As anticipated, the first third of the season draws to a close with a number of plot threads approaching the turning point, shifting from the introductory phase of the season arc into the throes of massive complication. This is when the story begins to change, and this is also the stretch that is most difficult for a writing staff. Building up the conflicts is usually not the problem, and if there’s an end in sight, the writers usually know how to drive towards that conclusion. The middle of the story, however, can get ugly.
Looking at the entire scenario from top to bottom, I’m not quite sure if I like where this is going. I expecting things to get ugly once everyone was in Utah, but this is well beyond what I had in mind. To be honest, most of it makes sense and works for me. I was a little disappointed at how easily the police woman was taken down, but it became an interesting problem for Sucre, spinning him in an unexpected direction. Lincoln’s decision to grab LJ was completely consistent with his short-sighted decision just after the escape.
Michael seems to be recognizing how far he’s strayed from his original well-laid plans, especially in terms of his current “allies”. All those reminders on the news can’t help with his mental state. All he needs is another laundry list of T-Bag’s activities since the escape and a clear picture about Sara’s recent travails to put him in another catatonic state. His guilt and remorse is continually rising, and watching his battle to rise above the ugliness of the consequences of his actions will be entertaining, to say the least.
The conspiracy angle is still not as interesting for me as the Escape Squad drama, but it has certainly kicked up a notch. I saw Governor Tancredi’s death coming a mile away, and now my suspicions about Kellerman seem to be coming together. I think he’ll find himself torn between the desire to restore his place in the conspiracy and his feelings for Sara. Unless I’m buying into a red herring, Kellerman actually seems to be concerned for her well-being. I see Kellerman saving Sara and using that as a means of being in the right place when Michael contacts her in the future, setting him up for a moment of truth.
With so many elements coming together nicely, why am I left with such a bad taste in my mouth? It has everything to do with this twist involving Mahone. For most of the episode, I was happy with his character and how he dealt with Tweener. As clumsy as the whole “confession” concept was, in terms of delivering exposition, I thought the idea of using T-Bag’s actions to undermine Tweener’s loyalty was smart. It didn’t work, but it effectively communicated the concept to the audience, reminding them of what the Escape Squad has done.
This, in turn, reminded me of something that is very easy to forget: Michael and the rest of the Escape Squad are, for all intent purposes, the bad guys. In the real world, would we want them to escape Mahone and the manhunt? Mahone makes it very clear, in his discussion with Tweener, that he is on the right side of this situation. Everything he has done has been to save lives. We, as an audience, should be conflicted with our loyalties.
But then, when Tweener betrayed Mahone (completely expected, given how often these writers use that same plot device), things went into the completely wrong direction. Mahone kills Tweener, immediately robbing the character of his moral authority. He’s either working for someone, possibly the conspiracy, or he’s listening to voices in his head. Regardless of the reason, he is now firmly one of the villains of the story, and I find it unfortunate that they would take him in that direction.
(As a sidenote: I also have a new podcast associated with my various reviews called “Velocity TV”. 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: 6/10