This Prison Break review contains spoilers.
Prison Break Season 5 Episode 3
You know, the second I stopped trying to find a deeper meaning in Prison Break the more I started to enjoy it. I know, last week I talked about all these deeper themes they could be hinting at. That was the wrong way to approach the show. The right way is to just go along for the ride, biting your nails, wondering how the hell Michael is going get out of this one.
In that respect, this episode half succeeded. Last episode took a little too long to get the classic Prison Break antics going but here we’re with them right from the jump. Why is Michael partnering with a guy who wants to kill gay people? How is he going to use his “whip hand”?
Once the actual escape plan goes down, it’s legit thrilling like the old days. The guards are coming! Guards are on the roof! They can’t get all the guys out! All the elements are there but something is lacking.
We don’t know the prison.
Think back to the first season. By the time the team attempted their first major escape we knew the whole layout of that place. We’d seen Michael explore every corner of it and even get nearly caught a few times. Plus by then we’d gotten to know all the major players in the escape.
While it’s nice to see a prison break so early in this season, it doesn’t connect because we don’t know any of these characters. We get some broad-brush strokes but we needed some smaller conflicts with them before they’re all thrust into this kind of high stakes action. When one of them can’t make it, I don’t really feel all that bad for him. Plus we don’t know this new prison very well.
Now part of me thinks this was intentional. The show could be playing with our expectations. Michael’s old intricate plans were meant to fail so now he has to think on his feet without any backups. Seeing his reaction at the end and his tearful “final” call to Sara convincingly sold this isn’t just part of Michael’s grand plan. He’s really truly screwed and we’ve never seen Michael in a position like that. Sure, in Panama he didn’t plan to be in prison but he had a few episodes to figure out a game plan.
With only six episodes left in this season do we have enough time to build up to another huge escape? Prison Break was always about stretching that tension over time and I’m worried that it’s going to rush the eventual climatic prison break. We’ll have to wait and see.
Which by the way, can we just take a quick side note? So apparently since Michael’s death he’s been working for the government to bust CIA agents out of prison? Does that mean prison breaking is legit Michael’s profession now? If so that is amazing.
Can’t you just imagine Michael’s LinkedIn? He has a year of experience breaking out of Fox River! A few months in Panama! Now he’s nabbed four years in his current prison. Can you endorse “prison breaking” on LinkedIn?
But seriously, why has he not contacted Sara before now? Yeah yeah, it’s part of the bigger mystery but he couldn’t have rung her up before now? Come on, man!
Oh yeah, Sara still exists. Moving on!
Kidding, kidding. Again, the government plot does nothing for me. At least T-Bag was around to sweeten the scenes up. Even if it basically amount to “I have some vague information” Robert Knepper is so good in the part he makes it work. I could watch that guy do… Well do pretty much anything!
Lincoln’s plot could totally use him. Yeah, last week there was some solid tension but here I was just kind of bored with it. Also throwing in a near rape scene didn’t do much to help. This kind of action is fun but it feels like it could be happening on any other action drama. Give us something that’s uniquely Prison Break! These characters should be using their smarts before their fists.
That’s the problem I’m seeing creeping into this season. Michael’s plot is mostly fine but the others don’t feel specific enough to Prison Break. I know Michael is the master plotter but Lincoln should at least be trying to make some contingencies of his own in case things go south.
The idea of opening up the world of Prison Break to make escaping a country part of theplan is a good one, but perhaps nine episodes just wasn’t enough to pull it off. Hopefully the next few installments can turn this around.
Oh well, I’ll still enjoy all of Michael’s superbly over dramatic eye movements. Seriously, no one can act with his eyes like Wentworth Miller can.
Shamus Kelley needs Fox to create a LinkedIn for Michael yesterday. Follow him on Twitter!