It’s operation backstory as Under The Dome realizes that unless we know a bit about the people trapped inside Chester’s Mill, it doesn’t really matter what happens to them.
Let’s bitch it out…
Let’s count out the good, the meh and the bad of this week’s episode, ‘Manhunt.’ After the jump we’re tracking Dome information.
- Backstories: Well, it appears that my request to the writers of Under The Dome has been received because we actually learn a few things about the residents this week. In addition to learning about how Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) came to town, we get more insight into Big Jim’s (Dean Norris) abusive relationship with Jr (Alexander Koch) and a better sense of Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) beyond the troubled youth image she was saddled with in the pilot
- Linda’s (Natalie Martinez) upwards trajectory: Last week we saw Linda emerge from Duke’s shadow and this week she takes ownership of the police department as its new Sheriff. While I’m not entirely sure she needed to shoot Paul dead in the woods, her capability and confidence is encouraging. She’s not quite there yet (we still don’t know much about her), but Linda in this episode is far more engaging than the Linda from episode one
- The manhunt: We all knew that Paul would eventually be tracked down, so the entire manhunt feels more like an exercise than a legitimate narrative. On the plus side, it does break up the cast so that they have a chance to play off other people. The most significant development is the introduction of the Barbie (Mike Vogel) / Big Jim rivalry that will inevitably drive the conflict for the remainder of the season
- Angie’s (Britt Robertson) playing the game: It’s unclear whether Angie was hoping that Jr would die down in the cement works or if she’s simply pretending to be amiable in order to lower Jr’s defenses. Either way, I’m just happy that she’s starting to strategize in order to get out of the fall-out shelter. Her recent acquisition – a pair of scissors – will inevitably fail when she tries to use them as a weapon, though. We can all see this coming a mile away
- Joe’s (Colin Ford) generator party: It’s predictable and obvious that the kid without parents would end up having a party, but the Joe we’ve seen in previous episodes wasn’t so malleable or stupid. This entire plotline felt like a teen movie from the 90s, only with worse acting. Still, the interactions Joe has with Norrie are genuine and the cliffhanger – both seize when they touch each other – is still one of the show’s stranger WTF mysteries
- New teen villain: Generic hothead at the generator party blows the generator and then threatens both Joe and Norrie. Oh joy, just what we need: another male teen threatening violence. Obviously tensions will run high as resources become more limited, but the teen version of David vs Goliath has been done a million times…and this doesn’t look like it will add anything new to the mix
- Julia’s gullibility: This is a woman who’s meant to be an intrepid Lois Lane-style reporter, so why can’t she see beyond Jr’s clearly fabricated lies about Barbie? Again, I blame Koch’s performance as Jr – the kid gives off such a creepy vibe that it’s impossible to understand how the other characters haven’t realized he’s a psychopath yet
- Ben (John Elvis): Any character that is as annoying as Jr is a big problem. Ben was a nuisance in the first few episodes – the teen stoner with the toque is another tired trope – and that trend continues here. If the intention is to reinforce the stupidity of the teenage population in town, Ben is doing a bang-up job
- Town rednecks: As soon as the lesbian couple was introduced in the pilot and the Dome touched down, I knew there would be a homophobic storyline involving a bunch of redneck old boys. The most problematic angle is that it’s tolerated! I expected the diner owner to shut the homophobes down, but instead she simply invites Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) to step away. Blurg
- The lighting: Above ground, things are fine. But whoever is responsible for the scenes in the cement works needs to be fired. It’s one thing to infer how dark it is, but if we can’t see the performances of the actors, then there’s no point in even shooting it!
Dome info for the week:
- Residents blame insane behaviour on the Dome: 2 – Paul and Jr
- This week’s factoid: The Dome extends beyond ground level – significantly. Oh yeah, and your all-you-can-text cell phone plan? Kaput!
- Number of deaths/injuries: 1 – Paul, in the woods, with a handgun
- This week’s drinking game: Drink everytime someone talks about what led them to Chester’s Mill
- Linda (when Big Jim tries to prevent her going after Paul): “Jim, I know you like the control things, but you do not control me.” Yowza!
What’s your take on episode three: more of a good thing or are you starting to lose interest? Is Ben too much of a caricature? Are you excited now that someone finally seems to realize that Angie hasn’t been seen since “Dome Day”? And is Julia the worst reporter ever? Sound off below
Under The Dome airs Mondays at 10pm EST on CBS