Prison Break: Season 4 - Scylla/Breaking & Entering (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the season premiere of Prison Break: Season 4 entitled Scylla and Breaking And Entering.
What’s the story? In Scylla, Michael (Wentworth Miller) has tracked Gretchen (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), Whistler (Chris Vance) and Mahone (William Fichtner) to LA. But just as he’s about to exact revenge, they reveal that Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) is still alive and they need his help in bringing down The Company. During the course of the episode, Michael’s brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell), and former inmates Bellick (Wade Williams) and Sucre (Amaury Nolasco) are also recaptured and assigned by rogue government agent Donald Self (Michael Rapaport) to work together to bring down The Company, which has now begun a ruthless clean-up operation of its own. T-Bag (Robert Knepper), meanwhile, is out for revenge on Michael…
In Breaking And Entering, the reunited inmates plan the first part of their effort to bring down The Company, while more bodies continue to drop as The Company cleans up…
Was it any good? The fourth season opener of Prison Break set a blistering pace without really concealing the fact that it’s now all but running on empty. Having stretched the concept of the original series to breaking point, the writers continue to expand the storylines to increasingly absurd lengths in a desperate bid to keep viewers enthralled. It’s entertaining… but the show has long since lost the ability to really be taken seriously. Several surprise corpses and one return from the dead didn’t really help matters either.
Digging a little deeper: In looking to keep things fresh and exciting, Prison Break attempted to take a leaf out of 24 (Season 5)‘s book and open with several jaw-dropping revelations.
First of all, the action had leapt forward three months and had relocated from Panama to LA, where Michael lay in wait for the trio of Gretchen, Whistler and Mahone to exact revenge. No sooner did he have them in his sights, however, then he was faced with the revelation that the love of his life, Sara Tancredi, was alive and well – and not decapitated as his brother had thought in the previous series.
In TV comeback terms, it was a revelation to rival the “shower scene” from Dallas, in which Bobby Ewing also came back from the dead after a series in the wilderness.
Prison Break‘s attempt to get round the impossible was to suppose that Michael’s brother, Lincoln (seldom the brightest of sparks), hadn’t taken a proper look at the head he’d found in the box – partly because he was so disgusted, and partly because it was so dark. Whatever, it provided one of several unwanted chuckles.
Moments later, Whistler – one of the most intriguing new characters from the third season – was dead, having been shot in the head by another Company assassin. Beyond that, Getchen was also called back and apparently terminated, while later in the two-parter Mahone’s family (wife and son) were also mercilessly killed.
In between, T-Bag made for the border, got betrayed and was forced to eat his fellow Mexican compatriot to survive, while all of the various surviving inmates from Fox River were reunited by government agent Donald Self (Rapaport) to bring down The Company and save America from one of its greatest homeland threats.
Helping them was a hacker who had also created a device that could read and copy the vital data from anyone’s mobile phone within a close radius, who held the key to locating the mystery contents of the disc known as Scylla.
Needless to say, there was plenty going on and – in typical Prison Break style – viewers were breathlessly catching up with each new twist and turn.
But as contrivance met contrivance and implausibility reigned supreme, the suspicion continues to grow that this once great show is now merely serving time of its own. How much longer the fun and games can continue is a really big issue, as the prospect of another 20 or so episodes seems a very long journey indeed.
It’s hokey, ridiculous fun but one feels that Prison Break‘s best days are a long, long way behind it.
What did you think?
- Buy it (Amazon)
- Prison Break: Season 3 reviewed
- Prison Break: Season 2 reviewed
- Prison Break: Season 2 finale reviewed
- Season 2: Chicago reviewed
- Season 2: Disconnect reviewed
- Season 2: First episode reviewed
- Read our verdict on season 1