Under The Dome Watch: Episode 12 - Exigent Circumstances

Big Jim Rennie is the ultimate schemer. But it seems like the clock is ticking on his antics, and sooner or later, his misdeeds are going to catch up with him. But is that before or after the monarch is crowned? Or before whatever passes for "justice" is served on Barbie for everything he's been blamed for? These are the questions we're left to ask as we wait for the first season finale of Under the Dome.

The penultimate episode, titled "Exigent Circumstances" saw the demise of one of Chester's Mill's sweetest residents, due to Jim Rennie's determination to cover his tracks at all costs. Though he was able to blame most of his kills on Barbie, it was Reverend Coggins' murder that came back to haunt Rennie. No one in Chester's Mill saw him push the reverend's ear to the dome, but based on what Rennie overheard the military people discussing on the radio, someone on the outside spotted the murderous act and identified Rennie as a killer.

Poor Dodee was standing in the doorway at the radio station when Rennie heard the chatter on the radio, and it didn't take her long to figure out that if Rennie murdered Coggins, he must have killed all those other people and blamed Barbie. She might've been better off not mentioning that part. But I'm not sure there's much she could have said to talk her way out of that information, aside from maybe not giving up the exact location of the mini-dome. That might've been something to leverage her way out of the room. Instead, she told him it was in the barn. He pulled a gun on her and gave her just enough time to tell him that the whole town would someday learn that he was a phony and a killer. And I was sitting there wishing she'd somehow hit the on-air switch and broadcast the whole thing to the town, but that doesn't appear to be the case, unfortunately. Rennie shot her in the heart, then burned the radio station down. RIP Dodee. Your last words were great. Sad to see you go.

Angie driving

The radio station fire was a bit reminiscent of the book, as was Barbie being tried in front of the whole town. Jim deserves some credit, the man certainly can scheme. It seemed like he had everything set up perfectly, including forcing Barbie to confess to all the murders, or else see the mini-dome club and Julia framed. And it seemed like Barbie was going to go along with this. But in the final moments of the episode, when the mini dome was acting strange and it looked like the caterpillar was on the verge of hatching, and Junior was pressing his hands against the big dome and possibly getting some new instructions, Barbie declared himself not-guilty in front of the whole town.

So we're left to wonder how Big Jim will proceed. Rennie certainly has a lot on his plate right now. He's killed a bunch of people and he needs Barbie framed for that. He's worried Julia Shumway will wake up because he knows she'll tell people it wasn't Barbie who shot her and then Rennie's whole story will crumble, and he doesn't want the dome to come up, especially considering the army knows he murdered people. If and when the dome comes up, he's done for. Of course, Julie did wake up after Angie and Barbie snuck her out of the clinic, and then Angie snuck her back in. Good thinking, Angie! Beats stashing her at Ben's place under a pile of blankets, anyway...

Going back to Big Jim Rennie, I'm going to say this upfront. I didn't like how Rennie's story ended in the book. I didn't think he got what he had coming to him, personally. For all his misdeeds, and how he'd tried so hard to justify them, I really wanted him to have his eyes opened to the fact that he was the villain, because I don't know that he really knew that. But that was book-Rennie. TV show Rennie sure does a fine job of rallying the town and lifting their spirits, but I don't get the sense that he's trying to convince himself that what he's doing is what's best for the town. I'm not seeing a lot of justification on his part, which strikes me as different from book-Rennie. With that said, I still hope the show finds a way to resolve his story in some satisfying way. I might have suggested redemption as an option for the character, but then he killed Dodee. He deserves a kick to the face for that -- Barbie got that instead, thanks to Phil -- and even then, I don't know if there's any coming back for him as a character. So the other option is justice, and part of that is being exposed for what he is. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

On a random aside, I loved it when Carolyn told Norrie she's always on her side. And Ben gets the funny moment of the night for trying to cover up the mini-dome with a lot of blankets to shut it up. Unintentionally funny moment of the night goes to Junior, whose post-kiss comment to Angie reminded me of Forrest Gump. She tasted like cigarettes.

Will the monarch be crowned next Monday night? And more importantly, will the dome come up? My prediction is yes. I think the season could very well end with the dome coming up. But mainly because I like the idea of the series restarting a bit next season, with Chester's Mill somewhat recovered from the last dome. Or maybe it won't come up, and this story will continue with the townspeople trying to build their own society under the dome.

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Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.