A 2013 series based on the 2009 novel of the same name, noteworthy due to the involvement of Steven Spielberg and a strong crew of writers, including respected Graphic Novel writer Brian K. Vaughan.A small town in Maine is suddenly enclosed in an impenetrable dome that covers the entire town. All lines of outside communication are cut off, and the majority of emergency services were out of town for a parade at the time.The show was renewed for a second season which ran in the summer of 2014.Has a Characters page that desperately needs some love.
This series provides examples of the following tropes:
Adaptational Villainy: Inverted, though one could hardly call it Adaptational Heroism. Jim Rennie comes across as a somewhat power-hungry but well-intentioned selectman, considerably different, at least for the moment, from the Bible-spouting sadistic hypocrite he was from the very beginning of the novel. Likewise, his son Junior is clearly disturbed, but at least he's not murdering women and having sex with their corpses within the first hour of the show. Phil Bushey as well, who is happy to be Big Jim's Dragon but isn't a crazed methhead who burns down the entire town.
Affably Evil: For a murderous, power-hungry councilman, Big Jim Rennie is actually pretty friendly if you're on his good side.
A Form You Are Comfortable With: It was more "a form that was handy". The bringers of the Dome managed to establish verbal communication by assuming the form of Alice.
All Is Well That Ends Well: After rioting and looting due to the water shortage in "The Endless Thirst", everyone stops all that and rejoices when it starts raining.
Alpha Bitch: Max Seagrave. That said, her life history explains this. Her mother had to prostitute herself to bring money in when she was young. Seeing the way the people of Chester's Mill treated her mother has to be a major driving force in her relentless drive to seize control over the town and bulldoze down anyone who's in her way, by any means up to and including blackmail. Her Batman Gambits are, when they work, extremely effective.
Anti-Hero: Barbie is definitely one. Big Jim as well, arguably.
Anti-Villain: Big Jim arguable fits this trope better. he begins to lose the "Anti" part of it as the first season goes along as well
Anyone Can Die: Many recurring characters who have died, three main characters have also perished as of the Season 2 premiere.
Arc Words: Multiple characters have had seizures while muttering "Pink stars are falling...pink stars are falling in lines."
Awful Truth: Thanks to Ollie, Junior learns the truth about his mother's death.
Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Practically as soon as Max makes her unwelcome appearance and insists on throwing her weight around, Barbie and Jim begin conspiring over how to undermine her.
Being Good Sucks: Alice refuses to let Carolyn steal insulin for her during the epidemic. Two episodes later, she ends up being the first of the 23 diabetics currently residing in Chester's Mill to run out and fall into a diabetic coma, by which time the town supply of insulin has long since dried up. She then dies an episode later.
Book Ends: The pilot starts out with Barbie burying a body. Then lots of things happen to get your mind away from it. In his final scene, he realizes he's staying in the home of, with the wife of, the man he buried this morning.
Broken Aesop: Big Jim tells Barbie the story of how he played football in high school and the team's star player disrespected him. Big Jim hit the guy so hard during practice that it broke the guy's pelvis. Big Jim sees the moral of the story to be that you have stand up for yourself and not let others disrespect you. Barbie points out that the story could also be seen as a lesson that being on Big Jim's team can be more dangerous than being his opponent.
Butterfly of Doom: Alice refusing to let Carolyn steal insulin for her. As a result of this incredibly noble act, when she runs out two episodes later, she wanders out into traffic in a daze, causing a truck to swerve to avoid her and crash into the water tower. This end up breaking the pipeline and losing most of their available clean water, which is made much worse with the discovery that the lake the water was drawn from has become undrinkable, due to being polluted with methane. Combined with the anxiety caused by the bomb failing to breach the dome, a full-scale riot breaks out in the town and leads to the murder of Rose.
There's also a literal and very symbolic butterfly trapped in the mini-dome
Call Back: A character mentions in season 2 that half the dome is surrounded my a bombed out area, and the National Guard perimeter is brought back up, its lack of visibility from the dome due to it being a ten-miles away from the dome itself.
Cannot Keep a Secret: Seems to be genetic, as Joe and Angie repeatedly demonstrate that they simply cannot help themselves but accidentally let slip things they were trying to keep quiet.
Coincidental Broadcast: In "Blue on Blue" the warning to get to safety is admittedly on a repeating recording, but Junior happens to turn on the radio right when the message is beginning another repeat.
