Michael Scofield and his band of cons are back for a fourth season. As you ready yourself for the Labor Day premiere, we've got the lowdown on what to expect.
A series known for reinventing itself, Prison Break's
new season is reframing the storyline once again. With brothers Michael (Wentworth Miller
) and Lincoln (Dominic Purcell
) both out of prison, the duo wants payback. The show's location is moving from Panama to LA where the boys and their friends determine to take down The Company - the secret government organization that destroyed their lives.
The show's creators are touting the new season's more lighthearted vibe, which may mean the bros actually do some butt-kicking instead of repeatedly getting their butts kicked. The fun action-adventure approach should also be refreshing after a gritty (and frankly kinda depressing) season three, which Michael spent in a dingy prison full of dirt, sweat, and spit-shooting screams.
Most longtime fans have been happy to hear that the new season will see the return of Michael's love interest, Dr. Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies
). During her original run on the show, Dr. Sara saw many ups and downs. She fell in love with an inmate only to discover he was using her to escape; she almost died of a drug overdose; she found her father murdered at the hands of The Company; she was reunited with Michael and found that he never meant to betray her at all; she followed him to Panama where she was decapitated by his enemies… Oh, what's that? That little decapitation thing surprised you? Yeah, it surprised a whole lotta PB fans as well. Taking to message boards and blogs, loyal Michael and Sara (AKA "MiSa") fans petitioned for the character's return. Apparently someone at FOX got the message because producers now dismiss the "decapitation incident" with a shrug and a noncommital, "Oh silly, that wasn't Sara's head. That's how we intended it to be all along." Most fans will just be sighing in relief that Sara didn't really kick the bucket in such brutal fashion. (It's worth noting that she was the only original female character left after season two). But it does make you wonder: Whose head was that? Viewers definitely saw a severed head. It may not have been Dr. Sara's, but it once belonged to someone! We'll see how the writers answer that one.
Perhaps equally pleasing will be the return of Michael's trademark tatoos. The previous season had the brainy bro wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt basically 24/7 (which made no sense given his constant sweatiness under the blazing Panamian sun). Producers assure that the famous tats will make their season four debut early on.
And if you're a longtime Prison Break fan, you have to be asking is: "So who's going to live and die this time?" With each new season, the show has killed off some old characters and brought in new ones. Theoretically this approach would allow the show to keep growing and evolving - but it has not always quite worked out that way. In season two, the addition of Agent Mahone (William Fichtner
), and the, uh, "removal" of Veronica (Robin Tunney) and some original actors worked. It created tension where it was needed, and it allowed the writers to write out characters who had simply run their course. But in season three, the same kill-'em-off-and-bring-in-the-new-guys method didn't work so well. There was, of course, the already mentioned (apparent) beheading of Dr. Sara. Then producers brought in the likes of Jodi Lyn O'Keefe to fill an open villain slot. O'Keefe's performance as Gretchen was borderline cartoonish and got old really fast. (But in fairness to her, the writing wouldn't exactly be lumped in with Hemingway or Shakespeare.) The show also brought in Chris Vance
and Danay Garcia
whose performances, while not outright bad, didn't do much to elevate the story. It felt like the new characters were brought in more out of habit than out of natural necessity.
But, PB creators are going to give this pattern another whirl for season four. At least one character is expected to bite the dust fairly quickly. We'll let everyone take a stab at who that might be. (Haha! Stab! Get it? Okay, lame. Sorry.) The show's also going to get some fresh blood in a couple new actors. We'll meet a Company guy, Wyatt (Cress Williams
) who's in hot pursuit of Michael and Linc; and we'll meet Roland (James Hiroyuki Liao), the brothers' new techie accomplice. We're keeping our fingers crossed that old time Prison Breakers like Robert Knepper and Wade Williams will finally be given something interesting to do again. (Their forced finger-wagging and periodically bloodied noses in season three were a big snooze fest). Now that there's no writer's strike to interfere with the storytelling, we're thinking it may be easier to build character storylines and gain momentum in the upcoming season.
So are you ready to see Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows hit the streets of LA? What are your hopes for the new season? Don't miss the Prison Break special two-hour season premiere, airing September 1 at 8/7c on FOX.
Story by Chelsea Fogleman
Starpulse contributing writer