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This was the third thoroughly awesome episode in a row. Sadly, the awesomer the episode, the harder it is to ridicule. Boring/stupid episode recaps are way funnier, but I do my best. Anyway, awesome: Michael totally gets Scylla from Self! For like an entire minute or so before he steals it back! T-Bag has a crisis of conscience with hilarious results, Self is even more psycho than we thought, and looks like Michael’s finally getting that brain surgery after all. Plus: Gretchen/Sucre smackdown!
4.14 Just Business. Sara shoots Michael up with more antiseizure meds, warning him yet again that this isn’t going to cure him, it just might allow him to cheat death for a few more hours. Linc wanders around outside on patrol, looking pretty much exactly like a junkyard guard dog. Michael calls Self, who is lying in wait outside, and tells him he’s ready to meet. Aw, lying in wait reminds me of Kellerman. Anyway, Self says he has a better idea, which is to shoot tear gas into the warehouse. Why, that’s not a better idea at all! Michael orders everyone out, but the second they open the door Self starts firing. Michael very narrowly avoids getting his brain tumor removed the old-fashioned way. So tear gas it is! (And ha, The Soup showed this out of context and it is kind of hilarious to watch him get gassed and shot at, but stop to answer his phone.) Self launches another canister into the warehouse, and it is Dr. Sara’s professional opinion as a physician that pretty soon they won’t be able to breathe. Before Self can launch #3, he is surprised by Linc, the greatest junkyard guard dog ever, who smacks him in the face. It’s very satisfying.
So they have Self at gunpoint for a few seconds before Gretchen comes to his rescue. With everybody at gunpoint, Self starts the familiar “I’m a mean bad guy villain but really I’m just a regular guy like you!” speech, in which we learn that Self doesn’t really even have a particularly good motive for going batshit nuts. He just had a government job. And like, he was totally underappreciated and junk. Michael and his tumor and his dead friends are all “boo FREAKING hoo, jackass.” Self says look, everybody can be happy here – his buyer for Scylla wants to screw the Company over as bad as they do and he’s paying a metric shit-ton of money for the privilege. So hey, a few million bucks, the Company gets the shaft, it’s win-win all around! Linc is tempted and wants to know who the buyer is. “An ex-Company guy with a bone to pick. Just like your father.” Ooooh, button pushed. Michael says he’d need to meet the guy first, and Self says that’s no problem, and also, this whole elaborate thing with the fake mission and the deaths and the near-deaths and whatnot? Was totally not personal. So no hard feelings, right? We cool? Michael fails to respond with a good-natured fist-bump. Once Self and Gretchen are gone, Michael says they’re sticking to the plan, much to Linc’s annoyance. Linc is so totally over “principles” right now. Michael at least wants to see if Mahone can come through on his end. Because as we all suspected, Mahone has called up good old reliable Lang, whose huge crush on him has gotten him out of a few jams. He tells her he’s been working off the books for Homeland Security and they’re thisclose to getting the one thing that can bring the Company down, but they need help.
T-Bag is still babysitting the hostages, Gretchen’s sister Rita and her daughter/niece Emily. He confirms that yes, Gretchen is the kid’s mom, and no, the kid doesn’t know it. He looks at a photo that really does look quite a bit like Gretchen, and idly remarks “cute girl.” Iwww. “If you have to do something, do it to me,” Rita warns him, and he responds with hilarious indignation: “What do you think I am, a monster? Yes, actually, that is generally what she thinks of people who hold her and her daughter/niece hostage at gunpoint. And she doesn’t even know about all that shit in Season 2! Poor pathetic T-Bag says he’s a prisoner too, a prisoner of his own identity! For a few brief days – or weeks maybe, I’m not especially clear on the timeline this season – he was Cole Pfeiffer, star salesman and proud owner of double-embossed Eggshell White business cards. Now he’s just Theodore Bagwell. But hey, we are who we are! He throws his business card theatrically to the ground, insofar as the laws of physics allow such a thing.
Linc is still trying to convince Michael that Self has a good deal on the table, but Michael says whoever this guy is, he’s just another Baldy waiting to happen. Sucre texts Michael: “I’m in.” “In” in this case meaning “in Self’s trunk, with the help of a cool fake trunk thingy I MacGyvered awhile ago.” Neat. Too bad he can’t hear too well in there, though, because it would probably help Michael to know that one of the canisters Self shot into the warehouse was actually some kind of magic infrared camera thingy which is delivering live images of the warehouse to a computer in Gretchen’s lap.
