The ending is throw-the-book-across-the-room horrible, and it’s why I won’t waste my time on the TV show.
There’s nothing worse in the world of fandom when one of your favorites screws up epically (see Star Wars: Jar Jar Binks). I’ve been a fan of Stephen King since I was 15, and his Dark Tower series, aside from when he stuck himself in the books as a character, remains one of my favorite series of books (I’ll write a more comprehensive blog post on the Dark Tower books – the good, the bad and the weird – later).
Now I realize that sci-fi/horror/speculative fiction is a landmine for plot missteps. You begin with a fantastical premise and must go from there. It’s easy to paint yourself into a corner plot-wise, and there are plenty of well-known controversial creative choices (see the final seasons of Lost and Battlestar Galactica for two).
But none are as horrendous or unforgivable as Stephen King’s ending to Under the Dome.
The plot: a dome suddenly covers a small Maine (duh – it’s King) town. Nothing can get in or out. Lord of the Flies style chaos ensues.
The ending reads like a rejected Twilight Zone script. Maybe I’d be more generous if there was a single likable character. It’s bad enough that the villains were mustache-twirling caricatures; the heroes were either cardboard or they were jerks. The TV show Lost had some plot convolutions that required hefty suspensions of logic, but at least the writers had you invested in the characters – even the villains were multifaceted. By the end of Under the Dome I would have voted to keep them all trapped and smothered.
So how exactly did it end? You really want to know? Okay.
It turns out the dome was set in place by a child alien on another planet. He was playing with the town as a human child would use a magnifying glass to torture ants. The alien parent calls, and the alien child lifts the dome. The End.
Eleven hundred words for that. Ugh.
King needed a good editor. He needed someone to say HELL NO, try again. All writers need at least one pair of non-starstruck eyes.
I’ve read that the TV show will deviate from the book. I’m not wasting my time.