Under the Dome's Rachelle Lefevre Talks Season 2 Finale, Julia's 'Spidey Senses' and Dormant Monarch Subplot

Rachelle Lefevre on Under the Dome

There are few things more intriguing to Rachelle Lefevre than a strong female character.

She’s played one for the past two summers, as the resilient Julia Shumway on CBS’ sci-fi drama Under the Dome, which airs its Season 2 finale on Monday at 10/9c.

And in her new movie Reclaim (now in select theaters and available on VOD),  she stars as Shannon, a desperate but tough woman who adopts a young Haitian girl with her husband (Ryan Phillippe) and uncovers a dangerous underground scam.

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TVLine chatted with Lefevre about the Dome season ender and her latest big-screen role. Read on to learn about her toughest day in Chester’s Mill, her theories on that pesky egg and why she was drawn to the role of Shannon.

TVLINE | You said at Comic-Con that Under the Dome‘s season finale would be a cliffhanger in the most literal sense of the word. Any extra hints about how that tunnel to Zenith will play into the episode?
It will be involved massively. There is evidence of the possibility of escape. Obviously, Barbie left. And came back. [Laughs] So there is evidence that it is possible. If you know you can get out, you’re going to try.

Rachelle Lefevre and Mike VogelTVLINE | Ever since we learned that Julia is the monarch, we haven’t heard much more about it in Season 2. Will it come up again?
You’ll hear about it again. It’s not that it didn’t happen; of course it’s still relevant. But it definitely took a backseat when Melanie got introduced. Julia is the monarch now in the present time, but then Melanie comes back, who essentially seems like the monarch of her time, right? Melanie has all the same feelings that Julia has. She feels connected to the egg, but she can’t explain it. She wants to protect it; she doesn’t know why. She’s physically connected to it, in the opposite way that I am, which is kind of interesting. When bad things happen to the egg or when she’s separated from it, her health fails, whereas my character has been shot, impaled… [Laughs]…. stabbed in the ribcage to make a puncture-hole for air in her chest cavity. And somehow, against all physical odds, I’m sort of OK. And so, the implication from the end of last season is that my connection to the dome and the egg are somehow making me stronger. It’s an interesting juxtaposition between how her connection to the egg makes her vulnerable and mine makes me stronger.

TVLINE | But we’ve also seen Julia’s faith get shaken this season, since she’s up against Rebecca, who’s so rooted in science.
One of the things that’s been really tricky about that — and it’s been a challenge to play — is it’s not that Julia as a character is suddenly all faith-based. When you first meet her in the series premiere, she’s a journalist, she’s fact-based, she’s very pragmatic. I don’t think that’s gone anywhere. She’s had these feelings — I joke on set and I call them my Spidey senses. Whenever I have a scene where I have to say what the dome wants or I have to talk about the dome trying to protect us, I always go, “My Spidey senses are tingling!” [Laughs] She’s still very aware of her surroundings, and it is still fact-based in a way. It’s just that the fact of the matter is she has these feelings and these instincts she can’t explain. So, her conclusion is, “It must be that there’s something else going on that we don’t understand.” Which is not the same as going, “We shouldn’t ask questions, we don’t understand, we don’t have answers.” We might one day have answers about the dome. We might know why I feel connected to it. We might know why I have instincts that it’s going to protect us. But at this point, she is just going on faith. [Pause] Not that I think about it a lot. [Laughs]

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TVLINE | Speaking of having faith, there is an insane amount of trust in Julia’s relationship with Barbie. Do you feel like that relationship has moved too fast? Will that cost them in the season finale?
They’re constantly being tested, and they’re definitely going to have something come between them. Their relationship has moved quickly in real time. But in situations of absolute crisis, things intensify so much, and they move at a faster pace. One of the things that I had talked to the writers about, that I tried very much to convey, was this idea that the end of Julia’s marriage was sad because she had failed at something, and she had missed the information. Like, “How could I have missed this?” But what she realizes is that they weren’t really in love. She didn’t really have a beautiful, perfect marriage. There were obviously trust issues. I don’t know how that would be a factor in real life, but certainly in life-or-death circumstances, it would make it easier to fall in love with someone else.

Under the Dome Season 2 Episode 11TVLINE | Julia has had quite the harrowing season. Was there a toughest scene to film?
The ambulance stuff [in Episode 11] was pretty tough.

TVLINE | Surely it wasn’t actually that cold?
No, and that’s why it was hard. We were playing freezing cold when it wasn’t even close to that on stage, and I’m playing pain because I was impaled. And we were also playing the relationship, which always has to come first, right? The thing that was challenging about that was I couldn’t play every scene the same way. You can’t play cold and in pain and having feelings. [Laughs] People would be really bored. And also, levels of pain shift. Sometimes you manage to be distracted, and sometimes the pain is all you can focus on. It was really about taking those scenes apart and being very specific about the different places where the pain was going to be the most important thing, the cold was going to be the most important thing or the emotion was going to be the most important thing. That required some specific choices.

TVLINE | There’s no word yet on a third season, but do you have any of your own theories about what we might learn in a Season 3?
I absolutely have theories! I don’t want to give you any of them because I’m afraid to be right. [Laughs] I don’t want to accidentally be spot-on and then I gave it away.

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TVLINE | So let’s talk about your new movie, Reclaim. It seems like Shannon is also very capable of handling herself in a highly dangerous situation. Was that an enticing part of the character for you?
It was. What I liked about it was the journey. I like the theme of being tested, both with people in real life and characters. I liked that journey, that she starts out soft and excited and a bit naive, as a result of her excitement. And then she finds the will to do things that, in a million years, she never imagined she would be capable of doing.

