Not so long ago, I was concerned at the future of “Prison Break”. I felt that the writers had robbed themselves of one of the more intriguing conflicts by shifting Mahone into the conspiracy. It would have been interesting to have Mahone as a flawed but legally correct individual, contrasting with Michael’s morally questionable “hero”. Elements of that conflict remain, however, and in this episode, the writers manage to make the conflict a little more personal.
As it stands now, the two characters are still circling each other in something of a chess game, and whenever they get to square off, it’s damned entertaining. Michael has come to the point where he’s trying to justify the horrible decisions he’s made to achieve his goals, and he’s trying to minimize the damage. Mahone is willing to go a lot further, but it sounds like the conspiracy has a hold over him.
So Michael feels forced to use immoral means (crime) to achieve a moral end (saving his brother), while Mahone is using a moral means (fugitive capture) to achieve an immoral end (killing the fugitives). Both men, however, feel trapped. Michael has been trapped by his feelings of responsibility for his brother, and Mahone seems to be blackmailed by the conspiracy in some way.
While they are at odds now, they both operate from a desire to do the right thing and overcome the conditions driving them into actions they would rather not take. This opens up the possibility (however unlikely right now) for Michael and Mahone to work in common cause. If Michael continues to evade Mahone and the conspiracy, why wouldn’t Mahone begin to wonder if Michael could help him escape the conspiracy himself?
All that said, the conspiracy is closing in. I had forgotten Michael and Lincoln’s father and his resources, even though they were important in the first season, and it has introduced another complication that could make the fight against the conspiracy a little more even. Assuming, of course, that the conspiracy’s mole doesn’t bring the whole operating crashing down, which is equally possible. The writers have left themselves plenty of room to maneuver.
Many fans were looking forward to the reunion between Michael and Sara, and it was definitely worth the wait. The best aspect of this reunion was the lack of gushy romance. Sara was reasonably bitter over her losses, and Michael was left to justify his choices and decisions. In fact, Michael begins to show more cracks in his confidence upon learning about Sara’s father. He can still point to the conspiracy as the party responsible for the whole mess, but he’s psychologically unable to ignore his own culpability.
The Michael/Sara/Mahone plot dominates the episode, but there are other elements that move along quite nicely. As mentioned before, the writers make it possible to feel sorry for T-Bag, because it seems wrong for either of the former guards to get the money. It seems all too certain that T-Bag will have to rip or cut his own hand off again, which has a certain delicious irony. And of course, Sucre’s situation is setting up an interesting reunion with Michael in the near future.
(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: 7/10