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Prison Break Season 04 Ep 01/02 Review

Prison Break – one of my favourites among the high class US dramas (along with Heroes, 24 and Lost) – is now at Season 4. The first two episodes have aired.

After escaping from Fox River, being on the run, then escaping Sona, our “heroes” now find themselves trying to bring down the mysterious Company .

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Michael Scofield is now in LA , looking to avenge the death of Dr Sara Tancready who he believes was killed by Gretchen. He finds himself stalking Whistler who seems to be working for The Company with Gretchen. However, all is not it seems as Whistler, who is there to take possession of a data-chip called Scylla makes a copy, behind Gretchens back.

Michael threatens Gretchen, learns Sara may yet be alive, and lets them live. Gretchen is then apparantley killed (it happens offscreen – so there’s a small chance she’s still around) when Pad Man (a big honcho in the Company called the General so far) gets Wyatt (who seems to be set up to the seasons Bad Black Dude) to finish her off. Michael meets up with Mahone (William Fichter) through the “European Goldfinch” website, and agrees to meet Whistler with him for more info on Sara. Whistler is shot at the meeting. On screen, this time, so it’s more or less certain he’s dead.

However, it seems not even death is permanent in this series. It turns out Lincoln was mistaken when he saw Sara’s head in a box. She’s alive. In Chicago. Of course!

Things move on. We learn Sona was burned down between seasons with Theodore Bagwell (T-Bag), Sucre and Bellick having escaped. Lincoln is in Panama City with LJ and Sofia.

It’s long before they are all re-united (except T-Bag), when a contrived series of events mean a new character called Don Self (Michael Rappaport) who works for Homeland Security recruits them all. Lincoln is arrested in Panama (LJ/Sofia escape), and Sucre/Bellick are caught when Sucre goes to visit Maricruz.

T-Bag, one of the series best characters, seems to have a storyline all his own. He has Whistler’s Bird Book (the map tattoo of the new season, full of clues) and follows his own path to seek out Michael for revenge. On the way he gets stranded in the Mojave Desert with a friend, eats his friend, and is rescued via some off-road quad bikers. I kid you not.

This kicks off the new season.

The adventure takes us to Sucre, Bellick, Lincoln and Michael who have to (a) retrieve Scylla, and (b) break into a secure Company building to read it. All that while being hunted down by Wyatt who’s had instructions to wipe them all out – muahahaha. That should set us up for a few episodes at least.

Prison Break is a quality series but at times, no scratch that, at ALL times you have to suspend disbelief to follow the plot. Situations seem too convenient, and the story races along in a do-that then do-this fashion. It seems a little rushed. The plot needs to be deeper and the pace slowed. Come on writers – you held hollywood to ransom last year and ruined a lot of series – show us what you can do!

T-Bag is always fun, his character seems to have developed more of a concience here – he seems to genuinely like his girlfriend, and he didn’t want to kill his friend, but as he says to the GF “You are the only one who’s never betrayed me”. There’s a good line when his saviours in the desert ask him if he’s  “had some bad mexican” 🙂

Bellick was great as a small minded prison warden and when he was beaten and downtrodden at Sona, but so far his character hasn’t had much to do.

In previous seasons Sucre was the comedy aspect and Lincoln the hard man. Mahone was great when he was suffering from opiate addiction, and now seems to be suffering for his wife and son. Michael just wants to have a life with Sara but his character, even though he’s ostensibly the main star, still seems a little wooden. Maybe that’s the acting!

Agent Self seems like a hard man, too, as soon as he gets the cons under his command. He doesn’t trust them, but he needs them. Michael Rappaport is a good actor from his other work so he should fit in here.

For what originally seemed like a one-season idea – break INTO prison – this has surprisingly lasted well. I think Season 3 raised the bar with the panamanian hell-hole of a prison. But then, you can’t just have them prison-breaking each series, even though (worringly) there’s a few references to a super-max facility in these episodes.

So there we have it, another fun rollercoaster of a ride from the Prison Break stable. Expect cliffhangers galore – like Lost, 24 and Heroes – so this becomes another must see for your weeks viewing.

Oh, and one final point – Michael has his tattoos removed. That saves the prop guys having to add the effects whenever you see him shirtless!

Official Prison Break Website – episode summaries, video features, and more.

Prison Break @ Wikipedia

Prison Break @ IMDB

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