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Pilot (Under the Dome)

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"Pilot," the first episode of Under the Dome, aired on CBS on 24 June 2013.

The episode was written by Brian K. Vaughan and directed by Niels Arden Oplev.

Summary

The people of Chester's Mill wake up to a nice normal day, like every other day in their quiet Maine town... until a giant invisible dome surrounds the town, preventing anyone from getting in or out.

Deep in the forest, a man buries a dead body.

At the Chester's Mill Town Hall, Linda Esquivel wakes Duke Perkins to inform him that Sam Verdreaux called in "some kind of a bang." Duke agrees to look into the matter, claiming that "you never know with this damn place."

At the Sweetbriar Rose, Jim Rennie reads Churchill: the Power of Words, and tells Rose Twitchell that he will be working at his used car lot rather than joining his fellow town councilmen in a pregame parade float.

At the Rennie Residence, Angie McAlister and Jim Rennie, Jr. have sex. Junior professes his love for Angie, announcing that he's dropped out of college to be with her, claiming that she is the only person who truly knows him. Angie rejects Junior, who roughly grabs her arm as she attempts to walk out; Angie slaps Junior, inciting a silent fury in him, before she leaves the house.

At the Grinnell Residence, journalist Julia Shumway visits with Andrea Grinnell, who informs Shumway that a propane truck across the street is making its fourth propane delivery of the week, and that the same truck made six deliveries the previous week. Grinnell suggests that the deliveries may have terrorist connections; she explains that she called Sheriff Perkins three days prior, but that Perkins claimed that the Town Hall is restocking its emergency supply and "everything's above board." Grinnell claims, however, that Perkins sounded nervous while delivering the explanation, and Shumway assures Grinnell that she'll "do some digging" even as Grinnell insists on remaining an anonymous source.

In the forest, the man finishes covering over the makeshift grave and drives off in a Dodge Charger.

Back in town, Perkins and Linda witness a procession of firetrucks leaving for the parade in West Lake.

On the road, the Charger barrels down the highway while the man speaks to someone on his cellphone, explaining that "your guy Smith shows up; he doesn't have the money; and then he tries to renegotiate. Aggressively." The man hangs up when he spots a police car, and opens his glovebox to reveal a handgun. In the police car, Perkins notices the absence of a front-tag on the approaching Charger, and Linda calls in the license plate number BAB162 as the Dodge passes them. The man drives on down the road, watching the police car disappear in his rearview mirror without turning around to pursue him. When he finally looks to the road again, he is startled to find two cows standing in highway; he swerves to avoid them, running off the road and crashing through a fence before skidding to a stop in the middle of a field. Dozens more cows scatter as the man assesses the damage to the Charger, finding a tire flat and discovering his own spare missing. Suddenly, the man witnesses a flock of birds take flight as what feels like an earthquake strikes the town.

At Big Jim's Cars, Rennie experiences the earthquake as the alarms in his cars sound.

Outside a church, Angie experiences the earthquake as the church's bells clang.

At the Rennie Residence, Junior experiences the earthquake as windchimes ring.

At the office of The Independent, Shumway experiences the earthquake as her office supplies tumble to the floor.

On the road, Perkins slams on the brakes of his police car, clutching at his chest.

In the field, the man witnesses a moment of cataclysmic impact, collapsing to the ground as the herd of cows scatters. One cow remains in place, and the man watches it gruesomely fall in half, sliced longwise down the center to reveal its bloody innards. The man approaches the severed cow and discovers a trench cut into the ground. When he attempts to touch the still-standing half of the cow, his hand receives a shock. Stumbling and bracing himself among the carnage, he winds up with the cow's blood on his palm. He then realizes that everything along the trench, including an entire barn building, has been split; he reaches out, pressing his hand against an invisible barrier and leaving a bloody handprint seemingly hovering in the air.

The man examines the body of the cow for a moment longer before he is encountered by Joe McAlister who witnessed the Charger spin out. Joe then reaches out to touch the bloody handprint hovering in the air and receives a shock before spotting the severed barn nearby.

On the road, Perkins tells Linda that his "pacemaker must have skipped a beat," but insists that he's fine as radio calls begin flooding in. Perkins learns that all of the Police Department's landlines have gone dead; Freddy Denton calls in downed powerlines near the Clinic, and Paul reports similar problems at the Food Mart. Linda hypothesizes that a tornado may have caused the damage as Perkins spots a prop-plane cruising overhead.

In the field, Joe continues to test the barrier, likening it to the kind of invisible fence used to restrain dogs. Moments later, several birds fall from the sky, their necks broken, and shortly after that, the two spot the prop-plane as it crashes into the barrier. Debris from the wreck plummets to the ground; the man narrowly saves Joe from being crushed by the plane's tail, even as a severed leg falls feet from them.

At Big Jim's Cars, Rennie and his customers spot the black mark left by the prop-plane explosion hovering in the air, and Rennie leaves the dealership.

