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Well, here we are. It’s been only a few short months since we left the Fox River 8, running for their lives after Shawshank-ing their way out of prison. So first off, let’s thank sg-dub for laying down such incredible, snark-filled groundwork with last year’s recaps – the fire of which I’ll try to recapture here. The smart ass shoes are big, but since I made my name here at TVgasm filling in for the EdHill (Desperate Housewives - my gift, my curse), I hope to be up to the challenge (I’ll be switching off recaps with fellow TVgasm newbie Amanda – the schedule of which has yet to be worked out).
The second season premiere of Prison Break sure wasn’t short on the thrills or the intrigue. We met one new character (anyone notice William Fichtner billed as Bill Fichtner in the opening credits? I felt like I was taking crazy pills) and lost another (let’s just say that someone is going to be light as feather and stiff as a board… forever…), as the convicts started to turn on each other and we discovered Michael’s Plan B. Now let’s check it out as the convicts make a play towards survival of the badassiest. We open with FBI agent Alexander Mahone. I’m sorry, Special Agent Alexander Mahone. You know how we know he’s a “Special Agent”? Because he’s played by William Fichtner and he’s all haunted and creepy. He’s holding a press conference, as we get a brief flash to all the inmates who escaped last night at 8 pm. Mahone waxes poetic about how it took only 12 days to find John Wilkes Booth and how in 140 years nothing has changed. The escaped man is still human and afraid. But unlike Special Agents from the days of Honest Abe’s assassination Mahone has something they didn’t: Television. Well, I’d imagine that if they did have television in the days of yore, honest old Abe probably wouldn’t have been at the theater in the first place. Mahone encourages everyone in America to take a good look at these eight criminals, as they are now the Most Wanted Men in America.
At the same time Bellick, the requisite evil prison guard is on the case and he is quite an angry little elf. Well, I guess I’d be pretty angry to if I spent the better part of the last third of season one, beat up by the old Fish Hook killer from I Know What You Did Last Summer (Westmoreland) and stuck in a prison escape tunnel. But Bellick is out now, and Vengece. Will. Be. His!. Bellick and the Fox River guards (umm, who is watching the prison?) are chasing after C-Note, Michael, Lincoln, Sucre and Abruzzi.
The guys are running from the guards as a frieght train is passing through. They board the fright train as passage to the other side of the tracks, but Michael is pretty and smart, not athletic. He doesn’t make it and Bellick is hot on his ass. Michael finally gets on the train, but Bellick is ready to shoot. Bellick shoots and Big Brother Lincoln pulls Michael to safety.
The guys now have some breathing room with the train firmly distancing them and the prison guards. Time enough to bicker that is! Apparently, Michael was not the only one to hear Westmoreland, the former plane thief and Jennifer Love Hewitt stalker, confess that he had $5 million stashed away somewhere in Utah, before he died of wounds inflicted by an errant coffee pot during a tussle with Bellick.
Warden Pope, a refreshingly earnest nice guy who happens to work in the most stereotypically bad guy profession in media, is meeting up with Mahone. “Isn’t it a little early for the FBI?” Mahone agrees, but once the Fox River 8 step over state lines (and release a Barbershop Octet CD), they are all his. I love that there isn’t a lot of bureaucratic bullshit between these two. Mahone says as much, requesting that everyting Pope has on the guys be “transparent”. I don’t know why that word sounds so creepy here. Kind of the way that CTU was being “absorbed” last season. Pope isn’t happy, but that should have more to do with getting locked in the closet by a prisoner he actually trusted, but he agrees. Usually that’s like 6 episodes worth of penis measuring that would really bog the show down. Plus, we’ll get enough of that from Bellick shortly.
It’s really funny to watch the next scene of Dr. Sara Tancredi in her ICU room, kept alive only by tubes after her guilt-ridden OD from last season. She literally opened the door for the convicts to escape due to the warm tingly feeling she used to get (down there) whenever Michael entered the room. As I’ve mentioned before, Dr. Sara was supposed to go to the big hospital in the sky with the overdose, but rumor has it big man (yes Murdoch) came down from on high to give Dr. Sara a last minute reprieve. Let me also take this time to express, in full disclosure, my incredible unabashed crush on Dr. Sara. That being said this scene in which two off camera doctors (at least I assume it’s a doctor or nurse) say that “if she fights she lives,” felt a little forced and clunky to me. Especially since we see Dr. Sara’s memories of the past few days (especially that kiss between her and Michael – swoon ladies, swoon), which leads her to let out a huge breath and spring to life like someone from Shaun of the Dead. It even feels like it was retooled or something after they decided to let her live a la Carol Hathaway. That being said: Dr. Sara is very pretty (Yes, Jill’s mom’s worst fears have come true – that I would in fact, dedicate a portion of my recap to obsessing over Dr. Sara. My bad Ei!)
