TV Review: UNDER THE DOME, Season 1, Episode 4 'Outbreak'

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

Another day, another drama for the denizens of the dome, as a mystery plague breaks out in Chester's Mill. “If anyone who's sick coughs,” we're told, “it spreads.” Well, yes, that is how disease tends to get around. It's just another example of Under the Dome dumbing everything down for us.

Who better to put in charge of a potentially explosive situation than Junior Rennie? Handed a shotgun and tasked with making sure no one escapes the hospital, it's Junior's big chance to shine. Infuriatingly, the kid actually manages to do a good job, which will surely put him in good stead to achieve a position of power in future. All this, and him being a damn poor excuse for a kidnapper. In the bomb shelter, poor distressed damsel Angie manages to cause a bit of a flood, but succeeds only in almost drowning herself, rather than breaking free of her captivity. It looks as though Big Jim is set to find out just what his son has been up to, but how will he react? I'm guessing that there'll be a cover-up on the cards, as we wouldn't want to damage Big Jim's reputation, would we?

A reputation soaring as he uses Chester's Mill's latest disaster as yet another exercise in PR. The titular outbreak, of course, turns out to be but a dose of common meningitis, easily cured with a little antibiotics. You'd never notice that the good Doctor Rusty Everett of the novel was missing, as the local hospital seems to be managing just fine with the hand it has been dealt; a shame, since – as with store owner Romeo Burpee – Rusty was one of my favourite characters in the book. Pieces are moving into place, with certain characters set to become the figures we all know and love (to hate). Ish.

Outbreak is another episode of Under the Dome with very little dome fun. Aside from a glimpse of it during the opening moments, it's again very dome-lite, spent instead in the company of uninteresting people and their boring soap opera shenanigans. The Junior Rennie of the novel may have been over-egged by King, but rather that than Alexander Kotch and his pretty-boy One Tree Hill brand of evil. There's a peek at the bigger picture – the kids film themselves during one of their fits – but not really enough to justify the slow pace and lack of atmosphere.

Again, production values are high and the acting is good in certain quarters (Vogel isn't too bad, I suppose) but Under the Dome continues to disappoint. The only 'outbreak' here is an outbreak of boredom.

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