Thursday, September 4, 2008

Daily Trojan: 'Prison Break' insanity grows in fourth season

By Philiana Ng

Last time viewers saw Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), he was desperate to avenge his only love, Dr. Sara Tancredi's (Sarah Wayne Callies) untimely death. Within the first five minutes of the "Prison Break" season four premiere, however, viewers learn otherwise.

The last time Michael's prison mates were all together (or at least in the same region), Sucre, Bellick and T-Bag were still in a Panama jail and Michael's older brother Linc (Dominic Purcell) opted to start a brand new life with his son and girlfriend instead of partnering with Michael on his personal vendetta.

Viewers also learned that Whistler, an integral part of the Company - a corrupt organization inflicting pain onto everyone who knows its secrets - partnered with former FBI agent Alex Mahone so they could find Michael and get his help in bringing down the Company. But here's the kicker: they're both still working for the Company.

And that doesn't even cover half of it.

"Prison Break," a show that is about a bunch of guys breaking out of or into prison, is ripe with absurdities, inaccuracies and overwhelming plot holes that seem to go over everyone's heads each time a new episode airs. The amazing thing about it is that through three seasons of the same essential story line, the writers have managed to come up with even more insane plot points to develop and character traits to employ that somehow work only on this show.

During a fit of desperation and extreme hunger, T-Bag, having escaped from the Panama prison and stuck in the desert heat, cues his cannibalistic urges and eats "some bad Mexican." Realistic, no, but horribly entertaining, yes - although viewers never actually see it happening.

Perhaps one of the most ridiculous things of all happened within the first five minutes of the season premiere, when Whistler and Gretchen, executing an elaborate plan to get their hands on the Company's "black book" of sorts, which is really a device called Scylla, break the news to Michael that Sara isn't really dead. The exchange between Gretchen and Michael - all at gunpoint of course - borders on cheesy and simply unnecessary:

Gretchen: "I fabricated the whole thing."
Michael: "My brother saw -"
Gretchen: "A head in a box, from a cadaver!"
The main premise of the season centers around Scylla, and instead of Michael and Linc breaking back into jail, they're trying to help the FBI retrieve the device without getting caught. If they get caught, Linc, who killed the Company employee who was tailing him in Panama, would stay in jail, with Michael as his cellmate for the next 15 years. Therein lies the incentive to bring down the Company.

The feds, led by Agent Don Self (Michael Rapaport), bring Michael's old friends back to Los Angeles, to start on this nearly impossible task. In the second hour, the gang makes two attempts to complete their goal, but in the end, aren't even close to smelling a tinge of freedom. To make matters worse, a new Company assassin is right on their tail, following their every move.

Aside from all the fighting and revenge-seeking, there is a sweet relationship between Michael and Sara brewing that almost rectifies the excessive uneasiness in the lives of these men. Even then, their anticipated first meeting since Michael learned of her fake death is nothing more than a reunion between two lovers who haven't seen each other for a long period of time, not two people who thought that they'd never see each other alive again. Instead of spending time together in an intimate setting, they go for Chinese takeout in the bedroom. The question now remains: Are they really that low-maintenance or are they just taking it slow?

Within a span of two hours, three major characters fall to their deaths, but not all of their deaths stand. Main characters are reunited after what seems like months without contact or interaction. More people die, but they aren't significant enough to matter, and more people reunite. All in a day's work in the world of "Prison Break."

Though the logic behind some of the show's plots are lacking in the realism department, "Prison Break" is the epitome of all the action, drama and violence a series can muster into two full hours, falling short of becoming another rerun of "WWE Friday Night Smackdown."

"Prison Break" airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX.

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