So, your brother is on death row.
Your son's been framed for double homicide and attempted murder.
You can't bear to tell your wife and kid you've been dishonorably discharged.
You're in it deep with the government and are reconsidering your career choice.
You find out your gal is preggers, and about to marry someone else.
You've offed your family without knowing it.
Your daughter is an ex-morphine addict working in a prison.
You had an affair which resulted in a child you never took responsibility for and wound up dead.
Your father is a goal oriented politician who never paid enough attention to you.
Your wife and kids are being threatened by your old pals because you can't get some very important information.
Your dad was wrongly convicted of murder.
You belong amongst the diverse and endearing cast of characters of Prison Break.
One of the thigns I've loved about this show since I started watching it, is how family is like the arteries of the show.
Suspense, action, breaking out of prison: these are all aspect which comprise the heart, frantically pumping fresh new material out to us, the loyal viewers, keeping us norished and fed, but the pathways these things take to us almost all seem to be, in one way or another (with some demonstrably more than others), familial ones.
Early on in Season One, Lincoln tells his son, LJ, that Blood, family, is all that matters. In Prison Break, apparently, it is. I have found that this familial theme (and the gorgeous cast...) is what keeps me coming back every. single. week.
I find that the theme appeals to the baser instinct of protect your own, and thus far, a great many of the characters have gone to borderline obscene lengths to do just that. If one were to go by a case-by-case analysis, almost everyone has some family that has motivated (or gained significant character depth because of) them in at least one episode, what follows are my favorite familial aspects of each character:
Michael: (To state the obvious) His only family, sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit, compels him to throw away a lucrative career as a srtuctural engineer, freedom and future to cover his (delictible) torso in ink, stage a bank robbery, get thrown in prison, lose two toes, go crazy, break out of prison, and flee cross-country. Talk about loyalty, I wish I could think my kid sis would do that for me.
Lincoln: His only son, framed for the murder of his mother and step-father (by the same people who put him on death row, no less,) without guidance, protection, or anyone at all to help him in his legal battle compels a oft-time less-than-adequate father to risk re-capture after recent escape from prison to try and pull him out of an elevator. In front of an FBI manhunter, no less. Oh yeah, he also got shot.
He's also gone back to prison to save the father that abandoned him and Michael, been a great big brother and saved Michael's ass a few tiems, and repeatedly had to put off (somehow) rescuing his son from prison because his kid bro can't take a shit without a plan.
LJ: Poor kid got thrown in jail, an adult facility btw, trying to seek retribution over the death of his mother & step-dad, not to mention his father's faulty conviction. Everyone he cares about is either on the lam or dead. And, to boot, when he is thisclose to being rescued from the grips of shifty, drug addicted FBI agents he essentially sacrifices himself for his father, insisting he let him go. P.S. he's only 16!
Sucre: When walking the straight and narrow and trying to be a better man still loses him his girl and his unborn child, he digs, and digs, drills a hole in a wall with an eggbeater, gets thrown in the SHU for a pair of panties ::wink::, digs some more, digs up a grave, steals a car, talks to a bobblehead Virgin, jumps on a train, borrows a motorcycle, gets fucked over *again* by his counsin, and STILL doesn't get to see his lady love. If ever there was a guy with sweeter, more earnest intentions, Sucre is him.
C-Note: Such deception in the name of love the world has seldom known! Can't bring himself to tell his gals he's been dishonorably discharged, and then, to add insult to injury, can't tell them he's going to jail either! If I were on the recieving end of such deception I'd kick hi to the curb, but as a viewer, his desperation is endearing and makes me root for him no matter how doomed I rather think he is. I think Wifey will do what I owuld do were it real life and give him the boot. But how tender are the scenes where he speaks through muffled phones to his woman, whispers through bars to his daughter, threatens those who dare to mention that he even *has* a family while inside Fox River. Plus, what lengths he goes to to keep up the charade, postcards from Iraq? that's hardcore. I root (probably in vain) for dear old Ben Fraklin, because his three good reasons for his wife include him, her, and that beautiful baby girl.
Plus, anyone who exits a moving train and drops into a lake of unknown depths gets my full admiration and support.
Dr. Sara & Governor Frank Tancredi: What a tangled web these two poor souls have woven around each other. It's the typical, tragic father-daughter story, where Sara has done both good and bad to some way get a bit of attention from her busy politician father. (good: medschool, bad: morphine, good: rehab, good/bad: working in a prison, good: surviving a prison riot, bad: aiding & abetting an escape, more morhpine, near death..., good: desperately trying to make amends)--I can identify with Sara, having a rather stoic father myself, her pained scenes where she just wants a little bit of love from him break my heart.
'Map 1213' has me cheering for Daddy T for the first time ever, finally looking over the burrows case, realizing he may have made a mistake that cost some people their lives. Possibly starting to question whether or not he's gotten in with the wrong crowd. Promising that they'll get through this together...I really hope he's not playing Sara, though I fear if he isn't, he's not long for this world.
(Vice) President Caroline Reynolds: The country's greatest underdog, condemns a man to death, orders innumerable deaths, and then commits high treason in order to ensure her brother's safety (ok, her own too...and the presidency) Ambition is a high motivator for her, yes, but she clearly has dear Terrence in mind with everything she does--her life would be infinitely easier if he was, in fact, dead.
