“Outbreak” has many of the same problems of earlier, middling episodes of Under the Dome. The large cast limits character development, relying on actors to flesh out characters we spend little time with. Sometimes it works (Dean Norris as Big Jim), but mostly we end up with teenagers who don’t act like teenagers or characters like Sheriff Linda – a character the show seems to be developing as a protagonist despite her lack of personality traits other than ineptness. It’s also a little hard to swallow the conflict between Barbie and Julia, given they’ve known each other for only three days.
Fortunately, the show is finally beginning to address the looming problem of scarcity promised by the dome, which is a good start, even if it’s just baby steps for now. The resolution of the outbreak was disappointingly swift, continuing the series trend of killing off one marginal character per episode, but it’s promising progress nonetheless. Meanwhile, that final shot adds a compelling wrinkle to the mediocre Junior subplot.
The biggest problem, though? The show’s inexcusable overuse of overblown, dramatic music: it’s distracting and suggests a lack of confidence in the strength of the writing and acting (which is admittedly understandable).