T-Bag (lucky for him he doesn’t need to change that name – no hands needed!), who lost his hand to an axe-wielding Abruzzi after he handcuffed himself to Michael durig the escape, has been ditched by his brothers in arms (!). He’s making due (reference to The Fugitive‘s one-armed man, maybe?) as he stumbles into a camp sight looking for supplies. The couple who were sleeping in the tent awake to find the handless wonder rumbling about. They confront him, but T-Bag sticks a shiv in their faces. You can take the boy out of Fox River but you can’t take the Fox River out of the boy, it seems.. For some reason this young guy doesn’t use his two good hands to knock T-Bag out allowing him to steal his hat and a cooler. A cooler you say? Yeah, that’s for T-Bag’s severed hand. This show is definitely not for people who think that 24‘s problem is too much realism. Before T-Bag leaves he politely says thank you to the scared shitless couple, and I can’t help but think that as far as pedophilic murdering sociopaths are concerned T-Bag isn’t so bad.
Agent Mahone is noticing Scofield’s tattoo and his partner estimates that it must’ve taken anywhere from 100 – 200 hours to get done. That’s a lot of ink for an Engineer. Yes, yes it is Agent Mahone. Thank God for you, because no one else has put that together yet. What the hell is a guy like Michael Scofield doing with such elaborate, body covering tatoos? Mahone wants to meet with Scofield’s tattoo artists. Soon after, he meets up with the big ego wound that is Bellick. Mahone wants to collaborate with Bellick on the chase, but Bellick, being the stock character he is, doesn’t need any help. He’s hot on the trail. “By definition that means you’re always behind your prey,” says Mahone. Who is Bellick anyway? Can he really go head to head with an FBI Special Agent? I realize that Mahone can’t officially take over the case until the boys cross state lines, but shouldn’t Bellick, or someone, be back at the prison? Where are the state police? Why is a correctional officer leading the hunt for America’s Most Wated. John Walsh would be pissed off.
I’ve got to say that with such an endearing lead in Michael Scofield (I’m not the hugest Wentworth Miller fan and his somewhat wooden acting, but you can’t help but root for the guy), Prison Break has seamlessly incorporated Agent Mahone into the mix. You can’t help but root for this guy either. Which totally contradicts rooting for Michael! What a mindbang! At 7:59 PM I was still pretty bummed out about the untimely cancellation of Invasion, but as of 9:01 PM I couldn’t be more glad that Daddy Tom was free of that Floridian wasteland. What can I say, my middle name is “fairweather johnson.”
Annoying alert! Here comes Veronica, or as I like to call her, DuckFace (she looks EXACTLY like Gosling from Darkwing Duck) . It’s not just that Veronica makes Kim Bauer trapped in a bomb shelter with Johnny Drama look like Mr. Wizard & Albert Einstein’s lovechild, but it’s that she’s not even pleasant to watch while doing so. At least Kim Bauer stuck in a Cougar trap is still Elisha Cuthbert stuck in a Cougar trap. And who do we get? The fourth lead from Empire Records. Robin Tunney joins the long pantheon of lame actresses who toil away from role to role bringing nothing but their own special brand of lameness to the table. Yes, I’m talking to you, Lea Thompson, Penelope Ann Miller, et. al. It’s not even that she’s bad (okay, Tunney is bad), she’s just offensively mediocre. Oh but don’t get me wrong, it’s not only Robin Tunney. Veronica Donovan is, hands down, the stupidest character on television. In case you haven’t noticed I’m not a huge fan of this particular actress or character.
