Good write-up Adam. I felt the same way about the last few episodes.
My biggest let-down has been the sheriff. There wasn't even a scene between her and the kids in jail. Or her and the mom. Or even Jim telling 'his story' about why the kids were arrested. It was just a big dramatic hole.
I wasn't originally bothered when I heard that this would be an on-going series. I knew they were going off-book, so other than the premise, it was a different animal from the book. However with the death rate so far, who is going to be left for next season?
(my own personal thought is there will be random moments when the dome opens up, and people accidentally come in to be trapped alongside the regulars - kind of like Hotel California or a roach motel).
I am kind of curious about the land just outside the dome. I know we saw it scorched after the bomb. But is it safe for people to go into? Wouldn't the visitors have returned to silently communicate with people inside? (also for the vision of Jim stabbed, it was no longer scorched)