At the end of Episode 2 of ‘Under the Dome’, police officer Paul Randolph accidently shot and killed another officer when a bullet he fired at the dome ricocheted back. In Episode 3, appropriately titled ‘Manhunt’, Big Jim Rennie rounds up a posse to hunt Randolph down after he escapes from jail.
Randolph’s escape happens shortly after being locked in his cell. When he starts to cough and fake some sort of attack, a concerned Deputy Linda opens the cell to assist, only to get ambushed by Randolph, who locks her in and takes off with a gun. Rennie eventually finds Linda there and frees her.
During a conversation with Junior, Big Jim learns that Barbie beat up his son. When Rennie goes to the diner to ask a few of the locals to assist him in tracking down Randolph, he meets Barbie for the first time and asks him to join the hunt.
Meanwhile, Junior and his captive girlfriend Angie have a conversation about the dome. She suggests that there may be a way beneath the dome through the underground tunnels in an abandoned factory. Junior heads off to see if he can find a way out, though he doesn’t realize that he’s being followed by reporter Julia Shumway. Down in the tunnels, Junior thinks he sees an exit, only to run into the dome’s invisible barrier. As he smashes his flashlight against it in frustration, Julia reveals herself in time to prevent Junior from potentially electrocuting himself.
Back in town, all the kids have made their way over to Joe McAlister’s house after they learn that his parents are stuck outside town and his house is one of the few with a working generator. Joe has struck up a friendship with Norrie, the daughter of the lesbian couple trapped in Chester’s Mill. We learn that Joe has some kind of electricity generating through his body when he touches the generator and it overloads. Later, when one of Norrie’s mothers arrives to pick her up, Joe and Norrie touch hands, causing them both to go into seizures while repeating, “The pink stars are falling in lines.”
While Julia and Junior make their way out of the tunnels using a book of matches (which Julia explains will detect which way the air is flowing), Rennie and Barbie manage to find Randolph out in the woods. At first, it appears as if Randolph has the upper hand. All of the sudden, a shot rings out, killing Randolph. It’s Linda, who has also been tracking him. Making their way back into town, Rennie tells Linda there’s a new sheriff in town… and it’s her.
The episode wraps up with Julia asking Barbie if he was in Chester’s Mill for a reason before the dome came down. Barbie insists that he was just passing through. But once Barbie leaves the room, Julia goes into his backpack and pulls out a map, with a location in town clearly marked and circled.
All in all, ‘Manhunt’ is a pretty good episode that further establishes some of the series’ more notable characters. I still wonder, however, how patient fans will be with this series as – at least as far as the dome is concerned – the episode provides no new revelations or details about it (other than the fact that there’s no way to dig under it – indicating that it’s quite possibly not a dome at all, but a sphere).
What we do get this week is the first interaction between Big Jim Rennie and Barbie, which proves to be some of the strongest scenes we’ve witnessed so far in the series (due in no small part to the fact that these two guys are the best actors on the show). I promised last week to avoid any more comparisons with the novel, since the series seems to be taking the story in a different direction, but I like the way that Rennie is less of a traditional villain on the show. He’s more nuanced here than in the book, and I look forward to seeing if the writers keep him that way, or are just slowly building up to him becoming the “Big Bad” of the series.