Charles "Haywire" Patoshik: Yet to appear in Season Two, your favorite psychopath and mine, Chuck has great family-oriented potential. We knew last season that he murdered his family (mom and pop, but were there siblings?) and ofud out early in S2 that it was in an episode of some form, and he claims to not remember committing such a crime. I wonder if perhaps he'll go looking for family of some sort, a grandma, uncle or aunt and scare the living shite out of them. Obviously it all relies on whether he's going to be a device for a suspense quick-fix, and go down in a jiffy, or actually have some sort of ongoing plot related to him. We hear him early in season one claim there's nothing for him on the outside, so what will he do now that he's there? They've made a point of bringing up family and Haywire in the only episode he's been mentioned in this season, so I dare to hope it's some crafty forshadowing.
Paul Kellerman: A variant on the familial theme, his loyalty to Caroline Reynolds is almost like that of family. It's alluded that they have been together for a very, very long time, and his calm, unwavering faith in her is somewhat...brotherly crossed with fatherly, crossed with childlike. He desperatly wants to protect her, to provide for her, and yet everything he does has a thread of need in it, to make her proud, to have her recognize his loyalty to her, not necessarily to reward him in any way, but simply to know that the murder and mayhem are not unappreciated. Yea, it's a little Manson family, rather than the Cleavers, but it seems pretty familial to me.
Warden Henry Pope: Yup, even the Pope had his Family moment, defying Evil Agents to allow Michael (like a surrogate son to him) time with his brother in his last days. His conflict, however, wasn't over Michael but regarding the illigitimate son he turned his back on (who subsequently died) and never told his wife about. I had a lot of respect for Hank as a result of his decision to own up to his falings, and ability to humble himself and ask for forgiveness...again.
Brad Bellick: The guy is such a loser, a cllous, vindictive, power-aabusing asshole if ever there was one, he bloody well lives with his mom, and yet in 'Scans' (2x03) my heart broke in the tender moment he had with his mother (ok, he was contemplating suicide, but still, he's a mama's boy at heart) No, it isn't motivation, but he's got a family and that's pretty much all he's got.
Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell: Teddy lacks a soul, a conscience, a fully funtional (right?) hand. But he does have a family, though they were (at least in part) unceremoniously killed by mafia. In a brief moment of humanity, we see T-Bag collapse in anguish upon hearing that his nephew has been shot. No, no motivation, but a teeny, tiny glimpse of soemthing other than devious, sneaky, abominable evil.
The Dearly Departed:
Abruzzi: Revenge, sadly, motivated dear John more than family, it seemed, much to my dismay. He absconded with two toes, beat the shit out of a supremacist child molester, mangled a man's eye with a lightbulb, sold out a fellow mobster, commandered a laywer to commandere a laywer and hacked off the previously mentioned molester's hand. Revenge was his weakness; he was a man possessed by past betrayals and retribution for them. However, we see glimmers of his fierce love for his family, his need to protect them: a phone call where we hear him say only "Call my wife, tell her to get the kids and get the hell out of the country", the look in his face when his fellow mobster holds his children, the elation we see when he's finally reunited with wife and kids. Even, in his last oments, his plea for forgiveness as he holds the crucifix his wife gave him. The conflict, the tragedy. RIP Dear John...again.
Nick Savrinn: What a great character Nick was, he was rightoues and scrappy (and cute as hell!) He was a man on a mission, and he used his story of exonerating his father to give hope to those who had none. He also nearly got blown up, was hunted by Evil Government Agents and got shot (and then had the bullet removed from his shoulder by a real estate lawyer.) I trucked through Season one thinking Nick was such a standup, swell guy and then realized that he, too, was terribly human and I loved him even more for his imperfection. He made a deal with the devil, lied to and nearly betrayed dear Veronica to save his father from prison, only to get both his father and himself shot in the head. RIP Nick, you are terribly missed.
(Side Note: I died a little bit in 2x02:'Otis' when Mahone tells LJ Nick is dead and you can jsut barely see tears in the kid's eyes. I'm sure LJ and I are not the only ones who mourn the loss of Mr. Project Justice)
Veronica Donovan: Again, it isn't quite family, but Lincoln was about as close to family as we ever saw her have in her all-to-brief stint as crusading lawyer. She called him a liar, left her fiancee, also nearly got blown up, cared for his son, enlightened his brother as to why he was in debt for $90,000, she fought tooth and nail for his freedom, and in the end she took a bullet in the head for him. RIP Veronica, your scrappy, idealistic attitude and the girl power you brought to the show are sorely missed. Your (foolish) faith in the corrupt government that you *knew* was corrupt isn't.
Charles Wetmoreland: He walked the straight and narrow for some 30 odd years and went as crooked a scoliosis (to quote a certain ex-CO) the second his daughter's life was on the line. All he wanted was to say goodbye, and he wound up stuck like a pig, bleeding to death on the floor of a prison infirmary for his troubles. RIP Westmoreland, I loved you old-timer. Michael better make good on that promise he made you.
Special Agent Daniel Hale: A brief but fabulous stint as evil henchmen with a conscience, Danny in the end really feared for his family and his life. Pregnant wife, kids, a job that put him in the unfortunate position behind several smoking guns, and a partner with no remorse or hesitation as putting him at the even more unfortunate position in front of a smoking gun...which was inevitably his downfall. RIP Danny, you were evil, I don't miss you, but I certainly feel bad for your wife (if she's still alive...)
Phew! That wound up being way longer than anticipated...if you're still here reading, thanks for sticking with me! Let me know if I missed anyone, what fond family moments you loved, hated, or hope to see!