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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 11 - Under & Out

15 June 2015

Synopsis: The escapees dig the tunnel. Heavy rain weakens the tunnel and forces them to escape that night. Michael agrees to let McGrady join them. Lechero and T-Bag make it clear they want to go first. Susan finds the bomb and takes Sofia hostage to ensure Whistler’s cooperation. She demands he give her the coordinates or she will torture Sofia. He gives her half and stands his ground.

The Good: The major advantage of the convenient get-together of all the protagonists is the greater focus on dialogue and character development (see Best Moment). T-Bag remains his eloquent, poisonous self, while Bellick is pathetic and desperate and Mahone resolute and resolved.

Michael and Whistler are even more interesting. It would seem that Whistler has been telling the truth recently as he cries at Sofia’s torture and begs Michael to help him. While Michael’s admission to Lincoln that he is tired seems supremely apt. His character is nicely defined by his claim that he is “willing to pay for my sins.” Michael’s guilt and acceptance that he has done wrong, even in a good cause is what makes him such a likeable main character. Unlike the brutal and relentless Jack Bauer (from 24), he has a conscious and doesn’t attempt to justify his wrong doing. His decision to include McGrady flows from this, not only does he feel he owes him but he seems determined that some good will come from this escape attempt. It’s refreshing to see this focus on the characters and their motivations. It is ideally placed just before the action and drama kick in to high gear.

Gretchen remains queen of the bad guys, finding the bomb, physically intimidating Sucre and torturing Sofia for good measure. Her insistence that she is not the bad guy draws a good question from Lincoln “What are the right reasons?” (for doing the wrong things). Her motivations and Whistler’s true identity have remained strongly intriguing throughout. All credit to the writers and producers for their patience.

The drama hits two nice high points here without feeling forced. Michael announces that “we leave tonight” to send us to the opening credits. Then to finish the show he says “30 seconds. Go.” Both make you want to see what will happen next, very solid television. 

The Bad: Is that really the end of Lincoln’s bomb story? That was pretty tame. I suppose not all plans work out.

The Unknown: What is at Whistler’s coordinates?

Best Moment: T-Bag in his inimitable fashion slithers up to Mahone in the tunnel and attempts to get him to turn on Michael, should the need arise. Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if they handed him in he asks.

M: “Justice? If there was an ounce of it left in this world. You’d be lying face down in the same unmarked grave as the rest of your inbred family.” 

T: “The only difference between me and you Alex is a badge. And the last time I checked, you didn’t even have that. So you can just keep on hoping for your happy endings Alex. You can just keep on ploughing ahead with them blinders on you know. But the thing about them blinders is, it makes it really hard to watch your back.”

The Verdict: A superb character and tension episode to set up the season finale. The writers deserve huge credit for not losing sight of the characters in the drive to create an intriguing escape plan. The actors too are on top of their game and this fine ensemble cast really pull together well here. 

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