As de facto leader of Chester's Mill, Big Jim Rennie (Dean Norris) has had a lot on his plate since the dome descended on Under the Dome. Whether it's a greedy racist hillbilly trying to take over the town or the threat of Rev. Coggins (Ned Bellamy) outing his drug business, Jim has faced adversity without turning into his dastardly novel counterpart — but that's about to change.
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Last week, when the aforementioned Ollie (Leon Rippy) set out to take control of Big Jim's propane, the councilman made an example by blowing up his lackey. That act of aggression set things in motion for Big Jim to face off against his son Junior (Alexander Koch) for a family reunion that could turn deadly when secrets are revealed. To get the scoop on what executive producer Neal Baer calls an Emmy-worthy performance from Norris, TVGuide.com turned to the man himself:
How does Big Jim and Junior's relationship come to a head this week?
Dean Norris: It's one of my favorite episodes that we've been building to. We deal with a turning point in our relationship. Junior has been told one thing about what his mother has gone through and I reveal something else that really happened with his mom and it's a pretty emotional point. You see a part of Big Jim that you never, ever would've thought you'd see. That's the most interesting part of this particular episode. I'm really proud of this episode.
How is Junior handling his father shutting him out?
Norris: It's obviously a very strenuous and weird relationship with a lot of dysfunction in it. His dad has told him he's sick and he has problems. The way he deals with it is to kick him out of the house, which isn't the best parenting technique. Junior reacts. He's always wanted the love of his father and he's never had it. So this final betrayal by his dad to kick him out leads Junior to want to kill him and that's what he intends to do.
Why does Big Jim decide to tell Junior about his mother now?
Norris: He uses it to reach an understanding with Junior. To say, "OK, you're older now in a way that I can tell you something truthful about your mom that I haven't told you before." The mother and her backstory comes to play in a very, very important way in episodes down the line. After what we do on Monday night, it's going to be hard for us to ever be the same, so it changes [our relationship] in many ways for the better.
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Will we see Big Jim becoming more like his novel counterpart?
Norris: You're going to see a side of Big Jim to really make you feel sorry for him and go, "Oh wow, he's much more humane and human than we'd peg him to be."
What can you tell us about Natalie Zea's character?
Norris: You're going to see that there's a connection between Big Jim and Natalie Zea's character. By the way, she's one of my favorite actresses. I was so happy when she got cast. I'm a big Natalie Zea fan and she knocks it out of the park.
How will her introduction affect both Barbie (Mike Vogel) and Big Jim?
Norris: They're going to have to deal with each other in a way that they didn't realize they had to before. That plays out toward the end of the series.
How will the town try to utilize the mini-dome in order to control the big dome?
Norris: The mini-dome becomes the source of power. The question is: When does Big Jim find out about the mini-dome, what does he do about it, what does he know about it and what is he going to do to take control of it?
Under the Dome airs Mondays at 10/9c on CBS.
(Additional reporting by Adam Bryant)
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)