Rachelle Lefevre on Under the DomeTVLINE | Shannon and Julia are both very headstrong, accomplished women, as are many of the past characters you’ve played. Is that a priority for you when choosing new projects?
I would definitely welcome the chance to play a character who was a lot more fragile or broken. That would be a really great challenge. [Strong characters are] the thing that I naturally gravitate toward, because I just really, really love strong portrayals of women — women holding their own and being what I like to call “exceedingly capable.” [Laughs] We’ve come so far, which is great, but we still need more of that. Any female character that I feel like people can champion is really interesting to me.

TVLINE | Would you say Shannon is similar to Julia, or are those two ladies more different than we might expect?
For me, they were extremely different. They have qualities in common, which might make them appear similar. They both find strength, they’re both smart and, when physicality is required, they’re both strong in the physical sense. The reason they’re so different, for me, is because Shannon’s motivation for what she ends up going through is this child. She just wants to be a mom. And you don’t actually know what she does for a living, her career is not first and foremost. She really is family-oriented, and that is the central focus of her identity. And Julia, for me, was the opposite of that. She’s so career-driven. The one time that they do talk about kids in the first season, she doesn’t really want them, and clearly she wasn’t that engaged in her role as a wife. They just have really different priorities, and their strength comes from completely different places. And I loved playing a mom for that reason. It’s a different kind of strength.

Dome fans, what are your wishes for the Season 2 finale? Are you hoping for a Season 3 renewal? Drop a line in the comments section below with your thoughts.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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35 Comments
  1. Tran says:

    What are the chances Under the Dome gets renewed for a third season?

    • Swede700 says:

      I imagine it’s still pretty decent…although, I think they’d have to wrap it up after that.

    • Moment says:

      The chances are immense. The ratings have been decent for a CBS summer series. I suspect the delay is more to do with CBS negotiating with Amazon perhaps, as Amazon per a certain amount of $ per episode.

      • matt says:

        I went to check when it was renewed last year to see when i could expect it to happen this year and saw it was renewed already i june last year, damn this show is going to get cancelled, damn it!!!!!!!!!

  2. Caroline says:

    I ship Julia and Barbie so much, it’s going to be hard to watch something get between them. I just hope they’re together in the end.

  3. sherry says:

    I don’t want anything coming between Barbie and Julia. They finally got back together. So long, as they get back together and live happily ever after.

  4. Javadude54 says:

    This is the most ridiculous scripted show on TV. I only keep watching to see how even more ridiculous it can get.

  5. Kay says:

    For your ? for fans hoping for a season 3! Yes….If their ending on a cliffhanger there better be a another season! Also please keep Barbie and Julia together….

  6. Curly Girly says:

    Here’s what I want to know about UtD: With all that Julia’s been through this season, how does her hair always look SO DAMN PERFECT????

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m trying to figure out why she wears jeans that have to be painted on every week. How does she even move in those things, or even breathe?

  7. suck balls! says:

    Hell no! cancel that thing already. I’m tired of Julia and the whole dumb cast trying to talk to a stupid egg! The dumbass kids just getting in the way. Crappy ass show.

  8. kevin says:

    Please have to continue under the dome, for me is better than breaking bad, and certainly the science fiction lovers feel the same, no matter that does not fit the book, I need to live.

  9. hud says:

    What drivel. If the dome does not come down and crush these morons I will be forever disappointed. CBS has fallen to a new low from the day’s of Northern Exp. Murder She Wrote,etc. Mentalist can’t find a slot, but this nonsense plays on…IQ room temp alert.

  10. Fabian Daniel says:

    this is the best tv series i have ever seen, i really like it, the script its good, a lot of suspense, mystery, i just dont want it to end. I hope they make a third season

  11. pam says:

    I must say this show is hilarious!!! I quite watching but love to read the recap reviews. Its sooo ridiculous you just got to luv the cast who deliver this tripe. Lord help us if they do a season 3.

  12. nameunknown says:

    Cancel this crap!

  13. I have really enjoyed UTD but I think it has just about run it’s course. Maybe one more season.

  14. g2-7c1ff0a4b98d6c3983bb946adc747ce3 says:

    I would so love a season 3. I caught on late but I love me some Dome! ☺

  15. WayneAdneyC says:

    I love Under The Dome…but I think the other Stephen King based series, a la Syfy’s Haven, has 1up this series…permanently. Seriously this is still great but I think all the excitement popped and fizzled out in the mystery-filled, climatic, cliff-hanger first season. Now it’s up to the devoted and little-more-than-casual fans to keep the show coming back to having a proper and worthy series finale.

  16. LaBete says:

    OMG! They can’t break up Julia and Barbie–they are the only reason I watch this show!

  17. Ruth says:

    Please let’s have a season 3. One of the best shows of summer!

  18. tiffaany says:

    Please make a season 3. Under the dome is the best show. Do you know season 3 would be coming out?

  19. DJ says:

    Come on…we need a 3rd season. You just can’t leave us hanging.

  20. Lily Scott says:

    That can’t be the end? Did they really make it out of Chester’s Mill? Sorry, lame ending! I guess we need a real season 3 to show the end?? Never mind. I’ll go read the book, I won’t wait another year to watch it?

  21. Fouad G Hanein says:

    never been so attached to anything as much as i was to the Under The Dome. crossing my Finger for a season 3. i actually Purchased the Novel as well.

  22. Heather says:

    I really hope it gets renewed for a third season. I love this show!

  23. troberts says:

    There are too many lose ends to just end it now so yes there should be a season 3

  24. please bring it back it is great

  25. Angel says:

    I luv this show so much. It is my absolute fave. Barbie and Julie totally go together. All that they have been through, they need to be together forever.