Under the Dome's melodrama is neverending; it's almost more fun to watch than the actual serious events in the show. "The Endless Thirst" as a title gives you that sense of overwrought drama - I'll tell you, and you can probably guess yourself, that the thirst is not endless, nor does it last for more than an episode before a solution is found. That's the thing with Under the Dome - all of the problems in the episodes become so inflated that, when a promising conclusion occurs, it makes it seem like everyone jumps to action for nothing.
"The Endless Thirst" is a perfect example, because it takes a legitimately scary proposition and then injects it with steroids labeled Use in case of ridiculousness. A truck goes barreling into the town's water tower, causing all of the stored water to leak out and depleting the one resource the town really needs. But where was this large truck going, and what could it have been carrying? Business has effectively been shut down since the dome came down, and we've never seen a truck being driven around before.
But that's not the good part. That comes later, when Under the Dome realizes that most normal people would start to panic. The thing is, they're like five days too late. Chester's Mill has never really felt like a town; it's always just been the Big Jim and Barbie show, with a few people who help them along. The show has used townspeople when it has needed to, but both "The Endless Thirst" and "Imperfect Circles" feature Chester's Mill more prominently. But the work necessary for the viewer to believe that this is actually a town and not a group of people parading around a vast set hasn't been done.
That means that when Big Jim is confronted by Old Farmer Guy With No Teeth, we don't really know who the hell this guy is or where he came from. The same with the two clowns who beat up Rose and threaten to rape Angie - these scenes might be more poignant if the characters involved were actually people we know instead of townsfolk who have been hiding in the crowd.
Still, there are a couple of effective scenes here and there. An emotionally poignant goodbye between two main characters is somewhat gripping (though the scene does play out a bit too soap-opera for my tastes), as well as the first birthing under the dome.
And "Imperfect Circles" offers up a new twist to the dome - that there's actually a purpose for it, that something is guiding the townspeople or wanting them to experience what they do. This is a far cry from the original novel, and it's quite a hokey reveal, but it does allow a route for the series to travel so it doesn't have to end in one season.
Still, Under the Dome is too often over-the-top, to the point where I'm not sure a second season is even warranted. I find myself watching with either disinterest, apathy, or sarcasm - probably not the emotions the show is going for in its more serious moments. It's hard to stop watching, though, when I know the source material can be so much better, and I keep hoping that Under the Dome can go back to the moments that have worked for it in the past. Sadly, these two episodes are not it.