Right in line with my hatred for DuckFace is what seems like the end of her journey into the Terrence Steadman aspect of the mystery. Nick her partner/turncoat is dead, and she used her Nancy Drew wiles and what I can only imagine is her DuckFace powers to sift out the whereabouts of the allegedly dead brother of the VP turned President. Get all that? At the end of last season, we saw DuckFace stumble onto Steadman’s lair of evil, cleverly disguised as a ranch in Montana. My question is: What was phase two of this plan? Huh, DuckFace? You get there, alone, to where all these powerful people spent all this time and money to fake Steadman’s death, frame Lincoln, etc. and you think you’re going to walk in there snap a few pics of the guy and… what? Michael Scofield, she is not. She didn’t even sketch a plan on a napkin, none the less tattoo it on her body.
Steadman (played last season by Peter Billingsley, but this year by Merebitch Grey’s dad) starts monologue-ing about how he’s the victim here. It was the President, not him, who picked Lincoln as the fall guy, supposedly because of information Lincoln and Michael’s deadbeat dad leaked about Terrence’s company, Ecofield. Anyone else think this conspiracy is a bit muddled? But Steadman calls DuckFace out on the lack of cohesion in her plan: “Hey DuckFace, good luck trying to get out of this house! Those doors only open from the outside, and these windows here – bulletproof. So come cuddle up to your toothless daddy, because Thatch here is going to give you the ride of your life!” Or something like that. Last year, Peter Billingsley’s Terrence Steadman kind of seemed like a huge, crazy uber-villain. He was especially creepy, because we mostly only saw him on the phone, with his teeth in a jar. I don’t like this about face they are trying to pull on us, making him all “I’m the victim here”, wah wah wah; I like my toothless characters to either be Yokels or evil. What can I say? I’m old fashioned. Regardless, DuckFace is trapped.
Back to the boys on the run, Michael is starting to worry that the other guys know about the money in Utah, most notably, Sucre, Michael’s cellmate and confidant. “We do what we got to do.” Man those deadbeat dad genes these two share sure do have some coldness in them. Lincoln begins to question the existence of this buried treasure (a moment of silence for Team Air Force and Team Southie Boys, who lost the $3 million Treasure Hunters booty to the weak Team Geniuses – here at TVgasm we love synergy!), but Michael is sure that Charles Westermoreland wouldn’t lie. All they have to do is stay alive, not get nabbed by Bellick and/or Agent Mahone, ditch their runaway partners, beat T-Bag and Tweener to Utah, find the treasure, make it across the border to Mexico, travel to Panama, open up a Dive Shop, and they’ll be fine. Man, opening up a Dive Shop? You have any idea how hard it is to be an entrepreneur nowadays? Good luck with that guys. Lincoln also wonders about the global economy, but more to the point, about what their plan is. Michael, always the thinker, tattooed plan B on his body, in case Abruzzi’s plane crapped out (which it did). Just don’t ask where plan C is. This is FOX not Spice.
Agent Mahone talks to one of Michael’s tattoo artists and soon discovers that Michael designed the entire tattoo himself. Not only that, but he was a real “detail Nazi” about the whole thing. Well, yeah. If I was getting something permanently affixed to my body I’d be pretty keen on it being accurate myself. I learned that lesson the hard way when that I LOVE HARD ROCK tattoo on my ass turned out really wrong. Before the tattoo artist leaves she says that Michael’s tattoo was like an inside joke only he was in on. Light Bulb. Then Agent Mahone has one of those only on television moments, when he sees some seemingly random piece of information and pieces the whole thing together. A name! And there are names on the tattoo! Seemingly unrelated names, but names none the less! EUREKA! This tattoo is more than a tattoo after all! A question raised at the brain trust that was formed by myself, my friend Jill and her mother Eileen while watching this was why would the prison have so many detailed close up pictures of this tattoo in the first place? Yeah, I can see the guards snapping one or two full body tattoos of Wenty to bring home to their girlfriends to get them in the mood, but all this detail? Why? Haha. I guess if that’s the point I’m going to get stuck on, it’s really not worth it. The only thing that saves this moment from self-parody is the fact that Agent Malone seems smart enough to actually figure it out. He could totally kick Tommy Lee Jones’ ass.
