Under The Dome: ‘Outbreak’ Review


Orange is the New Dome

Ollie

“Why can’t you develop our characters DAMN IT”!

Welcome back Dorphans!

Mikey DISLIKES it! Wow, what a terrible, terrible episode of television! This time though, I refuse to defend this show…. not when Netflix has just produced one of the most AMAZING new television series I have had the pleasure of binge watching! If you haven’t seen it yet or don’t know what I’m talking about…. then please do yourself a favor and check out Orange is the New Black (created by Jenji Cohen– she created a little show called Weeds) on Netflix!! For the most part, this entire series takes place in a women’s prison…. which you would think would give the writer’s and actors much less wiggle room in terms of creativity…. compare that to having an entire TOWN trapped under a DOME that came out of NO WHERE! Comparing the two premises…. hands down, I’d predict the show about the Dome to be better….. but this is simply not the case!

Under the Dome has the better premise, hands down! But when I compare these two shows….. it’s not even close! And Under the Dome and CBS could learn a valuable lesson from Orange is the New Black which has done some amazing things with little known actors and actresses and some excellent, amazing writing! And the sad thing is, these two shows are not that different from each other given the fact that practically the entire cast of both series are confined in a prison/dome! So far, the only thing Under the Dome has gotten right was that cow getting sliced in half….. and ever since that moment, it has been all DOMEhill!

I don’t know that this show can be saved at this point…. it might be too late unfortunately! I did read the book…. so I know for a fact that this show had the potential to be up there with the likes of LOSTBreaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead…. but sadly, I don’t think the writers even bothered to read the book and now this show is suffering big time for it! Too many changes from the book, and too little thought going into the writing and BRANDING of this show. This show was supposed to be DARK…. it was supposed to be scary and unpredictable….. and it was supposed to be about the CHARACTERS! Netflix proved that you don’t need massive amounts of marketing to make a show successful, quality speaks for itself! And of all the things to predict this summer, I never would have expected Orange is the New Black to outshine Under the Dome!

Now my review… 

Whatever Happened to Using Flashbacks?

They started the second episode of the season with a flashback and haven’t done one since….. for the LOVE OF GOD, please go back to this format. I don’t even care if you straight up steal the concept from LOST…. but at this point in the show, I feel NOTHING for these characters…. they have no emotion and no story… and when they are trying to be emotional it just comes across as fake. Flashbacks are, in my opinion, the only thing that can save this series at this point. Having these clowns run around the Dome each and every week with really nothing being revealed about them or their previous lives is beyond pointless…. I’m so sick of it. And the acting….. I’m not sure how casting works, but how is it possible that I can turn on a show like Orange is the New Black where I am literally unfamiliar with almost every actor / actress on the show and fall in love with every single one of them! So far, the only character worth watching on Dome is Big Jim….. and he’s supposed to be the VILLAIN! And I ACTUALLY LIKE HIM! Aren’t we supposed to fucking HATE the villains….. there isn’t a Game of Thrones fan out there that doesn’t want Joffrey’s head on a spike! This is how we should feel about Big Jim and Junior…. but we don’t.

Just on a side note…. imagine if the show had done a flashback each episode…. starting with Episode 1 (Duke’s back story), Episode 2 (Barbie’s back story), Episode 3 (Randolph’s back story), Episode 4 (The Reverend), etc. There is simply no other effective way of developing the characters in this story without going back to their lives pre-dome IMO. 

Doctor Dome

So we open the episode with Julia checking out her map and the townspeople freaking out again…. I know some people think the domies should be freaking out more, but lets not forget it’s only Day 3…. and honestly, if this happened to me in real life, I wouldn’t be that concerned on Day 3! But with the military packing up and leaving…. that is when shit gets REAL and now people should start to show their concerns a lot more… even Carolyn asks “What if the Dome lasts forever”? I really have no complaints about everyone keeping calm for the most part so far, after all it is Day 3 and I like to think I am a rational human being who wouldn’t go ape shit crazy immediately (like Paul Randolph, LOL).

Also, another important aspect of the episode was the outbreak itself…. even if it was the most ridiculous thing ever! The actual outbreak was just plain DUMB…. but at least they explained that medicine is not going to be easy to come by and there is a lack of doctors and nurses in Chester’s Mill! People can’t come and go with food and medical supplies like they used to pre-dome so this entire episode felt like more of a set up for things to come. Luckily….

“Dr. Dome is in the HIZZZOUSE”!

Alice, the out-of-towner, just so happens to be a Doctor (which is fair in some weird karma kind of way given that Peter Shumway was the original doctor in town but was murdered before Dome day)!

Of course, the medicine goes missing and we find….

Coggins pills

 “Fire-starting training for dummies”!

