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Prison Break season four episode reviews

Prison Break

Season 4, Episode 1. "Scylla" The ratings may be down (again) but this was one of the best episodes that Prison Break has delivered. Indeed, it must rank as one of Television's Best Hours. Why? It concluded major storylines, explained several things, gave us something fans have desperately wanted to see forever and set the show up and rolling in an exciting new direction. Not bad for one episode, eh?

Whistler met his demise. I was sorry to see him go, I liked the character and I wanted it to be Michael who brought him down. I assumed the show would set him up and use him as a season-long bad guy. Guess not. This first hour also makes us think that Gretchen died. I don't believe it. Mahone's family, however, appear to be dead. That's painful. But, I guess, it's needed to keep the character as part of the team. But, still, it's painful to watch him suffer like that. I like Alex and I was delighted to learn that he was Michael's spy, only pretending to work with Whistler. I suspected that that was the case and it was great to see that turn out to be the case. I love the bond between Alex and Michael. They are the show's best characters. And, to be honest, I wish the writers kept alive the promise that he'd get back to his wife and child. I guess not. I've also suspected that Alex will die saving Michael/Linc and I guess we are one step closer to that now.

And then there was Sara. Alive and well and in Michael's arms. The way fans want it. All in all, I think the writers did a great job of dealing with last season's mess and I'm more than willing to accept everything they told us. I don't care, too much, about the logic on this one. I love the Michael/Sara couple and I want them to be together. That's all there is to it.

Finally, we have the final minutes of the episode. Wow. I love stuff like this. It's got a real Dirty Dozen/Garrison's Gorillas vibe to it, as Michael Rapaport assembles a team of convicts for a top secret mission. I can honestly say I love all of these characters: Michael, Alex, Sara, Bellick, Linc and Sucre. With T-Bag still out of the mix, the show is on the verge of putting a dream team together. I can't wait.

Season 4, Episode 2. "Breaking and Entering" The show's transformation into "Team: Prison Break" is complete and this episode shows their first mission for Donald Self. Every character has a reason to be on the show: Alex is Michael's equal, Sara is his lover, Linc is his brother, Sucre is his friend, Bellick is there to do the grunt work and Roland Glenn is the tech guy. All in all, it's pretty well planned out. And they work great as a team. Not just in terms of being successful with their first mission, but also in terms of it being good fun to watch them in action. Best bit? Alex makes fun of Bellick's inability to run fast. "I actually had to slow down..."

Michael Rapaport and Cress Williams are great additions to the cast. Rapaport wears integrity like the rest of us wear aftershave and Williams is a perfect assassin: cold and efficient. And, after only two episodes, I hate him. I hope the writers give him his comeuppance at the hands of Alex Mahone.

The second episode delivers a perfect self-contained story, which - in the end - tells us what is coming next for the team. There are only two loose ends at this stage: T-Bag and Gretchen. Gretchen being alive is no surprise, so it's going to be fun to see the team go after her, rescue her and we'll have her working side by side with Sara. T-Bag, meanwhile, will probably make contact in the next episode and - hopefully - blackmail his way onto the team. I sincerely hope so. Now, if only people were watching...

Season 4, Episode 3. "Shut Down" Just when I thought I knew how the episodes were going to play out the show surprises me. It was a great episode. I feel a tiny bit cheated because the new status quo was fully intact when the closing credits rolled but it was still an intense and wonderful episode.

I worry for Bellick and Sucre. Is there a place for them in the new show as more than legmen? They both need plots of their own to keep them interesting. It's fun to watch Bellick moan and complain and try to escape but, in the long run, he will need more to do. Hopefully the writers address this. He has every reason to be on the team, but on the show...

This was a great episode for Alex. He was awesome from start to finish. I love when the show reminds us that this guy is as smart as Michael. I was surprised that his wife is still alive. Surprised and delighted. It means there is a (slim) chance for him to have a happy ending.

