Under the Dome Season Premiere Recap With Spoilers: Heads Will Roll

After a season last year that started strong and gradually saw audience enthusiasm deflate, [...]

After a season last year that started strong and gradually saw audience enthusiasm deflate, CBS's Under The Dome came back tonight with an episode meant to set up a new season of intrigue and hopefully retain as many of last year's fans as possible.

It's a weird episode, not least of all because the series was designed as a closed-ended miniseries and when it became clear that the success of Under the Dome meant more seasons were on the way, it was hard to guess just what that meant.

Well, tonight we got a look...spoilers ahead for a pretty shocking ending.

The episode opens with a man tapping on a lightbulb, flickering inside of a lamp. it's Sam Verdreaux. He pulls some liquor out of a duffle bag before his tiny cabin and all of town, including the gallows where Big Jim and Junior are about to kill Barbie, is blown out with flashes of incredibly bright light. 

A ringing sound disrupts the assembled crowd; Jim wants junior to pull the lever and kill Barbie, but he's afraid.

Julia, rowing in from her mission in the water, hears a girl struggling for help further out and dives in to save her.

Back near the gallows, a group of kids see the bell torn from the church tower; it sticks to the inside of the dome.

The light and the ringing renders about 90% of everyone unconscious at the gallows; Barbie says he can help. Junior won't pull the lever; he believes the Dome is trying to send them a message. As Jim reaches for the lever himself, Linda pulls her gun on Big Jim and tells him she agrees with Junior.

On the banks of the lake, Julia and Sam try CPR and mouth to mouth to save the girl who had been drowning. Sam takes the women off to get dried off and away.

At the edge of the Dome, Big Jim, Junior, Barbie and Linda find a number of items being dragged by magnetism to the dome; among them, the handcuffs Barbie is wearing and all of their guns. Barbie is pinned to the dome by his handcuffs and Linda stays to save him; the truck they arrived in is pulled into the Dome, crushing her.

Back at Sam's cabin, Julia is trying to communicate with the girl, who is non-responsive. They don't recognize her. Sam offers to check out Julia's wound; the stitches have come loose. Sam, who was an EMT for ten years but drank himself out of the job, is happy to help her. The little girl wathes them, uncertain, and slinks back away.

At the Dome, Jim tries to peel the gun off the Dome and kill Barbie; he reveals to Junior that Big Jim framed him for the radio station and leaves to find Julia after Junior refuses to help Jim kill him.

Back at Sam's, Julia tries to convince him to come out to town to help people. He's reluctant and, among other things, reveals that his sister killed herself nine years ago. There's another big flash of light.

Barbie finds an abandoned truck and breaks into it, only to find the owner pointing a rifle at his back. She figures out he's the murderer they were about to hang and starts to get worked up. He disarms her, then returns the rifle to her to prove goodwill. She explains that the Dome's pulses are getting stronger and more frequent, like a pregnant woman's contractions.

A group of three kids find themselves close to the Dome, where one of the girls (Norrie) runs into her house ot rescue her mom; she's unconscious in the kitchen, where pans and knives are flying everywhere. The fridge falls over and they're blocked in by appliances. The boy is stuck in the hand with a flying nail.

At the bunker, Jim finds his stash of guns and takes one...then everything starts to be pulled around by the magnets. He tries to escape but the door is pulled closed.
Barbie and the woman, who had identified herself as a high school science teacher, find the house where the kids are and rescue them and the mother just as the house starts to be pulled apart, all of its nails and appliances town free and thrown at the dome.

In the bunker, Jim listens to the noises above, until he's distracted by Dodee, still sporting her bullet wound but happy to see him.

He starts trying to calm himself, sure it's a hallucination, btu she moves on him, blaming him for what's happening. She tells him that the Dome is ripping Chester's Mill apart. He breathes deep, calms himself a bit and she disappears...but he's still trapped in the bunker, the door covered by the weight of a lot of stuff from the yard thrown onto it. When he looks back down the stairs, Dodee is back, accusing him of doing this and telling him that he should have heeded warnings.

Now at the school, Norrie is worried that her mom is going to die. The teacher (Rebecca) gives an impromptu lesson on how the magnetic pulses seem to be happening.

She has a model, and is sure that the pulses will tear apart the town if it's not reversed. She wants to create a massive electromagnet to counteract the Dome's pulses. Norrie pulls Barbie aside and tells him that she doesn't think the Dome will be happy until Jim is dead. He tells her he wants to try it the teacher's way first.

At Sam's cabin, he and Julia come into the other room to see the girl in the throes of a nightmare; she wakes up and looks at him, seemingly scared.

Sam and Julia go outside to talk and bond. He offers her a place to stay, but she wants to go back to town and try to fix the situation becuase she's concerned it might be her fault. She asks if he cna look after the girl. He hands her a knife and tells her to be safe.

