of Chester's Mill all coming down right at the same time. Well, they seem to come down in reasonably spaced intervals so they can be taken to the hospital in an orderly fashion. Alice (who we didn't see at all last week) volunteers her medical training (she's currently a psychiatrist), since she happens to be at the hospital to get Joe and Norrie, the seizure twins, checked out. The complication with the fire -- I mean the outbreak -- is that the hospital has no fire department -- I mean antibiotics. This leads to the forced sentimentality of Linda being given the hospital's last dose of meningitis medicine over her third-grade teacher, introduced to the show for the first time just so she can die because Barbie and Big Jim discover someone has stolen all the drugs from the pharmacy. The good reverend is going full religious freakjob now, and stole the drugs not to take them himself but to burn them because getting sick and dying is all part of God's plan, and he also gives Big Jim his share of the proceeds from their nefarious doings, since he's washing his hands of the whole thing.
Big Jim gives Junior the task of keeping everyone quarantined at the hospital. The best method the Rennies have is not "let's tell everyone how important it is that they keep the contagion within the hospital" but "give Junior the psychopath a loaded shotgun and have him stand guard at what is I guess the hospital's only entrance and exit."
But at least major plot points are advancing elsewhere. Angie's attempt to stab Junior and then presumably starve to death in the bomb shelter after killing the only person who knows where she is goes awry. But while Junior is out earning people's respect by not blowing them away with shotguns, she pulls loose a water pipe (she's pretty strong for an eighty-pound woman who's been shackled underground for three days) and almost dies of hypothermia. Fortunately, Big Jim hears her cries for help through his house's plumbing, and discovers her. I have no illusions that he's going to free her, but I'm looking forward to seeing this play out.
And in contrast to what I said in disparaging the show's subtlety last week, Barbie does already know Phil Bushey, who is the P.B. marked on his map. Julia follows the map to P.B.'s place, where she discovers that her husband sold his Beemer. Phil inconveniently comes down with meningitis before he can answer too many questions. Thankfully, so does Julia, and she manages to drag out a reference to the cabin, and then gets the location from Junior, who's all too happy to drive a wedge between Julia and Barbie. Julia manages to escape the quarantine and find the cabin, where she discovers that her husband has emptied their savings and the house will be foreclosed on. She collapses but is brought back to the hospital by Barbie, who confesses to being an enforcer collecting on Pete's gambling debts, but claims Pete must have taken off somewhere. Julia doesn't believe that Pete was a gambler. Fortunately, Barbie is a stupid enforcer and has incriminating evidence on his phone (a voicemail) that links him to the person he killed shortly after the voicemail was left.
Linda, impressed by the way Junior talked down a minor freakout by people quarantined at the hospital (and disregarding the way he first fired off the shotgun and then later left a loaded shotgun lying around a group of people who moments earlier were freaking out) and deputizes him. When the inquest happens, there's a lot of poor decision-making to ask questions about.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. He's really impressed that Norrie is aware of such pop culture obscurities as Star Wars and X-Men. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's morning and Julia is studying the map she filched from Barbie's things, which is why she's acting conspicuously shady enough when he comes down that he asks if something's wrong. She says she has a headache, which happens when she gets stressed. He notes she took her last pill and notes the pharmacy is out but maybe the gas station has some. "You know this town pretty well for someone who is just passing through," she says. Uh, he's been trapped for three days under a dome. How much time does he need to know this jerkwater burg has a pharmacy and a gas station? She says she's going over to the radio station -- not at all obviously stuffing the map into her purse -- and he says he'll catch a ride with her. Ass, gas or grass, Barbie. What's it going to be?
Outside, a group of angry Chester's Millers are chester milling around the dome, angrily yelling at the army, which is pulling out. "Orders are in: Pack it up, we're out of here," is what we can hear (but the residents can't) on the outside of the dome, broadcast on some strange "Here Are Your Orders That You Are Already Carrying Out" public address system. Linda tries to get the crowd to disperse, warning them of the danger of the dome, but no one's listening, so she pulls her gun. Then Reverend Lester starts in with the preaching, pontificating on "the pride of evil men" and says the dome is God's wish for a new Eden. Fortunately, the increasingly agitated mob quiets down enough to Big Jim can have a whispered conversation where he -- not unreasonably -- wants to know why she pulled her gun. Then he talks the crowd down, except for Ollie, who has gone from having utter faith in the feds to distrusting everything at any level of government literally overnight. Nevertheless, the crowd disperses. Linda says she had things under control, but before they can debate the point, she collapses.
In Junior’s Sex Fungeon, Angie has managed to separate the scissors into its two blades, but only has a moment of sawing at her chain before she hears Junior come back. She hastily stashes the scissors and Junior comes in, bearing some comfortable clothes as well as the prom dress she wore to the junior prom the first time they danced. Angie pretends to be touched and affectionate, and slow dances with Junior for a moment. "You’re starting to act like the old Angie I knew before the dome came down," he says. She tells him to turn around, pretending it’s so she can change, but she grabs a blade. Junior turns just in time to grab the knife before she sinks it into his neck, and he winds up getting only his hand bloodied. He throws her back on the bed. "I should have known. You’re not better. You’re just pretending," he says. She starts to cry as he leaves, promising she won’t tell anyone anything if he lets her out. “You can leave whenever you’re ready. But not before.”