"Under the Dome" returned to the small screen with double the drama -- and double the confusion -- when the hit CBS series aired its two-hour Season 3 premiere. But it wasn’t until halfway through episode 2, “But I’m Not,” did we start to slightly understand what was going on in the wildly chaotic premiere.
Episode 1, “Move On” (which is a phrase we heard a lot throughout the premiere) kicked off right where the Season 2 finale left off: with Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox) leading the residents of Chester’s Mill to what we thought was going to be safety.
“Follow me. We’re going home. It’s time to move on,” she says.
Barbie (Mike Vogel) encourages his fellow neighbors to take a leap of faith and jump into the void of white fog, which would allegedly bring them to freedom. Next thing Chester’s Mill residents know, they’re outside of the Dome looking in as pink stars shoot to the top of the sphere, causing it to crack and explode. Barbie runs back into the Dome-free town to return to Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) like he promised her in the Season 2 finale, only to find her, Junior (Alexander Koch) and Big Jim (Dean Norris) dead in the woods.
“Under the Dome” then flash-forwards one year, revealing where all the residents of Chester’s Mills are now. Nori (Mackenzie Lintz) is a sorority girl, Joe (Colin Ford) has been accepted into a prestigious tech school and Barbie is in Yemen working with the military alongside Hunter (Max Ehrich) and, not to mention, dating (and showering with) his operations manager, Eva (Kylie Bunbury).
Life is pretty good, it seems, until Barbie has another one of his night terrors about Julia’s death. That’s when Eva suggests to her beau that he return to Chester’s Mill for the upcoming memorial. When he arrives at the town, he’s welcomed with open arms -- and a warning. Ben (John Elvis) confesses to Barbie (after the two see an apparition of Melanie walking down the street) that he feels like there’s something off with Chester’s Mill.
“None of this is real,” he says, explaining that things have been “off” since the Dome came crashing down. For example, he doesn’t have asthma anymore!
Later on, the shaggy-haired boy tells Barbie he found proof that they’re living in a faux reality. But before he’s able to show Barbie his evidence, he’s strangled to death -- by Melanie!
Here’s where things get confusing: Melanie has created an alternate universe for the Chester’s Mill residents in order to help them -- in her own twisted way -- move on. She’s controlling their lives through a web of cocoons, which are connected by pink, stringy branches, located in the tunnel underneath Chester’s Mills.
That means Big Jim, Julia and Junior are actually alive back in the real universe. And ultimately it takes all of them to eventually stop the sweet faced-villain -- although, they do face their fair share of obstacles.
At first, Julia is reluctant to hear Big Jim out when he says that Melanie isn’t as innocent as she seems. Julia thinks he’s lying -- which she has every right to -- even when Big Jim brings her to the dead body of Don (Brett Cullen), Melanie’s father (who Melanie killed after he returned to Chester’s Mill to give his daughter the coveted egg).
“You’re wrong about her,” Julia says after Big Jim states that she got played.
But eventually she learned Big Jim was right -- and it ended up taking both of them to end Melanie's reign of sticky-terror. Before Melanie was able to shove Julia into a cocoon of her own, Big Jim showed up to the creepy room with guns blazing.
“What do you say, Red?” he asks Julie before shooting the mystical egg. Melanie pleads for them not to ruin “their progress” but Big Jim has a mission -- and it’s to save his son.
The two-hour premiere ends on a gooey note as the residents emerge from their cocoons, confused, disorientated and covered in slime.
What did you think of the Season 3 premiere of “Under the Dome”? Sound off in the comments section below.