...in my opinion, a good shag. That's a rather simplistic way of saying, as I told my husband last night, that Michael is a bit of an ascetic, shutting himself up and denying himself worldly pleasure, consuming himself with study. All the other cons are living in gorgeous detail after their breakout -- Abruzzi cleans up nice (poor John)! Sucre is recklessly romantic! Tweener shows a sweet, protective side! T-Bag's proclivities blossom in terrifying ways (how does Robert Knepper manage to get a cab when he looks so much like a serial killer?)! -- but Michael seems to be living in a prison inside himself. That apartment he used to live in is nothing more than a larger cell -- prison was like another monastery for him. He's willing to exploit the drive for pleasure in other men, and women; he knew how Bellick would react to Nika, even though it doesn't seem likely that Michael "got to hit that a few times," and he drew Sara in by a display of sexual magnetism. When he called Sara later in the episode I didn't get the impression that he wanted her so much as he wanted to make it up to her. Bellick's story activated Michael's well-documented protective instinct, and Michael couched his call to Sara in terms of righting a wrong. But that raspy voice! Michael reacts to problems emotionally, but immediately turns that emotion into calculation. An emotion in him requires a Plan. That call was the first sense we get of Michael reacting to an emotion without calculation.
A few other notes: It seems that Dani's dad (T-Bag's second murder) allowed his ideology to get in the way of common sense. Dani says, "He always helps out the vets" (creepy flashback to the last T-Bag murder, anyone?), but it doesn't seem especially intelligent to pick up a hitchhiker -- even someone who claims to be a former soldier -- with your little daughter in the car. It was interesting to me that on 9/11, there was a moment where we were forced to confront the consequences of allowing a blanket ideology to govern all of your reactions.
Also, in the Watercooler response to "Prison Break," there's been some discussion about the plausibility of the stories lately. Brian Eno said, "Fiction must be plausible. Real life has no such constraint." But "plausible" in that context doesn't mean "realistic"; in life, events often seem to have no connection one to the other, and if we watched fiction that was exactly like real life, there'd be a lot of "Honey, look at the enormous block I just scooped out of the cat's litter box!" (How long have we tried to make narrative sense of the events of 9/11? It cannot be done, as the reaction to the recent mini-series continues to argue.) Plausibility in this context means that we believe in the motivations of the characters, and that the motivations of the characters drive the storyline in ways that make sense. In that sense, "Prison Break" has been quite plausible -- we obviously believe in all these men and women, and we're following them not because we believe that their journey COULD HAPPEN TO US, but because we live for those moments like Michael's raspy voice on the phone to Sara when we think that something in them might finally be breaking free.As far as what Michael "needs," I would be more than happy to help him with that. ;o)