After the previous episode, which was a lot more transitional, I was surprised by how much happened in this installment. I figured it would be a little while, at least an episode or two, before Bellick became a direct problem, but the rapid pacing of the first season is beginning to creep back in. I was also surprised at how quickly the plot turned on Abruzzi. I’m a little disappointed, because I really liked the character and wanted him to come back into the spotlight later down the road.
Still, this was a strong manner in which to explore Mahone’s weaknesses. As expected, while he shares a lot of Michael’s attention to detail and chess-player thinking, he has serious psychological issues of his own. He may be addicted to something, which would be an interesting source of pressure if it became a central plot point (as I expect it will). Wouldn’t it be interesting if Mahone’s issues left him with limited resources as the season marches on?
The writers were somewhat obvious with the misdirection between Abruzzi and Tweener, in terms of who would be the first one in the crosshairs, but I wonder if that was intentional. Because that subplot was easy to decipher, the questions about Nika were harder to answer. Her constant shift from friend to foe was well played, and as with Bellick, her sexuality was used as a distraction.
Nika’s allegiance is central to the main plot, and because that element worked so well, there was a constant tension. Sometimes her betrayals were a bit too easy to guess, but it left the audience wondering how far she would go. I saw the trick with the clip in Lincoln’s pocket a mile away, but it was still fun. It’s hard to blame Nika for doing what everyone else on the show is doing: looking after her own self-interest. (That, and I happen to like Holly Valance quite a bit!)
This episode did pin down one of the more important elements, however, by making it clear that Michael did have feelings for Sara and that he has every intention of making things right. His expression, upon learning about Sara’s overdose and legal troubles, spoke volumes. This could be a quick assurance that Sara’s connection to the conspiracy will not drag her character down too far.
I also like this because Michael is just beginning to realize what he has done in the name of freeing his brother. Sara has suffered and will continue to suffer because of him, and every time T-Bag kills or molests, that’s also a cross Michael will have to bear. A lot of people are going to get hurt because of Michael, and given his characterization in the first season, that could easily compel him to hunt down his fellow fugitives, despite the danger to his own future. When the plot twists and complications are based on character psychology and continuity, it makes it all worth the effort.
(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: 8/10