Jim "Junior" Rennie: Differences Between CBS's "Under the Dome" and Stephen King's "Under the Dome"

As a fan of virtually all things Stephen King, I was naturally excited for "Under the Dome" to come out on CBS and have been watching diligently since the first episode aired. Of course, I expected there to be some major differences. I mean, anyone who has seen shows "based on" works by Stephen King, such as "Haven" knows that the apple sometimes falls very far from the tree. I say that as a fan of "Haven." As it pertains to "Under the Dome," the biggest difference I picked up was with Jim "Junior" Rennie, played by Alexander Koch.

Note: The differences here are only up until Episode 11 of the first season. If you notice any other differences or mistakes in the ones I have listed, please feel free to comment. 

Warning: Spoilers for both the novel and the television series are contained throughout this post.

The first thing I noticed about Junior Rennie that was not in the novel was his lack of migraines. In Stephen King's "Under the Dome," Junior has crippling migraines that seem to be the catalyst for a series of insane acts. These are caused by a tumor that has also made no appearance in the series.

One of the biggest story lines involving Junior Rennie in the novel has him killing two young women and raping their corpses over the course of the novel, even thinking of them as his girlfriends. The first girl he kills is none other than Angie McCain. Yep, the girl he locks up and seems more and more to genuinely love in the CBS series is dead for most of the novel. Of course, she does make many appearances as a corpse and in Rennie's thoughts. The other girl is Dodee Sanders, who is Angie's best friend in the novel. She is a completely different person in the series.

While Junior Rennie is a relatively violent man in the "Under the Dome" TV series, he is nowhere near the sick man he is in the book. In the novel, he enlists the help of his friends to assault and beat protagonist Dale "Barbie" Barbara. In the show, Barbie repeatedly gets the better of Junior in several ways. Further, Junior is less murderous in the show, only killing one person so far to avenge the near-rape of Angie.

In the show, the acting sheriff makes Junior Rennie a deputy when it becomes clear that the town is going to need additional law enforcement. Junior is somewhat estranged from his father at this time due to the younger Jim's kidnapping of Angie McCain. In the novel, it is Jim pulling Junior's strings and making him a deputy.

Generally speaking, Junior is a far more ambiguous character in the television series. He appears to be connected to three other people trapped in the dome in a way that is important to the plot. He is the so-called "fourth hand." He may even have been acting out of love for Angie when he kidnapped her and be a genuine good guy as it pertains to her. He is certainly not the strictly antagonistic Junior Rennie of the novel. The writers of the show would be hard pressed to take a turn that way as well, given the mysterious nature they have given him thus far.

There is no doubt that other differences are coming in the final episode of the season and in the season(s) to come. At this point, there is no telling what will happen, but feel free to note coming differences in the comments section here.

Shelly Barclay

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