This week on Prison Break: C-Note’s okay! Whew. But before he can even change out of his hospital gown he’s handed yet another moral dilemma. We finally hear the tape, and in retrospect, I’m totally okay with them saving it for dramatic effect. Also, eeeeek! Michael gets his pretty little face smacked around pretty hardcore by Secret Asian Man. Dr. Sara does triple-duty with Mahone as AA sponsor, physician, and hostage, but he’s not as easily fooled as he seems. He’s goooood, y’all. Kellerman says nary a word throughout the entire 42 minutes, but he does get a few reaction shots, and if every episode were just Kellerman alternately smirking evilly and playing with guns I would still watch the hell out of it. T-Bag, Bellick and Sucre are all south of the border, down Mexico way, and they all have cartoon dollar signs in their eyes. And wow, there’s a really high turnover rate at the Commander-in-Chief level in Prison Break Alternate Universe America. But it’s almost certainly not what you think. Anyone who saw this coming gets a cookie, and maybe some therapy. 2.19 “Sweet Caroline.” The Previouslies end with C-Note stepping off the bed in his cell, presumably to his death, but they pick up right where they left off. As many of us suspected, C-Note, thanks to a vigilant but tardy guard, is totally not dead. He is, however, wearing some truly distracting sandal/mocassin/slippers with white tube socks.
President Bitchface, AKA Sweet Caroline, is about to give her speech in downtown Chicago. From a nearby ledge, Old-School Kellerman is 100% serious about loading and aiming his bigass gun. That sentence represents the wrongest, hottest twelve seconds of gun porn you’re likely to see on network television.
Michael et al are dismissing Cooper Green – there’s nothing more he can do, since the rest of their plan involves extra-legal activities – as Mahone runs up ten flights of stairs headed straight for them. Man, that’s a lot of stairs. Michael is Off To See The President, and I guess he’ll think of a plan on the way there. Linc says if this goes wrong they’re going to need a way out, “for good.” He suggests Derek Sweeney. Who in the what now? Michael wonders if he’ll be up for it. I wonder if I’m supposed to know who he is, and also what the hell everyone’s talking about. Michael heads out, and he and Sara agree to meet on the corner of 3rd and Racine at 3:15. Michael: “If anything happens…I love you both.” Dr. Sara remains stoic in that “I’m vaguely bemused and also barely holding it together at all times” look Sarah Wayne Callies has perfected this season. (Incidentally, the actress is pregnant, and wow, I hope they find a way to work that in to the script, not only because I would miss her if they wrote her off, but because Dr. Sara so deserves to get so laid, and a pregnancy would force them to arrange that, at least offscreen.) Linc takes off as well, presumably to find Derek.
Mahone reaches their floor and spots a housekeeper blankly pushing her little cart along. He flashes his badge and asks for a key to 1006. She honestly could not react less to this series of events. I guess hotel housekeepers do see pretty much everything; maybe relinquishing room keys to guys with badges is just part of the gig. Dr. Sara hears the door opening and darts off just before Mahone easily kicks the security latch off, gun drawn.
He checks closets and bedrooms in their massive, swanky suite, which let’s go ahead and assume Dr. Sara managed to withdraw some cash back when she was Kelli Foster so we can all stop wondering how the hell they’re paying for this. Mahone finds no fugitives behind any doors and looks really annoyed for a second, until he figures out that Dr. Sara is hiding under the bed. She looks like she could use some good ole heroin right about now. We get that horror movie POV shot of his loafers approaching, which is always really effective, but he seems to walk away. Dr. Sara climbs out, and I absolutely love the fact that Sara’s gigantic purse has played a consistent supporting role throughout the series. It’s very charming. She throws her giant bag over her shoulder, heads toward the door, and starts dialing her cell phone, but of course Mahone and his gun are waiting for her. He’s visibly annoyed that she’s not Michael.
He asks how long ago the boys left. Sara says they were never there, but Mahone’s all “bitch please.” She tells him she doesn’t know where they are – Michael decided it was best if she was no longer involved. Mahone is way, way ahead of her, and he gives a big laundry list of the things she’s done to help them. The most interesting thing we learn from this rant is that they checked in to this hotel two hours ago. Damn! That’s an eventful afternoon, and also, way to get caught before you can even take advantage of the room service or 600-thread count sheets. She’s not intimidated though. A little water torture and a few near-death experiences will do that to a girl.
