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Escape is just the beginning.
Capsule Review: Prison Break 2.8 
24th-Oct-2006 06:40 pm
wtf


In the previous episode of “Prison Break”, Mahone was revealed as a murderer, dispatching Tweener with relative ease. Sucre seemed to turn on the rest of the Escape Squad, and Sara was facing down an assassin from the conspiracy. Not all of these plot elements were appreciated by the audience, and one major question was hanging over this episode: would the writers fall into the predictable traps, or would they manage to surprise everyone with the unexpected?

Mahone’s motivations turned out to be uninspired at best and utterly cliché at worst. Initially, there were indications of an unstable individual with serious mental problems, especially when the agent from internal affairs started ripping him apart about his track record. Very quickly, however, it became clear that Mahone was a tool of the conspiracy. His background suggested some kind of black ops training, but taken in context with Tweener’s messy execution, that doesn’t quite make sense. Nor does it make sense for the conspiracy to open themselves up to public exposure, which the systematic deaths of every member of the Escape Squad would do!

Slightly more effective was Sucre’s gambit with Michael, which was a nice touch. Even better was the revelation that T-Bag, the least deserving member of the Escape Squad, managed to run off with all the money. This plot thread quickly devolved when Sucre’s leg became trapped in the middle of a rising river, forcing Michael to choose between convenience and loyalty. It’s no surprise that Michael chooses to save his old cellmate, based on his psychology, nor is it surprising that the two of them narrowly escape with barely a scratch. (Wouldn’t Sucre’s leg be badly hurt, given the weight of that log?)

Sara’s plot thread was hobbled by the fact that many fans, especially on the internet, already decoded the majority of Michael’s messages, making that slow revelation mind-numbing to watch. It’s one thing when the writers lead to a surprising twist with a clever spin on established continuity. It’s quite another when the audience is several steps ahead of the game, and they can see the plot progression coming a mile away.

The only real surprise in this episode came from Bellick. While his return was inevitable, his activities in this episode are promising. Since it appears that T-Bag will be running off on his own subplot for a while, paying off a loose thread from the first season, it makes sense for Bellick’s quest for the money to follow along. This has potential, but given how fragmented the season has felt, this may not be the best move.

Overall, this episode continues the slow slide from quality that began at the beginning of the season. Considering how much I liked the first season, I’m a bit disappointed with the sloppy and lazy plotting since the premiere. Making Mahone a tool of the conspiracy was a horrible idea, and I’m not sure that the series will survive it.

(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!)

Writing: 1/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 6/10

Comments 
25th-Oct-2006 04:33 am (UTC)
Sara’s plot thread was hobbled by the fact that many fans, especially on the internet, already decoded the majority of Michael’s messages, making that slow revelation mind-numbing to watch. It’s one thing when the writers lead to a surprising twist with a clever spin on established continuity. It’s quite another when the audience is several steps ahead of the game, and they can see the plot progression coming a mile away.

So, we shit on the writers because fans on the internet couldn't just sit and wait? They had to be supersmart and figure everything out, then tell the world? If that's the case, how about we take all television shows off the air because inevitably, internet fans will obsessively figure things out early.

Bah, I hate reviews. I hate critics. I dont' care what some jackass who thinks they know more about TV than I do says just because he managed to talk someone into letting him poor out his opinion to the world. I liked it and there are millions others who still like it.

Ugh. I hate critics.
(Deleted comment)
25th-Oct-2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
It's as if they realize that they get more attention if they're negative, so they decide to be outrageously negative. It's stupid.
25th-Oct-2006 11:50 am (UTC)
And yet, look at all the time you've spent criticizing..
25th-Oct-2006 04:08 pm (UTC)
I think you might have figured out by now that internet fandom is NOT the greater portion of fandom. We see each other, but we forget not everyone is like us.

Most people watch telly while eating their Lean Cuisine and that's it.

So, dumping on a show's reveals that the tiny % of motivated internet fans who figured it out ahead of time does not really show insight into how the show really wokrs for 90% of its fans.
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