Best bit? The final scene where Linc put aside their past and swore to help Alex find his son's killer. That was beyond superb. Primal stuff. Quintessentially masculine. And great TV.

Season 4, Episode 4. "Eagles and Angels" I realised, checking the ratings over on The Programming Insider, that two of my favourite shows (Prison Break and Sarah Connor) are about to get hammered in the ratings by two shows that I sincerely detest (Chuck and Heroes). Sigh. It's a depressing thought. How can two shows of flair and intelligence be out-ranked by two derivative hours of mediocrity? I mean, Chuck is Jake 2.0 and Heroes is Lost-With-Superpowers. How can they be so popular?


Anyway, this was another superb episode of Prison Break. Another "A+" outing for a show that effortlessly re-invents itself every season and manages to provide almost as many thrills per episode as 24 at it's peak.

This episode has a lovely opening scene between Michael and Sara. Very sweet, very romantic. Great chemistry between leads. Sarah Wayne Callies has never looked more beautiful and the writers give her some great material as Sara goes a little off the rails over the death of Bruce. Great guest work from Tara Karsian in this storyline.

Meanwhile over in the a-plot we get a guest shot from the wonderful Stacy Haiduk (who is totally underused) and a very exciting scheme which has the boys going undercover as cops. Once again the show reminds us that Alex (my favourite character) is a very smart guy as he leads the way with lots of clever/key observations. After worrying last week about the fates of Bellick and Sucre I have to marvel at the way the show has integrated everyone into it's new status quo. Nobody is being overlooked and I get a real kick out of seeing them function as a team.

Best scene of the episode? T-Bag sees the guys and they see him. Hilarious and exciting, in equal measure. And the T-Bag storyline is a treat. Ingenious and original. Seeing him follow through on someone else's plan without knowing anything about it is riveting television. His nerves - before meeting everyone for the first time - were endearing and I'm going to love everything about this clever subplot. Particularly the gorgeous receptionist (Shannon Lucio).

Season 4, Episode 5. "Safe and Sound" Two narratives in this episode: the very-clever Michael leads the Team on an assault on a safe containing one of the things they have to collect this season, while the very-clever Alex helps Sara and sets off to track down his son's killer. Both story's were very tense and very exciting but I was more emotionally invested in Alex's storyline. He's my favourite character and even if I had never seen the show before my heart would bleed after watching that amazing/wonderful/emotional scene between him and his wife. I'm so glad the writers did not go down the cliche route of having her turn against Alex because, you know, "this is all your fault" or some such crap. No, she has a very human reaction. The sight of them crying together, arms entwined in that cramped/public booth, is a sight that will linger with me for a while.

T-Bag and the (unbelievably hot) receptionist have a couple of fun scenes and Gretchen gets free in grisly fashion. The scene with the receptionist is cool because it reminds us that T-Bag can be dangerous and she would be wise to be care, and the Gretchen scene is cool because she's making like Jack Bauer.

So... a perfect episode of Prison Break: lots of thrills and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Season 4, Episode 6. "Blow Out" Team: Prison Break goes after one of their own and I cheered. The outcome was never in doubt, but it was still a strong episode. All of my friends are complaining about PB this year, but I'm more excited than ever. I love revamps, I guess.

And I love Alex, so making him the main character suits me down to the ground. William Fichtner outclasses everyone else in this show and this season the writers have given him opportunity after opportunity to dazzle us. Locked behind bars and trapped by the killer of his son, we get to see to the very core of Alex Mahone. Plus, this one highlights/strengthens the bond between Michael and Alex.

T-Bag is the the other highlight of the episode, with Gretchen's background story being a highlight as well. Ask me, and this series is firing on all cylinders. This is a much better run than this time last year. So, why does everyone else hate it?

Season 4, Episode 7. "Five The Hard Way" The Vegas storyline was a bit naff, but - in all other respects - this was an episode that blew me away. And, towards the end, the Vegas storyline actually became very enjoyable. It was great to see Jude Ciccolella but, like Stacy Haiduk before him, he was totally underused as a guest star. Besides... there is no tension to be had here anymore. We know that Linc and the gang are going to get the card/info. So showing it, after seven episodes, it almost boring. Towards the end, however, things got funny with Sucre having to step up and go undercover. As a gay man. That was funny. Otherwise nothing of much interest happened in Vegas.