Sara – poor, long-suffering, needs a bubble bath and a foot massage and a boyfriend who isn’t narrowly avoiding death on at least a daily basis Sara – tells Michael he’s built up a tolerance to the meds, and upping the dosage any further will give side effects just as bad as the tumor itself. “Then I’ll manage without it,” he declares stubbornly, failing to add “nnnnyuh!” and stick his tongue out. Michael is exasperated with Linc – can’t he and his giant head understand that everything that’s happened all started with the company? Sara, yet again the smartest person in the room, suggests that maybe that’s not how it looks from where Linc’s standing. For Linc it all started with his little brother breaking him out of prison, so anything that happens to Michael now will feel like Linc’s fault. She warns him he’s dangerously close to “fanaticism” territory, and he might want to reconsider his eagerness to die for the cause. Because damn, Michael, don’t you need to stay alive at least long enough to take this lady out for a really, really nice dinner?
Sucre hears Gretchen and Self leave the car, so he gets out to see where they’ve led him, which is the Fauntleroy Hotel. He steals the remaining tear gas canisters for good measure. He’s got sticky fingers. We are who we are!
Michael’s secretly shooting up in the bathroom, which I guess means he’s doing the totally genius move of completely blowing off Sara’s warning about extra meds, because hey, what the hell does she know about medicine that he doesn’t, right? Sometimes I want to smack Michael across the face and make him apologize to Sara for swearing vengeance for her death, then upon finding out she’s not dead, failing to ever consider her opinion on anything. Sheesh. Anyway, he quickly hides the needle as Linc comes in to let him know Sucre’s mission is going swimmingly. Michael, perhaps taking my advice and considering Sara’s opinion on something, tells Linc that he went into Fox River to break him out, and he did it, and he’ll never regret it no matter what happens. Translation: Remember this conversation when you’re trying in vain to comfort yourself regarding my impending death, the leadup to which can be traced directly to your thuggy actions.
Michael reaches up into the ceiling to put the little Scylla nub back in its hidey hole, all of which Self and Gretchen see through their magic camera thingy. Self is all excited but Gretchen is pissed. She wants to talk to her daughter, AKA Baldy Jr, and Gretchen’s the one who’s bffs with the buyer, so the zillion dollar deal will fall apart without her. He calls T-Bag who hands the phone to the kid, who confirms that she’s okay, but “there’s this mean man here.” Gretchen chokes up a little and says “Remember that other mean man? The one who was mean to mommy? What happened to him?” Emily: “He went to the store and never came back.” T-Bag kind of does a double take. Ha. Gretchen says she’s pretty sure that if Emily doesn’t like this guy, he’ll go away forever too. Self rips the phone away and asks to speak to the Mean Man. He says if T-Bag doesn’t hear from him in 2 hours, kill them both. And ding dong! T-Bag freaks out, absolutely sure the guy at the door is a Company agent and not the good-natured dorky but suspiciously pushy Bible salesman he claims to be. T-Bag sees the guy’s big ring and something about it convinces him to go ahead and err on the side of paranoia. I mean, obviously he’s seen this show before, you can’t really blame any of these people for being paranoid.
So in a diner somewhere, DC presumably, Mahone meets up with Lang. She brings along the guy she says they can trust, who turns out to be Wheeler, that little twerp from season 2. He turns on the twerp right out of the gate, going out of his way to remind Mahone, whose freaking KID was just MURDERED, what a loser pathetic junkie fugitive he is. Oh, man, you can totally go fuck yourself, twerp. Anyway, Mahone says fine, look at it this way, if I’m right, you get a promotion and everyone in the FBI telling you how cool you are. Wheeler is like, okay, I’ll humor you, give me something tangible and I’ll help you talk to the Attorney General; otherwise I will continue to find your very existence offensive and express righteous derision in your general direction.
Michael, Linc, Sara and Sucre show up at the Fauntleroy Hotel, and Michael tells Mahone not to worry, they’re about to have Scylla once and for all. Sucre shows him the tear gas canisters he stole from the trunk, but they don’t have anything to shoot them with. Oh, but they do! Michael spots some PVC pipe in the alley and tells him to find some hairspray and a lighter so they can get all McGyver on this shit.
Lisa hands the General her resignation. For some reason it took her until last week to realize “who he really is.” And you know, I don’t think fatherly love will stop him from silencing her like he’s silenced everyone else who has so much as witnessed the Company’s doings, let alone been in the inner circle. “I wanted a son,” he says bitchily as she leaves, just in case we didn’t know he was an asshole. One of his more loyal subjects announces that they’ve used nonexistent facial recognition software to locate Self and Gretchen on one of LA’s many surveillance cameras. Several thugs in several big scary black SUVs screech off to the Fauntleroy Hotel. So hurry up with the McGyvering, Michael.
