Warning: spoilers ahead
Things are getting exciting, now that we have seen Michael execute the first iteration of his plan, and having it fail spectacularly. The episode ends on a desperate note for most of our characters and the viewers are left hanging on an emotional message that Michael leaves (hopefully) for Sara to see. It is the first crack piercing through Michael’s confident and calm exterior, betraying his true emotions of uncertainty and despair. We begin to see the Michael of Season 1 that the viewers rooted for, a man who at his core wants to do good and hurt the least amount of people possible, both in this scene and in the sequence where he desperately tries to save Sid from the other prisoners in the escape attempt (although he leaves him behind eventually). The real Michael is in there somewhere underneath the shell of Kaniel Outis.
Reinforcing the viewers’ belief in the real Michael is invaluable due to the growing doubts that arose during the course of the episode. After Lincoln, C-Note and Sheba uncover Michael’s initial base of operations, they realise that breaking out Abu Ramal was part of Michael’s initial plan. As we (and the characters) are people horrified by extremism, this revelation is met with shock. Michael’s own cellmates, stuck in the prison with Michael, begins to doubt him as well. Not just Whip, but Sid and Ja too. Michael’s tendencies to keep his plans to himself alienate people unfortunately.
Jacob’s exposition of ‘game theory’ comes into play again as we watch Whip’s confidence in Michael get shaken by his worry that Michael got too far deep into the persona of Kaniel Outis while in solitary and by another prisoner previously confined in solitary with him. According to him, Michael too shared his escape plan with him and promised to take him along. Michael works with what he has at hand. Cue up his ‘recruitment’ of Ja’s genius services for after their escape attempt, which I called in my previous review by the way (go me); there is a slightly suspension of belief needed as it is highly unlikely that everybody he needs for his attempt would be in his cell with him. We’re probably seeing the fruits of manifold manipulations over the years. On the other hand, seeing as he and Whip were imprisoned for approximately four years, he might have believed at some point that he might have to leave Whip behind. The strong survival instinct which has saved him in many situations is also what keeps coming around to stab him in the back. He resorts to improvisations (planting the guard’s watch on Ramal) to shore up his plan and his people’s confidence in him. Unfortunately, this is also the same thing that leads to Ramal and his men being out of their cells when the lights do go off, and what eventually derails his carefully thought out plans.
Lincoln, Sheba and C-Note get a kudos for figuring out Michael’s coded messages to them in a relatively short amount of time, having been thrown right into the thick of it. We all know splitting up in a war-torn city is a very bad idea but due to the lack of time and need for plot development, it happens anyway. Lincoln and Sheba (who have something going on by the way, no surprise there Linc) get ambushed by Sheba’s creepy ex-stalker from the previous episode. We get to see a nice sequence of Lincoln figuring out how to get out of a locked room, using his brains for the change, and going right back to beating the crap out of the guy. Until Michael’s attempts actually succeed, our characters here are mainly sidelined with nothing much they can do but prepare for the inevitable escape. However, having C-Note on the outside the prison provides a good image mirroring our own distress at watching Michael and his cellmates get caught at gunpoint.
On the other side of the world, Sara may be safe from extremist war but not from Poseidon. The mysterious person giving the agents order to keep an eye on Sara, and by extension, Michael, is suggested to be Paul Kellerman by the end of the episode. Which would be confusing, given that Kellerman’s redemption arc from the previous seasons was about him exposing the conspiracies surrounding our two brothers and Sara in the first place. Poseidon’s agents are smarter than some of the goons from previous seasons but Sara continues to surprise me with her tenacity and willingness to fight back against the circumstances. She manipulates the resources at hand (not unlike Michael) in order to get a good look at the people coming after her and her family and outsmarts them, at least in this episode. The partnership with T-Bag, I am wary of, but given the present circumstances, T-Bag should be the one to do the dirty work. Michael gave him a brand new hand, he should work off that debt at least.
All in all, given that this was the third episode out of eight, it was foolish to hope that Michael’s escape plan would have gone off without a hitch. Still it sucks to be proven right sometimes. However, one knows that the excitement of Prison Break starts when Michael’s carefully constructed plans get thrown out the window and improvisation begins. Now that Ramal knows Michael’s true intentions, all bets are off and Michael’s immunity within the prison disappears. Let the real games begin.
Things to consider:
- Why didn’t Lincoln check the forged passport before Sheba paid the forger? One would think Lincoln, having been on the run before, would know better. This seems like weak writing in order to further the plot.
- Whip mentioned doing CIA work with Michael, while questioning his motives and plan. Did they really work for the CIA breaking people out of prisons? Didn’t Michael kill a top CIA operative/management though? So what is the truth here?
- Explain yourself Kellerman, are you really Poseidon and how did you fall to the Dark Side – er – again?
Favourite scene: Sara outsmarting Poseidon’s agents. It seems like most of my favourite scenes revolve around Sara but I was really floored by her way of turning the situation around such that she had the upper hand (i.e. watching from the shop opposite to get a sense of her foe). I was also half terrified that she would actually try and leap into the garbage truck (who knows what’s in there) and thankful that she was smart enough to hide somewhere else – and overhear valuable information along the way.
Favourite line: “If I screw you, I won’t be around for you to kill me.”, said by Sheba’s passport contact in response to Lincoln’s, “If you screw me, I’ll kill you.” This is by far the most logical response I’ve heard to similar kinds of threats. It’s as if the people threatening them expect them to sit around waiting for repercussions of their betrayal. It was so unexpected that I burst out laughing. Definitely one of the sanest people in Yemen.
This writer will be reviewing Prison Break in its entirety of Season 5. Comments or theories are welcome.