The previous episode was a great re-introduction to the series, and as expected, it marked the beginning of the arc that would stretch throughout the rest of the season. It also avoided a number of the plot contrivances that had been the status quo for the series since the pilot. “Prison Break” is the spawn of “24”, in terms of demanding suspension of disbelief, but when there’s clearly a gameplan in place, it’s a lot easier to forgive.
As expected, the execution was delayed, which effectively means that the rest of the season will defer to Michael’s contingency plans. Since the previous episode was all about removing the likely possibilities for delay in Lincoln’s execution, one would expect that the rest of the season would be about removing the likely possibilities for Michael’s success. Not only does that help escalate the tension, it also pushes Michael to the breaking point.
Michael’s psychology doesn’t really allow him to contemplate failure, which is one way to explain away his ability to sear off a section of his back without screaming his head off. Frankly, I can’t believe that the guard didn’t notice he was there or hear his whimpering, even over the noise, but that’s not the most ridiculous plot twist.
The worst plot hole concerns the reaction to Michael’s injury. There’s no way that his explanation would hold water, especially under the intense scrutiny that Bellick has him under lately. I can buy the fact that Sara wouldn’t report the chunk of prison guard uniform in Michael’s burnt flesh, but why wouldn’t a guard notice the odd fact that a prisoner is mysteriously burned at the same time that his uniform gets a big hole burned into it?
What it does, however, is throw a major roadblock into Michael’s latest plan, which was proceeding rather nicely, despite several minor issues along the way. Sucre has shown himself to be a strong source of support for Michael, and this episode demonstrates that very well. For that matter, the entire team is doing their best to keep things on track while Michael works out the next step. The question is: how long can that last?
The writers also throw another interesting angle into the plot: the apparent intervention by Lincoln and Michael’s father. Why he would wait until the last moment to slip that information under a judge’s door is hard to understand, but there’s plenty of time for explanations between now and the end of the season. I have to wonder what else he has up his sleeve, especially since the exhumation didn’t work out as intended. But that’s the point, isn’t it? They’ve got me more than a little curious to see how it will all work out, warts and all.
Final Rating: 7/10