Just three weeks in to Under the Dome and it’s already apparent why the dome exists: Chester’s Mill is full of douchebags, and the dome quarantines them to protect the rest of us. Well done, dome. Unfortunately, those trapped inside the dome don’t make for very interesting specimens of observations, and “Manhunt” was just as boring, if not worse, than last week’s “The Fire.” Still, things have to turn around at some point, right? Hope springs eternal. Hit the jump for why this small town is about to get a lot smaller.
Even if Under the Dome was a series that had an indefinite run instead of a 13-part miniseries (which I really can’t get over), the fact that its second and third episodes have already felt like filler is a bad sign. But it only has 13 episodes in which to tell its story. This fact cannot be overstated. Sometimes less is more — look at Sherlock and Luther and series of that ilk that run a two or three episodes a season. They pack everything in, and it’s great. But from what I understand about the Under the Dome book, there’s no reason why these stories need to be watered down so much to fill 13 episodes, especially when they’ve already cut / combined so many characters.
It’s not that things don’t really happen, it’s that nothing progresses past cliches or things we already know. Big Jim is an asshole, we get it. Barbie has a mysterious past, and Julia likes mentioning her husband every few minutes. Junior is a world-class creep, and Joe is a nerd. And?
Even the mythology was rehashed this week. You can’t go under the dome — check. There’s no texting or uploading to YouTube — check. The toilets still work — we guessed this but, confirmed! The dome makes electronics explode — check. Pink stars are falling — check. And?
Both in “The Fire” and in “Manhunt,” Under the Dome felt much too much like a network show that it was hopefully going to subvert. The teenagers are all stereotypes, and there are no real consequences to anyone’s actions. Junior laments how dangerous the cement tunnels are, which Julia surely knows, so why did they not put some of kind of breadcrumb trail to lead them back out again? Why did Julia pause and chat with Junior about Barbie as their last remaining match burnt up and out, leaving them in total darkness? Of course, they were fine and didn’t even have to sweat about being lost.
The same is true with Joe. The bullies come, use up his generator, and peace out. He stands up to one of them, and there’s a vague threat of things “not being over.” Wise-up, guy — you’re trapped in a goddamn dome with, potentially, a limited air supply. When is anybody going to start worrying about these things?
The promo for next week is pretty much the same one they used for this week, more or less, so holding one’s breath for any actual action or investigation of social issues is not recommended. In Chester’s Mill, as long as the toilets work and the radio plays, everyone seems pretty content to just wait things out. Granted, the timeline has only been about two days at this point, but everyone else’s lack of interest in the dome itself and what it could mean makes Crazy Paul nearly looks like a soothsayer.
Episode Rating: C
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I want more time with Rose, but instead we get more Junior.
— The homophobic guy at Rose’s also played Tom Nuttal on Deadwood.
— So the reverend is back and … ::snooze::
— Glad to see Angie finally wising up to play Junior’s crazy game so she can get out of there.
— Did anyone else notice that the first flame Julia lit was CGI? Was that really necessary?
— Does Junior have a thing for Julia now? “Call me James …”
— I want to like Norrie but I don’t. Yet.
— The couple who seizes together stays together!
— Lesson learned: don’t joke around with Big Jim or you’ll get your pelvis crushed. Hammurabi’s Law, motherfuckers!