Shaun Munro reviews the second episode of Prison Break season 5…
After Michael spent 99% of last week’s season premiere in the shadows, he’s thrust at the viewer from the opening moments of episode two as he readies another hilariously convoluted plot to save the day.
Smart and admirable though it is that “Kaniel Outis” is keen to waste little time, it also feels rather jumbled and rushed from the outset. The audience is introduced to two of Michael’s prison pals, Sid (Kunal Sharma) and Whip (Augustus Prew), as though they should know them already, and almost no time at all is devoted to actually developing them as human beings. At least Sid being gay – the entire reason for his imprisonment – is a nice injection of diversity, with a decent social message to boot.
Despite setting off on intriguing footing, this is ultimately a relatively lethargic outing for the most part. Michael’s contrived scheme isn’t very interesting and thoroughly wastes the talented Rick Yune as Michael’s fellow prisoner Ja, a Korean drug addict obsessed with the band Queen who holds a vital yet resolutely tedious key to Michael’s equally soporific plan.
Promise abounds elsewhere with Sheba (Inbar Lavi) getting more to do this week, but her arc eventually ends up reverting to lame soap opera fare and agency-free shepherding for Lincoln and C-Note. The trio ends up facing off against ISIL forces, but it’s mostly a damp squib because the terror group never presents itself to be as threatening as the script repeatedly insists it is.
Weirdly enough, it’s Sara who is actually gifted with a number of the episode’s best scenes as she continues to investigate Michael’s apparent resurfacing. This brings her back into contact with series veteran Paul Kellerman (Paul Adelstein) in a fashion both implausible and highly entertaining, and any contribution to the plot he makes is overshadowed by his outrageous obsession with insisting that Sara not drink water from a bottle due to the “dioxins”.
Sara also has a surprisingly engrossing heart-to-heart with her new hubby Jacob (Mark Feuerstein), who provides an interesting alternate analysis of Michael’s behaviour, that he’s neither as malevolent as she fears, nor as benevolent as she hopes.
Things come together a little more compellingly in the final stretch, but episode two still sees the new series struggling to find a surging rhythm and energy, instead returning to the well of old filler habits from the show’s original run. The relentless puzzles have long become boring, and the tease that perhaps there’s something more sinister to Michael isn’t at all convincing because everybody knows there’s near-zero chance of him going the straight antagonist route (awesome though that would be).
“Kaniel Outis” mostly rehashed tropes from the original series albeit with a new veneer, something Sara accidentally alludes to verbally in one scene. Hopefully T-Bag and Sucre might return to the fold sooner rather than later, because right now, Prison Break‘s fifth season is just treading water, and one more mediocre episode could significantly stifle interest for all but the most hardcore fans.
Shaun Munro – Follow me on Twitter for more TV rambling.