By Boyd Reynolds | Staff Writer Published: 07/13/2013 9:58 am EST
Season: 1 Network: CBS Creator: Brian K. Vaughan, Stephen King
Under the Dome is sinking like a stone.
That is my unfortunate feeling looking back at its third episode. “Manhunt” begins with a mob surrounding the Chester’s Mill police station. At the end of last week, in a state of hysteria Deputy Paul Randolph shot at the dome. His bullet ricocheted off and killed another officer. A group of angry townsfolk are waiting for him as he’s being hauled in by Deputy Linda Esquivel. After Big Jim calms and disperses the mob, Linda puts Paul in a cell. But he pretends to be sick (isn’t that the oldest trick in the police handbook), knocks Linda down and locks her inside. After grabbing a few guns, Paul is off, traversing through the woods. Big Jim finds Linda and wants to head a manhunt to stop Paul. He enlists Barbie and two other townsfolk for the manhunt, heavily arming themselves and heading out under the dome.
While the manhunt continues, life goes on for the Chester’s Mill residents. Joe McAlister, the brother of Angie who’s chained up in Junior’s bomb shelter, is enjoying the benefits of being an eligible teenager in a parentless home. In an event only created by nerdy writers, Norrie, the young teenager who, trying to get away from her own parents, asks to not only use Joe’s generator but to stay in his home overnight. I feel terrible for all the skinny, geeky boys out there watching this scene as it’s an urban myth. When I was that age watching Revenge of the Nerds, Sixteen Candles and Can’t Buy Me Love, I too thought a beautiful young girl would somehow effortlessly find her way into my home. Not that I would have known what to do, but she’d be there nonetheless. Unfortunately for me but fortunate for this mythological young lady, it never happened.
As the manhunt continues, Big Jim’s posse finds Paul. A gunfight ensues, with Paul, Big Jim and Barbie all drawing their guns in a standoff. The only shot fired comes from behind and drops Paul. It’s Linda. Not only did she end the manhunt, she silenced her biggest critic: Big Jim. He questioned her ability to take leadership after she was locked in the cell by Paul. That thought is now gone as Big Jim makes her Sheriff.
So, what was dragging “Manhunt” down? Mainly, it was the plot which crawled along at a snail’s pace. I don’t mind taking time to get to know characters but there has to be something enticing me to stay interested. The pace might be more like real life, but that’s one reason we watch TV – to get out of our hum-drum lives and be entertained. The dome itself is a great mystery but hasn’t been explored yet. I assume it will be revealed, but in the meantime, there’s something definitely lacking. That could be averted with some clues about the great dome-sized mystery above. I need something and soon. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait until next week.
In “Manhunt,” the most intrigue came with five minutes remaining in the episode. One of Norrie’s moms finds her at Joe’s house. As Norrie leaves, she touches Joe’s hand and both go into a seizure, falling to the ground repeating in unison, “Pink stars are falling.” Now that’s interesting! In a previous episode, both had a seizure but they weren’t together. Clearly, Joe and Norrie are connected in some strange way. This is a good sign. I’m intrigued albeit with minutes to spare in “Manhunt.” Beggars can’t be choosers; it’s right what where I want to be, more invested in all the happenings under the dome.
Summary:DECENT. “Manhunt” follows last week’s lead, too much characterization and not enough plot propulsion. The third installment of Under the Dome is salvaged by an intriguing cliffhanger at the episode’s end, providing a curious mystery to a lagging story-line.