While at the radio station, Big Jim overhears military chatter discussing his murder of the Reverend. It doesn't end well for Dodee, who happened to be present in the room at the time.
Damsel in Distress: Angie. She's a perfectly able-bodied young woman, trapped in a bad situation. Yet once she has determined that the door to the shelter is locked and her captor has the keys on his person and is advancing towards her from a weak position (coming up the steps - good position to kick him in the face), she doesn't attack him or defend herself at all but basically allows him to hoist her over his shoulder as she flails about helplessly and he carries her back down the steps.
Max and her mother, Claire/Agatha. A particularly good example for Max is when Barbie suddenly decides to throw a fight so that Max would lose her bets. However, Max knew Barbie would do it and bet on the other guy instead.
The Dog Was the Mastermind: In "Thicker Than Water", Angie is possibly hinted at having some connection to the dome, possessing both a collection of snowglobes and a monarch butterfly tattoo. The subsequent episode invokes and subverts this however, when it's pointed out that they're attempting to rationalise the unexplainable with sketchy evidence, when practically anything could be linked to the dome using the same logic.
However, Angie is later revealed to be one of the Four Hands.
Despotism Justifies the Means: Big Jim Rennie begins to take on aspects of this as early as his battle with Ollie for control over the propane and water, but crosses fully into this realm as of his manipulation of the townfolk into giving up their civil liberties, then calmly telling Barbie exactly how he will pin all the crimes he's committed onto Barbie and three innocent teenagers.
Entertainingly Wrong: In "Blue on Blue", the Reverend believes that God was whispering "Moab" to him, in reference to the ancient city. It's actually his hearing aid picking up the military emergency broadcast that they're going to drop a M.O.A.B. ("Massive Ordinance Air Blast", also sometimes known as the "Mother Of All Bombs") on the dome.
Epic Fail: Reverend Coggins breaks into Duke's house to destroy some incriminating papers. He manages to burn the whole house down and nearly dies in the process.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As bad as they both are, Big Jim and Junior still see each other as family. For example, before going off to kill Maxine, Big Jim tells Junior to stay at home with an almost tearful farewell that makes you wonder if Big Jim knows he might not come back alive. Likewise, Junior seemed pretty upset after receiving the vision from the dome of Big Jim with stab wounds with he and the other kids holding bloody knives. After seeing that, his first impulse is to go find Big Jim and warn him that he might be in danger.
Failed a Spot Check: Joe is smart enough to begin figuring out the size, power source and physical properties of the dome, but it takes him about three days before he starts to wonder why his sister's not been seen in a while.
Fake Guest Star: Mackenzie Lintz (Norrie) is billed as a guest star on every season one episode she appears in. She appears in every season one episode and turns out to be playing a fairly important character at that, since Norrie is one of the four people who can communicate with the dome.
Faux Affably Evil: Maxine, who basically decides to take the opportunity of being in the dome to set up a fighting and gambling ring
A number of parents were out of town when the dome fell while their teenage children stayed home and were trapped by the dome. Days later no one seems to be too concerned that there are a number of essentially orphaned children running around with no supervision. They seem to largely disappear in season 2 as the teenage threads focus on the main characters.
Presumably Angie indulged in this before the dome fell, since neither Joe nor her work colleagues noticed her absence until Day Four.
The Gambling Addict: Peter, Julia's husband, had a serious gambling problem. He gambled away all their savings and owed a lot of money to a bookie. Barbie was sent in by the bookie to collect on the debt. Julia does not find out about this until she is told that he sold his car to a friend and that he mortgaged their house behind her back.
Since he owed a bookie a lot of money, he apparently decided to get Genre Savvy. When he could not pay up, the bookie sent an enforcer to collect. Peter decided to meet the enforcer in an out of way cabin and, after the guy started to leave, threatened him with a gun with only one bullet in it. One suspects that he might have been suicidal and wanted to be killed. The fact that he took an life insurance but that it would be voided in case of suicide points to the possibility of a suicide by proxy planned to leave money for Julia. Julia herself takes this interpretation when she figures out what happened, which is probably one reason she takes it so well.
Phil is also apparently something of a gambler, as he recognises Barbie as a Loan Shark and was aware of Peter's monetary troubles.