Inside Sam pulls out a book; it's his sister's journal, full of strange sketches, photos, bloody hands and a drawing of someone who is clearly the girl sleeping restlessly on his couch...

...Except she isn't. She's gone when he goes to check on her, walking through town in a daze, past all the unconscious bodies. Angie goes into the diner to look for a gun, and stumbles across Junior. She tells him she plans to kill his father and he says that he agrees they should have killed him when the Dome told them to. He offers to help her.

Back in the shelter, Big Jim has rigged up some twine to grenades and is standing around a corner from the blast radius so he can try to get out of the shelter using the explosion.

Elsewhere, a number of townspeople are erecting a giant magnet on a scaffolding. They turn it on and while it's taking time to warm up, Rebecca says it will work.

Back in the shelter, Dodee tells Big Jim that Junior will suffer for his sins if he doesn't stop. He blows the door and runs away.

There's another pulse, this one rendering more of the town unconscious, including everyone at the magnet except Barbie.

We see Junion dreaming that he's walking through the town; he takes a snow globe from a smashed storefront, shakes it and it fills with blood. A woman passes him, ignoring him, and he starts to follow her; it's his mother, and she's shocked to see him. He asks why she left and she says that she didn't leave him; she left Big Jim.

As they're having a moment of reconnecting, Big Jim shows up in the town square, looking for his son among the unconscious. 

He finds him and tries to wake him. Back at the magnet, barbie is arranging unconscious people when Julia shows up. They hug and kiss.

Barbie says that the next wave may knock them out, too, and then everyone would die becuase there would be no one to help.

In the square, Big Jim asks the Dome what it wants, and when he starts to doubt himself, Linda shows up and offers to talk to him. He asks how he can help, and she tells him to come to her. She says she wouldn't dare tell him what to do, since he does what he pleases, and then lectures him about his life and behavior. She tells him time is running out, but it's not too late to learn the virtue of sacrifice; he can save his son -- and she indicates the noose. He walks up onto the gallows and surveys the unconscious masses; he puts the noose around his neck and tightens it, then reaches for the lever. Barbie comes and stops him, but he says he's doing what the Dome wants and offers either of the others to do it. Julia says she'll do it.

Barbie tells her she doesn't have to, but she ignores him and runs to the lever. She asks him why now, but he says to just pull the lever. She refuses and he calls her a coward, then starts stomping on the gallows. The bottom drops out, he falls through but she uses Sam's knife to cut the rope. She says as the sky clears that the Dome didn't want them to kill him; it wanted them to end the killing. Everyone wakes up quickly and sees what's going on with Jim beneath the Gallows; all of the metal falls free of the dome, revealing that the girl from the lake has found Linda and covered her body with a blanket. She withdraws it, touches Linda's face and tells her she's sorry, then closes Linda's eyes.

The townspeople shout with enthusiasm as they tear down the gallows. Barbie and Julia kiss, as Rebecca comes to him and thanks him for his help.

It sets up a conflict between Julia's faith and Rebecca's science.

At the diner, a patron played by Stephen King drinks coffee. In the kitchen, Jim tells Phil that the Dome told him Barbie was innocent, which is why he let him free. He gives Linda's star to Phil, deputizing him.

He invites Carolyn and Norrie to come live with him. Carolyn accepts, over Norrie's objections.

Rebecca tells Big Jim that the tower won't help next time -- that the surges fried most of their power sources. He invites her to breakfast in the morning to figure out a plan but tells her she needs sleep and so does he. Angie tells Big Jim that he's lucky she wasn't on the gallows or she'd have made sure he was dead. He tries to calm her down but she slaps his hand away. Junior goes to her after and asks her what's up.

Sam comes into the restaurant; he's apparently Junior's uncle. Big Jim is not happy to see him. He's looking for the little girl; Junior offers to help him but he declines. Julia and Barbie find Sam in the street and ask how the girl is; he admits she's gone and he's looking for her. SHe introduces her two men. Junior says the last time he saw Sam was at his mother's funeral; Jim apologizes to Junior for being dismissive of him earlier. Junior tells him that when he passed out earlier, he saw his mother...and then Sam showed up, which he thinks isn't a coincidence. He tells Big Jim not to call him Junior; that his name is James. Elsewhere, his mother wakes up, says "James" and is looking at apainting of Junior. She replaces it with a painting of a door and starts painting around the door frame. She's outside of the Dome, watching a news report on the events.

Back in Chester's Mill, Angie takes out the diner's trash and sees the girl from the lake, still walking around silent and barefoot. She tries to approach the girl and finds herself in the school, where the girl is standing at a locker. She asks the girl if she's okay, and the girl sees her and runs away frightened. Angie gives chase briefly then stops, and turns back to the lockers. The one the girl had been standing in front of is ajar, and when Angie opens it to look, a disembodied figure swings an axe, killing her.