Mexico! T-Bag waits anxiously at baggage claim, watching the conveyor belt, and spots his duffle bag o’ cash. He’s peering around the corner when he sees Bellick. They didn’t exactly part on good terms, what with T-Bag tied by his crudely reattached hand to Susan Hollander’s old radiator and all – oh, and that whole thing where he killed Geary and framed Bellick for it – so he quickly ducks behind a pillar.
He manages to duck through an Authorized Personnel Only door to fetch his loot before the conveyor belt takes it back out. I guess I can buy that if there’s anywhere in the world that airport security would allow such a thing to happen, it’s Mexico. Anyway, he sees it coming through but a baggage worker spots him, so he has to waste a few seconds thonking the guy in the face with a much more sturdy piece of luggage than his own. By the time T-Bag has him unconscious, the cash and the unconscious employee are riding out into the baggage claim circle. D’oh. Alarms immediately begin to go off, and the conveyor belt stops with the cash on the non-T-Bag side of the doors. He has no choice but to run. Away from the money.
C-Note’s in the infirmary, begging for a phone. There’s a man out there who’s going to hurt his family! The nice orderly/nurse/guard guy, who obviously has not seen this show, assures him that his family is fine. C-Note pleads; he wouldn’t be asking if it weren’t an emergency. The next thing we see is Lang answering the phone at headquarters. An understandably hoarse C-Note asks to speak to Mahone, but he of course isn’t available, seeing as how it’s his turn to hold Sara hostage. Wheeler says he’ll take it. Ooooh! Wheeler’s the snitch for Internal Affairs, so Mahone better hope C-Note is discreet. He is, mostly: he tells Wheeler just to let Mahone know that he’ll do what he wants him to do, he just needs a little more time. “Just don’t hurt them” he adds desperately and hangs up. Mahone, much to Wheeler’s chagrin, doesn’t seem to be abiding by the Bureau’s “everything you do goes through Wheeler first” policy. Lang asks what’s going on but he just excuses himself and hurries off.
Linc arrives at a Chicago shipyard to meet up with our old pal Derek. Linc sort of sneaks up behind him as he’s clocking out. When he sees who it is he’s all “Gghh! Nggh! Are you crazy?” Linc puts a hand on his shoulder and tells him to keep his voice down. Slowly, Derek starts to grin a little, and Linc, hilariously, goes “So, how you been?” They really do look like old friends.
Derek worries that his coworkers might not be thrilled if they knew Linc was there, which probably goes without saying. Linc’s not sticking around, he just needs a favor. He hands Derek a piece of paper. Derek reads it and agrees to give it a shot, but Linc’s all “Now.” And Derek presumably knows that when Linc starts with the monosyllabic instructions it’s prudent to obey before he Hulks out on you. Linc smash!
Kellerman. For the record, I have touched exactly one gun in my life, and it wasn’t loaded. I am no gun fetishist, is my point, which is why I find the hotness of this whole Kellerman thing so unnerving. He is positively salivating as he spots the motorcade coming around the corner. He doesn’t take his eyes off the crosshairs.
The limo stops and out comes the real live Patricia Wettig! Welcome back, President Bitchface. Kellerman can’t get a clear shot though, and she’s surrounded by security so he’s only got one chance. And I’m so distracted by this whole scene, with Kellerman trying to get his shot, and the crowd rushing the barricades to shake her hand, that I am totally and awesomely surprised to see her shake one hand that holds on a little too long, and turns out to be attached to Michael! You have never seen a steelier glare than this one, my friends, and Sweet Caroline is visibly freaked out. The Secret Service descends on him, pulling him to the ground, because finally, they acknowledge that Michael is like, the most recognizable person on the planet right now. Kellerman lowers his gun and smirks a little, and I can’t tell if it’s his “I cannot wait to demonstrate exactly how pissed off I am” smirk, or genuine amusement of the “Michael! You so crazy!” variety. He takes his finger off the trigger and runs off.
