'Under the Dome': 'The Fire' lets Big Jim Rennie play the hero

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under-the-dome-the-fire.jpg "Under the Dome" is only two episodes in, but so far, there are some big changes from the book that have interesting implications for where the series is going.

Big Jim Rennie

The biggest change from the book so far, in our minds, is the character of Big Jim. Obviously, Big Jim is up to no good, with the meth and the propane and telling Rev. Coggins to clean up their mess after Duke dies.

But revealing Big Jim's true nature ( true-true nature) is seemingly on a much slow burn for the series. In the book, Big Jim goes from wannabe BMOC to psychopath in fairly short order. The series seems to be making the character more multi-faceted and certainly not as scarily evil as the Rennie of the book.

It makes sense -- the show wants to be on for more than one summer (and it will be, if the ratings continue like they were for the premiere), so the writers can't blow it too early with having Big Jim go from zero to sixty in three episodes. But the slowed down evolution of Big Jim might also bring a lot more sympathy to the character, a change we think could be interesting to watch.

We aren't 100 percent sold on that, but it's intriguing to think about, at the very least. We don't have a huge problem with the show being different because it would be awfully boring as a continuing series if it was exactly the same. Do you agree?

Another character change that's pretty intriguing (and goes hand-in-hand with Big Jim) is Paul Randolph. In the book, he's Big Jim's right-hand man and is fairly easily manipulated by Jim. Is that where the series is going?

Hard to say -- right now, Randolph just looks like he's unstable and panicking, especially with his shooting at the dome and killing Rusty's brother Freddy Denton. Freddy is a fellow officer, who is not in the book, per se. There is a Freddy Denton who is on the force, but he's not Rusty's brother and he's not a good guy.

Dale "Barbie" Barbara


So, it turns out Barbie did kill Julia's husband, Peter, though not on purpose. They were obviously in an adversarial situation, but Peter drew the gun and then got shot in the ensuing scuffle. All we know so far is that Peter owed Barbie's boss (whoever that is) money. Based on the kerfuffle in finding his lost dogtags, Julia is starting to be a tad suspicious of her houseguest (though she thinks her husband is trapped outside the dome).

Junior Rennie


Psycho kid here still has Angie trapped in his fallout shelter o' love, claiming that she's his and they're meant to be together. In a nice nod to the book, when Angie realizes Junior is jealous of Barbie giving her a cigarette, she very immaturely claims that Barbie is actually her lover, which launches Junior into a rage, tracking Barbie down and trying to fight him.

In the book, Angie makes a pass at Barbie that Barbie turns down, and Angie subsequently tells Junior and his buddies that Barbie attacked her. They in turn go after Barbie. So, it's not a carbon copy of the book storyline, but it's a nice re-imagining of it.

Raise your hand if you think this ends well for Angie. We didn't think so.

Other storylines

  • Guess Duke Perkins' wife Brenda is not a show character, as he leaves all his belongings to Deputy Linda in his will (as a daughter, not in a romantic way). Bummer, we liked the Brenda Perkins character.
  • Joe and buddy Benny Drake are off to map the dome, figuring out exactly where it goes and how high it is. They also pick up a dog, Truman, along the way.
  • Dodee and Phil are hard at work out at the radio station, as Dodee continues to glean information from the military channels outside the dome.
  • Dean Norris (Big Jim) was tweeting during the episode. Some of his gems include "My son has such a way with girls" and (in reference to Rev. Coggins) "Riff Raff from Rocky Horror was booked but we got Ned Bellamy instead." Hee!

What did you think of the second episode of "Under the Dome"?
Photo/Video credit: CBS