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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


Episode 17 - The Mother Lode

14 July 2017

Synopsis: Michael and Sara hitch a ride to Florida and their truck gets hijacked on the way. They kill the man sent to capture them before discovering who sent him. Lincoln and company follow the keys the took off the man who sold Scylla. One leads to a church in Little Havana, the other to a house owned by Christina Scofield. She leaves a picture of her and Lincoln which leads him to her true location. She says she will change the Company for good when she replaced the General in two days. At the church Mahones discovers a stash of weapons and ID badges set for two days time. Lincoln returns to try and talk to Christina so she orders him to be killed.

The Good: Michael and Lincoln both react to their mother’s return in suitable ways. Michael shares stories of his childhood with Sara as he wonders what her true motives are. Lincoln portrays his withdrawal from his emotions well and looks hurt and confused by his meeting with her. Understandably they both share a distrust of her because she works for the Company and abandoned them. Lincoln’s look of shock and release of emotion after his meeting with her was effective at communicating very complicated emotions.

The clue Christina left for Lincoln was very much like a riddle Michael might have created which was a nice touch.

The General threatening the families of his new “employees” is a tired story. But of course it makes logical sense for him to do so.

The Bad: Prison Break still hasn’t recovered from Don Self’s betrayal of the Fox River gang (412). Up to that point all the twists and turns had just about fit into the overall story and the character’s motivations were clear and understandable. Since then the endless twists have become tedious and the gunpoint standoffs increasingly dull.

Sadly we get more of that here as Mahone leads another standoff in the church which predictably leads to no one dying who we know. Then Michael and Sara take us on a tedious chase and sure enough evade capture once more. Yes a lot of television shows use these tricks all the time and they can be effective. But Prison Break has lost control of its plot and these events feel meaningless and tension free. The final shot is built up to make us wonder whether Lincoln is about to be shot by a sniper, ordered by his own mother. There’s no chance it will happen and I suspect most viewers don’t feel like they have to tune in next week to find out if Lincoln is going to die an ignoble, anonymous death. Of course he won’t.

What really falls flat here is that Christina Scofield behaves exactly like General Krantz. She has her assistant that she trades sarcastic banter with. She has an ego and makes grandstanding threats down the phone. She orders people to be killed and they somehow escape from her grasp. As a viewer it would be nice to be able to differentiate her motives and methods from the Company we have seen for four seasons, but there appears to be none.

The failed execution of the General is about as pathetic a piece of writing as you are ever likely to see. Yes I know drama shows often create improbable situations which protagonists escape from, but just because it is common doesn’t mean it should be done. The General’s limo is blown up. He has nowhere to run. If you are ordered to kill him then you damn well go back and check on his corpse. There is no excuse for such sloppiness.

The tension between Lincoln and Michael really hasn’t been explored or developed well. The differences in their motivations were briefly mentioned (414) but that should be a much bigger deal than it comes across as here. Lincoln’s anger at Michael is foolish from our perspective because we know the Company attacked Michael. A fact which Michael doesn’t tell Lincoln, though it would obviously change Lincoln’s perspective on his deal with the General.

The Unknown: If Christina really would change the Company then she has a funny way of showing it. How is she intending to take over? Surely a violent coup against Krantz would lead to many Company agents refusing to follow her orders in the future? The Company is still too vague a concept to make a viewer excited about seeing it change directions. The story which seems to be being told is that no matter who works for the Company they will all end up corrupt. Hence the incorruptible Michael Scofield is the only one who can bring them down.

Don Self’s wife is back in the picture (so to speak). We got hints earlier in the season that maybe she was dead by the Company’s hand. It’s difficult to know what his calm reaction to the photo suggests.

Best Moment: T-Bag’s mock offended reaction to being told he has a black soul by the “priest” at the church: “I have never been so offended in my life!” It’s all in the delivery.

The Verdict: Not a great start to the end of the show but they have time to pick thing’s up again for a suitable finale.



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  • I also agree that since the the betrayal of Self, the show has ruined all its efforts in the first 12 episodes to build up a logical plot. It does feel akward to see these guys who wanted the company burned to the ground, now working for The General as if there weren't any other company agents to chase Scylla.
    However, I think that from the start, plot was used very conveniently in this show and what makes it so good is the way the characters played by incredible actors interact with each other and, as you often highlight, simple yet brilliant plans. Therefore, I think that the show doens't want you to focus on the plausability of certain events(it's been a long time since the producers cared about making it appear realistic), it tells us a powerful story of two brothers and a couple of other characters fighting for freedom. From this perspective, I think the show is still satisfying and we ought to enjoy it and accept the unrealistic Prison Break world.

    Viewer score: 48 / 100

    Posted by Caio, 12/07/2017 7:01am (6 months ago)

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