Under the Dome kicks off with Julia leading Barbie to the mysterious egg in the woods. He’s trying to wrap his mind around how it could be real when the couple arrives to find nothing but an empty spot where the mini-dome used to be. Linda calls Barbie over his walkie-talkie and tells him there were gun shots fired. Barbie replies that he’ll be right there and leaves Julia to investigate what happened to the egg.
Norrie and Joe are trying to catch a chicken for dinner. They discuss the “monarch being crowned,” and decide to go back out to the mini-dome to figure out what Joe’s apparition meant by it.
Big Jim visits Angie in the diner and tells her that the farmers came to an agreement to share resources. Angie informs Big Jim that she wants to be more than the manager of the diner; she wants to own it. Big Jim agrees to give it some thought.
Barbie arrives on scene to find that the shooting was accidental. The man was trying to scare off a druggie named Larry who was in his house claiming that he could hear the dome talking. Linda and Barbie investigate and discover that Reverend Coggins sold him the drug, known as Rapture, from the funeral home.
Junior visits Angie in the diner. She tells him to go away but suddenly goes into a seizure. “Pink stars are falling in line,” she says.
Big Jim comes home to find someone had broken into his house. He points a gun at the woman and asks for one reason why he shouldn’t blow her head off. She steps forward and replies, “Because you don’t want to ruin this beautiful face. Hi, Jimmy.”
Angie wakes up in the back of Junior’s patrol car. She starts kicking and screaming to be let go, but Junior calms her down. He tells her that she had a seizure and that he was only taking her home. He points outside to show her that they had arrived at her house.
Meanwhile, Julia tells Norrie and Joe that the mini-dome is gone. Angie walks in and tells them that she had a seizure. Norrie asks her if she too had said, “The pink stars are falling.” Angie looks at them amazed; the kids tell her that they too have had the seizures. Norrie points out the monarch butterfly tattoo on Angie’s back, but Joe blows it off. Julia, Joe, and Norrie decide to look for the mini-dome again.
The woman in Big Jim’s house is his partner in the drug trade, Max. She was stuck in the dome and laid low for a few days hoping that it would eventually lift. When it didn’t, Max decided to make the best out of a bad situation. She believes that with Big Jim at the helm, they could control the entire town.
Sheriff Linda and Barbie find the drugs hidden in Coggins’s house. They look at the ingredient list and find propane listed. Barbie observes that there sure seems to be a lot of propane in town.
Big Jim proposes taking everyone’s guns to avoid situations like the one that happened earlier in town. Sheriff Linda argues that the people have a constitutional right to bear arms, but Big Jim argues that’s true only if they are still in America, which seems to be less true every day. Big Jim proposes that it be a voluntary program, and he’ll be the first one to relinquish his gun. Sheriff Linda agrees only if it’s temporary, and Barbie also gets on board. Big Jim leaves, and Linda asks Barbie if he’s really buying all this stuff from Rennie. Barbie’s not in agreement at all, but he wants to find out what Big Jim is up to.
Big Jim makes a radio announcement about gun collection. As he’s giving his speech, Rennie’s cohort hides her gun in the glove compartment of her car.
Angie goes to Junior and asks why he believed she was sick. He asks her to follow him; she does.
The elder Rennie is collecting guns, but he’s upset when not everyone is willing to comply. Barbie notes this, especially in relation to one of the citizens, Ted. Rennie tells him that Ted has been “off” ever since losing his wife and son when the dome came down. He argues that they may have to forcibly take Ted’s guns to keep him from getting in trouble.
Sheriff Linda finds the propane stash. The neighbor who previously warned Julia that there was a problem there arrives and tells Linda that Sheriff Perkins knew about it. Linda goes through the security video and finds Perkins meeting with Max outside the warehouse.
Junior takes Angie to his mom’s studio and shows her a painting of him as a child. It shows Junior surrounded by pink stars. He tells her that they are connected.
Big Jim and Barbie arrive at Ted’s place. He immediately defends his property by firing a shot at their car. Rennie calmly talks Ted down as he makes his way up to Ted’s bedroom. There he finds the man surrounded by his guns while sitting on his bed. Big Jim tells him that he just wants to talk. Outside, Barbie covers him with a sniper rifle. Ted tells Big Jim that he’s not giving up anything else and shows him the grenade in his hands. He pulls the pin, but Rennie grabs it in time and puts the pin back in. He escorts Ted out of the house and orders the guns collected.
Max meets up with Big Jim and Barbie. She credits Big Jim for pulling off the gun stunt. A stunned Big Jim looks on as Max walks up to Barbie and kisses him. Barbie guesses that Max was the one behind the whole plot to take the guns. Max says that they really want all the people to be happy, but she is going to cut him on their plan for Chester’s Mill. It turns out that Max is running the whole thing, with her in control of everyone’s situation. It also comes out that Max is the person he called after Julia’s husband was killed.
Norrie and Joe find the mini-dome in his garage. Angie walks in, and they all decide to touch the mini-dome together. It lights up with a blue tint and shows a spot for a fourth hand. It needs one more person.
At Julia’s place, Barbie listens to her talking about her day. He’s distant and guarded with her, which she notices, but she seems to chalk it up to a rough day.
Junior walks outside of the Rennie home to find the storm cellar open. He walks downstairs to find his dad stockpiling all of the town’s weapons.
It’s all about perception with this episode of Under the Dome. Some people might be turned off by all of the different developments that took place in just one hour, but I think “The Fourth Hand” was a game-changer.
First, a couple of things to go over. I’m not a huge fan of bringing in a lot of today’s political debates into the series, but I thought that Under the Dome’s writers did a solid job providing a balanced view of both sides of the issue.
Another thing I wanted to note was Sheriff Linda’s stupidity in relation to her mentor, Sheriff Perkins. Did she already forget that he was trying to confess something to her on the night he died? Is she too dense to put everything together? This character’s inability to think with any intelligence has me wondering if she’s meant to be the butt of the show.
As for the rest of the episode, we had some true honest-to-goodness character development going on. Now we know that Big Jim hasn’t been running Chester’s Mill all along. Instead, it’s been Max behind the scenes. He’s being controlled as much as he’s doing the controlling. Meanwhile, we’re finding out the depth of Barbie’s own problems. He may be our protagonist, but he certainly has his flaws.
Finally, while we know that Junior is certifiably nuts, he’s not a horrible guy either. He’s complex, and his intentions are good, at least he thinks they are. That’s the kind of character this show needs. This version of Junior is far more in-depth than the book’s counterpart, which is fine by me.
Overall, this was perhaps the most enjoyable episode of the series if you enjoy a story that spans in various situations. I’m one of those people, so it gets a solid “9” score from me.