This summer’s most perplexing television event was Under the Dome, a show that found the right balance between being somewhat intriguing and ridiculously simple. Of course, a few episodes in, the show proceeded to go off the rails. [Spoiler warning to the uninitiated!] To briefly recap: There were seizures, hallucinations, falling pink stars, and a second dome with a glowing egg inside. And that’s not even addressing the whole propane thing and Max, who had apparently been under the dome the entire time but did not make an appearance until the season was halfway over (and had something to do with butterflies and a monarch to be crowned?). So with all of these disparate components being thrown at the audience (confused? you know where to find Vulture's longer recaps), the valiant citizens of the Internet tried to put all of the clues together and make sense of everything. Here are some of the best, or at least most plausible, theories about Under the Dome's dome.
1. For those hoping that the Stephen King book that Under the Dome is based on would be any more coherent, we have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that the book’s ending is also arbitrary. It turns out that the dome was put there by aliens so they could observe humans like one might observe an ant farm; it’s basically a longer version of that classic Twilight Zone episode, "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." So for those of you who answered questions about who let the dome out with “aliens,” congratulations. Also, nearly everyone dies in a propane-fueled meth explosion. The good news is that reading the book will not have made the TV show any more predictable, so you saved yourself some effort. According to a redditor doing business with the excellent handle SpackleButt: “The book and the series share character names, biographies to an extent, and the fact that there is a dome, [and] that's about it.”
2. SpackleButt's fellow redditor bubbagumpshrimpcomp correctly guessed“aliens,” but assigned them much more altruistic motives:
A benevolent alien race which watches the human race from afar (out of curiosity? a television series? who knows) notices that there is an incoming catastrophe of epic proportions, most likely a hail of large comets (stars falling in lines, not sure where the pink fits in) that would destroy all life on earth. The alien race determines that they will save the human race, but lack the means to save the entire planet. They choose a single town which has a relatively small population that is agriculture based, such that it is self sufficient.
So in this theory, the dome aliens have the same motives as Brainiac. The theory also believes that “pink stars falling” is a reference to the upcoming global catastrophe that will decimate the Earth.
3. Also from Reddit, we get the classic Sixth Sense Theory, positing that Angie, who is murdered by Junior at the beginning of the novel, was actually also murdered at the beginning of the TV show.
On the miniseries Junior does not kill Angie like he does at the very beginning of the book. Instead he holds her hostage in a bunker. My theory is that in the show he still killed her. In the book Junior often comes back to talk to Angie's corpse at different points in the story. That would not be the best image for a major network like CBS. Instead they kept her "alive." Not just to make the visual easier on the audience but because it is also through Junior's perspective that he really thinks he is still talking to Angie.
4. Yet another redditor, steinmas, thinks that there might be another game-changer (domechanger?) in the works, pertaining to the military transmission that Dodee intercepted: “I don't think that the radio is the military, I think it's the dome.” Maybe! The dome can control the weather, and it seemed to react to Junior saving Angie. Maybe it can also talk through radios. Why not?
5. Elsewhere on Reddit, someone theorizes that the black egg or the cocoon in the mini-dome are for something about to be reborn.
Here is an interesting plot twist: The dome is some supernatural force that is being reborn into the world. In order to be reborn, it has to pick a host (aka the monarch). It protects itself and the host inside the two domes, and when it is ready it takes over their body. Every season would be a new one coming to life in a new city, and the plot line could expand from there.
There’s actually some good stuff here. Something has to hatch out of the egg or emerge from the cocoon, right? Maybe? At the very least, Big Jim and Barbie’s struggle for control over the town fits in with the “the monarch will be crowned” motif, since there can be only one leader and this show is all about power struggles. Secondly, the idea of a dome anthology series is a good one. They should just take the premise of “what if there is a sudden dome?” each year and jettison everything else. Bring in new showrunners. Matthew Weiner’s Mad Dome, Chuck Lorre’s Two and a Half Domes, David Simon’s Under the Dome (pronounced “dome-ay”). I would watch.
6. All of the stuff about monarchs and pink stars is also under intense speculation, since nobody really knows what it means. Barbie and Jim could be the monarch. Maybe Angie is the monarch because she has a butterfly tattoo. Julia could be the monarch because “she went into a coma, which could be a parallel to a chrysalis, and she has orange hair, the same color as monarch wings! ORANGE HAIR!” Orange hair indeed. Get ready for Under the Dome Season 2: Orange Hair.