Genre Savvy: In "Exigent Circumstances", after Jim charges Barbie with several murders (none of which he actually committed apart from Peter Shumway), he offers not to pursue Barbie's allies if he pleads guilty. Barbie doesn't trust Jim to hold up his end of the bargain, so he pleads "not guilty" to piss him off.
Ghost Extras/Apathetic Citizens: Even though all the extras in the background are all stuck in the same predicament as the main cast, they don't seem to do much aside from go about their business. No one in the background is leaping up and asking what they can do to help because they are just that - extras.
Government Conspiracy: Subverted. Julia initially assumes that the military is responsible for the Dome, but quickly realizes that it's not the case.
However, overheard radio transmissions in the last few episodes of the season imply that the military has at least some knowledge of what's going on.
In season 2 it becomes clear there are possibly larger agents at play.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: Linda the new Sheriff falls for the old "I'm sick, open the cell door" trick, not a minute after putting a perfectly healthy prisoner in there, and with no backup in the building.
Gun Struggle: In a flashback in the second episode, Barbie and Julia's husband Peter fight for a gun. The gun goes off and Peter's dead. No big surprise, as we already saw Barbie bury his corpse in the pilot episode.
Half the Man He Used to Be: A cow got sliced lengthwise by the dome in the pilot, and humans who met similar fates are shown in the second episode.
Has Two Mommies: A pair of lesbian mothers were driving their daughter to a "summer camp" when the dome hit. As of episode 7, Norrie has only one Mommy.
Heel-Faith Turn: The Reverend rediscovers his faith and comes to believe that the dome is a punishment from God. He wants to atone for his crimes and tries to convince Big Jim to join him in confessing to the town about the illegal things they had done. Big Jim kills him.
Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Everyone inside the dome remembers there is an outside world and acknowledges it but has pretty much ignored it in the space of two weeks. For the Rule of Drama to apply the writers can't have the people in the dome asking the people outside and their unlimited brain power for suggestions and help.
Hope Spot: After finally escaping from Junior, Angie runs into Rose, the owner of the diner, who promises to protect her no matter what. Then come two assholes wanting to rob the place...
Hypocrite / Jerkass Has a Point: Ollie rightly points out that in the post-Dome Chester's Mill, Big Jim only maintains his power and authority because he controls the propane supply, so why should he object to Ollie levying power by controlling the water? Furthermore, Big Jim is the aggressor for coming onto his land with intent to seize it for himself, only resorting to invoking eminent domain as a flimsy justification.
Infodump: Julia during the fire, explaining it hasn't rained in weeks.
Insistent Terminology: When Julia asks why the only radio station in town didn't pass on that they had been listening to the outside world: "We're not a news station!"
This happens again with Big Jim and Rebecca Pine in season 2, but this time the town is divided over whether or not they're guilty and violence ensues before the trial can get underway.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Junior killing a man who is lying helplessly on the ground and pleading for his life would cross the Moral Event Horizon... if said man wasn't one of the two guys who killed Rose and tried to rape Angie. It's not hard to feel satisfaction when Junior mercilessly puts him down.
Most of the people that Big Jim murders, particularly Maxine and Agatha. However, he finally crosses the Moral Event Horizon when he coldly executes Dodee, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and hearing something she shouldn't have.
Kill the Cutie: Rose, the sweet old lady who owns the diner, and Dodie, the radio technician who's been trying to capture radio transmissions of the outside world.
Angie in season 2
Loan Shark: Barbie works as an enforcer for a bookie (Maxine) and was in town to collect on a massive debt owed by Julia's husband.
The sheriff kept his deputy sheltered from the town's secrets, since he didn't want her involved.
The National Guard on the other side of the dome have thus far made no attempt to communicate with the inhabitants inside, leading Julia and Barbie to speculate whether they've been specifically ordered to ignore them.
Joe is smart enough to map the area of the Dome and work out its exact centre, figure out some of the mechanics of how the forcefield operates and theorise on the nature of the seizures he and Norrie have experienced. However, he's too afraid of what other people would react to reveal that they have some strange connection to the dome and enter a trance-like state during their seizures, as well as how this lead them to discover the strange Egg located in the precise centre of the dome, under a mini-dome of its own.
Last Name Basis: Barbie is actually "Dale Barbara", but is referred to as "Barbie" so much it's a shock when he is finally referred to by his first name in "Going Home".