Bitchface winds her way in to a lobby of some kind, and evidently Michael slipped her a note during his long, significant handshake. It says, simply, “We have the tape.” Dun!
Michael is dragged through hallways, handcuffed, his weird hideous green quilty jacket pulled over his head. The very first thing I think is “Thank God, they’re going to have to buy him a new jacket.” A bunch of Secret Service thugs throw him in a chair in a big restaurant kitchen. Cue Secret Asian man, who would like some alone time with Mr. Scoffield. The thugs reluctantly leave him alone with Michael. “Where’s your brother?” he asks. “I need to see the President.” Michael responds. Kim’s like, “As if!” Michael says she’ll want to hear what he has to say, but Kim says no dice. The only way Michael’s going to live through the next hour is to tell Kim where to find Linc. Michael snarks that they’ll never find him. Kim takes his jacket off, which is TV shorthand for “here comes the smackdown!” and gives Michael a big speech about his military training.
Reggie Lee has a lot of cheesy “Muahahaha” dialogue to work with in general, but he’s kind of rocking this episode. He smiles like he’s taking his third grade yearbook photo. The military academy taught him to be honorable, and patriotic, and fight for truth, justice, and the American way, etc. Oh, and also, it taught him to knock the everliving shit out of people. He doesn’t so much say this as demonstrate it, hard, on Michael’s pretty face. Michael is smacked around like a little bitch, and it makes me very sad.
Maricruz is craving cherries. You know, cause she’s barely, barely pregnant. Also, she doesn’t speak Spanish, thus confirming her status as Utterly Useless. Sucre offers to go out for more, even though Auntie Sucre, who is not an international fugitive, seems perfectly capable of grocery shopping. They see a report on the news that T-Bag was spotted by security cameras trying to steal luggage from the airport. Sucre wonders why he would need to steal, on account of he’s the one who ended up with the money. When he realizes that this probably means the money is on that conveyer belt, his eyes light up. We miss you, thuggy Sucre! Come back to the dark side!
Maricruz is like, don’t even think about it, we have this bedroom we haven’t left since we got to Mexico, because it’s the only set they built for this plot, and we have cable, and a town where you can buy all the cherries you want without being recognized! Don’t screw it up! He still has that look in his eye when he tells her he’ll be right back with her damn cherries.
I love that we get these Mahone-Sara scenes. I really like how they let the characters cross paths so you get cool interactions like this one, and Michael/Caroline, and the “I totally get you, man” rapport Mahone had with C-Note. Anyway, he’s shakily typing “Agent Lang” in to his cellphone, and yeah, thumb-typing is hard enough when you’re not jonesing, huh, Mahone? He’s fumbling with his magic pen, and Sara says “You ought to know it’s not real hard for me to recognize a junkie.” Her point is, he looks like hell. He says he’s fine. She wants to know what he’s taking and he tosses one of his little pills at her. “Want one? Save it for later.” She looks at the pill and recognizes it as a fictional benzodiazepine, and with the dose he’s taking he must feel like he’s walking under water. Yeah, Mahone says, “and it’s very quiet down here.” Dr. Sara guesses he probably started taking them for peace and quiet, but now he gets headaches without them and he can’t sleep. She gets kind of self-righteous and haughty but it’s cute cause I can totally see her as a know-it-all overachieving med student. “You know you’re going to destroy yourself, right?” Mahone: “I haven’t ruled that out as a possibility.” He stares in to space awhile and says, “Hope we hear from your boyfriend.” Ha.
And the opposite of ha. Speaking of Dr. Sara’s boyfriend, he’s spitting a rather large volume of blood onto that clean kitchen floor. Poor Michael. Kim leans in and says the difference between Mahone and himself is that Mahone doesn’t know the value of a bird in the hand. Kim has no problem getting rid of Michael if he doesn’t give up Linc. He pulls out a handgun and aims it at Michael’s head. “One down, one to go” he says, but he’s interrupted by…President Bitchface! “I need to talk to Mr. Scoffield. Alone.” Awesome.