Michael announces to the rest of the chain gang that they need to stop being cons and start being civilians. Just then a little girl walks up to them and Abruzzi slits her throat. “Sorry, old habits and all that.” Okay, that doesn’t happen, but a little girl does walk up to them. She asks them what they are doing there, and they say they are hand fishing. Before I can assume that this is some kind of euphemism, she informs them that she’s there hunting. For cock. Little slut. Seriously, what little 9 year old girl wanders up to 5 bloody, sweaty strange men and starts chatting them up? Idiot. Regardless, her father comes by, shotgun in hand, instantly recognizes 5 of the Fox River 8 and points his gun at them. Abruzzi, ever quick on his feet, pulls a gun on the little girl. I’m sorry; I’m just having a lot of trouble taking Abruzzi seriously, even with a gun to a little girl’s head, after he spent his summer doing this. Regardless, the father instantly cracks, Abruzzi hands over the girl, and the boys get a car out of the deal. Not too bad.
Dr. Sara is awake and fully lucid just hours after her coma. Previously, Agent Mahone identified her as the key to this whole thing, so he sent one of his female agents to interrogate Dr. Sara, hoping to work a Ya-Ya-Sisterhood of Hilary Clinton Spice Girl Power Tampax Oprah angle. There interrogation goes a little something like this:
Agent: Did you open the door for them?
Dr. Sara: No.
Agent: Did you have sex with Michael Scofield?
Dr. Sara: No. But you could imagine what it would be like if we did.
Agent Vagina: Did you star in the show Tarzan & Jane on the WB?
Dr. Sara (nervously): Uhh, yes. Is that a crime?
Agent: Yes. Yes it is. We’ve already rounded up Travis Fimmel. (Agent quickly smothers Dr. Sara with a pillow and she flat lines).
Some of that may have been embellished but the general spirit of the conversation remains in tact. Look Dr. Sara, if this is ever going to work you need to realize that part of me loving you is me mocking you. Regardless, the agent doesn’t believe a word that Dr. Sara is saying about not helping Michael. She tells Dr. Sara that he’s not the only one who got out. Dr. Sara is not pleased: “Who else got out?” She actually looks very genuinely concerned. And my heart skips a beat (down there).
Cut to T-Bag, who is firmly carrying around that cooler like Mel Gibson carrying, well, a cooler. Except T-Bag’s cooler is filled with blood and a severed hand, not booze and hatred. T-Bag makes it into what he thinks is a doctor’s office, demanding help. The poor Indian doctor informs him that he’s in a Veterinary hospital, but T-Bag doesn’t care. He wants his hand reattached. Dude, hand is gone. It’s be lying in that cooler for hours now, and before that nothing. And this guy’s a Vet. Not even a McVet. No shot.
C-Note is moralizing on some high horse about wanting Abruzzi out of the car for threatening the little girl. C-Note has a little girl of his own, and didn’t appreciate that. Oh yeah, well so does Abruzzi, but he did what he had to do, and now 5/8ths of the Fox River 8 have wheels for the reunion tour. Suck it, C-Note. C-Note then, I guess channeling DuckFace’s stupidity, complains that they are going West, when he needs to go to his family in Chicago. It seems that the C.O.’s from Fox River coupled with the FBI and the status as the one of the eight most wanted men in America has yet to deter him from trying to meet up with his family immediately. You’re right, C-Note, they’ll never think to look for you there. Ass. Chiming in is Sucre, never to bright to begin with, who wants to go to his girlfriend Maricruz, because they are tots MFEO despite the fact that she’s banging his cousin, Hector (who happened to be the one to set Sucre up to go to Prison). Come on Sucre, I want to like you, but fools in love hold very little weight with me and my frozen heart. Abruzzi says that your love is your weakness; Michael doesn’t think that should stop them. Next stop: Oswego!
Unfortunately, Bellick also gets a tip about Oswego, but his is from the hunter the FR6 encountered in the woods.
Agent Mahone, meanwhile, is in Michael’s apartment, envisioning how Michael’s plan fell into place. It’s all very Psych or Without a Trace, but it works. He realizes that Michael had a father who wasn’t around, a mother who was dead – he had no one but his brother. So he spends his time planning and scheming to get him out of prison, then destroys the evidence. Agent Mahone wants divers in the river, after a vision of Michael throwing the evidence away.