Back in LA however the show delivered some of it's best-ever material. Don Self is under threat and - following advice from Alex - he takes the fight to the attacker. What an amazing scene that was! Michael Rapaport gave a great performance as a very-nervous Self managing to find the strength to fight his corner while in deep and way over his head. Great to see stuff like that. A hero in a show like this who isn't all bad-ass and cool. Just terrified and brave. I like him.

But the episode belonged to Gretchen and T-Bag. Now working as a lethal team and - in this episode - responsible for two the show's best-ever scenes: T-Bag threatens Trishanne (the receptionist) and Gretchen kills Blauner (the idiot who hounded T-Bag). Riveting, dark and dangerous. Exactly the way we want Prison Break to be. Exactly the way we want it's 'heroes' to be.

Speaking of heroes: Alex Mahone continues to be the absolute best thing about this show. Fun though it may have been for William Fichtner to play a drugged-out Mahone during Season Three it was no real fun for us in watching a guy we loved suffering. Plus he wasn't 'cool' anymore like he was back in Season Two. Well those days are gone and Alex Mahone is frakkin' cool again. His escape from T-Bag's trap was worthy of Jack Bauer and his later appearance (to rescue Michael) was bad-ass cool. I love the bond that exists between Alex and Michael: two very, very smart men capable of communicating is very clever ways. A lethal team, in their own way...

Season 4, Episode 8. "The Price" is one of the most satisfying episodes of Prison Break. Sara and Gretchen have their first face-to-face meeting since Sara escaped capture and the results are informative and dramatic. Roland Glenn meets his final demise in this outing, too, having turned traitor to the whole team. Glenn was a minor character, little more than a plot device. He existed to be the person who created that magical device we have seen in almost every episode this season. Now that the story no longer needs that device, it no longer needs him and he (having formed no bonds with anyone) turns on them and is killed for his trouble. It's an unsatisfying character arc, but it's of no great consequence when everything that is happening around it is so good.

Don Self gets some great stuff again this week. Self is now one of my all-time favourite characters on Prison Break. His face-off against Gretchen was almost as cool as his face-off with The General on an earlier episode. I did not suspect it when he first joined the show but Self is cool.

Not as cool as Alex, of course. And Alex gets the episode's best moment all to himself, as he takes down the man who killed his son. Thrilling stuff. Very satisfying. The lead up to it, with Michael laying the trap (in the laptop) and calling out to Alex when the trap was sprung, was incredibly enjoyable.

The final moments of the episode were solid, too. Michael holding the hand of the dying man. Very good storytelling.

Season 4, Episode 9. "Greatness Achieved" A dark and satisfying episode of Prison Break. Alex kills the man who killed his son. He tortures him first, makes him phone Pam to apologise and then (casually) pushes the man to his death. Dark, dark stuff. But we love Alex and we wanted to see this happen.

We loved Brad Bellick, too, and we did not want him to die. But die he does and, unlike the "death" of Sara last season, this is not a betrayal of fans affection for (and investment in) the character. It was tad rushed, yes, and it probably came about because Bellick has no real place in this 'new' Prison Break but it was still a ending of redemption for a character who started out as one of the bad guys.

Prison Break has delivered some great, great bad guys. And it has does two things spectacularly well. It has redeemed some of them, and it has given others brutal on-screen deaths. Resolution's that satisfy the audience's need for blood.

Clever show.

Season 4, Episode 10. "The Legend" is one of the strongest episodes that the show has ever delivered. All of the best moments in this episode are connected to Brad Bellick (the character who died last week) as we watch each of the regulars mourn his passing in one way or another.