Kim lowers his gun but asks for “a word.” It wouldn’t be prudent to leave her alone with Michael! She very awesomely and firmly says “Do I have to remind you who you’re talking to?” No, ma’am! He finally demurs, and it’s so cool that Kim presumably doesn’t even know what’s on the tape. I guess I figured he knew everything, but apparently she doesn’t want him hearing this or she wouldn’t be pulling rank in order to shoo him out.
“The things you do for your brother,” she begins. “It’s impressive.” Michael: “I could say the same for you.” And ha! That’s so much funnier the second time around. He doesn’t have the tape with him, but he can arrange for her to hear it. “You don’t make arrangements for me, Mr. Scoffield!” she laughs, genuinely amused. She’s not impressed when he tells her it’s a conversation with Steadman, because she had conversations with him his entire life. Michael narrows it down: this one was after his murder, and “this particular conversation? You might want to keep in the family.” My mind immediately goes icky places, but nah. That can’t be it! He glares at her, which is even more effective with his face all bashed up. She actually, literally clutches her pearls, which is just such a nice touch. Michael, it seems, has hit a nerve. Also, Patricia Wettig is really owning this scene. “Where is it?” She stammers, and I’m so relieved to hear Michael say “20 different copies in 20 different locations.” It’s entirely possible that he’s bluffing, but at least they confirm that the thought would have occurred to him. I’ve decided to believe they at least emailed it to LJ and Jane and maybe the Drudge Report. Anyway, he can call Linc right now and have him play it for her. She wants him to deliver it in person, but Michael is not fucking around. “Here are the terms: You hear it over the phone, or you hear it on the news.” Sweet Caroline doesn’t look like she’s especially fond of either of those options.
Dr. Sara seems to be doing a pretty good job with Mahone. She started using for the same reason as he did, she says. Mahone: “Because the bass player dumped you in front of the whole sorority? Yeah, you and I got a lot in common.” Ha. He laughs the wheezy old man laugh of the totally unhinged. Sara, adorably, smiles at him. “I’ve seen people die too,” she says, and she’s a totally believable doctor all of a sudden. Mahone is pretty sure Dr. Sara didn’t actually make them die. He pulls out his gun, and says that for her sake, he hopes her boyfriend calls soon. He’s not really pulling off the “menacing” thing today, but I find it totally hilarious that he keeps calling Michael her boyfriend.
Sucre has made it home safely with his cherries, but he can tell something’s wrong as soon as he walks through the door. He calls out for Maricruz a few times but gets no answer. He turns around to find Bellick, pointing the weirdest gun ever at him. I guess it’s a taser? Sucre wants to know where Auntie and Maricruz are, and Bellick, inexplicably, says they’re “out picking apples for the Snuffleupagus.” But they’ll be back soon, and Bellick suggests it’s in everyone’s best interest if Sucre comes with him before that happens.
Linc is hiding out in Derek’s office when his phone rings. “Lincoln Burroughs?” says Sweet Caroline. She understands he has something for her. But Linc’s got some things to get off his enormous, hulking chest first. He’s glad to finally talk to her; too bad he didn’t get a chance any of the 242 days he was on death row. She’s all, “yeah, yeah, my bad, whatever. Now, about this tape.” So Linc plays it for all of us, and hoo boy!
It’s basically Caroline trying to comfort Steadman, who is freaking out. He’s all alone, but she says it’s only temporary. The appeals process has started and it won’t be long before everyone forgets all about this whole mess. But he misses her! It’s so cold there, and all he can think about is her, and her warm body, and lying together in bed, and whoa! Whoa there! Yikes. He even calls her “Sweet Caroline,” which manages to both place that song on repeat in my brain jukebox for the next 24 hours, and also to add a whole extra disturbing dimension to it forever. She snaps the phone shut, presumably before things get even ickier. She can’t really argue with that, so she just stands there, quiet and sad. “Was it quick, when he killed himself?” She seems relieved that someone can finally answer that for her. Michael says it was faster than how his dad died. “He said he was sorry, then he blew his brains out all over the wall. It was quick.” He’s actually sort of smirky here, getting his schadenfreude on. “It was his decision, and now it’s time to make yours.”