Ludicrous Gibs: The cow is filled with them - it sure doesn't look like an anatomy textbook - but they don't spray everywhere, as they usually do in this trope.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Norrie finds her biological father outside the dome during Visitor's Day and discovers that she wasn't a test-tube baby from an anonymous sperm donor as she'd been previously lead to believe. It's implied, but not made clear, that Alice may have been in a heterosexual relationship with him at the time.
Meaningful Name: Seagrave, though not for Maxine, but for her mother, Agatha. Granted, it was a lake, but the point stands.
The Menin Black: The soldiers Barbie meets have no unit designation. When Barbie asks about it, he's told to mind his own business.
Ms. Fanservice: Angie. The current fanservice level is extremely tame and has featured both sexes in near enough equal measure, but Angie's still at the top of the short list.
Never Found the Body: In season 2, in consecutive episodes, characters fall into a hole and are automatically considered "dead" despite a lack of any evidence either way. The Rule of Drama is the reason.
Noodle Incident: Max and Barbie's history. There have been references to a romance between them at one point.
No Sell: The US Army detonates its biggest non-nuclear bomb in an effort to breech the dome. While the area around the dome is devastated by the explosion, it does not seem to have much effect on the dome and the people inside barely feel anything.
No OSHA Compliance: Not that a private residence usually qualifies, but it seems Duke - the police chief and thus supposedly someone concerned with all aspects of public safety in his small town - decorated his house in the most flammable items he could find.
Only Sane Man: After a few days of being under the dome the town seems ready to descend into panic and chaos, but some of the main characters are able to talk people down and keep order. The audience knows that this is actually a subversion since these individuals have their own issues.
Big Jim is good in a crisis and has managed to talk down the townspeople on multiple occasions. However, his ego and dark secret are setting up for a major conflict with the other characters.
Barbie is able to back up Linda and Big Jim at crucial moments and tries to stop the manhunt for the rogue deputy from turning into a farce and/or tragedy. However, he killed a man right before the dome fell and is now hanging out with the man's wife.
Linda seems to have stepped up to her new responsibility as sheriff and is a good counterbalance to Big Jim's ego, but she is clearly under massive strain and is making poor decisions.
Junior really stepped up during the quarantine crisis and probably saved a lot of lives by calming down the people in the hospital. However, we know that he is actually the first person to have snapped a result of the dome and the crazy is just bubbling under the surface.
Pet the Dog: Big Jim seems to be just as upset about Rose's death as Angie, as he considered her a good friend. He doesn't hesitate to give Angie the keys to Rose's diner, and even tells her to say goodbye for the both of them.
Plot Armor: Big Jim Rennie. He's managed to get one over on just about everybody he goes up against. In the latest episode, Max's "foolproof" escape hatch to keep Jim and Barbie in line falls apart in approximately 10 minutes of that episode as soon as Jim realizes all he has to do is let her mother die when she falls overboard. At that point, she has no hold over him. While he is not the monster of the book yet, he's clearly getting to the point where he will be the dictator over Chester's Mill in all but name.
Police Are Useless: While Linda is often the voice of reason and has stepped up admirably in the wake of the Dome coming down and Duke's death shortly afterwards, she's nonetheless repeatedly cow-towed by Big Jim whenever he goes on the warpath, often leading to near-disaster. Similarly, she's thus far proven unable to keep a tight leash on her deputies, leading to one going stir-crazy and accidentally shooting the other, as well as letting Junior remain on the force despite the fact that he's already proven unreliable at best and a loose cannon at worst, particularly when armed.
Despite having a ton of evidence that he has been involved with an illegal drug ring for several years, Linda decides not to throw Big Jim in the nearest prison cell and even allow him to continue to run the town. Furthermore, in the same episode she later falls hook, line and sinker for his lie about Barbie being responsible for multiple murders, despite all evidence against him being entirely circumstantial and hearsay, most of it told to her by Big Jim himself.
The only two professionally-trained cops in the Dome die in episode 1 and 2, in what seems almost a deliberate attempt to keep the police as useless as possible.
The replacement police are appointed and given absolutely zero training for their job (one was the local DJ), and are rarely seen going about the job. Junior has been wearing his police uniform almost 24 hours a day since appointed and has done very little actual police work.
Powder Keg Crowd: When the water supply is in danger of being gone, the residents do this.
