Finally, the time has come. The Prison Break family is back. After the trailers were released, I really got excited for the return of the show that made me a sucker for TV shows. It’s the only show I’ve watched twice beginning to end, the first show I’ve binge-watched and the first seasons being one of the best seasons of TV I’ve ever seen. Upon the announcement, I was very skeptical initially in light of the events of the series finale as surprise character resurrections usually don’t bear witness to amazing writing. But then the Fox CEO gave an interview that made me somehow interested, despite being generic PR talk:
“I don’t think he’s going to completely ignore what happened in that episode, but what he pitched to us was a very logical and believable explanation in the world of Prison Break for why are character’s alive and still moving around the world.”
Now that I’ve seen the season 5 premiere, I gotta say I’m totally in for the ride. The new season, after an 8-year-absence(!), instantly awakes the same feelings and catches the vibe by laying out a lot of mysteries and posing many questions, which, unlike Lost, Prison Break never failed to answer. Everything feels interconnected and a giant master plan is looming in the background, waiting to be unfolded, which was always (even in the weaker, slightly absurd seasons 3 & 4) one of the strengths of the show. Almost all the characters will return (except for Mahone ) and most of them already have in this episode (only missing Kellerman, whose name I caught in the opening credits). Every actor slips back into their role as if the show had never left. The opening credits are very reminiscent of the original ones and the score also treads familiar territory, both of which pleased my fan heart.
[From here on, there will be spoilers.]
The episode starts off with a Michael Scofield voice over, leaving no doubt Michael was in fact falsely presumed dead. We’ll have to wait and see if there is a reasonable explanation to faking his death and going into hiding but judging from this episode, there appears to be some serious shit going on. The viewer, as well as the characters, may wonder why Michael would behave so selfish but our confidence in Michael’s compassion for the persons he cares about as well as in his outstanding intelligence suggest there must have been no other way to protect them.
Anyhow, Michael opens the episode with this monologue:
„I died seven years ago. Left behind a brother… a wife… a son. But the dead talk, if you listen. They’re there with you, reaching out… trying to tell you something. Because not all deaths are the same. Some are real. Some are a story. Question is, do you believe the story? Was the man who died who you thought he was? The dead talk… if you listen.“
This vague, mysterious mumbo-jumbo actually caught my attention and implies Michael faked his death, but also that we might not know everything about him, that there was more to him. Then we see TV’s most intriguing creepy dirtbag Theodore Bagwell (Robert Knepper nails it, as usual) being released from prison early and receiving an envelope marked with a crane stamp upon his release. We see the picture from the trailer vaguely but distinctly showing Michael. Incredulous, he goes to show Lincoln, who has fallen back to his life in constant trouble and has just evaded some gangsters he owes 100 grand. Lincoln is even more skeptical and suspects some ploy on T-Bag’s part. But T-Bag is right, what angle would he have? Lincoln denies T-Bag the possibility to join him on his venture to find out the truth about Michael and flies to see Sara.
T-Bag returns home and is about to look for a willing woman when an appointment memo pops up on his laptop. He is to see a Dr. Whitcombe at 9:30 pm. With his tendency to trust in fate, T-Bag meets the doctor, who has been granted funding for his prosthetics research with a single stipulation: T-Bag is his first patient. After some understandable hesitance to be anesthetized, he receives a robotic hand he can control. Surprised and angry, he demands to know why the doctor did this to him. The latter assures him that “Outis” is the only name he was given, which translates to “nobody”. We all know Michael was behind all of this from the way everything falls together. But what does he need T-Bag for? Michael always hated himself for T-Bag’s escape being collateral damage in freeing his brother. I can’t imagine he feels guilty for T-Bag losing his hand and wants to make up for it. Anyhow, apparently, he wants T-Bag to have two working hands and also wanted T-Bag to know about him not being dead. Did we know he would contact Lincoln? That cannot be the whole explanation. Another question is: How did Michael get the money to fund medical research? In light of the later revelations, he might be involved in a major conspiracy involving terrorism and someone wanting his very identity to be erased. But I’ll come back to that later.
