The writers are certainly doing everything possible to keep the dramatic tension going, but I’m already beginning to wonder if a tonal shift wouldn’t have been a better call for the second season. I completely buy the premise that Michael had incorporated the whole post-escape plan into his tattoo, given the scope and detail that we’ve been asked to accept in the first season, and I think that the writers were able to play against certain expectations fairly well. But was anyone else annoyed with the heavy-handed use of the car crash teaser, especially in light of the FOX promos?
One of the benefits of the whole “the next phase is also in the tattoo” business is how it will pit Michael and Mahone against each other on roughly equal footing. Michael has the plan right there on his skin, but Mahone has it in his evidence file. It’s a question of how quickly Mahone can put the pieces together. If Mahone gets enough of a hint to link the events of this episode to one of the tattoo pictures, then the game is back on.
I foresee that happening sooner rather than later, but the writers will need to establish why Bellick is a formidable player first. He gets an ugly yet effective moment in this episode, and he uses information he collected himself to accomplish more than Mahone could. While Mahone is off dealing with the rest of the Escape Squad, Bellick will probably make his move.
Still, a couple of basic questions emerge. First, how long will it take for Mahone and his team to realize that there were no signs of the car going out of control before plunging off the side of the bridge? They should have noticed the lack of damage to the bridge and the absence of skid marks. It’s a convenience to give Bellick room to maneuver, but why did he need that time? If Bellick had Michael and Lincoln in his sights right then and there, what are they waiting for? The chance to get far enough away from Mahone to avoid interference?
The car-crash teaser was also used to generate more tension out of the transitional subplots with C-Note and Sucre, and in the end, that added to the slight edge of annoyance about the whole thing. C-Note feels like a character begging for a bad end, because his hopes are way too high. As one of the less established characters on the show, he would be a logical loss (complete with the trauma to his daughter, which could be played to the hilt). Sucre’s plot has more of a comic side, but there’s the edge of growing desperation that could lead in a far more serious direction.
I was wondering how the conspiracy would play into the second season, and now we see that Sara has fallen into their clutches, however unknowingly. I suppose this was a natural direction for the season to take, since Sara’s father was handed the Vice Presidency in exchange for playing along, but it does play into my worries about Sara becoming the new Veronica. The conspiracy plot thread has been the kiss of death for this series, and it would be unfortunate if Sara (a character kept on the series based on popular demand) were to get pulled down by association.
(As a sidenote: I also have a podcast associated with my various reviews called “Dispatches from Tuzenor”. Current episodes cover the “Prison Break”, so it might be something of interest. Go to http://entil2001.libsyn.com if you want to listen!)
Final Rating: 7/10