The episode opens with more hints about why Barbie killed Julia’s husband, although the story remains unclear. Barbie endears himself to some of the townsfolk before heading over to the cabin where he killed Peter to look for his dog tags. Junior Rennie meets him there after Angie lied and told him that she slept with Barbie. Junior confronts Barbie, who denies any involvement. A fight ensues with Barbie getting the upper hand; he warns Junior to stay away from him.
Julia discovers that the field surrounding the town is indeed a dome while visiting with Dodee and Phil at the radio station. She then informs the town. Julia also discovers that the military is not responsible for the dome.
Joe and his friend Ben take it upon themselves to research the dome. They discover that a small amount of water does seep through the dome when water is sprayed upon it.
Sheriff Perkins’s body is taken to the town coroner/priest Lester Coggins. Here we discover that there is some type of operation taking place in the town involving drugs and propane. Perkins, Big Jim Rennie and Coggins were all in on it, although the Sheriff’s involvement appears to be more “for the good” of the town. Big Jim dispatches Coggins to Perkins’s house to destroy any evidence of the operation.
Coggins, who has been sampling whatever drug is involved in the operation, accidentally sets fire to Perkins’s house. The entire town is required to put the fire out before it spreads. Barbie steps in and takes charge, and the fire is finally put out after Big Jim uses a tractor to bulldoze the house and contain it.
The episode ends with Deputy Paul shooting his gun at the dome. The bullet ricochets off the dome and kills Deputy Freddy, who happened to be Deputy Esquivel’s future brother-in-law.
Well, if there was any concern about the show sticking with the book, just let it go. With the second episode out of the way, it’s clear that the adapted version of “Under the Dome” is its own animal. Many of the same characters are there, but changes have been made. Some characters who are alive should be dead, and some characters who played an important role in the book don’t exist at all. That’s simply how it is.
“Fire” is similar to the pilot episode. Both episodes have large amounts of action, but they lack any real character development. “Fire” does show Big Jim as a sort of benevolent villain, and Barbie is established as an even more complex character than before, but that’s about it. The best thing about Stephen King’s works is that he does spend time developing his characters and telling the story. That’s not what’s happening right now. At this point, I’m wondering why I should care about Barbie or the rest of Chester’s Mill ?
That said, there are some positives to the episode. It does show the type of unity the town has at this point in the series, which is an important note. “Fire” also gives viewers more information about the dome. However, these small positives don’t outweigh the lack of character development in the first two episodes. “Under the Dome” can do better than this. Oh, and just one more thing: look for the Dark Tower easter egg that takes place early in the episode. That alone raises the episode score.