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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

56
/100

Episode 8 - The Price

28 March 2012

Synopsis: The team give Roland a severe dressing down for losing his device in Vegas. Lincoln suggests a hit and run to steal the General’s card but Roland tips off Wyatt and ruins the plan. Gretchen offers Sara the chance to whip her in order to make peace but Sara is only concerned with the name of the woman who helped her escaped. T-Bag and Trishanne cut a deal to make sure Gretchen gives them their cut of the money. Roland heads out to meet Wyatt who shoots him in both his knees before killing him. Michael had tracked him though and Mahone beats Wyatt down and they drag him away.

The Good: The gang are absolutely justified in being angry at Roland. His irresponsible behaviour has cost them a great deal and its understandable that he would care only for himself. He hasn’t escaped from prison or been chased by the Company. Michael reminds us how clever he is again by simply guessing that Roland betrayed them and planting a tracking device on him.

Roland’s death is brutal and reinforces how ruthless Wyatt is. It’s a logical development that Wyatt would just shoot him when Roland had nothing to bargain with. His screams of pain and pleading whimpers are suitably desperate. It’s impossible not to sympathise with his dying pains and Michael’s sympathy for him is touchingly shot. “I’m not ready to go” Roland says and we know that Michael may be thinking the same thing as his potential brain tumour weighs on his mind.

The use of flashbacks definitely adds something to the story. Lincoln’s carjacking shows us simply and clearly how the plan is supposed to unfold, so that we can avoid a wordy explanation becoming dull to listen to. Sara’s flashbacks help explain who provided the fake Sara head (304) and how she eventually escaped. At the Company they confirm that they flooded Laos with fake money to ruin the economy and that Scylla is not just their little black book.

The Bad: This is another cluttered episode. There are so many twists and turns and stories going on that it’s not sinking in like it should.

The biggest crime is Roland’s death scenes. They are filmed like any other development by cutting away to see what the General and Sara are up to. But any main character’s death ought to be given clear and serious air time, alone from other distractions. For all the artistic and emotional benefits I think that confers, more importantly it sends a message. That message is that when characters die, it is a big deal. Death should always be treated very seriously because without that, all the near misses don’t mean half as much as they could.

Again Don Self’s character could do with better definition. His bitch slapping remarks to Gretchen and T-Bag sound alright but we don’t know his personal involvement with bringing down the Company. His threats just sound like generic good law man comments and his threats have little force when he couldn’t even get Mahone released from jail (407).

The clutter comes in the form of deals this week. The General has a deal with Wyatt who makes a deal with Roland. Lincoln offers Sucre a good deal, Michael tricks Roland, T-Bag makes a deal with Gretchen, then with Trishanne while Gretchen calls Self to help make a deal with Sara. It’s too many convoluted developments and the show would benefit from simplifying things.

Wyatt doesn’t look very clever turning up for his meeting with Roland with just a gun (and no fake brief case of money). Supposing the person making the deal was standing there with armed associates? Wyatt had no idea who he was going to meet, it’s a case of the writers not thinking through Wyatt’s mindset and jumping the gun to knowing that he won’t need anything to take down Roland. Wyatt also looks like a moron for not suspecting that this was a trap or taking any precautions for that possibility.

The Unknown: Where are the company headed next with their inflation tactics.

Best Moment: Roland crying and dying and Michael holding his hand. Michael has remained resolutely moral about his operations and it is an endearing quality.

The Verdict: When Prison Break starts moving its players into position for bigger episodes to come, the episode itself tends to suffer. There is too much going on to let anything really stick. Sara has to go through her big emotional confrontation just as Roland is bleeding to death. Audiences shouldn’t be required to jump between to emotive scenes like that and get the full impact from either. The plot developments are pretty solid though.

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