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5 Things to Know About ‘Under the Dome’ Before Watching Season 2 Premiere

Death, Pestilence and a Cuddly Big Jim

CBS’s Stephen King adaptation “Under the Dome” returns for its second season Monday. To prepare the world for the second season of the series, which became a breakout summer hit last year, TheWrap has prepared a primer of what to expect from the upcoming season.

1. If the series premiere seems particularly Stephen King-ian, there’s a good reason.
Though the show has already moved past the scope of the 2009 King novel, the author gave a strong stamp of approval to the series by writing the pilot episode. (He also has a cameo in the episode.)

See video: ‘Under the Dome’ Star Rachelle Lefevre Addresses Burning, Pervy Show Questions on ‘Letterman’

According to “Dome” showrunner Neal Baer, King’s authorship of the episode ensured that the season will carry on in his spirit, even if the novel isn’t serving as a blueprint anymore.

“Stephen writing the episode is really sending us off into a place that he feels really proud of and really loves and it’s kind of his idea of how to go beyond the book,” Baer told reporters last month. “And so that’s really special for us to have Stephen launch us this season.”

2. Season 2 is going to tackle some environmental issues.
When it’s not dealing with the drama that the citizens of Chester’s Mill undergo, Season 2 of “Under the Dome” will touch on matters of ecology. In a rather extreme way.

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“This is a season really almost about kind of ecological disaster impending,” Baer offered of the upcoming season.

Dean Norris, who plays “Big Jim” Rennie on the series, added that the townsfolk will experience “Biblical problems of pestilence and bloody rain and things coming because I guess our characters haven’t been the stewards that maybe they should be of protecting the land and protecting each other. So they have a lot to learn this year and I guess the Dome is teaching them.”

3. They’re going to blind us with science.
A central element of “Under the Dome” this season will be the tension between science and faith, a clashed that’s stirred up by the introduction of the character Rebecca Pine (Karla Crome), a schoolteacher who brings her empirical mindframe to the freaky occurrences under the dome.

“[Pine is] seeing the pestilence that’s coming or the rain that is coming and she has scientific explanations.” Baer said. “So we have this real tension between science and faith this year and Big Jim is caught in the middle of it which we think is really cool.”

4. Get ready for some dyin’.
The first few minutes of Monday night’s season premiere see the untimely demise of a beloved character, and by the end of the episode another character settles in for the long dirt nap.

See video: ‘Under the Dome’ Season 2 First Look: Watch Stephen King Tweet … With a Typewriter

But Baer cautions that death doesn’t have to equate to farewell.

“One of our characters met a very untimely death. So will another beloved character,” Baer said. “And that doesn’t mean we won’t necessarily see them again, because anything is possible Under the Dome.”

5. Big Jim gets almost cuddly-ish this time out.
Relatively speaking, of course. Norris’ Big Jim spent much of Season 1 making hard and largely unpopular choices in the name of keeping the peace in Chester’s Mill. But Norris said that Season 2 will reveal a more benevolent side to his character.

“I think that it’s actually in the first episode he has kind of a come to God or come to Dome moment where he believes that maybe his purpose in life isn’t to be so nasty,” Norris said. “And that’s kind of a story arc that continues throughout the season; whether he has a higher purpose, a greater purpose other than just killing people and being mean to his son.”

“Under the Dome” Season 2 premieres Monday at 10 p.m.