The season’s third episode of “Under the Dome” gets underway with the somewhat crazed deputy Paul Denton escaping his jail cell by faking an asthma attack and tricking Linda into opening his cell door. He then subdues her and locks her in his cell. Big Jim finds Linda and releases her. He organizes a manhunt to find Denton while Linda embarks on a personal crusade to bring Freddy’s killer to justice.
Big Jim enlists Barbie for the manhunt after Junior tells his father that the town’s newest hero beat him up. Big Jim tells his son to man up. The manhunt crew searches the woods nearby Chester’s Mill. Barbie proves useful when he points the team in the right direction after Big Jim nearly takes them on a dummy trail.
Meanwhile, a suspicious Julia follows Junior into some underground tunnels where he is hoping to find a way out of Chester’s Mill by going underneath the dome. When he sees that the dome cut into the tunnels, he beats against its walls in frustration. Julia helps Junior after his flashlight explodes and the two bond over their past failures. Junior lies to Julia by telling her that Barbie attacked him for no reason.
Norrie asks Joe if she could crash at his place. He says yes, but then Ben invites multiple teenagers over to use Joe’s generators. A bully emerges from that group who threatens to hurt Norrie, but Joe stands up for her just as his generator short-circuits. Carolyn arrives to pick up Norrie, but both she and Norrie collapse with seizures while repeating the phrase “The pink stars are falling.”
Big Jim and Barbie are talking about the importance of finding Denton immediately when the deranged deputy gets the drop on them. Linda saves the day by approaching them from behind and shooting Denton.
Later, Big Jim and Barbie are about to celebrate with a drink as Junior and Julia arrive. An awkward moment takes place, and Barbie tells Big Jim he’ll have to take a rain check. Julia watches suspiciously and later questions Barbie as to why he’s in Chester’s Mill. She then checks his bag and finds a marked map when he leaves the room.
Finally, Big Jim declares that Linda is the new sheriff and that he’ll need to find her some deputies, which is what Sheriff Perkins was trying to avoid in the first episode.
It took three episodes but “Under the Dome” finally got down to the business of developing its characters. We learned significantly more information about Big Jim, Junior, Julia and Norrie in this episode, which should be important as the season moves forward.
The dialogue was also a bit improved over the first two episodes, although I doubt the show is going to win any awards for his overall script. Still, there are some inconsistencies. For example, why hasn’t Joe noticed that his sister has been missing for two days? Why does Julia follow Junior to begin with? She doesn’t know about what he’s been up to Angie, so why should she be concerned about him walking around with a helmet? She has more pressing matters to attend to.
I also have an issue with a scene where a stereotypical older white man responds in a homophobic manner to Carolyn, who is one of Norrie’s mothers. It gets tiring to see a television show adhere to these stereotypes; it can do much better than that. However, it is good to see the show expressing the diversity of characters found in Chester’s Mill.
Overall, it was a much better episode than last week. Yes, it had a slower pace, but this is the first time we’ve learned a significant amount of information about the character. Hopefully, the show finds a way to balance character development with its action sequences instead of swinging radically one way or the other.