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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 - Fire/Water

30 March 2012

Synopsis: Lincoln follows Whistler’s girlfriend to a bank and then takes a book from her which she retrieved from a safety deposit box. In Sona, Michael learns that Whistler is hiding in the sewer and that there is a price on his head because of his crimes. Mahone breaks Whistler out and tries to collect the bounty on him. But Lechero rewards Michael instead because he manages to restart the water supply which the guards had blocked off.

The Good: The manoeuvring outside of the prison is the best part of this episode. In shows like Prison Break you always suspect that those doing the kidnapping will make foolish mistakes. So it is refreshing that Susan has people following Lincoln and immediately demands that he hand over the book. It marks her out at this stage as efficient and intelligent. It makes the next twist even more satisfying when we see that Lincoln bought an identical book having anticipated this turn of events. Lincoln’s threats to her are the best moment of the episode and further underscore the enjoyable intelligence on display from these two (see Best Moment).

Similarly ruthless is Lechero who murders the inmate who led the rebellious actions against him. Ruthless and efficient “bad guys” make our heroes struggles much more interesting.

Sucre’s phone call to Maricruz is suitably emotional. It is a courageous act on his part to stay away from her and is a plausible reason to keep him involved in our story.

I really enjoyed Michael’s completely dry and uninterested “yeah sure” to the question “You ever have sex with blonde cheerleader?”

The Bad: There are too many convenient or unexplained things going on in Sona. It feels far too easy that Michael finds the one, seemingly trustworthy and friendly inmate of Sona (McGrady) who happens to have lots of information and be well connected. It is reminiscent of Sucre being Michael’s cellmate in season one. It is not explained how Michael knew exactly how the prison guards had blocked the water supply. Nor is it explained how he knew where they had done it. As the dramatic conclusion of the episode it is weak, predictable and far too easy.

Similarly both Michael and Mahone find Whistler a bit too easily. It’s not clear how Whister got behind the wall in the first place as he doesn’t seem to be able to get out. The scenes with Mahone dragging him out of the sewer feel like a waste of time. They don’t develop the story much and in the end serve no real purpose.

Sucre’s realisation that he can’t go back to the States is handled in an incredibly obvious manner. Lincoln’s warning that he may be better leaving his loved ones alone is fine but it only hits him when he is sitting next to a Latina girl holding a baby. A different family unit could have made the same point without the blindingly obvious similarity to Maricruz. There is also the issue of him sneaking a gun past Sona security. Shouldn’t they frisk their visitors more thoroughly?

The Unknown: What is the significance of Whistler’s book? Why is he so important and to who?

Best Moment: As I have mentioned, intelligent behaviour is ideal in any drama. So when Lincoln comes to meet Susan she asks if they can dispense with the usual threats. She knows that he will threaten her and says that she would feel the same way. It’s a nice moment which avoids the usual kidnap clichés and establishes her as a smart operator. Even better is Lincoln’s response. He says “I'm assuming you weren't born by immaculate conception.” She agrees. “Family ties being what they are...moms, dads, brothers, sisters. Anything happens to my son or Sara, I'm not coming after you, Susan.” It’s about the only threat he can make and it is effective. She can’t protect everyone she cares about as he knows all too well.

The Verdict: Some sloppy work in Sona but some solid stuff outside. As is often the case with the early part of the season, the chess pieces are being manoeuvred into position. Your opinion of the episode will depend on how engaged you are by the characters. I believe this isn’t Prison Break’s best effort but there are hints of encouragement.

('DiggThis)

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