Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Under the Dome: "Manhunt" - Under the Dumb

Phil and Julia deliver the news

Oh, you guys.  I wanted to like this show so much.  But this was really, really dumb.  This show has two huge problems that seem, at this point, to be intractable.  Can they be overcome and can Under the Dome reverse course?  I suppose so.  But they’re going to have to do something really good, really soon, because the path this show is currently on leads nowhere good.

The first problem was put at the forefront in this week’s episode as pretty much everybody but Big Jim, Barbie, and Angie got to express a pretty epic level of stupidity.  How were they stupid?  Let us count the ways.

1) Deputy Linda allows Deputy Not-Freddy to escape from custody by falling for the classic “faking sick” ploy.  She even manages to get herself locked in a cage.  Fortunately for her, Deputy Not-Freddy ends up just as dead as Deputy Freddy, so Big Jim has no choice but to promote her to sheriff.  Oh, and the episode ends with her sleeping in a cell, just waiting for another bad guy to come along and lock her in again.  Way to go Sheriff Linda.

2) Angie has the (actually intelligent) idea to see if the dome goes underground through tunnels under the old cement factory.  Junior decides the best thing to do with this information is to go wandering around the tunnels, alone, without a flash light or any real idea of where the tunnels go.  He gets lost, of course.

3) Julia, who somehow has outside information about the dome despite never even attempting to communicate with anybody outside the dome, hatches a brilliant plan to follow Junior for no real discernible reason.  At least she’s smart enough to get them out of the tunnels, but man was that stupid.

4) Also in the Dumb Club: Joe and his friend, who decides it’s an awesome idea to invite the entire town’s teenage contingent to Joe’s house in order to leech off of Joe’s generator because, God, what would they do without their cell phones…which can’t text or make calls. 

That last point also comes back to Dome’s second huge problem, which is that there is absolutely no urgency.  We are now on Day Two after the dome (counting the arrival of the dome as Day Zero) and nobody seems worried about resources.  There’s a brief discussion of the town running out of bacon, though it’s played entirely as a joke.  The only resource shortage even mentioned is the aforementioned cell phone batteries because apparently teenagers can’t go more than a day without their Candy Crush.  And let’s not forget that Joe’s sister has been missing for two days and he doesn’t seem to be the least bit concerned. 

The flip side to the lack of urgency is that those people who aren’t entirely unconcerned with the dome’s presence have apparently gone completely insane.  The titular A-plot involves Big Jim and Barbie hunting down Deputy Not-Freddy and it’s completely inoffensive.  There are even a few good moments between the two, but it’s still a story set completely apart from the dome or the rest of the town and puts the show further down the “Problem of the Week” road it appears to be on.

Also in the “going crazy” camp: Carter, your “Obligatory Psychotic Jackass” who crashes Joe’s party, declares himself Lord of the Power Strip, and ultimately leaves after being schooled by Norrie in the effects of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.  Yeah, that description makes about as much as sense as the scene did.

In my original review of the pilot, I wrote that I wished they had stayed inside the dome for the entire episode, rather than giving us two, brief, non-story related glimpses outside.  Well the last two episodes have stayed entirely within the dome and, frankly, I want to get out.  I also wrote that I didn’t want the nature of the dome to become a huge factor in the story, but if the producers of this show can’t figure out a way to keep things interesting under the dome, maybe letting us see what’s happening outside would help.  I don’t know.  But this show, right now, is not good.  I’ll probably keep watching for the time being, but with some much better (or at least more interesting) television coming on next week (The Newsroom and Covert Affairs) I probably won’t be writing about Under the Dome for a while unless it gets appreciably better in the coming weeks.

A couple of spare thoughts:

It was nice to see them finally hang a lampshade on the Simpsons movie, not that it was really necessary.

I feel like the purpose of this story is supposed to be to show how people will go crazy when confined together for an extended period of time, but everything is moving so quickly that it’s hard to believe that these people weren’t already crazy to begin with.


So what did everybody else think?  Are you staying or are you going?  Let me know in the comments or on twitter @TyTalksTV


  1. I also thought the manhunt itself was not particularly interesting - I mean, what was the deranged officer's plan anyway? How can a guy that's so mentally instable work for the police force, without his colleagues being super worried? I actually thought this was one of the weakest parts of the episode, along with the nonsensical "adventure" of Junior and Julia. I guess it made for a nice contrast between Barbie/Jim and Junior/Julia, but felt awfully construed.

    Other than that, you've summed up pretty much my thoughts too. I'm glad I chose not to start writing about the show, but then again, I think it's turning out to be one of those shows you can love to hate. Since Sepinwall is tuning out, I guess I'll be tuning in here regularly. :-)

  2. Glad to hear you liked it. Real life got in the way this week, but I'm hoping to get back to writing about the show next week.