Sunday, April 08, 2007

"I literally have no idea what to say to you right now.": Prison Break

(Don't worry. Joey will be back to give you his thoughts on season two as a whole soon. I'm just filling in while I have nothing better to do. -- ed.)

So, ok. What?

Is Michael a cyborg? Is Sucre the most-obvious Christ figure ever (I mean the guy was laying with arms outstretched on the pavement already, bleeding from his chest and then they cut to the OVERHEAD SHOT to drive it home)? Is Sarah really THAT wracked with guilt over shooting a man after all the crazy stuff she's seen this year? And gladiator prison? Is that awesome or just awful? Certainly the latter, but at least I give the gang at Prison Break points for originality.

Now, you've heard me rail on and on about up-and-backs here before, but the whole second SEASON of Prison Break was an up-and-back (previous offenders of this nature: Grey's Anatomy). Very little was learned outside of the conspiracy, and not much has changed. It's as though the Prison Break writers picked up cards that had the various elements of the show written on them, dropped them on the floor, then picked them up again and reassembled them at random. So in season three, we'll get Lincoln trying to help Michael escape from a NEW prison (though Linc's on the outside) while he enlists the help of Bellick and Mahone. Possibly T-Bag will be involved, and Sucre will be lying in the street dying for the whole season, I guess. This is, in essence, season one all over again, in a rougher prison with fewer characters. I don't see how it works, but, hey, gotta make it to syndication.

If the characters had sailed off into the sunset (as, originally, the series was conceived as a two-season show), it would have been kind of lame, but at least it would have been an ending. The characters would have been given ends to their stories that made sense with everything that had gone before (Lincoln's sudden memory wipe in re: his SON notwithstanding). Instead, we get to see Mike try to break out yet again as the good government scientists speak cryptically about how he's been programmed to be an escape artist and such. The show was already in too-vague X-Files territory with the storyline about The Company, and it didn't need to further specify the X-Files-i-ness to be a better show. Prison Break isn't about conspiracy theories; it's about visceral thrills and attractive people running around and doing stuff.

Still, I mean, it was a busy enough episode. I can see why Prison Break's fans insist this is the best damn show ever. There's always lots of stuff going on, and every episode is overstuffed with plot. The only problem is that the blind adherence to the plot leaves us with characters who are barely ciphers. Does Michael have a character flaw? What's redeeming about T-Bag, redeeming enough for us to keep hanging out with him? Granted, Mahone has a COMPLICATED PAST, but it's ripped off from a dozen characters just like him before.

Then again, if you watch Prison Break, you don't watch for the complicated character set-ups and complex writing. You watch for. . .well, see above.

At this point, I'm not sure I'll be around for season three of Prison Break. However, the show will probably debut in August again, when there's nothing else on, so I'm sure I'll check out the first few episodes at least. And you? How over-obvious and completely insane will Prison Break have to get for you to give up on it?

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