Shaun Munro reviews the eighth episode of Prison Break season 5…
Prison Break‘s penultimate episode hit the ground running from minute one, frantically darting all over the place in order to set up the chess-board for next week’s finale. Beginning “somewhere in the Mediterranean”, Michael, Lincoln, Whip and Sucre quickly found their way to Marseilles, and before long they’d made it back to the U.S. Though it felt snappy to the point of rushed – likely a result of the reduced episode order – it also admirably cut through the dull preambles at this late stage in the mini-season.
“Progeny”, for all its flaws, did an entertaining job setting the stage for Michael’s final showdown with Jacob. A flashback from six years prior fleshed out their working relationship and how Whip fits into it all, and Mike Jr. got a little more screen time, even if only to introduce a map drawing he supposedly made. This resulted in one of the coolest shots of the entire series, as the map faded into the very road Michael and Linc were driving on.
Episode eight however found itself struggling to maintain a consistent tone regarding Prison Break‘s inherent absurdity. Sure, it’s totally consistent with the show’s own twisted logic for Michael’s new tattoos to contain hidden web links, but elsewhere things were much tougher to swallow down. Linc being in debt to John Abruzzi’s son Luca (Leo Rano) just felt like a pretty senseless, perfunctory bout of fan-service, and the subsequently ruse with C-Note and co. posing as DEA operatives was laughably daft.
That’s to say nothing of the episode’s most bonkers revelation, that Whip is in fact T-Bag’s son. It’s an horrendous reveal that feels like a cynical, lazy attempt to make T-Bag redeemable, and makes little sense because, despite what Michael says, there aren’t many discernible similarities between father and son. Robert Knepper tried his damnedest to sell the reveal, but it was mostly a damp squib.
A few of the peripheral characters thankfully ended up on more solid footing; it was nice to see Sheba letting her hair down on U.S. soil, but it’s a shame she got sidelined so quickly after that kiss. Elsewhere, Van Gogh finally felt like an actual human being as he stated his desire to quit 21 Void, much to A&W’s surprise. At this point, it wouldn’t be remotely shocking if one or both of them helped Michael take Jacob down.
The episode concluded with probably the season’s cleverest twist to date, that Jacob actually drew the map in order to lure Michael in. It shows he’s a rare equal intellect to Michael, and makes one wonder exactly how the brothers will manage to take him out.
The bigger story, though, is the fact that Progeny ends with Lincoln possibly mortally wounded and a shocking final shot which suggests, albeit not particularly convincingly, that Michael’s brains have been splattered against his front door. The show devalued death many seasons ago, so there’s no doubt an easy get-out waiting for the pair of them. In the case of Michael, it’s likely that the blood splatter in fact belongs to Van Gogh.
As Prison Break enters its final stretch, this episode needed to set up those last 42 minutes with absolute clarity. It was ultimately a little too fast-paced for its own good and as such tripped over its own contrivances a few times, but it certainly leaves one eager to see how the brothers make it out in one piece.
And what was up with that jar of blood Whip was sent to find? One suspects it’s a way to exonerate Michael for the murder he was framed for, but either way, next week it’ll all come to a head.
Shaun Munro – Follow me on Twitter for more TV rambling.