Going Under the Dome: Neal Baer Addresses the Mechanics of the Dome

TV Guide

Mike Vogel, Dean Norris | Photo Credits: Michael Tackett/©2013

[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Monday's episode of Under the Dome as well as the Stephen King novel the series is based on. Read at your own risk.]

The residents of Chester's Mill have finally learned the obvious: They're under a dome.

Monday's episode of Under the Dome saw the town finally connect the dots, as Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) commandeered the radio station to announce what government officials had already figured out. Now comes the hard part, as the town begins to feel the suffocating realization that there's a good chance they could all die inside the dome — whether that means from the elements, like this week's house fire, or from each other remains to be seen. With so many new questions raised in Week 2, TVGuide.com turned to executive producer Neal Baer to get scoop on what's next:

Going Under the Dome: Showrunner Neal Baer dissects the series premiere

Will we see more of the mechanics behind the dome?
Young Joe McAlister (Colin Ford) acted as the audience's eyes and ears this week, asking the same questions we've been asking since the premiere. Apparently they haven't had much luck digging under the dome, but if they used anything more powerful that is powered by batteries, whoever is operating the machine would get fried — like when Duke's (Jeff Fahey) pacemaker exploded. We also learned that the dome acts like a strainer, letting water — and likely air — pass through it, which means the residents shouldn't suffocate.
Neal Baer's response: "Next week, Junior (Alexander Koch) and Julia go on a journey below the town, so we really get into these questions. The smoke went up to the top of the dome and presumably it would dissipate like the smoke from the plane crash, but we haven't talked about whether people in the dome can suffer from asphyxiation. Water can seep through and air molecules can get through, but air pollution has lots of particulates and particle matter, and I don't think that matter can get through the dome. The military is trying to figure it out and we will have some answers in the next couple episodes."

What's wrong with the Rennie family?
In King's book, Big Jim (Dean Norris) is quite evil, and it's obvious that he's heading in the same direction on the show as well. But that's nothing compared to Junior, who has gotten even more deranged in less than 24 hours. Now he's chained Angie (Britt Robertson) up in the fall-out shelter, and decides to confront and fight Barbie (Mike Vogel) after Angie says she slept with him. (For the record, she didn't.) How is this family so messed up and where is the mother?
Baer's response: "The mother is dead and we will get into that. There's always more than what appears on the surface."

How will CBS' Under the Dome differ from Stephen King's novel?

Will Linda start digging into the secrets surrounding Chester's Mill?
The last thing Duke told Linda (Natalie Martinez) was that there were secrets in this town — and with Chester's Mill being trapped by the dome, you'd think Linda would start digging into what those could be, especially since the priest Lester (Ned Bellamy) was found in Duke's home that he left to Linda during the big fire. We did one learn thing though: The propane was apparently for drugs since Lester was high on Big Jim's stuff.
Baer's response: "She'll definitely be doing a lot of investigating."

Will we see flashbacks to life before the dome?
We got a brief glimpse at the morning before the dome descended upon the town, as we learned why Barbie killed Julia's husband Peter (R. Keith Harris). Apparently Peter owed Barbie's boss money and their fight got out of hand and Barbie had to shoot him during the scuffle. But there are so many other story lines we'd love to see, including the scope of Big Jim's side business.
Baer's response: "We're not going to do the flashbacks very often. It's just a way to do a couple things. It's not going to be like Lost where we flash-back. It's all really present."

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Will the community band together?
Lost's motto was "Live together or die alone." The residents were certainly put to that test during Monday's episode, as they banded together to put out the fire at Duke's house. But Paul (Kevin Sizemore) showed his true colors soon after, shooting wildly at the dome, which ended up killing one of his fellow officers. Will this cause the town to divide?
Baer's response: "We're dividing the series into thirds: faith, fear and fascism. This is faith and we have some fear coming in, with Duke's house on fire. They worked together."

Will they start to take stock of what and who is in the town?
Barbie was the first to really take part in this, buying extra cigarettes at the liquor store, as well as retrieving his missing dog tags from Peter's cabin — because if Julia goes in search of her husband, she'd definitely be even more suspicious finding Barbie's ID there. Even the police — at least crazy Paul — is preparing for a free-for-all in the town by stocking up on guns, which eventually caused him to go crazy and turn on the town. Will they begin to prepare for worse times? 
Baer's response: "Wouldn't you if you were under the dome? [Laughs] It's not a good idea to shoot guns. By the time you get to Episode 7, it's an absolutely spectacular episode that reminds me of the things I did on ER. Because we have such a wonderful ensemble cast, we're able to put together interesting folks and combinations that you haven't seen before. Next week, you'll see Junior and Julia together and Barbie and Big Jim, so that's fun for us. Next week is called 'Manhunt.'" 

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How do the writers feel about the show's criticisms?
The CBS drama has diverged quickly from King's novel, which caused quite a stir this week. So much so, King penned an open letter to the fans in support of the series.
Baer's response: "Our intention was never to adapt the book scene by scene or plot point by plot point, but to use it as a stepping stone for a television series that couldn't possibly have all the characters that the book has and to generate it in such a way that it would be ongoing because the book only covers a short amount of time. Everything is open to possibilities. We're staying true to some of the character elements. For me, as a fan of the book, I like — and this is the case for The Walking Dead — that you're getting the best of both worlds. You're getting some things you're familiar with, but you're getting some fresh perspective. That's really fun because I understand that there are some who want it exactly like the book, but there's room for both."

What did you think of this week's Under the Dome? Submit your questions in the comments section below for next week's edition of Going Under the Dome.

Under the Dome airs Mondays at 10/9c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)

 

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