C-Note is in an interrogation room with Wheeler, who’s trying to get him to tattle on Mahone. C-Note is scared for his family, but Wheeler just wants to know what’s going on, and he’ll take care of C-Note, he promises. He pulls out a tape recorder. “You give me Mahone, I give you your life back. ” Dag, yo. C-Note can’t go like 3 hours without having to make some huge leap of faith life or death decision.
Bellick is shoving Sucre through his Auntie’s house, bragging about how he found Haywire before he dove off a grain elevator so he still gets the reward money. Sucre’s like, wait, Haywire’s dead? Bellick: “Like a gnat on a Peterbilt!” Shut up, Bellick. Sucre asks how much he’s getting for them. Bellick says a hundred grand, but Sucre knows where he can find five million. Bellick’s eyes light up. Sucre can take him right to it. “Where is it?” Bellick demands, and Sucre just says, “T-Bag’s in town.” If this were a cartoon, Bellick’s eyes would have “$$”s in them, and they’d go “cha-ching!” when he blinks at Sucre incredulously.
“I agreed to put my country ahead of myself, like a mother does for a child,” Caroline is telling Michael. She thought what she was doing was noble. Michael’s all, yeah, boo hoo, Bitchface. She declares that she’s a pawn in this too, and that the power that’s taking over the country is like a cancer, a metaphor that seems a little heavy-handed right now but works in retrospect. “Tell me what you want from me.” Michael wants, in this order: out of the handcuffs, out of the building safely, and full pardons for Linc and himself. Oooh, burn, Dr. Sara! Anyway, she’s like “ptthbbt, I can’t just pardon whoever I want, there’s paperwork, etc.” and Michael says sure she can, and as a matter of fact, she’s going to announce the pardons at her speech, today, right now. She sputters that he’s insane, and that’s not the way things are done. Michael and his steely-eyed glare don’t seem to give a rat’s ass how things are done. People will ask questions! “Pardon! On stage! Now!” Michael growls. How does she know they won’t release the tape anyway? She doesn’t, he grins. She’ll just have to take his word for it. He smiles the smile of a man delirious with righteous indignation, and also probably a little loopy from the head trauma.
And it works! She totally goes into the hallway to brief her goons: Uncuff the detainee and bring him out to be released. Kim is apoplectic. “What are you doing?” he stage-whispers, all bug-eyed. She explains calmly but firmly that she is going to announce pardons for Mr. Scoffield and his brother, and he will walk away unharmed. She’s a totally believable politician right now. She pointedly tells Kim that Michael has “brought some indisputable evidence to light.” Kim gets all sassy, but she kind of awesomely reminds him that she is the Commander-in-Chief, and Mr. Scoffield will walk away without interference from Kim and his pitbulls. Ha! She sounds like maybe she’s been looking for an excuse to tell Secret Asian Man where to shove it for quite some time. Who knew I could love you, President Bitchface? Unfortunately, Michael has reclaimed the hideous jacket. Kim is wide-eyed and clench-jawed as he watches Michael just stroll past the entourage and out the door.
Linc lets Derek into the office. Because he is the best pal ever, Derek is bearing salvation AND beer. He’s booked a cabin for the three of them on one of his freighters, which they totally won’t need, right? Cause it’s just Plan B in case they don’t get their pardons, which they’re totally getting! I guess Sara has the cabin all to herself! Derek also hands him some cash – when Linc first broke out someone bet him a hundred bucks he’d be caught within the week, but Derek knew Linc better. He figures he should split his winnings with Linc. Aw. They say their goodbyes and Derek leaves.