When Sara sees Lincoln, she is relieved because she felt he didn’t want to ever see her again because of her remarrying. But Lincoln was just in a rough place (and apparently also left his girl and LJ somewhere) and didn’t want Michael Jr. to see him like that. I have to say that Sarah Wayne Callies is infinitely better in her role as Sara Tancredi compared to her annoying role as Lori Grimes on The Walking Dead even though it is now a similar role of grieving widow and caring mother. However, the emotions she displays in this feel much more deserved as she has been through a lot with Michael and the others. I like how she treats her son in a protective but not patronizing manner. I thought her new husband, as nice as he seems to be, will not last long but for now, he remains on the show – and I like that. It’s the easiest way to get rid of an unwanted character by killing them off and they even had the chance to in this episode. But his presence constitutes an emotional dilemma for Sara as he has done nothing wrong and has always been good to her (I assume) but somehow their relationship is threatened. It will be interesting to see if Michael can justify his behavior so that Sara can forgive his 7-year absence. She admits to Lincoln that like him, she wants it to be true but is more cautious to accept this glimmer of hope and almost convinces Lincoln that it is impossible that Michael is still alive. Lincoln visits Michael’s grave and confesses to him that he fell back to old habits, which Michael would not have tolerated (obviously believing that Michael is indeed dead). Linc notices a hidden message on the sheet with the photo, revealing the word “Ogygia”, which he finds out to be a prison in Yemen for the worst of the worst. Afterwards, a car he suspected to follow him emerges again and someone tries to kill him by electronically taking control over his car and driving it into a lake. Linc, who somehow survived death row, survives this a bit too easily but I’m happy to turn a blind eye on that as the rest of the episode was so intriguing. Linc calls Sara to warn her and surprise, the very same car emerges at her doorstep. She tells her husband to grab a gun and hides with Mikey. Her husband is shot in the leg and the police fortunately arrives in time (very fast!) to prevent the hitman from killing her. Who wants to see them dead? Did Michael piss someone off or is all of that still connected to The Company (which I would not like at all)? After that, Linc needs to know and digs up Michael’s grave only to find his jacket in the empty casket. Flabbergasted, he clings to the jacket and searches for hints (Michael must have left something there) and somehow misses the name tag that he discovers towards the end of the episode.
The assassination attempts don’t stop there as Lincoln is almost killed in the Yemen after he has arrived there with C-Note. Yes, C-Note. Apparently, he dedicated his life to Islam and the fight against radicalism (what happened to his wife and daughter?) and very practically speaks Arabic. Obviously, he has “contacts with contacts” in Yemen. C-Note repeatedly warned him that he won’t survive the war zone in Yemen and is uncertain if Michael is in trouble or exactly where he planned to be as “Michael has always been in control”. Then Fernando Sucre, who has worked on international cargo ships (this will come in handy later as they will have to flee the country and Lincoln has no passport by the end of this episode) and who is turned down by Lincoln, briefly appears. Linc doesn’t want him to be harmed but no one believes for a second that was the last we’ll see of Michael’s best friend/former cellmate (also now we have every from the Fox River 8 that is still alive back together). C-Note and Linc try to google Michael Scofield and are surprised to find his entire existence erased. Every record of him on the Internet has been changed to some other dude. So Linc and C-Note fly into Yemen and walk right into a trap. Their contact missed them by an instance and the supposed contact, who picks them up, drives them into a garage, where they fight off 7 guys in an entertaining scene, with C-Note bursting out “Greetings from the U.S. prison system, bitches” after they emerge victorious. Their actual contact Sheba somehow found them in the middle of the worst neighborhood and they escape and meet the guy who will get them into the prison. However, the catch is that he wants Lincoln’s US passport in return. As mentioned above, he accepts and they get into the prison. There isn’t anyone named Michael Scofield but after they show the guard the picture, Michael is known as the powerful terrorist Kamiel Outis, which pisses off C-Note’s contact Sheba. As Michael finally comes to see them, with some new striking eye tattoos, he pretends to not know Lincoln and leaves again. Whoever now suspected amnesia or something similar, the show thankfully gives us a glimpse into Michael’s emotional state as his facial expression he reveals it was really painful for him to lie to his brother.
There are a lot of interesting open questions, which I’m certain will be answered in the subsequent episodes as Michael’s master plan unfolds. It will also be interesting to meet Michael’s fellow inmates and see what got everyone to where they are now. And let’s not forget about Kellerman, who will somehow get into play. All of my skepticism has vanished and I’m genuinely excited for another season of guessing at aptly designed cryptic hints and trying to reunite Michael’s family and friends.
title image and last image in text: © by Fox, taken from their website
first image in text: © by Ed Araquel, taken from IMDb