Prison Break has long been described as show about Alpha Males forced to work together - on a temporary basis - by shared goals. It has never been about a team in the traditional sense (shown on TV) and traditionally the death/murder of one regular is never shown to affect the group as a whole. It affects some, yes. But, usually, there are a lot of people who could not care less who else is dying around them.

Bellick's death has proved to be different. I'm surprised by this. And completely delighted. Sucre's outburst (against Don Self) was particularly satisfying. I also loved the way that Alex had his back. Yay Alex!!

Later on, when T-Bag used the death of Bellick to help him make a passionate speech I was gob-smacked. T-Bag is slime, yet the show has made us feel for him (and root for him) on more than one occasion. This was a moving moment. Kudos to the wonderful Robert Knepper.

The Michael-is-sick storyline comes to a head much faster than I expected, and in a great way.

The show is still underusing Stacy Haiduk (shame on you, Prison Break!), but this episode features two of my all-time favourite performers Jennifer Hetrick and Keith Szarabajka so I'm a forgiving mood. For now. I want to see Haiduk doing some major scene-stealing and I want it now!

As for the big twist... T-Bag's little buddy is on Self's payroll. I don't know that that even makes sense, and I certainly don't care. She's hot, but they could write her out and I would not miss her.

Season 4, Episode 11. "Quiet Riot" Since the start of this season the show has been reminding me of Mission: Impossible. Never more than in this episode, which is dominated by a long sequence of silent action where Michael, Alex, Linc and Sucre execute their plan to break in and steal Scylla.

As well as the fact that this is one of the most tension-filled hours of Prison Break ever filmed this episode illustrates once again why this series deserves to be listed as one of the best shows of all time. Two weeks ago we were witness to one man's very dark journey as Alex Mahone tortured and executed the man who killed his son. This week we have a tour de force of silent action as the four heroes try to steal their goal. There's nothing even remotely alike about these two episodes. Proving that PB can tell any sort of story that it wants to. This, more than anything, separates PB from similar shows like Mission Impossible or 24.

In other news: Jodi Lyn O'Keefe looks totally hot as a 'naughty schoolgirl'. Wow. That's gonna fuel my fantasies for a few weeks.

Season 4, Episode 12. "Selfless" A thrill ride from start to finish. One of the wonderful things about Prison Break has always been it's skillful storytelling. They always manage to keep back crucial details, and mislead you about what you are seeing. You see something and you think you know what it means. You think you know why the information has been given to you. Misdirection. The stuff of good comedy, good magic and great storytelling.

There were many twists in this episode. We find out who the General's daughter is and we see how Michael uses that to his advantage. We also find out that Self is more than he appears to be.

It was a very satisfying episode. Seeing the General react to everything that Michael said/did was a hoot. Seeing really mean bad guys get taken down in spectacular fashion is part of the reason for watching this wonderful show. And it never fails to deliver.

Season 4, Episode 13. "Deal Or No Deal" This is a great episode. And a perfect example of three things at Prison Break does really, really well.

Twists. There are many twists in this story. Particularly anything to do with Senator Dallow and Self's boss. Twist followed twist followed twist. As only Prison Break can do it. The climax, the final twist, was truly spectacular.

Create bad guys that we hate. Self joins The General as one of the most despicable bad guys that the show has delivered unto us. He is vile. And smug. And cruel. We hate him.

Create bad guys that we love. Gretchen and T-Bag have followed the same route as Bellick and Kellerman. I like them both, particularly Gretchen (now that the show has told us her backstory).

All in all this was a flawless hour of TV. And the final seconds were thrilling. Michael is still the smartest one there is.

Season 4, Episode 14. "Just Business" Many episodes of Prison Break are full of twists and turns, particularly in the last few weeks. But few are as upsetting as these ones. Every thing that could go wrong... goes wrong. Our heroes are battered and bruised. Surrounded and captured, in various ways by various foes. I have no idea for how they are going to get out of this...

