Under the Dome Season 1 Review “Manhunt”

Even though it’s only episode three, I think it’s safe to say we have careened off track Under the Dome.

It’s easy to dismiss some of the issues from episode two as another high-concept show trying to find itself. Unfortunately, Under the Dome decided to back it up with another episode that continued a lot of issues I had with episode two.

The most prominent of these problems remains Big Jim’s son, Junior. For a moment, let’s put aside the issue of the actor’s ability and consider the entire storyline. A young man kidnaps his summer girlfriend after she breaks up with him and has the misfortune of getting a cigarette from another male human being. Instead of doing what they can with the actor’s limited ability (I couldn’t leave it alone), the show decides to have him play the biggest, most generic form of creepy you can find on television. The poor guy just isn’t up for it. I don’t think anyone would be up for it. We’ve devoted entirely too much time to a character who seems separate from the rest of the story. The writers seem intent on writing for the little stories that take place inside the dome instead of addressing the dome itself. What we find when we go super small scale is these characters are not the least bit compelling. The show has a fascinating jumping off point and has decided to spend most of their time looking at the squirrels that run by them.

At least Junior made an attempt to escape the dome this week. Another day has gone by in Chester’s Mill, and the town remains more concerned about running through a forest and discussing the Sherman Anti-Trust act than trying to escape the dome. I get some people may not want to see the dome go away so quickly, but there seems to be no concerns regarding any of the major problems created by being enclosed in a giant class dome. Granted, I’m not taking a bacon shortage lightly, but I think that maybe it should fall slightly below other issues like water or necessary food items.

And therein lies the biggest issue of the show. The show dropped a dome over a town, and then instantly lowered the stakes. I don’t mind the occasional digression to capture a gun toting maniac or put out the worst house fire in history, but these types of activities have become the rule and not the exception. At this point, I wouldn’t expect much in the way of change going forward. The show is doing massive numbers for CBS. It may continue to do massive numbers for the entirety of its first season run. If the numbers continue, CBS will have no interest in a retool or a course correction. Part of the reason why CBS is the final network left standing is their lack of meddling with success. If you attract eyeballs, CBS will leave you alone. Of course, I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to avert yours.