EPISODE 4: "Outbreak"
CAPTURED ATTENTION: Coming after the third episode, it’s the fourth one! Now I’m no medical expert, but I’m pretty sure that if a town were stuck behind a massive dome and then folks starting getting all sick, well, that’d be a bad, bad thing. To be more specific, the people of Chester’s Mill have come down with a nasty case of meningitis…which probably sucks for them. The infected get quarantined inside the hospital, and even worse, Junior is left in charge with a shotgun.
Also, Barbie’s mystery deepens a little. His true nature is starting to sprout as he's started to toughen up. Hell, he even gets pushy with a dude in a wheelchair. Is he a bad dude? Is he just misunderstood? Well, they have told us everything yet but it looks like that mystery won't turn into a pop culture legend. Even better, there’s a fantastic moment with young Joe, where he and his goth chick girlfriend decide to have another seizure together. In perhaps the best moment of the show, as they flop around chanting nonsense, Joe raises up and shushes at the camera. It’s perfectly creepy. I hope the show keeps that up and pours a double a couple fingers thick.
THE INVISIBLE SHIELD: Ok, so I think Under the Dome would have been a much better show if it had been on cable. It’d be grittier, nastier, meaner. But on CBS, everything feels a little too safe, too diluted. Like if Big Jim is gets pissed, I want to hear get pissed and not just mumble something under his breath. If Junior is Hilter reborn, then it better get brutal. It needs to feel real and not as if it was shot on the CBS soundstage. But whatever, right? That’s where the show is and that's what we have. With that said, “Outbreak” is once again another improvement as Under the Dome has really added to the tension. It's finally started to dangle out of the mysteries in front of us to keep us interested. It is like they're waving some TV catnip in our face every so often to keep our attention. Because let’s face it, if they try to string things along too damn long no one will give damn. Actually, this episode revealed more than I thought they would. We learn Barbie isn’t just a stranger in town (which we knew he wasn’t), but he was really just loan shark muscle, coming to collection on reporter Norrie’s bad-betting husband. I’m sure there’s more to the story. Actually, there better be more to it because it feels too thin.. I think my biggest bitch so far is the pacing of the show. Under the Dome needs to look back at what made Lost a success. The tension in this episode should nearly be nonstop, and we should move from moment to moment a hell of a lot faster. Yeah, I understand all about character development and all that, but Jesus, let’s get a move on. With that said “Outbreak” shows that maybe the series just needs a minute or two to figure out what the hell they are going to do. For the most part we know the characters, or at least understand who they are supposed to be and their place in the world. We know Big Jim is the shady councilman. We know his son, Junior, is a reflection of him. Desperate for power and control. We know the only cop in town, Linda, has to grow up. But I'm ready for some thicker stories to develop. One's that I can't wait for next week.
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