T-Bag has the Bible salesman guy tied to a chair. He’s all paranoid and crazy, asking poor “Ralph” who sent him and smacking him around when he keeps saying he doesn’t know what the Company is and he’s just here cause he loves Jesus, etc. Rita begs him to calm down, shows him Ralph’s wallet, which of course does not contain a business card that reads “Joe Evil: Heavily Armed Thug, Muahahaha Inc., Los Angeles, CA.” T-Bag points out the ring that first made him suspicious – it’s a military academy ring, and how many Bible salesmen would graduate from a military academy? Bible guy sobs that it’s his kid brother’s ring, the one who died in Iraq, and yikes, that’s a pretty good story. But T-Bag isn’t quite convinced and neither am I. Can you blame us for being paranoid? Those guys know what they’re doing, people!
Sucre and Sara pay the delightful desk clerk at the classy Fauntleroy Hotel to give them Gretchen’s room number. She calls Michael down on the street to let him know where their window is, and he sends Linc to the rooftop across the street with the McGyvered tear gas shooter outer. Self is on the phone with Gretchen’s contact, who says the buyer has arrived and he’s not the kind of guy you keep waiting. Self is all “likewise, just make sure he has the money.” Gretchen’s guy is tired of Self acting like he knows what he’s doing, calls him a “mook,” and says next time he better let him talk to Gretchen. The hotel room phone rings – it’s the front desk guy: “I thought you should know a man and a woman came looking for you.” “Scofield found us,” Self tells Gretchen, get ready to leave. And ha, we see that it was Sucre who paid the guy to call and tell him, so there’s some mischief afoot.
Michael is up rigging the fire escape when his nose starts to bleed again. Pesky tumor! Gretchen goes to check out the stairway, where a bum is taking a nap. Except it’s totally Sucre, and he trips her and sends her flying to the ground. Awesome. A hallway beatdown ensuses. Double awesome. Neither of them are strangers to hand-to-hand combat, but eventually it becomes clear that the trained mercenary has an advantage over the petty thief, especially when the petty thief has a days-old gunshot wound she can punch over and over. Youch. Sara comes to his rescue by shoving Gretchen down the stairs. Meanwhile, Linc shoots the tear gas into the room and Self is of course forced to go down the fire escape. Michael has fixed it so the ladder just slides him right down to ground level and he’s thrown off onto his back, whereupon Michael emerges and punches him in the face. Ahh, satisfying. He grabs Scylla and runs off, leaving Self lying on the ground.
Gretchen emerges from the front of the hotel just as the Company guys are arriving, and somehow she’s able to duck all the automatic weapons fire and steal one of the SUVs, which somehow works perfectly well even though it’s got a few dozen machine gun holes in it. Michael’s nose starts bleeding and his brain starts zapping as he’s trying to make his getaway with Scylla, which is so totally inconvenient. Eventually he collapses in an alley, and Self is able to catch up and take Scylla back. He announces again to Michael’s unconscious body that this is just business, but before he can shoot him, two Company trucks pull up. One of them is Gretchen’s and he gets in and speeds off. Linc rounds the corner just in time to watch them haul Michael away in the other one.
Meanwhile, Sara and Sucre break into the hotel room and find it empty, except for the laptop showing the feed of the warehouse. So they know where Gretchen and Self will be headed next – to fetch the missing piece so they can sell Scylla. And sure enough, they head straight to the appropriate ceiling tile, grab the missing chip thingy, and run off to their meeting with the buyer. Linc, Sara and Sucre arrive to find the chip gone, and everyone is freaking out. Sara is sure he’s going to die at any moment, and Sucre knows that the chip was their last piece of leverage. And just in case that wasn’t enough bad news, Mahone chooses this moment to call and check on their progress. Linc says Self has Scylla, all of it, and the Company has Michael. So unless his Fed pals can help Michael out – which they can’t – there’s no reason for him to come back. Mahone has to tell FBI twerp that the plans fell through, and he’s all, pthhtbbt, should have known you were full of shit, thanks for wasting my time. Everybody’s happy!
Michael wakes up strapped to a Company gurney. Baldy watches as they dose him with a sedative and take him down to their eeeevil MRI machine. I was pretty sure this was going to happen eventually, because how the hell else was Michael going to survive brain cancer unless everyone was exonerated and he could check into a hospital the show ended? But it’s still cool.