Michael limps along to the corner where he’s supposed to be meeting Sara. No Sara = bad news. Back in the hotel room, Mahone is holding his gun, saying he really doesn’t want to do this. Sara’s eyes go all wide, because she really thought she had him with the whole junkie bonding thing. She tries to stall, but he just rants about how he gave her a choice, and he has a job he’s being forced to do. He puts the gun down on the table to fetch his pills, and it’s at this point when I start to think, “Wait, he can’t really be this unhinged all of a sudden, and holy crap, he is totally playing her, that Magnificent Bastard!” Sara might know that too but she doesn’t really have many options here. Her phone rings, which is what Mahone’s been waiting for all this time, but she just stares at it. He yells at her to pick it up, but she slides it off the table and onto the floor, swiping his gun while he’s reaching down for it. She points it at him and very politely tells him not to move, and she’s going to need the phone please. She makes her dramatic exit but once she leaves Mahone just looks sort of bored and annoyed. He calls Lang: “Got my message?” Lang: “Yeah.” She looks over her shoulder and watches Sara and her huge purse scurrying out of the room. “I got her,” she says. Oooooh. Mahone says to follow her and she’ll take them straight to Michael. Awesome. I mean, oh crap, obviously, but a nice little reveal.
Kim enters a limo parked along a curb. He’s explaining how Caroline has gone batshit nuts and is about to pardon the brothers on live television. The creepy mute bald guy we’ve seen Kim take orders from before says nothing. As he is wont to do. He’s just flipping through a file folder and barely acknowledging Kim’s presence. “I don’t know if you understand the gravity of what she’s about to do,” Kim pleads, and by way of response Baldy just tosses the folder over. The label on it says “SONA.” Any guesses? Cause I got nothing.
Sara’s sitting in the Family Trucksterâ„¢ when Michael calls her from a payphone. It worked, he says. Sara does not say “Whatchoo talkin’ bout, Michael?” or “Are you fucking kidding me?” She says, “Pardon?” which is adorable. She’s announcing it any minute, he tells her. He leaves out the part where Sara’s going to have to find her own way off the Most Wanted list, so she’s thrilled and there is smiling and it’s cute. He tells her to meet him at Derek’s warehouse. Agent Lang follows right behind her.
Linc opens the office door for Michael, who is doing some serious wincing and looks like hell. Linc looks all concerned until Michael says “we did it.” Yay! They did it! Linc tells Michael they have a cabin on a freighter to South America, but Michael says they’re not going to need it. He turns the TV on to – surprise! – Fox News, which informs them that the President is about to take the stage.
Caroline paces around, then steels herself and heads toward the podium. Secret Asian Man blocks her way and tells her she can’t do this, but she’s made her decision. “I don’t think you understand.” Kim hisses into her ear. “We know your secrets too.” Gulp! Who’s she more afraid of: Michael, or Them? She has about three seconds to digest this before she’s led on stage, but man, does she ever know how to put a game face on! By the time she’s in view of the cameras she’s all smiles and cool as a cucumber.
Her speech is very Presidential. Her home state of Illinois is so important to her! That’s why she’s chosen today to make a very important announcement. “A situation has recently come to light, and I feel that I must take action.” We get a reaction shot of Kellerman, who hasn’t spoken a single word the entire episode, as he watches her on a TV in a much less posh hotel than Sara’s. “It is my job to make rational decisions when I am given facts. Decisions that are best not for me, but for the people.” And hot damn, if she really thinks that’s her job as President I’d vote for her a zillion times over, murderer or no. “And so, after much consideration, I regret to inform you…that I have been diagnosed with a highly malignant form of cancer.”
Shock and awe from the press! Mumbling from the crowd! “Aw, hell no!” looks from Michael, Linc, and Sara! She’s resigning effective immediately. I couldn’t imagine how they’d end this – if she pardons them, the show’s over, but doublecrossing Michael would be a copout. This was nice and unexpected and a great way to just stick it to everybody. Although she has set up a totally plausible scenario for her untimely death, which is almost certainly imminent. Kim is fuming, and Kellerman looks genuinely sad. Maybe he doesn’t know that her cancer is actually the rare Metaphoranoma strain, in which case, aww, there there, she doesn’t actually have cancer, and furthermore, let me play you this totally icky conversation that should help replace some of that heartache with revulsion!
Linc muses that if she’s not the President, the tape is useless. She can’t pardon jack shit, sure, so in that respect they’re screwed, but let’s not abandon the tape just yet. Linc throws his perfectly innocent beer against the wall. Linc smash! Michael is devastated. His steely eyes are all shiny. “There’s only one thing we can do now: Disappear. Forever.”
Two weeks till the next one, then it’s the home stretch! Hot damn!