Under the Dome: Manhunt Review

World building makes way for needed character development in Under the Dome's third episode.

Last week, those dwelling under the Dome learned the horrific consequences of something as simple as a house fire, but little do the residents know that the fire was caused by a minion of Big Jim Rennie (Dave Norris), the man they are looking to lead them until the Dome crisis passes. As the story progresses, the most gripping aspect of the show is how Big Jim, a small town politician, is slowly developing, through circumstance, into a fascist despot. As Chester’s Mill is cut off from the rest of the United States, the residents are slipping through the grip of democracy and being exposed to Rennie’s alternative. It was a bit disappointing that the manhunt for the murderous cop was a one and done. The cop character that lost his mind and caused a ricochet to kill his partner was shaping up to be a great villain, one whose comeuppance could have been dragged out a bit more. Yet, the show decided to use the manhunt as the incenting incident to allow Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez) to be promoted to sheriff, allowing main hero Barbie (Mile Vogel) to spend some quality time with big bad Rennie. The slow burn antagonism is pretty cool to watch, knowing that the fate of Chester’s Mill could be decided in a war between these two men. There is a great deal of The Walking Dead’s governor in Big Jim. He thinks he has the town’s best interest at heart, but in truth, the crisis feeds into his own narcissism. This makes for a particularly interesting relationship with his budding serial killer son, Junior (Alexander Koch). When Big Jim learns that Barbie gave Junior a beat down, Jim uses it as an excuse to emasculate his son, flaunting that the kid was bested by another man. As Junior slowly unravels, with poor Angie (Britt Robertson) still locked in his basement, the words of his father add to the tension that Junior may soon do something horrible. Another great bit of dramatic irony that plays out is between Barbie and reporter Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre). Carolyn is clearly a gifted reporter whose instinct tells her that her new friend Barbie is hiding something. Of course, he is hiding the fact that he murdered Carolyn’s husband, who she believes to be trapped outside the Dome. It’s only a matter of time before her reporter’s instinct leads her down the path of Barbie’s secret. There are many secrets and an even greater amount of tension in Chester’s Mill. This all makes the presence of the Dome more palpable as no one can escape the tension and danger slowly building beneath the Dome. The story isn’t all doom and gloom, as this episode gives viewers a glimpse into what the young people of Chester’s Mill are doing during the crisis. They are partying and using the Dome as a skateboard ramp, but it is not all frivolity. This episode sees the budding romance between young Joe McCalister (Colin Ward) and Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) a romance that sees their first physical contact cause a dual seizure that may reveal a secret regarding the Dome’s origin. This episode was less world building and more concise, careful character progression, which makes it a winner. Den of Geek Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!