It may seem odd during the height of fall premiere season to talk about season finales, but we have a couple of summer holdouts to talk about. One of these has already been renewed, while the other has a far less certain future. Both of them has left viewers clamoring to know what happens next.
“Under the Dome” ended its sophomore year with Big Jim Rennie (Dean Norris) going full tilt psycho and Dale Barbara (Mike Vogel) stuck down a hole with the rest of the town of Chester’s Mill. The final two episodes of the season also served as a clearing house of characters and things started going straight downhill when the Dome itself started contracting. Impossible Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox), still suffering from the egg leaving town, was literally sucked down a hole, causing Junior (Alexander Koch) to barely keep from flipping out.
Jim and Pauline (Sherry Stringfield) finally reconnect only for Lyle (Dwight Yoakam) to literally stab the former Mrs. Rennie in the back. Jim immediately gives Lyle a one-way ticket to the afterlife. Unfortunately, Pauline is on her way to join Lyle when Rebecca Pine (Karla Crome) decides to ease her suffering and help her meet her end painlessly. Guess who Big Jim kills next? He further adds to his already considerable bodycount by offing hoarder Andrea (Dale Raoul) and nearly takes Julia’s (Rachelle Lefevre) life before Junior stops him with a bullet to the shoulder.
Amid all of this, Barbie leads the townspeople down the hole thinking this will lead them out of the Dome. They’d have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for that meddling dead end. Except, after a dance of butterflies, the cave wall falls away to reveal a bright white light surrounding a serene Melanie beckoning everyone to come home. “Under the Dome” has yet to be renewed so we’re left wondering if Melanie means a bright future outside the dome or one the way George Milton promised Lennie Small.
Over on “The Strain” season finale, all kinds of wacky hi-jinks ensue. Erstwhile gang banger Gus (Miguel Gomez) discovers that his kidnappers are vampires, but ones that kill other vampires. Their leader, Mr. Quinlan (Stephen McHattie) explains that The Master (Robert Maillet, voice of Robin Atkins Downe) has broken a long-held truce and the vampire-slaying vampires need a human champion. Gus vengefully vows to be their first employee of the month.
Meanwhile, the decidedly more human group of vamp killers has discovered that The Master is rebuilding his coffin of power at Bolivar’s (Jack Kesey) renovated theater. Eph (Corey Stoll, still sporting a wig), concerned for his son’s safety, decides it is time for Zack (Ben Hyland) to earn his vampire killer merit badge and agrees to take him on the raid to destroy The Master. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. The final stand seems to go pretty well until the group drives The Master into direct sunlight, only to discover it isn’t deadly to the ancient undead leader. He just scampers away to hunt our heroes another day. Oh, and Zack gets to find out his mother has been turned and is intent on killing him. Bad day all around.
“The Strain” returns next summer for a second season of 13 episodes. This first year was uneven, but always exciting so I’m in for more. As stated above, no decision has been reached for “Under the Dome” yet. It shed an average of three million viewers in between seasons so it is uncertain if CBS will be willing to risk a further erosion. I, for one, am hoping we haven’t had our last dramatic adventures in the domed Chester’s Mill.