In the field, the man discovers that his cellphone service is dead, and Joe searches the wreckage, finding a purse with ID that indicates that the plane was being flown by Claudette Sanders. The man then spots a firetruck speeding down the highway toward the barrier and rushes into its path to wave it off, causing the truck to skid to a stop feet from the trench. Joe notes that they cannot hear the truck's sirens, and the first firefighter to climb out collides with the barrier. The man then writes a note telling the firefighters to call the FAA, though Joe questions the advisability of notifying the government. The man claims that the barrier is not likely the work of the government, "because it works."

At the WYBS station headquarters, Dodee Weaver gets the station's generator running, and Phil Bushey announces the station's return before playing a record. Dodee informs Phil that the entire dial is static except for WYBS, and though Phil cannot explain the phenomenon, he claims that the station's "ratings are going to be amazing."

At the prop-plane crash site, Perkins and Linda arrive to find Joe and the man. Linda spots Rusty on the opposite side of the barrier and approaches, receiving a shock even as Rusty does the same from the other side; neither of them can hear the other through the barrier. Moments later, Rennie arrives and identifies the plane as belonging to Chuck Thompson, and Perkins receives several radio calls concerning car accidents and fatalities. Linda, Perkins, and Rennie then realize that the entire town has been cut off from the outside world.

Linda sends Joe home as she, Perkins, and Rennie lay out a map of Chester's Mill and discuss their emergency protocols, and Shumway arrives at the scene to photograph the crash. Perkins instructs Linda to commandeer Shumway's vehicle, and he, Linda and Rennie leave the scene to coordinate the police response. Shumway follows the man as he returns to his Charger, and he introduces himself as "Barbie" while insisting that he's not her story.

At Mill Gas & Grocery, Carolyn Hill, Alice Calvert, and Norrie Calvert-Hill attempt to buy fuel, but the station has lost power. As they leave the station, they spot two police squad cars racing past, and resolve to continue on their trip without stopping for lunch.

In the forest, Shumway and Barbie proceed to test the barrier, and Barbie claims that even if the barrier disappears as suddenly as it appeared, the United States Army will immediately quarantine the town. Moments later, they approach a house that has been sheared in half, and discover a woman attempting to tie a tourniquet around her own severed hand. Barbie rushes to the woman and picks her up, carrying her back toward town.

At the WYBS station headquarters, Dodee finds nothing but static on the television as well. Moments later, Rennie arrives at the station, smashing his way through the door and demanding access to the equipment in order to make an emergency broadcast. Phil lets him into the studio.

At the Rennie Residence, Junior listens to WYBS and mindlessly fiddles with a butterfly knife; he prepares to cut himself just before his father's voice takes over the radio station.

At Sweetbriar Rose, Rose and Angie listen to Rennie's broadcast.

Outside a church, parishioners listen as Rennie instructs all drivers to stop their vehicles immediately.

On the road, Carolyn and Norrie argue over Norrie's cellphone use and aggressive behavior before Alice turns on the radio to hear Rennie's broadcast. Norrie insists that it's merely a piece of viral marketing, and Carolyn continues driving until she witnesses a Fresh Times Grocery truck further down the road crash into what appears to be nothing but air, flattening itself against the barrier. Carolyn slams on the breaks, stopping feet from the barrier. The three climb out to inspect the destroyed truck, but Norrie collapses on the highway, foaming at the mouth and mumbling that "the stars are falling."

At the McAlister residence, Joe returns home to find his sister Angie; he assures her that their father is driving out of town, and discovers that their mother is "having brunch with uncle Steve at Denny's." He reminds her that Denny's is in West Lake, which is on the other side of the barrier, and that they are on their own.

At the Chester's Mill Clinic, dozens of patients arrive in cars, trucks, and ambulances with various injuries sustained due to the sudden appearance of the barrier. Shumway and Barbie arrive with the woman they found, and an orderly asks Shumway where her husband is; she insists that he "always works Sundays," but the orderly claims that Peter "hasn't worked Sundays in weeks." Shumway suggests that Peter may have gone home, and leaves the Clinic.

On a road near the barrier, Linda stands before a gaggle of journalists, but cannot hear them; on the opposite side of the barrier, the reporters hurl questions at her. Moments later, Linda spots military Humvees arriving, and watches as soldiers in Hazmat suits escort the journalists away before measuring the barrier with Geiger counters.

Outside the Clinic, Barbie smokes next to a dumpster before being approached by Angie, who asks for a cigarette. A block away, Junior watches Angie and Barbie from inside his pick-up truck, fiddling with his butterfly knife. Angie questions Barbie about what he saw, and tells him that some of her patients believe that the town is trapped in a giant fishbowl; she tells him that she once had goldfish, but when one got sick, the other ate it. Junior climbs out of his truck to approach Angie, believing that she is flirting with Barbie, but stops as Carolyn and Alice arrive at the Clinic in a rush with Norrie still suffering from her seizure.