The good Reverend destroying it all! I find the Reverend to be an extremely fascinating character for so many reasons but the problem so far is that he has done some weird ass shit that makes no fucking sense whatsoever! And that is where a back story would come in mighty handy now….. because showing the Reverend pre-dome would actually explain his behavior post-dome. And don’t forget, he was a recovering addict prior to the Dome coming down (and may have relapsed for all we know)!

Just my two cents but here is what I would have done with this episode: ‘Outbreak’ would not have been an outbreak of Meningitis but I would have rather explored the drug addiction issue in more detail… certain individuals should have been getting sick from withdrawal (since illicit drugs won’t be as easy to obtain now that they’re under a dome)! And that would have actually been MUCH MORE INTERESTING (even for the actors getting to play them) and also connects the story back to the Reverend and back to their little operation (and hell, this would even connect the TV story back to the BOOK)! It also would have allowed them to easily introduce a group of new characters and could have explained the Reverend’s back story through flashbacks! And each episode should do that! But hey that’s just my opinion…. based on my read of a really good character driven book! Plus the idea of what to do with a bunch of recovering meth heads going through withdrawal without any medication and an under-staffed hospital….. um, that sounds pretty fucking awesome to me?

Lastly there were a couple of important events setting up next week’s episode (I hope): Julia finally discovering there is a connection between Barbie and her husband Peter; and Junior getting in the good graces of the police force. Not too much to say about these two things…. they were strictly setting up the plot! Junior and his boys (remember that Carter loser from last week) will be a part of the police force in due time (obviously) and Julia is going to find some answers about Barbie and her husband! Til then…. these questions remain, well…. questions!

Hope?

No need to mention the whole Angie/Junior disaster…. the same scenes recycled over and over again in the bomb shelter! But the one GOOD thing about this episode (there weren’t many good things, but the last 5 minutes gave us some hope for next week’s episode) was this:

“WTF! Ain’t nobody got time for that”!!!!

Big Jim discovers Angie and finally puts an end to one of the worst stories on television! No more Junior talking to Angie in the Bomb Shelter for three straight weeks!!! YAY!!!! Still, in my opinion, Junior should not have been having conversations with Angie….. he should have been having conversations with corpses…. just like in the book! It would have added such a freaky element to his character and made him believable as a villain! My prediction here is that Big Jim will go into full blown cover-up mode and they will try to frame Barbie for holding Angie somehow….. this was not in the book, so I really have no idea– but that is my hunch! Also, don’t forget the Reverend has taken himself completely out of whatever operation they had going on…. and Big Jim will not sit idly and allow him to do that! So SHIT IS ABOUT TO HIT THE DOME…. which is why these last 5 minutes offered a brief bit of hope for next week’s episode!

And, we also had more of the same seizures from Norrie and Joe….. only this time they decided to record it! And after watching them play back the video, all I can say is…..

creepy joe

“All Quiet in the Dome Please!”

…that is some creepy ass stuff right there! This is still the most interesting Dome story so far so hopefully we get more explanations about what these seizures mean…. and now this new element with Joe doing the creepiest ‘shush’ I’ve ever seen! I did miss Bennie this week though 😦

The Bottom Line

As of right now….. the dim-witted Reverend Coggins has become the most interesting character this week– which says a lot doesn’t it! This show is not, however, doomed yet! There is still a small, tiny ounce of hope left! And now that Angie has finally been discovered, shit is about to go DOWN– what is Big Jim going to do? Does he know Junior is responsible? Will they frame Barbie for this? Will they kill Angie to keep her quiet? Will Big Jim keep her locked down there to protect Junior? So many questions! And there is a ton from the book that has been left out up to this point….. I promise you viewers, if the writers have somehow dedicated an entire episode to the Food City Riot from the book (or another event that I’m not going to mention since it is way too spoilery) it will change everyone’s opinion on this show (if done RIGHT of course).

But, throwing some random Grade 3 teacher into the mix whom the audience has no emotional connection with is never going to win over our hearts! If we start taking a look back at the main characters pre-Dome by the use of FLASHBACKS and BACK STORY, the audience will start to connect with the characters and when these characters eventually do some stupid shit post-Dome like accidentally burning Duke’s house down, then we will actually UNDERSTAND rather than question the mental abilities of these characters.

4.5/10 – No mercy this week! I truly believe that I could have done a better job producing the show than the actual producers and I have no experience in producing a television show….. if this doesn’t get better soon, it will fail! Period!

Back next week to review episode #5, titled ‘Blue on Blue’! Strange title, but with the way ‘Outbreak’ ended, it gives me a thread of hope that this one is going to be A LOT better!

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One response

  1. I’m also watching “Orange is the New Black” and “Under the Dome” at the same time, and agree with you that Jenji is killing it it with the flashbacks. That’s how it should be done!

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