Warning: spoilers ahead
So the latest episode gave us some answers but brought on a whole new barrage of questions. We are given a very tiny peek into the mystery surrounding Kaniel Outis and how he ended up in Ogygia and the rest of our main players are slowly catching up. We find that Michael is once again, stuck in something that might be slowly spinning out of his control, as evidenced by the rebel fighting getting nearer and nearer the prison, a factor that he himself cannot control. Or maybe he could, given that he is on hugging terms with Abu Ramal, ISIL leader also locked up in Ogygia.
The audience is also introduced to a parade of new characters efficiently and effectively. Amongst others, there is Whip (Augustus Prew), named so as Michael’s whip-hand, is his main accomplice in the prison. He is the one who seems to know the most about Michael’s escape plan, being the only one in his cell to accompany him on their trip to the roof. This relationship between them seems familiar because it is. It is exactly how Michael banked on having an amicable and not so dangerous cellmate in Fox River, which turned out to be Sucre, in order to facilitate his escape plan. And just like Sucre, it appears that he does not know the whole plan.
Another character of note, Ja (Rick Yune), is a Korean man who is supposedly the world’s greatest Queen fan and owner of Freddie Mercury’s ashes. Inexplicably, he has photos of Korean women on his cell bunk and an iPhone to watch “We are the Champions” on. Where does he charge his phone? Or does he have unlimited battery because I really need it (hah). Michael is willing to take a beating from the prison guards in order to get two pills to exchange for access to Ja’s resources. What’s more, I do not think this will be the only time Michael will need him. In a prison like Ogygia, everything is a resource or a tool, but what Ja has is exponentially more powerful. Apparently, Ja used to hack into rich people’s bank accounts for the fun of it to fund his lifestyle. Now that sounds like someone Michael could use in the future, or might have used in the past to delete Michael Scofield and create Kaniel Outis?
Speaking of which, Michael’s backstory is mainly given to us by Paul Kellerman, another character that has arisen from Michael’s past. We are told that Michael, as Kaniel Outis, is a terrorist with ties to ISIL and is a murderer. The erasure of Michael’s history and identity was hinted at in the previous episode but Kellerman confirms the scale of it, that Michael no longer exists in the system. While Lincoln suspected that it was the work of somebody else, it is Kellerman who points out it would take a genius like Michael to facilitate such an act. As mentioned in the previous episode, Outis is Greek for ‘nobody’. The irony of renaming Michael ‘nobody’ is not lost. He has become a ghost and we have no idea what happened to him between when we saw him last. The audience is treated like Lincoln and Sara, finding out that Michael is alive after years and fed tidbits of information to keep us on the hook, waiting for more.
But there is sufficient evidence to make Sara doubt Michael, if only for a bit. So does Jacob’s objective break down of Michael’s game, which has remained the same since Season 1.
See, in game theory, it serves you to be two-faced. Be everyone’s friend till the moment you’re not. You make them love you so much that when they’re up against it, their loyalty will make them act against their own best interests. That’s game theory. A cold, rational focus on winning. Even if it’s at everyone else’s expense.
Coming from an outsider who is not invested in the survival at Michael, this stings. But it is also true. That has always been Michael’s game. He plays people like pawns, utilising them to get what he wants. He may form friendships along the way, but he does have a final goal in mind (e.g. getting Lincoln out of prison and off death row) and sometimes, he fails to consider the consequences for other people he takes with him. This hits home harder now that he is in Ogygia, surrounded by characters we do not know or trust. Say it was Sucre or C-Note with him, we’d be less inclined to believe he would leave them behind. With these new characters and as little as we know about them, we as the audience could care less about who stays and who goes, as long as Michael gets out.
Overall, the episode moved the plot along rather quickly and we see that Michael already had a escape plan in place; Lincoln was just another factor. One minor plot hole I could not reconcile however, was Michael passing Lincoln a coded message. It was probably not the smartest thing, since Lincoln never had a knack for reading between his brother’s lines, although it could be attributed to Michael’s fear of getting found out. What concerns me is that Michael has access to Lincoln and Sara from within the supposedly-secure prison. Michael is usually where he wants to be, even as the people around him panic. If he is able to send messages to the outside that easily (not forgetting the image that he mailed to T-bag as proof of life), and send pizzas, then Michael is not as trapped as we think he is.
As always, Michael Scofield has a plan, and he is exactly where he wants to be. To what motive, the audience will have to wait to find out.
Things to consider:
- Did Michael really kill the Deputy Chief of the CIA? And we’re taking Kellerman’s word for it? We only saw images, freeze frame stills of the supposed act. In Season 1, Lincoln was set up with a doctored video, so we all know how easy that is to fake. But there is a manhunt out for Michael, or Kaniel, based on a few images and a suitcase full of the victim’s blood? Sounds a bit fishy to me.
- Wasn’t Kellerman a US Congressman at the end of Season 4? Is he still a Congressman? Or did he fall from grace or simply pick a different path? There’s a story there, I sense it.
Favourite scene: Sara being completely unamused by Kellerman’s attempts to be friendly or concerned over her health. Every time I see Sara and Kellerman interact, I flashback to the scene of him dunking her in that horrid bathtub and leaving her to die. And then I remember she burnt him with an iron and everything is a good again.
Favourite line: “I’m gonna show you, just like the butterfly’s wings, this piece of gum is gonna start a sequence of events that will finish on the other side of the world.” This is at the heart of it all, the beauty of Prison Break. They never tell you upfront what Michael is doing, and we wait in anticipation for each step of his plan to try and figure out how this all plays into the big picture. How a screw from a bench is just the right size to unscrew the toilet or how sunlight makes a guard turn his face could give them the perfect opportunity to make a move. Everything has been perfectly planned by Michel but known only to himself and the audience is just along for the ride.
This writer will be reviewing Prison Break in its entirety of Season 5. Comments or theories are welcome.