But Under the Dome is also trying to rectify that one episode at a time. The manhunt brings together four people with unlikely counterparts; Barbie (Mike Vogel) is forced to help Big Jim Rennie (Dean Norris) on the manhunt because of his military prowess, while Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) follows Junior (Alexander Koch) into a mill's tunnels as he tries to find a way out underneath the dome. I can't fault the show for trying to make these characters interact with each other; I mean, for the most part all we've seen are some kids hanging out, some townspeople getting upset, and the major characters of Big Jim, Barbara, and Julia. The show needs some more development, and I like that "Manhunt" forces characters who wouldn't normally interact into tense situations.
It also makes for some of the best moments in the show. Big Jim tells us about his past as a football player, and also explains where he got the name in a menacing monologue meant to scare Barbie into submission. And Junior equally provides a tale about how haunted he is by his father's presence; he's a cowed kid trying to act tough, even when Big Jim gives him milk like a young child after a bad dream. To give credit where it's due, at least "Manhunt" realizes it needs to make these characters more three-dimensional.
It doesn't always work though. Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) and Joe (Colin Ford) have a "thing" going on, but that's a relationship that's really being forced on the viewer in an effort to create a romance that, frankly, I care nothing about. With the motivations of Barbie a mystery right now, and mistrust blossoming between Barbie, Big Jim, and Julia, the show needs to cement a relationship built on a trusting foundation, but I'll tell you that this doesn't seem like the one.
Under the Dome continues to suffer from terrible acting and insipid dialogue. I'm not sure what the show's trying to do with the lesbian moms, but they're my favorite part of the show because they're super annoying and I love to laugh at how over-the-top their characters have become. The same is true for that random guy thrown into "Manhunt" spouting his crap about interracial and lesbian relationships - it seems forced to show "small-town small-mind" sentiments, and Under the Dome hasn't proven yet that Chester's Mill is in fact a town and not a television studio.
But "Manhunt" makes small progressions in development while making gigantic bounds in plot. A lot of stuff is going down and it's all so rushed that I'm pretty sure we'll either get A) a quick resolution at the end of this miniseries or B) another season of overstuffed episodes with Lost-style cliffhangers. I wouldn't mind it if Under the Dome stuck more with the novel and padded its episodes a little bit for a two-season run, because right now things are moving so fast that not even Wiley Coyote can stop its Roadrunner-like progress.