Gretchen and Self drive up to a pier for their meeting with the buyer. T-Bag calls to tell him there’s been a third party introduced into the situation, who might be a Company agent, but also might be a Bible salesman. “Then he won’t have any trouble getting past St. Peter,” Self says. “Kill him.” You know you’re a class-A dick when T-Bag is morally conflicted about carrying out your orders. He sends Rita out of the room so he can shoot the guy, who is still sobbing and praying and begging for his life. Rita comes back in and tries to convince him that this is his chance to stop being a prisoner of his own identity. He can be Cole Pfeiffer! He’s not quite buying it, but he starts reciting a Bible verse and Bible Guy finishes it for him. For some reason, this is what convinces him the guy is for real. Dude! Really? Do you know how many seriously evil motherfuckers can recite Bible verses? The names “Jim Jones” and “Charles Manson” mean anything to you? You think the Company can infiltrate the Secret Service but they can’t teach a fake Bible salesman some Psalms? Anyway, T-Bag decides to free himself from his old persona. He tells Rita to get in her car with Emily and drive really really far away. He even thanks her for talking him out of killing another innocent man. He cuts the Innocent Man loose, at which point the Innocent Man OF COURSE punches him in the face and strangles him unconscious. He calls in to let Baldy know he’s got Bagwell. Nice redemption there, T-Bag, but looks like you’re a day late and a dollar short with the whole “conquering trust issues” thing. He’s tied up on the floor staring at the heavily symbolic Cole Pfeiffer business card when the Company thugs arrive to take him away. Just in case we didn’t get the symbolism, Bible Guy steps on it and leaves a big muddy shoeprint. Get it? Cause Cole Pfeiffer doesn’t exist anymore? And his new life has been trampled on? Get it?
Dr. Evil, MD, is showing Baldy Michael’s MRI films. “The growth is malignant,” he says. It’s pushing up against his temporal lobe and will kill him soon. And okay, I suppose if it’s big enough something on the hypothalamus could push up against the temporal lobe. But the symptoms would have been a lot more interesting. Missed opportunity, Prison Break. Or maybe not: Baldy asks the doctor if he’s ever seen anything like this, and he says “once.” Oooh, what does that mean? Is it about Mom? Their meeting is interrupted when Linc shows up at the door. He wants to see his brother. “It started with me and it ends with me.”
At the pier, Gretchen’s contact shows up to wait for the buyer. Self, who is officially a worse human being than both T-Bag AND Gretchen, confirms that the buyer is on his way with the money, then shoots the middlemen and tosses them into the ocean. Because hey, he’s got a buyer, why would he want to give up a cut of the money? Gretchen is horrified and furious, but at this point she kind of has no choice but to play along with this crazy motherfucker.
Poor pathetic Mahone is sitting in the diner, watching Wheeler the Twerp and Lang argue outside. Lang comes back in, all “okay, we’re totally going to bring you to the Attorney General to tell your story, it’s gonna be awesome, I swear!” We know, and Mahone knows, that that’s not the kind of conversation they were having, and Lang already looks like she’s apologizing, but he gets in the car, because what the hell else can he do? They put him in the backseat – you know, the one with the grate and the doors that don’t unlock from the inside – and he tells Lang he knows there’s no meeting. He thanks her for all her help. She cries. Twerp looks smug. (No worries, next week’s previews show Mahone rolling out of the car and taking off into the woods, of course.)
Baldy takes Linc into the Company’s medical facility, which, of course they have a medical facility, and it’s actually kind of a nice callback to that scene at the end of Season 2, when we found out the General was a General, and he was wearing a lab coat and talking about how the Sona project was perfect for Michael cause “it’s in his blood.” We better find out what the hell that means. Anyway, long story short, Michael will die without the operation, and they certainly can’t get it anywhere else, and the going price for eeevil brain surgery these days is – you guessed it – Scylla. He says he knows working for them will be hard for Linc to accept, so he hands him some “added incentive:” it’s the patented Prison Break Mysterious Folder With A Mysterious Label. This one says “TOMBSTONE II.” If I’m supposed to know what that means, well, I don’t. Do you?
So anyway, they’re trying to kill me here, because while every other show is on winter break, these bastards are in the middle of a really good run of episodes, and they have one scheduled this week AND Christmas week. So I apologize in advance to all seven of you if I’m tardier and/or less amusing than usual, but I’m sure that, unlike every other year ever, I will complete my gift shopping and wrapping well ahead of time and will be able to devote my full attention to my recaps! Starting next week!