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Prison Break

Prison Break is a drama about Michael Schofield, a gifted engineer who deliberately gets incarcerated in order to try and break his brother Lincoln out of prison. FOX 2005-2009

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Episode 2 - Breaking and Entering

4 November 2016

Synopsis: Self drops the dream team off at their new base in LA and introduces them to fellow con Roland who will provide technical expertise. They find the man Whistler gave the card to and plant to use Roland’s device to steal the information from it. They plant the device on the maid but she leaves it behind. They manage to break in and retrieve it but discover that it only contains one sixth of Scylla. Meanwhile Self goes to see a former company member, T-Bag cannibalises his Mexican friend and Wyatt locates Bruce Bennett to get the answers he needs.

The Good: This is a really strong episode. The people behind Prison Break have always excelled at setting up challenging and interesting scenarios for Michael to negotiate and this new beginning works out promisingly. I still maintain that the writers wiped the slate clean far too quickly last episode but considering the rush they were in, this episode is paced beautifully and all credit to them for that.

The main plot sets up the season in a simple and logical way. Scylla, like its mythical name sake has six components which our team must track down, one by one. It’s logical that the company would split up its secret information in this way and that of course provides us with a pleasing layout for this season’s plot.

And while the dream team work on that plan we have four outside interests to keep an eye on. The General and Agent Self both operate as guiding forces for good and evil. While Wyatt is the deadly assassin tracking down our team and he is portrayed very effectively as remorseless and efficient. Finally we have T-Bag who provides the necessary x-factor as he wields Whistler’s book. That is such a clever use of him because discerning viewers can foresee that he will be the proverbial spanner in the works which affects proceedings in a way which neither Michael nor the Company could anticipate.

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of this episode for me is the focus on the characters. Mahone seems rightly driven by revenge and uses his skills as an FBI agent well to help Michael with his planning. Bellick provides a little comedy (“I think I pulled a groin.”) but also some necessary fear when he babbles questions about what will happen to them if they fail. His more cowardly demeanour is a nice contrast to the fearless alpha males around him. It’s also good to see Lincoln acknowledge the obvious (that Mahone killed his father) rather than pretend everyone is friendly now.

Roland is a pleasant addition to the crew, providing more humour and a more selfish, arrogant perspective. One has to assume that he, like T-Bag will cause unexpected problems further down the line. Finally the best character development is saved for Sara and Michael (see Best Moment).

T-Bag’s cannibalism is not handled ideally (see The Bad) but there is one very interesting moment. When he begins to drag his friend toward the fire he lets out an ambiguous scream and stares around. Perhaps he is just checking if there is anyone around who can help him avoid this grim meal. But the ambiguity allows you to see it as perhaps a cry of frustration or guilt or just desperation. It is a particularly clever and appropriate moment.

The final two developments are also welcome. Michael’s nose bleed could be too many things to speculate but is more intrigue. And Gretchen’s survival is very welcome. She was an enjoyable and morally grey character last season and her return to the fray should be interesting to watch.

The Bad: As with all shows based around heists and dramatic robberies or cons, there are moments that just seem contrived or convenient.

The worst offender here and perhaps the least as well is Roland’s electronic device. A device that can retrieve Scylla data without anyone getting caught just screams “plot device.” Of course if you can accept its existence then it serves a wonderful purpose in the plot.

However Michael and Mahone’s entry into the house seems too convenient. How did they know that Mr Tom would wake up and turn off the alarm? Also, shouldn’t Lincoln avoid leaving his finger prints on the house he breaks into?

T-Bag turning to cannibalism really should have been a bigger deal than it is here. I don’t suppose the writers really wanted to focus on that and turn off viewers. However to turn a dramatic and horrific experience into a cheap joke (“What’s wrong man? Eat some bad Mexican?”) is unworthy of this show.

The Unknown: What fate awaits those ten thousand people? Is Roland really just another convict?

Best Moment: The writers do a good job reminding us of the torture that Sara has gone through. When Michael comes to talk to her about it she says several things to him which show excellent writing. She tells him how much she loves him, which is good to establish. Then she says that she doesn’t want to be with him because he owes her anything (for getting her into all this trouble) or because of the stress they have been through.

It’s such good writing because it intelligently communicates the complexity of their relationship. We have to remember that they have barely had any time to be together. For a few brief days in Season two they were but not much else. They don’t really know each other except in stressful situations and for her to be so honest and direct really helps establish a credibility for their bond. It’s also just pleasant to have a female character explaining and emoting a female point of view. Throughout the show’s existence and particularly in season three this has been a male dominated show. Sara’s return is so welcome because it provides some balance and contrast. An excellent scene.

The Verdict: Good stuff from Prison Break. Could it have been better, yes. But from a shaky opening episode the producers are making a clear statement. This is the story for this season, like it or lump it. And I like it. It’s a logical enough and very interesting story which should carry Prison Break to a natural conclusion.

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  • why didn't (since the copy thing looked like a phone) Sara just ask if she might have dropped her phone into her bag? The maid would've probably just handed it over.

    Viewer score: 7 / 100

    Posted by Mårten, 30/10/2016 7:06pm (11 months ago)

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