Ugh. Back to DuckFace. Steadman warns her about trying to make contact with her cell phone. They are in the middle of Nowheresville, Montana; the Can You Hear My Now guy can’t even get coverage out there. DuckFace throws every cliché in the book at Steadman, telling him he’s a coward and that he can’t justify what he’s done. Steadman explains that he was told that if he stayed quiet, and stayed out of things, he’d also stay alive. DuckFace isn’t convinced, so she tries her cell phone again, and I guess since they are on the same network, DuckFace ad Jack Bauer have the same cell phone plan, because her call goes through. Not so fast! With a gun to her bill, I mean face, Steadman tells her to put the phone down.
Bellick uses the tip from the hunter and cross references it with Michael’s credit card statemet. He finds a Storage facility that Michael rented out in Oswego and away they go.
Nurse Katie comes to visit Dr. Sara, but Dr. Sara is disappointed to see her. she was hoping Katie would be her father. Enough with the daddy issues already! Katie has brought Dr. Sara a change of clothes and her purse, which was super nice of her. Dr. Sara finally admits that she’s in a lot of trouble. What was your first hint babe? Making out with the convict, helping him escape or the subsequent overdose? But Katie didn’t come there to just bring her some clothes and to hear her whine, she also wanted to apologize. They threatened her job, and she told them about Dr. Sara and Michael. But Dr. Sara cuts Katie off, by saying something about no outsourcing blame, that in lives in your own backyard. Sigh. But things get worse than that cheesy self-help quote. “He never cared.” Oh how wrong you are, Dr. Sara! How wrong you are!
Michael’s dozing off in the car (Michael sleeps? I find that shocking), dreaming of Dr. Sara. It’s kind of like the beginning of Grease, the two of them thinking about each other at the same exact time. I think it would be cool to see what Abruzzi and C-Note could do with those Ooh Ahh Ahhs. “Tell me more, tell me more, did she shiv your sack?” “Tell me more, tell me more, did he toss your salad back?” Sucre wakes Michael up because he was starting to moan and touch himself inappropriately. He asks Michael what he was thinking about, and he simply says a mistake. But that Sucre might not know too much, but he does understand amour. “You fell for her, huh?”
DuckFace finally makes a reasonable argument, even more shocking because she’s a lawyer, when she asks Steadman what he’s gonna do? Kill me? (yes.) Shoot me? (please.) There’s no one coming to the house, he’ll be stuck with her dead rotting corpse. Sure the argument has holes in it – what about his chats with his sister? – but it works on Steadman, mostly because anyone who gets into a situation where they are imprisoned by there sister in a mansion in Montana with no captors in sight, can’t be too bright at the offset. He tells her to stop looking at him like the devil. She has no idea what he’s been through. He doesn’t even have teeth anymore! . DuckFace doesn’t care. She calls the police and tells them to come pick her up. I like that the operator on the other end asks her if she’s reporting a crime. What is this your own personal taxi service? DuckFace says yes there has been a crime committed! By the President of the United States!
Back at the Animal Hospital, the Vet really doesn’t have any idea how to sew a hand back on a guy. I mean, how would he possibly? Now I don’t know much about medical procedures or surgery (or anything of importance really), but I’ve got to imagine that reattaching a hand is a pretty major kind of surgery. Like wouldn’t you have to reconnect arteries and veins and what not? T-Bag doesn’t care, he wants that hand Luke Skywalkered back on and he wants it Luke Skywalkered back on now! T-Bag makes a pretty funny comment about finding the good Doctor’s wife in town, and since they are a nice Indian family in the Midwest, that shouldn’t be too hard. The Vet promises nothing, but he’ll do it. Again, isn’t T-Bag like holding a shiv with one hand and down a few pints of blood? Can’t this middle aged Vet take him? The Vet tells T-Bag he’ll need to put him under anesthesia, but T-Bag refuses. Nobody can handle this surgery without an anesthetic, but T-Bag informs him “I ain’t nobody!” I don’t know what it means, but it sounded really convincing coming from the Bagmeister.
Agent Mahone figures out the storage facility as well. I think he’s in love with Michael Scofield. Seriously.
Mahone and Bellick make it to Unit 164 at the storage facility at the same time. Bellick tells Mahone to back off. Actually, he barks it at him, because that’s what stock characters do. They don’t speak, they bark. They open the door to the unit… and… PSYCH! It’s empty.