Season 4, Episode 15. "Going Under" The weakest episode of Season Four. While it is always nice to see guest stars like Muse Watson, Titus Welliver and Denise Crosby all of the stuff that takes place inside Michaels' head is boring old guff and the stuff that takes place outside his head is too far-fetched to be believed. Even for Prison Break.

The twist that Linc is now working for The General, and potentially working with T-Bag, Gretchen and Self from here on in, is just too hard to take. It's a huge leap and I'm not sure I'm able to make it.

Alex gets the best scenes. And his escape is thrilling. But haven't we seen all of this before?

In it's first three seasons, PB reminded me of 24. This year it's been more like Mission: Impossible than anything else. And with this episode, it made another switch. Now it resembles Alias. Heroes and Villains working side-by-side and nobody trusting anyone. Not sure if I like this new direction.

And what the heck is all that 'Bargain' stuff about?

Season 4, Episode 16. "The Sunshine State" A mixed bad, but it's still a lot better than last week's mess.

The show is still reminding me of Alias, with Linc all slicked up and leading his new team on a Search-And-Retrieve mission. They didn't exactly crash a cocktail party, but it has a lot of other elements from the famous/excellent spy series.

It also reminds me - this week - of 24. Sadly, this is a bad thing. Because now that Michael's mother has entered the picture it reminds me of the naff story twist that 24 produced in Season Six wherein we learned that everything revolved around Jack Bauer's family. And had done for a few seasons. Making it all about Jack's family proved to be a mistake and caused us viewers to lose interest.

Making Michael's mother a vital part of the Company conspiracy runs the danger of rendering every thing on the show totally implausible.

Of course, the arrival of Sydney's mother on Alias didn't hurt the show at all, so it remains to be seen what all of this will mean for Prison Break.

For the second week in a row, all of the Michael scenes were duff.

But, pretty much everything else was pretty close to the show's usual high standard. Alex was awesome. Sara was awesome. Gretchen was awesome.

Gretchen's final scene was pretty darn awesome, too. I never expected her to get shot. Having it happen after she showed her true colours/loyalties made it somewhat epic. The aftermath of the shooting was superb, also: Linc about to execute her, while T-Bag and Self acted as his Guardian Angels (one good, one bad).

Season 4, Episode 17. "The Mother Lode" Michael and Sara cross the country, while Linc meets with his mother.

I love the crazy twists and turns on Prison Break as much as the next guy, but there are several surprises in this episode that really do not bear too much thinking about. It's a fun ride, yes, but not PB at it's best. The first half of this season has seen PB at it's best, no question, but everything now seems like a freefall to end the story and that's not quite as satisfying. Just yet.

Great cliff-hanger.

Season 4, Episode 18. "Versus" Michael and Linc go head to head, after Alec does some cool stuff.

Lots of opportunity for Alec to do lots of cool stuff in this one, and Michael gets to be very clever and figure out stuff. And I loved the way Michael still managed to be in control at the very end, even after losing that guy who came off the plane. Whoever he is.

It's a bit all over the place, really, but I'm still having fun watching.

Season 4, Episode 19. "S.O.B." Linc blindly chases Scylla into a diabolical trap, while Michael captures Christine (except it turns out that she planned/allowed for all of this).

A peculiar episode. It appears that the brothers have been completely outwitted by their mother, but I'm not sure I understand how she did it. And I'm not sure I like it very much.

Part of me now wishes the show had ended at the point where Michael had completely outwitted The General. That was satisfying. This? Not so much. We are at the end of the story now, and I'm not a fan of the revelation that Michael and Linc aren't brothers (hope that's false) and I don't like seeing the brothers in a situation where they have been so completely outwitted.

Having said that, I'm sure the writers have a logical way for Michael to win. I just hope that it is satisfying. Michael has always been the cleverest one in the game (with Alex a close second) and I hope that that is the way the show goes out.

In other news, there were several strong scenes for T-Bag as he found himself forced to kill in cold blood, as a means towards getting in good with The General.

Season 4, Episode 20. "Cowboys and Indians" Linc and Michael are trapped in the hotel (following the assassination) and must find a way to escape.

