"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prision Break: Scylla/Breaking and Entering

"Yeah well, a lot of people that believed in me in the last few months Agent Self... not all of them are alive today." - Scofield

I've always loved Prison Break. I still do. I'm four seasons deep now and I've fully accepted the fact that this show is constantly reinventing itself and as a result, the level of ridiculousness that I as a viewer need to be willing to eat is absurd. I'm not sure if I laughed louder when T-Bag adopted a cannibalistic lifestyle or Linc called the new guy Roland a douche. Oh right... and Sara is alive. So don't act surprised by the picture. But I knew that anyway. FOX didn't even try to keep that one a secret.

Picking up three weeks after Michael and his merry band of fugitives busted out of Sona, he's hot on the trail of Whistler, Gretchen, and Mahone all in an effort to get revenge for Sara's death. Needless to say, it was painful to watch all this play out as I knew she was alive and breathing. When Michael finally did meet up with her near the end of the first episode, it was quite possibly one of the flattest and most anti-climactic reunions in TV history. I'll get back to this though.

In those three weeks, a lot happened. Linc settled down to a nice life with Sofia and LJ in Panama. Sona burned to the ground and T-Bag, Sucre, and Bellick all escaped. And Pad Man (or as Gretchen calls him, "The General") really started knocking some heads around at The Company.

Then, in classic Prison Break fashion, everyone broke the law inside of five minutes of each other, and ended up in the same room with the show's newest addition, Homeland Security Agent Don Self (Michael Rapaport). Do what he wants and you're all free - finally. Sounds like a pretty good deal.

He wants to take down The Company - something they can all agree on. The first step is stealing Scylla - the encrypted files that contain all of The Company's dirty secrets. Which brings me back to the beginning and what Whistler, Gretchen, and Mahone were all doing. That got botched up and Pad Man's newest errand boy Wyatt popped -- wait for it -- Gretchen and Whistler. Two series regulars dead just like that. So imagine my surprise at the end when we found out that Wyatt actually kept Gretchen alive. No! Not on this show! So help me... if Whistler shows up next week with his brains tucked back into his forehead...

That won't happen, Whistler has to be dead - which leaves open a ton of questions. First off, if he and Mahone were indeed working against Gretchen (remember, he and Mahone had that meeting in the bar at the end of the last season), then why did Whistler hand off his one copy of the Scylla card to Stuart, who's clearly working with Pad Man? Or is Stuart actually one of the good guys and he too is just trying to take down The Company? That whole connection was extremely ambiguous. Because if he is one of the good guys, then why would Self have enlisted Scofield and Co. to steal from him? Back and forth, back and forth. I should know better by now.

Self's plan has me worried though. The obvious question? Aren't there better people to pull off something like this? I'm thinking yes but that doesn't really matter. Stealing one Scylla memory card would have been OK, but then Sara made the Odyssey connection and realized that there are five more pieces to go. See what I mean by reinvention on this show? From fugitives to spies.

More thoughts...

I had no idea people could heal that quickly from extensive full upper body laser tattoo removal!

Are we just forgetting about Sofia and LJ? What happened to them after Linc got busted?

Back to Sara and Michael. Is her return to the show that big of a deal? What does it actually add? It's not like she knows some huge secret that supposedly died with her. That and the whole awkward reunion mess and I'm honestly wishing her head was actually in that box. That could change though. It's only two episodes in and maybe something will happen to change my mind.

Alright, I'm reaching back to season two here, but didn't Bruce Bennet give up Sara to the police or The Company? I don't recall precisely, but I could have sworn he was one of the bad guys. If so, why did Wyatt need to sedate him to get answers? Or more importantly, what was in it for Bruce to bail out the brothers? Penance for actions past?

T-Bag roasted a fat Mexican man on a small fire and ate him. WOW. A cannibal plays a key role on this show now! Amazing. He's got the bird book, but what exactly did he uncover from the late Whistler's locker at the bus depot? Looked like a fake ID and a credit card, but what's in the folder? More importantly, did T-Bag memorize everything on the pages he ate from the bird book? Nice to see that he did right by Sister Mary Francis though... you know - before he ate a guy.

I'm hoping that there's more on Don and his connection to Linc and Michael's father. I know he's dead, but I've always hoped that he'd somehow play a bigger role in the show's over-arching plan.

I also hope we get more on Jasper, Don's car salesman, "ex-Company" man.

Maybe I'm just not up to date on technology, but is something similar to what Roland invented even possible?

Sucre finally got to see his daughter (but no Mari Cruz) for about eight seconds until Mari Cruz's sister turned him in. Didn't Mari Cruz tell her anything about what happened south of the border?

I appreciated the fact that numerous little tidbits from seasons past were brought up - Scofield's Czech wife, europeangoldfinch.net, the paper maché rose, D.B. Cooper's money, and the return (and murder) of Mahone's wife Pam. It's nice to know that not everything on this show gets forgotten.

What's the significance of Michael's nosebleeds? Clearly he's sick, but am I supposed to interpret that as an early indicator of this being the final season of Prison Break? Without Michael, this show doesn't work.

Overall, a decent two-hour premiere. It would have been foolish to have expected anything more from Prison Break than what I got. It's the Cadillac of bad TV. So corny, so cheesy... I can't get enough.

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