Angie helps Norrie from the car, and Barbie leaves the Clinic as Junior watches him.

Later that night, Perkins arrives back at the Chester's Mill Town Hall to find Rennie inside alone. Rennie explains that none of the other councilmen have returned his calls yet, and suggests authorizing additional police officers in order to provide the Department additional manpower, but Perkins refuses. Rennie then asks what to tell people who might ask about the stockpile of propane; Perkins claims that he knows nothing about the fuel, but Rennie responds that Perkins isn't stupid, no matter how much he ignored; Perkins insists that he only did what he had to do to keep Chester's Mill from going broke. Rennie simply reminds Perkins that they are "all in this together."

At the WYBS station headquarters, Dodee explains to Phil that she managed to increase the antenna's power and pick up an inconsistent stray signal that consists of music, cellphone conversations, and news broadcasts. As they listen to the faint noises, they catch a reporter refering to the barrier as a "dome."

In the field, Barbie retrieves his handgun from the glovebox of his Charger, and is approached by Junior, who asks if they know each other. Barbie ignores Junior, angering him, and Junior becomes aggressive, but Barbie advises him not to start an altercation. Moments later, Shumway arrives and Junior leaves; Barbie asks after Shumway's husband, and learns that Peter was not at home or at any of the roadblocks. She then insists that Barbie stay at her and Peter's house since all of the motels in Chester's Mill are filled, and the two leave the Charger as military vehicles pull up to the opposite side of the barrier.

On a road near the barrier, Joe finds dozens of teenagers having an impromptu party on a bridge, and encounters his schoolmate Ben. The two leave the bridge, climbing down into the riverbed, and Joe explains that he's looking for the barrier's power source, theorizes that it may be inside the town. Moments later, he collapses, foaming at the mouth and mumbling that "the stars are falling in lines."

Angie walks home. At the McAlister residence, she finds the power out and heads into the kitchen to find a box of matches. As she lights a candle, Junior attacks her from behind, holding her at knifepoint; she fights back and runs for the door, but Junior tackles her, hitting her head against a countertop and knocking her unconscious. He apologizes and kisses the wound on her forehead.

Later that night, Perkins and Linda arrive at the Sweetbriar Rose to find most of the townspeople of Chester's Mill inside. Perkins informs those assembled that twelve people died as a result of the barrier's sudden appearance around the town. Rose asks for an explanation, and Carolyn insists that the town is under attack, but Perkins insists that they simply don't know enough about what's going on to make any assumptions.

Angie awakens, and finds herself in a locked room as Junior arrives. She screams for help until Junior shouts for her to stop because no one can hear her: he has locked her in his father's "old fallout shelter." Angie insists that Junior has lost his mind, but he counters that only he truly understands "what's going on around here" before asking for her patience. She lunges at him instead, but he exits the room and bolts the door before she can escape, leaving her inside as he climbs back to the surface and locks the hatch.

In the backyard, Rennie discovers his son at the hatch to the fallout shelter, and Junior claims that he checked the bunker to find it completely flooded. When Junior insists that he wants to help, Rennie gives his son an awkward hug, and the two leave the backyard as Junior glances back to the fallout shelter hatch.

At the Shumway Residence, Julia and Barbie arrive to find Peter missing but the power still working due to a backup generator that Rennie once convinced the Shumway's to purchase. Julia then shows Barbie a photograph of Peter, who Barbie recognizes as "Smith," the man he killed and buried in the forest. Julia laments that the town must think that her husband is surely having an affair, but she insists that he isn't and that he will turn up. She then shows Barbie to his room.

At the site of the prop-plane crash, Perkins and Linda examine the roadblock as Linda laments that she was supposed to be at the game in West Lake with Rusty. When she questions why the barrier sealed off Chester's Mill, Perkins suggests that perhaps they are being punished, and explains that he tried to protect Linda from the town's darker secrets. When Linda presses him for details, he claims that he was approached a year earlier about a matter; before he can explain further, he reaches out and touches the barrier, receiving a shock that causes his pacemaker to explode inside his chest, killing him instantly. Military personnel swarm on the opposite side of the barrier.

Over radio and television, journalists report that the government, law enforcement, and the military have no answers to explain the phenomenon, instead quoting only a scientist who claims that, "This is an unparalleled event in human history." And while Linda screams for help over Perkins' body, helicopters circle the inexplicable dome that encases Chester's Mill.

Credits

Starring

With

And

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

Reviews

A Letter From Stephen

On 27 June 2013, Stephen King published an open letter to his fans regarding the differences between "the TV version of Under the Dome [and] the book version."

See Also

Under the Dome Season One episodes(S2)
"Pilot" "Into the Fire" "Manhunt" "Outbreak" "Blue on Blue"
"The Endless Thirst" "Imperfect Circles" "Thicker Than Water"
"The Fourth Hand" "Let the Games Begin" "Speak of the Devil"
"Exigent Circumstances" "Curtains"

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