The guys actually picked up a bunch of shovels and headed over to a cemetery, not the storage unit. They begin digging up a person whose name was tattooed on Michael’s body. GENIUS! But, lest we forget, Mahone is also a genius. He figures out that it’s probably the name of a grave and pulls up the town census on his PDA, in addition to a half dozen other things I’d never think of. That’s why I’m just the recapper.
In the grave, totally dig the name on the headstone by the way, E. Chance Woods, were a few garbage bags that filled with clothes and other on the run essentials, meant to last Linc and Michael a week, but are going to be shared amongst the 5 guys. The guys complain about the lack of variety in their wardrobes: “You want variety, go to Target.” Imagine The Fox River 5 hiding out in Target? Awesome. On the side, Michael gives Lincoln his new passport (Finneus McClintock), and tells him about the car Michael’s got stashed close by. A car for 2 or a car for 5, Lincoln wonders? Car for 2, Michael answers, looking at poor, about to be duped and generally all -around nice guy, Sucre.
Just then Agent Mahone shows up, while the guys are in the woods, about to sneak away. Michael kind of can’t believe that there is actually someone this close to them. He notices Mahone take a pill, and no doubt logs that information.
He stares longingly at Mahone, and I think that with Tony dead on CTU we have the next great manlove affair on television. Michael Scofield and Agent Mahone are so the new Jack Bauer and Tony Almeda. Michael sticks around a bit too long, and Mahone hears him as he starts running away. But the guys mix into a crowd on the street. After a fake out grab from a kid aggressively wondering what time it is, the boys are to safety.
At The Last House on the Left , DuckFace and Terrence are waiting for the cops to show up. Terrence says he can’t go outside, but doesn’t he want his life back? DuckFace calls Lincoln to tell him to turn himself in. He’s got to stop running. She’s found Terrence Steadman! It’s all over! But, DuckFace, it’s only episode 1 of season 2. The cops arrive while DuckFace is on the phone, looking an awful lot like the murdering psychopaths that both the President and the mysterious “Company” employ. DuckFace is so dense that Lincoln, hundreds of miles away over the phone, can sense the danger she’s in before she does. The guy who entered tells Steadman to step away, DuckFace turns around and puts up her hands. But it doesn’t matter. She takes two slugs to the chest and one to the head. It’s the single greatest moment in Prison Break’s young existence. Actually, the best moment is watching DuckFace’s body be taken out of the house in two separate body bags. Before he leaves, the agent takes Steadman’s gun, and leaves him alone in the house. It seems like Steadman, obviously disturbed over it being Duck Season, might be the anti-hero who grows a conscious over the course of the season. Boo.
But let’s get back to the wonderful death of DuckFace for a moment. It’s not only that fact that I loathe Veronica and Robin Tunney, which makes this death such a joy to behold. It’s that a) it was quite shocking and b) quite necessary. DuckFace dying is one of the best kept secrets in recent television, kind of akin to the double Ana-Lucia/Libby murders on Lost. I guess last year’s trend of killing off televison characters is continuing this season. I had no idea. I mean, yes, logically it works (what could’ve happened? The show would’ve lost a lot of credibility if the agents got there and let her live). I also wonder if this was a bargaining chip that the producers played in exchange for having to keep Dr. Sara alive. Or was it always part of the plan. Also, with the show being so young, and DuckFace figuring out the conspiracy up to the highest level (points for that, I suppose), they kind of needed the conspiracy to grow, not be exposed. RIP DuckFace!!!
Back in Dr. Sara’s hospital room, she rummages through her bag and finds an origami Crane from Michael. She examines it closer, finding the words: “There’s a plan to make all of this right.” Maybe I’m a pessimist, but even if they do expose Steadman and the President, haven’t they still broken like 25 other federal laws? Just a thought.
The trail on the guys has gone cold. OR HAS IT!?!?! Not according to Mahone. They have the Where, When and the How, right there on Michael Scofield’s body. The chase is just beginning!
So there we have it, the brand spanking new season of Prison Break. I, for one, am not t all disappointed. Sure implausibility abounds, but that’s just how they roll at Fox River. And I’m loving Agent Mahone, right? What a great adversary for Michael Scofield. Finally someone who can match wits and intense stares with Michael!
What did you think?