Big Jim does this increasingly as the series progresses. Lampshaded by most of the characters who oppose him, who start to refer to his cronies as "The Gestapo" and comment that the town has become effectively a police-state.
In season 2, Big Jim and Rebecca, a science teacher, conspire to "thin the herd" by releasing a weaponized flu that is estimated to kill 25% of Chester's Mill, at minimum.
Reality Ensues: In a fit of jealousy, Junior attempts to intimidate the new guy in town that he knows nothing about, before trying to murder him when that fails. Naturally, he gets the living snot beat out of him by Barbie for his troubles.
Ollie's faction of farmers quickly jump ship after Barbie blows up the well.
Realpolitik: When Ollie attempts to levy power through his control of the well, Big Jim plots to seize it via eminent domain. When Ollie makes clear that the rule of law has become irrelevant and that he's got an armed posse defending it, Rennie fights fire with fire and amasses his own militia.
Red Shirt: The volunteer that Big Jim and co. bring along in "Thicker Than Water".
Series Continuity Error: The final shot of the first season is a pull back from the Dome showing the surrounding area, which in no way shows the damage caused by the missile strike halfway through the season (despite being shown to be quite graphic in the episode where it happened).
Shoot Out the Lock: Linda does this in "The Fourth Hand" to gain access to the warehouse where the propane is being stored.
She also bashes the lock off the safe-deposit box entrance door with a fire extinguisher. Not quite shooting it, but still, main force over a key.
Shout-Out: Episode 3 has one kid say that somebody is streaming The Simpsons Movie on a loop. A central point of that film is Springfield being put under a dome.
Joe decides to dub the Dog, "Truman". In the film, the protagonist is unknowingly the star of a reality television show, residing in a fake town located inside of the world's largest dome.
Show Some Leg: Angie goes to distract Junior, who is on guard at the hospital, while Barbie rescues Julia. Junior, Distracted by the Sexy, obligingly wanders away with her for a talk, a hug and a kiss.
Sinister Minister: Reverend Lester is part of Big Jim's methamphetamine operation to the point that he's willing commit breaking and entry on the home of the town sheriff to cover up evidence (and inadvertently commit arson as a result). He also appears to be an addict himself.
Skewed Priorities: Despite the dome trapping the town, Big Jim makes covering up the propane shipments their top priority. There is very little they can actually do about the dome. However, they should be taking a census, mobilizing resources, trying to communicate with the outside world etc.
Naturally, the teenagers take the dome trapping most of their parents out of town, as an opportunity to have many wild house parties.
Spared by the Adaptation: Sort of. In the book, Angie and Dodee are killed by Junior on 'Dome Day'. They have considerably more significant roles in the show, although both end up dead at a later point, albeit in a different fashion than the novel.
The town authority figures were stockpiling propane for some reason that had nothing to do with the dome (though they are aware it certainly looks like they knew ahead of time). The sheriff tries to explain it to his deputy, but since he's touching the dome at the time, his pacemaker explodes before he can.
The third episode reveals that they're involved in the drug trade, producing what is revealed in the ninth episode to be a new designer drug called Rapture.
Villainous Valor: No matter what we think of Big Jim's motives and methods, he is no coward. He leads from the front and often puts himself in danger to save others.
Villain with Good Publicity: A rare example in that the villain actually deserves the publicity. The show makes it clear that Big Jim is a pretty terrible human being... but the town is only seeing him handle potentially serious crises with a level head, and he has saved a lot of lives through his efforts.
Visual Pun: Barbie, who just buried a body out in the woods touches the cow, bloodying his hand, which he then leaves a handprint on the dome he is imprisoned in. "Caught red-handed".
Wham Episode: "Speak of the Devil." The four "Dome people" - Junior, Angie, Joe and Norrie - discover that the dome is insisting that they kill Jim Rennie. Given the way the man has basically carved out his own kingdom in which all threats against him are ruthlessly eliminated, the Dome has a point.
Even more so in season 2's "Going Home" when some characters actually manage to get out of the dome.
Wham Line: Barbie to the CEO of the Mega Corp. that may be playing a part in bringing down The Dome:
Witch Hunt: Big Jim launches one against Barbie at the end of series one.
Your Head Asplode: Downplayed. Jim kills Lester by pressing his hearing aid-equipped ear against the dome. All we see is a runnel of blood coming out of the ear in question, but it's enough to guess what happened.