When the promos talked about a flashback episode, I was expecting something more along the lines of what “Lost” does every week: interweaving past and present to advance a particular character’s thematic development. Instead, the entire hour was devoted to the past. It threw me off at first, because I was constantly waiting for the jump forward to the “present”, but I got over it rather quickly.
There’s a saying: “The past is prologue”. That’s certainly the case here. This episode was packed with revelations, and I don’t think there was one moment that I didn’t enjoy. OK, some of the Veronica scenes still left me cold, since I don’t really like the portrayal of the character, but they were easily outmatched by the rest. I think the first moment that got my attention was the revelation that Lincoln’s entire predicament began with a moment of sacrifice for Michael. Given Michael’s psychological issues, it makes absolute sense that he would latch onto his guilt and let it drive him to such an extreme decision.
The previous episodes haven’t provided much opportunity to delve into C-Note’s background, so this is the chance to make him a lot more sympathetic. Given the circumstances of his life before prison, it’s no surprise that he would be looking for the chance to get involved in Michael’s gambit. I’m a little worried, though, because it’s rare for a character to be given a sympathetic back story so late in the game without the subsequent tragedy. (Then again, his character’s situation would make for a very interesting second season plot thread!)
Sucre’s story, as expected, was a little more comedic in its tragedy. I’ve liked Sucre for a while now, especially since he placed his loyalty firmly in Michael’s court, and it’s hard to see him screwed by his own cousin like that. And now that we’ve gotten a good look at Maricruz and her wild ways, it’s quite obvious why Sucre wants out!
Having told several stories of men with good intentions gone wrong, it was nice to balance that with T-Bag’s history. The scenes with the children were played to the hilt, building on the audience’s expectations, and the revelation was all the better for it. I wasn’t completely convinced that T-Bag was making a turnaround before being caught, but that really doesn’t matter. This episode only confirms that T-Bag is one hell of a character.
Not to be outdone, Sara has her own checkered past, and it’s a doozy. I never would have pegged her for an addict, but it fits the evidence at hand. Now it’s clear what the Vice President was holding over Sara’s father, at least in part. Though I have to say, even made to look like a junkie, Sarah Callies is incredibly gorgeous! The real question that comes out of that story, however, is Bellick’s weakness. Is he also a former junkie, and if so, how will that play into the rest of the season?
All the shots covering Michael’s plan, especially the new elements that weren’t mentioned before, will inevitably factor into the next escape attempt. But that’s something I liked about this episode. Though each story was covered in enough detail to be compelling on its own merits, there were tons of elements that factor into the “present” storyline. It’s the kind of episode that screams for a second or third viewing, just to take it all in, and that’s what made it one of the best of the season.
Final Rating: 9/10