Thanks to fare such as "24
" and "Prison Break
," Monday night has become synonymous with over-the-top, illogical, nonsensical, but nevertheless eminently enjoyable escapist programming. Naturally, with an all new episode of "Prison Break" airing last night, that trend continued. And it was good. "Prison Break" good (which really is a classification all of its own), but there is one caveat. If there is one thing that "Prison Break" usually isn't, it's formulaic. However, in recent weeks, the hunt for the data cards has become just a little repetitive. Thankfully, there is enough jolly old PB fun mixed to still make things interesting.
The Next Card…
So after coming up with card number two, Agent Self (Michael Rapaport
) and Michael (Wentworth Miller
), try to get positive IDs on the other four cardholders using the video that Michael took of that top-secret cardholder meeting. It is still mind-boggling that The General (Leon Russom
), who was so paranoid in season two that he would only communicate via a pad and paper for fear of being recorded, would let down his guard to the point of being videotaped. But the plot wouldn't have moved forward if he had been better prepared, so we'll roll with it.
Self identifies the third cardholder as the head of the L.A. Treasury bureau, a man who works in his building. Self makes up an excuse to go talk to the guy in hopes of copying the card, but we know from the outset that his attempt will fail for two reasons. 1) It occurs within the first 15 minutes of the episode (the card can't be successfully copied until the final 15 minutes and a failed attempt or two, that's just the way it is) and 2) Michael and Lincoln haven't gotten a chance to put on a disguise yet.
Breaking Into a Federal Building in Three Easy Steps
So after Self's dismal failure, Michael is forced to concoct an alternate plan, one that involves breaking into a highly secure federal building, entering into an office adjacent to the one occupied by the cardholder, tearing down part of the wall between the two offices, and drilling through a top-of-the-line safe, all without being noticed and within 90 minutes. Sounds pretty implausible, right? Please. The crack "Prison Break" writing team knows not the meaning of that word.
Michael, Lincoln (Dominic Purcell
), Sucre (Amaury Nolasco
) and Bellick (Wade Williams
) successfully enter the building with the help of Agent Self, and make it to the top floor. Once there, Lincoln and Michael break into the office that they need to drill through while Bellick and Sucre through on some janitorial gear. The dynamic duo of Sucre and Bellick successfully make a loud diversion with the cleaning equipment while Michael and Lincoln (who looks almost as ridiculous and out of place in his suit and tie disguise as he did in a police uniform) work on cracking the safe.
Michael and Linc the Sink manage to drill a hole into the safe and are busy copying the card when they hear The General and his cardholder enter the cardholder's office. Of course they have to keep drilling, and again the once paranoid General seems oblivious to the sound coming from the other side of the thin walls. The General asks the cardholder to show him the card, which brings about a scene of immensely manufactured tension. Will they get the card copied and back in the safe before the cardholder opens it on his end? You bet they will. You see, even though the card copier slowed down to a crawl, the cardholder helped them out by taking extra long to open his safe and then conveniently started talking to The General just long enough for Michael to put back the card and close it up. Of course he did.
Mahone's Blood Feud
We are all well aware of T-Bag's (Robert Knepper
) self-described "blood feud" with Michael, but what about the one brewing between Mahone (William Fichtner
) and Termie (Cress Williams)? After all, Termie did kill Mahone's kid and all. If that's not reason enough to start a blood feud, then what is?
Anyway, Termie locates Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies
), who evades him. Mahone then has Sara retrace her steps in order to discover where Termie could have possibly been coming from when he found her at the bar. Although there are countless possibilities within the 9 mile radius, Mahone almost instantly finds the motel where Termie was staying. Mahone's good and all, but he's not that good. At least not when he is off of the drugs. Mahone asks to look at Termie's room, and is told that the cost of the room is $19 for one hour or $59 for the day. Hourly rooms, eh? Classy joint you chose there Termie.
Although Mahone does not catch up with Termie at the hotel, he does get the next best thing - the big guy's telephone number. Guess that means that he is one step closer to finding the man who killed his son…or at the very least he can prank call him a few times.
The Continued Odyssey of Cole Pfeiffer
T-Bag continues going to work at his sales job as alias Cole Pfeiffer, but the fact that he is not doing any actual sales is starting to arouse the suspicions of his co-workers. He does discover a new secret about the bird book though (invisible ink!). Before he can get too excited about his discovery, he is approached by mysterious gangster whom we met last week, the man who works for "Xing." Apparently, 'Cole Pfeiffer" was supposed to deliver Scylla to Xing, and obviously T-Bag does not even know what Scylla is, let alone possess it. He is told by the friendly thug that he has three days to produce Scylla, or he will get a bullet in the brain. Looks like Teddy B might be getting more involved with the gang sooner than we thought.
And What About Gretchy-Poo?
Finally, we have Gretchen (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe
), who is still being tortured by Termie and his associate. After being subjected to one of Termie's creative and inspired torture methods (involving her bathroom bucket), it may seem that Gretchen is close to the end. But then again, this is Gretchen we are talking about here. She has to live to buy lipstick another day. After Termie leaves her be with her bucket, she breaks out of her handcuffs and kills the guy guarding her. She has escaped. Now the question is; what is she going to do next?
Although the card copying storyline is getting a bit stale, there are enough promising subplots to help us get by. We have the blood feud of Termie and Mahone, Michael's nosebleeds, the shady and untrustworthy computer geek Roland, the trials and tribulations of T-Bag in the working world, and of course, the addition of Gretchen as a much needed wild card. So let's hurry up and get these cards copied folks, and move on to the bigger and better things that those wacky "Prison Break" scribes surely have in store for us.
Do you like how the season 4 storyline is progressing so far? What do you think about the mysterious "Xing?" Leave a comment!
Story by Derek Krebs
Starpulse contributing writer