Tuesday, February 20, 2007

“There is no light at the end of this tunnel. One way or another, we die.” – Prison Break

After weeks of treading water, Prison Break finally got to the meat of some of its storylines in the latest offering. This upturn hasn't changed any of their original lameness – I’m not backtracking on myself here – but the climaxes reached in ‘Bad Blood’ were pretty satisfying even if they couldn’t go far in making up for the many weeks of dullness.

Take C-Note and his daughter. Watching them fight for a while and then get caught up in the least intense robbery ever has been excruciating, but her mounting illness and his realisation that he had to turn himself in were effectively done. Rockmond Dunbar is a solid actor and he showed it here, especially in the last ten minutes. So too did Robert Knepper, who really sold the conclusion of the otherwise pathetic Hollander family storyline. After Miss Hollander insisted that she could never love him, all signs pointed to a gruesome death for her and her little ‘uns; but instead T-Bag let them go. Considering the consistent wretchedness of T-Bag throughout the show’s run, this sounds like a rather weak turnaround; but thanks to his vulnerability shown in flashbacks throughout the episode and Knepper’s accomplished performance, it was anything but. In fact, the sight of him weeping by the side of the road felt surprisingly tragic. The only glaring flaw in it all was that both breakdowns came at the same time, making their vulnerable sides seem more like a theme of the week than a natural progression.

These downbeat strands were contrasted with the happy reunion of Sucre and his long lost love Maricruz. The torpidness of his storylines so far were clearly seen as justifiable (by the writers at least) merely because it was all leading up to this moment, so considering this it felt like a bit of a non-event. Their actual reconciliation consisted mostly of them running away from airport security. Still, hopefully her inclusion into his scenes will liven things up a bit.

The truly entertaining sections of this episode still belonged to Michael and the gang, this time for one very simple reason: Warden Pope! Or rather Ex-Warden Pope, looking severely depressed and his wife nowhere to be seen. He’s also followed the fugitives’ lead in gaining some stubble recently, despite having ready access to a bathroom. Wentworth Miller and Stacy Keach always made a good pairing, and their sparring-off in this episode was so satisfying that it almost felt out of place. Eventually Pope helped them out, but this hopeful note was nicely offset by Kellerman’s words to Lincoln as they stood watch during the event. He painted a bleak picture of their future, insisting that no matter how hard the brothers tried, in the end they were going to die and it would all be for nothing. Even though we know it won't be that simple, it still definitely needed saying. I also liked that Lincoln’s responses sounded like little more than a recital of stuff Michael had said to him. It was a nicely underplayed scene, the likes of which I’m not expecting many more of as the season reaches a dramatic and most likely action-packed climax. Just five episodes left now.

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