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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 12 - Hell or High Water

30 March 2012

Synopsis: Michael allows Lechero, T-Bag and Bellick to get caught while he and the others escape as the guards are searching for them. The guards torture Bellick and T-Bag until T-Bag gives up Sucre to them. Michael and the others reach the beach where Lincoln digs up the oxygen tanks that take them out to an ocean marker. McGrady’s father uses the boat which Sucre couldn’t and rescues them. Lincoln has found an abandoned warehouse where they can make a safe exchange but Whistler runs away.

The Good: It’s another fine episode from Prison Break as the breathless plot development piles on. The escape is a combination of clever plans from Michael and Lincoln. The twist that Michael waited for Lechero and company to get caught is a good one. The thirty seconds they had to run didn’t sound long enough for seven men and it turns out that it wasn’t. The idea of the guards being too distracted by locking down Sona to notice the escape is plausible enough to be good television (though see The Bad).

A better plan is Lincoln’s oxygen tank escape and subsequent tape recorder trick. Again the logic is with them that the roads would be sealed off and so water was the better route out. And of course a boat would be easy to see, so there scuba diving is a neat trick. Meanwhile the use of the out house is similarly simple and of course clever Gretchen figures it out but not quickly enough.

Whistler’s ankle injury seems like a big cliché at first. It seems especially pointless once he makes it through plenty of swimming and running unscathed. But once he makes a run for it we realise his ankle was the bigger twist (pun intended). The curiosity over who Whistler really is has built nicely. Now it would seem he doesn’t want to be exchanged for Sofia and LJ. Is that because of distrust of the company or something more sinister?

There is also some nice consistency with Lincoln taking revenge on Mahone. The events of season two feel a long time ago but rewarding long time viewers is very important. Even better is that moral Michael attempts to stop Lincoln from murdering. At least he remembers how hard they fought to clear Lincoln’s name. Mahone has a pretty simple defence of his behaviour too “I was told to choose between your family and mine. That was my option. I chose mine.” It is solid characterisation that Mahone and Michael, having been in prison again, have somewhat come to terms with their past. Where as Lincoln has been stewing on the outside and is still looking for revenge. Considering he committed murder under duress (308), its interesting that he refuses to accept Mahone’s plea.

T-Bag squealing on Sucre is a really nice moment (See Best Moment). Not for Sucre obviously. But once more T-Bag’s tremendous performance lifts the scene as he wisecracks despite being threatened with genital electrocution. But once he sees Sucre he screams as only a terrified man can when he sees a way out. Poor Sucre looks like he may be about to swap places with Michael.

The Bad: Michael’s escape plan of course has an element of blind luck about it. It’s pretty fortunate that the trucks parked in such a way that they were close to the hole. And even more fortunate that they were close enough together to provide cover as he crawled to the hole in the fence. It borders on far too coincidental but I think they just about get away with it.

The escape itself lacks real tension because we know they will get away. Fortunately Sucre’s capture provides a genuine feeling of dread for loyal viewers.

The Unknown: T-Bag scoops up Whistler’s book in the courtyard of Sona. If those coordinates really can’t be replicated will that mean T-Bag suddenly becomes indispensable? What are Whister’s true intentions? Who will rescue Sucre now? After all, none of the escapees or their conspirators can go back to Sona and risk being seen.

Best Moment: T-Bag is being interrogated by the guards about the escape but of course he knows nothing. A guard enters the room and tells him to “Take off your pants.” T-Bag replies “Excuse me senor?” When the order is repeated he caustically says “If I knew you boys partied in Sona like this I would never have tried to escape.” Although that earns him a beating, that is nothing to the threat of electrocution which follows. He backs off begging to be let go, swearing that he knows nothing. His screams of “But he does! He knows everything!” while pointing at Sucre are suitably desperate.

The Verdict: Another tense and clever episode. All the little pieces (the fence being weakened, the out house, the cooler buried at the beach) come together in a pleasingly logical escape. The intrigue over Whistler and Sucre sets up the finale nicely. If the writers had to make drastic changes in view of the writers strike then they have done a tremendous job.



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