“Ah! We are under the dome!” So realize the inhabitants of small-town Chester’s Mill. But why not just dig a tunnel beneath the dome? (Background: Why Not Dig “Under The Dome”?, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of June 28, 2013)
In episode 2 of the mini-series, based upon a novel by Stephen King, someone at last tries to dig under the “dome.” So far, though, no luck for the local inhabitants. On the outside of the “dome”, military and feds ponder the dome. Maybe they could do better at digging underneath than the Chester’s Mill local yokels! In his book, Underground Bases and Tunnels, Richard Sauder “takes us behind the scenes into little-known corners of the public record and discover[s] how corporate America has worked hand-in-glove with the Pentagon for decades — dreaming about, planning and actually constructing secret underground bases!” So the feds would know plenty about how to dig a tunnel under the “dome” and reconnect the local yokels with the outside world. The feds have “nuclear tunneling machines,” according to Sauder. That is a far cry from a few Chester’s Mill yokels with a back-hoe.
In episode 2 we learn the “dome” is permeable to water, so at least it looks like rain can get into the isolated Chester’s Mill.
What is the deeper parable of “Under the Dome”? At this point it looks like a microcosm for the so-called “global warming.” The eco-system is fragile and Chester’s Mill cannot survive unless they all pull together. Think of a dome on the moon: Inside, the astronauts survive within a fragile umbrella.
Or maybe “Under the Dome” reflects the financial catastrophe of 2008-2009. Or maybe it foresees a greater collapse: Ben Bernanke, “Federal” Reserve chieftain, just barely breathes a suggestion of cutback in “quantitative easing” and there is a minor financial panic. To survive, all must pull together, under the “dome.” A nice thought from idealists like Stephen King, but why “pull together” if you belong to the wealthiest one percent?
An anti-gun subtext appears in episode 2 in the form of a local police officer who has “stockpiled” weapons. This person (the gun believer) of course has gone haywire, which is to be expected in any “politically correct” parable. Few African-Americans inhabit Chester’s Mill. That dilemma is resolved by a black lesbian lady and her partner who had been just passing through when the “dome” descended and trapped them in the town.
Stephen King now divides his time between a home in Maine and a home in Florida. He must have written “Under the Dome” in Florida, since it lacks the normal King inspiration from his earlier Maine-only days. A return to the Maine roots is hoped for in King’s latest offering, “Joyland.” Not that Joyland takes place in Maine (it doesn’t), but those long dark winter nights in Maine seem to have enhanced the Stephen King muse.