Under the Dome, 3x13, The Enemy Within
As I continually found myself wishing I'd reminded Tumblr, this was not designed as a series finale any more than season 2 was. Well, maybe a little bit more, but it really was written as a season finale that could function as a series finale if necessary, providing sufficient closure but not all the answers and leaving a clear path open to season 4. It succeeded on the closure front, though most of it wasn't terribly exciting.
Sam's redemption-by-death was a foregone conclusion, a slow unspooling like terminal cancer to reach this point, and while I didn't see Jim having to stab his own son to death, it also feels like death was the only way out of the increasingly impossible mess they wrote themselves into with Junior.
I did not see Joe sacrificing himself to unite the ametheysts and bring the dome down, but IDK if it was because I felt confident in his importance to the show or I was just feeling so blase about the episode I never really worried he was gone forever. I enjoyed him playing the NuHero while Barbie was busy whining about trying to save his demon offspring. And before he did so, we got a really, really wonderful goodbye kiss and "no matter what happens, I love you. Don't you ever forget that" from Norrie out of it. Followed by Joe darting out to take her place anyway, choosing his last words like a boss, albeit bittersweetly: "I love you too."
(p.s. Joe you idiot you still have parents who don't yet know they've already lost one kid. Norrie has no one. Put your noble-hearted baby chivalry away and let her make the the hero's sacrifice. It's the feminist thing to do.)
Speaking of bringing the dome down: that was way anticlimatic. Just like Eva's "death." (You couldn't have shot her between the eyes? Man up and kill your kid for the greater good. The one time your Kinship training should come in handy...)
Also, as far as I can tell, "we needed to humanize Big Jim" is the closest thing to a reason Indy was introduced. He did save Jim's life by knocking Junior off balance, and did in fact provide the key to opening a jail cell, but I feel like that was more of an incidental "oh hey we could use him for this" thing at the time the last script was being written. Unless they were just really tickled by the idea of Aide To The Senator Doge...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Barbie, determined fool: "We're not the Kinship. We bury our dead."
Jim: My heart? (as a reason he needs water from the guard, for distraction purposes)
Julia: Yeah. Good thing he doesn't know you don't have one.
Jim interrupting Joe's sweet "the only thing that matters is getting out together" moment with Norrie: "Romeo and Juliet, how about a little less standing around and more getting us the hell out of here."
Sass Master Joe, part 5: "If you don't want your reign as queen to be a really short one, you're gonna let them go."
Eva: "You're still part of the kinship. You'll always be one of us." See? Right there. Why you gotta continually bring up why this season ruined the show, even to the end.
We finally unlocked the key to the obnoxious song: whistle its notes and the ametheysts come to life to create an egg replacement that can complete the dome's cycle, bringing it down.
Jim: I got her in my sights. I'm gonna take the shot.
Julia: Not until Dawn brings the dome down. Then...kill the bitch.
^ THAT'S MY GIRL.
Norrie: This was your plan all along. You KNEW he would sacrifice himself for me!
Dawn: Joe saw the pink stars too.
^ I can't explain why, but the delivery on her response is just so chilling and dark and good.
Highlights After The Dome Comes Down
+ Barbie & Julia get one last minute of pretty kisses to celebrate their freedom before the army shows up to crash the party.
+ Julia running to Norrie, bound hands and all, while the latter clings to her in a sobbing hug before soldiers separate them (and Barbie practically leaves a smoke outline to intervene when he sees one headed for Julia). I'm assuming that the non-Kinship survivors were each kept alone, but if Barbie & Julia were separated for days, I like to imagine an AU where at least these women were held together, because lord knows Norrie needs someone to hold her together right now.
+ "I want to see Julia Shumway."
Barbie, stubborn and stonewalling but also quietly teary-eyed while listening to Army Guy Dan Florek summarize what he's been told about the events that transpired over the past month.
+ I'm relieved to hear the Army didn't outright kill all the visibly infected members.
+ OF COURSE Jim immediately starts wheelin' and dealin' to get himself a big fat payoff. Of course he does.
+ As I said before, while I admire Norrie's tenacity in knowing that joining the Army was the best way to get answers about Joe, and that she was the only one equipped to do it (because right now Barbie would never in a million years commit himself to something that would take him away from Julia for a week, never mind months with added risk of never coming back), I'm still really sad about her having to be there, on top of at least a year without Joe.
+ Indy apparently being Senator Jim's Personal Office Companion is my favorite thing he's done. I'm pretty sure Senator Jim schemed to get him an official honorary title, and possibly a shifty salary to go along with it.
+ Hunter and Lily, Geek Tech (Romancing?) it up. That is very them to stay right in the thick of nefarious government agencies while our top heroes take their hard-won, much-deserved freedom from responsibility and run.
+ I like how Barbie & Julia are barely even phased to hear Jim & Co. have been spying on them. They're just like, "Whatever, Jim, do your thing and don't bother us. Oh wait, now is the part where you bother us, isn't it? Ugh fine what is it now." I might have confused some of that with my dialogue.
+ What even was season 4 going to look like? More domes, a new Kinship, fighting to save Barbie from going back under the spell, doing it all while evading the government? I did read a post-mortem interview, and it sounds like even the showrunner was like "fuck all if I know. I wasn't planning to deal with that bridge until I came to it, but they said I had to write some kind of opening just in case people didn't hate the alien mind control arc."
+ Actual quote: They would have gone someplace else, and the dome would come down over another place. [Laughs] But then it would be like, “Then what?” Would we do the same thing again? It would have been a real challenge. I went on this incredibly interesting adventure that was a parable for sustainability in our world, and now, it’s up to us to live the real life and do something about it.
+ I do actually like his comments on why he was happy being a 3-and-done show, though: We gave ourselves an ending that really ended the show. We put Barbie and Julia together, they’re going to get married. Big Jim’s a congressman. Junior — who was so disturbed by the end — is gone. Sam, who was so filled with guilt, is gone. There’s hope for Joe, because we know that Norrie is indefatigable and will save him. Yes, there’s an egg that remains that Dawn has seen, but we can feel confident that our team of Barbie, Julia and Big Jim, along with Norrie, will come to the rescue yet again. We have this very satisfying ending with all of our characters.
Good Part of Epilogue: Jar(bie) of Hearts
My only complaint about their future is that twice in this episode we were given subtle reminders that True Love's Kiss was never proven to work as a permanent cure, meaning Barbie could relapse without warning. Instead, let's pretend the last words of this episode were "Marry Me?"
Because that was exactly what I wanted. For them to spend a year soaking up each other's company, traveling the country both to shake off the memories and relish their freedom, and for Barbie to propose at just exactly the right time in exactly the right way. I thought the cheerful conversation on the bike was going to be enough for me, but their little campfire adventure was a whole joyous rainbow of proof that they are adorably domestic, even without a permanent domicile.
Her not being afraid to admit she wants marriage, despite how badly her last one went. Him having picked out the ring weeks ago and then sneakily hiding it on his dog tags for this moment. Just...all of it. They're on the way to everything they talked about in Black Ice, just like he promised.
In conclusion: It wasn't really worth the season as a whole -- there had to be a better way to give us closure on the only couple that mattered -- but I still feel good about the finale itself. I'm less tired and sad than I was before, and it is not bad for a series conclusion at all.