Superb. One of the very best episodes of the show and - in my mind - a microcosm of/tribute to the entire first season of the show. Linc has been framed for a murder and Michael goes in to get him out and they are trapped together and must break out. That's the first season in a nutshell and they did it here in one episode. And I loved it.

In general, apart from a couple of weak episodes, I have loved this fourth season. I am annoyed by all the people/reviews who say that they show has gotten more contrived this season, and I'm annoyed by the people who say it isn't as good any more.

The facts are these: It was always a bit contrived and over the top, and it's every bit as good now as it always was. The problem is: the show had to reinvent itself to keep going and people do not like the reinvention. That's fine. But bloody say that! Don't accuse the show of being rubbish because you don't like the direction it took. Those a separate things.

A classic example of perceived fan ownership of a long-running show. When Doctor Who changed direction in the 1980s fans were up in arms because it wasn't what they wanted. That period of Doctor Who has it's own fans (I'm not one of them) and it's more than capable of standing on it's own merits. It was very different to what went before, but it's wasn't necessarily bad. Just different.

This season, the gang on Prison Break became a Mission: Impossible team of sorts. You might not like that very much (I love it) but you should be able to admit, if you stayed with the show, that the scripts have mostly been excellent this season.

Michael's mother isn't the best baddie the show has had, and I'm not sure I like the twist that the two men aren't really brothers, but the show is really entertaining me on a weekly basis. Entertaining me as much as it ever did, and I will miss it next season.

This was a good episode for Don Self. He got to murder an agent on their tail, his own wife was murdered (which made sense, storywise, as we've never met her and aren't invested in her) and he got to survive an attempt to murder him. Good dramatic episode for Mr. Self.

Season 4, Episode 21. "Rate of Exchange" Michael & Alex try to figure out a way to outwit both Christina and The General.

Since the Michael/Alex friendship is one of my most favourite things about Prison Break, I was delighted to find an entire episode devoted to it. An episode where they acknowledge their debt/love for one another. The story tried to fool us about their loyalty (by leaving out part of a major conversation, and playing it back later as a flashback) but I was having none of it.

The Don Self scenes seem like pointless padding. I could have done without them.

The T-Bag/Sarah scenes were terrific. Sarah Wayne Callies did a fantastic job. The audience has complex feelings towards T-Bag. He's scum, but we like him. We root for him. So, when Sarah tries to get him to turn into a good guy, we sit forward in anticipation. It makes no sense, but we want him to turn good and save the day.

This episode re-introduced two previous regulars. Nice to see.

But the highlight was seeing Michael and Alex team up, one final time, to take on the world.

Season 4, Episode 22. "Killing Your Number" The end of the story.

The final episode of Prison Break is one of the best. It has action, twists, great characters and acting. Plus, being the last episode, it has the final fate of many regular characters. Some get a happy ending. Some don't.

The show set up two bad guys this season: The General and Michael's Mom. Both get their comeuppance in this final episode. We knew they would. And it is satisfying. Having Sarah shoot Michael's mother is particularly sweet, I think.

But, at this stage in the game, the plot is of less importance than the characters. We want to see how their stories end, not how the story ends.

The endings given to Michael, Alex and Kellerman were - I thought - nothing short of superb and very fitting for the characters, and the series in general.

Each one of them (Probably the most popular characters on the show, together with T-Bag) got bittersweet endings. Kellerman got to step up and do good things, but - in the wonderful final shot - we see that his past will always haunt him. Alex got to save the life of the woman he loves, but he doesn't get to be with her. How fitting.

Then there's Michael. What an ending. Fandom is up in arms, but I'm happy. It was the right ending for the character/series. He got to win, he got to save everyone, but he had to pay for his 'crimes'. It made sense. I always predicted a downbeat ending for Michael.

Best of all, these three endings make the entire series better. It adds a depth and meaning to the series that will make a future re-watching all the more pleasurable.

In my mind the show never faltered, and remained A+ until the very end.

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