Walk softly and carry a big stick. And also a smoke machine.
And the sewer is the star of the show this week at Sona, where the pipes, the pipes are sploding! Linc does like, several things that are clever, MacGyver Michael makes a triumphant return, and Bellick, blessedly, is finally clothed. Plus, Whistler is smokin’ hot. Who knew? 3.02 Fire/Water. Hooray, it’s Water Day! Michael waits in line for his 3 fingers of murky agua. The Tracy McGrady kid from last time, who I will call, because I am clever, Tracy McGrady, is making small talk with Michael, who is just barely humoring him. I guess a few months of being on the crap end of a huge government conspiracy and ending up in a nightmarish third world prison will turn you in to kind of a dick, huh? Not to mention the worst case of blue balls in all of recorded history. Bellick tries to worm his way in, and let’s hear it for Wade Williams, everybody. Not only has he done a consistently fantastic job with this character, he’s done three straight episodes limping around in filthy Fruit-of-the-Looms. Bravo, sir. Anyway, someone who looks a lot like Andy Serkis shows up out of nowhere to push Bellick to the end of the line. I will try to keep the Gollum jokes to an absolute minimum.
Tracy McGrady says the water’s been out since the fabled Riot of Last Year, so they apparently just get the occasional barrelful. I’d like to point out here that it is very obviously eleventy billion degrees out there and Michael is the only guy in the yard wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt. I know it’s a pain to get the tats on, but at least give us a little peek, huh guys? Just the arms? Wouldn’t that give him some cred around there? I guess it’s true to the character that he’d want to keep a low profile though, so fine, long sleeves it is. He tells Tracy McGrady he’s looking for a guy named Whistler and Tracy’s all “you and everybody else in here.” Apparently he just disappeared. Of course, we know he’s down in the sewer, eating rats and passing secret cryptic notes in dead guys’ pockets, but Michael doesn’t. Anyway, Whistler ended up here for (allegedly) killing the mayor’s son in a barfight.
Skinny Black Fabio, whose nickname is no longer appropriate since he’s ditched the “vest with no shirt” look that inspired it, is bullying some guy around for having food when he’s supposed to be broke. We find out later that his name is Sammy, so Sammy it is. The guy’s like, dude, you eat all the time, up there with your fancyass TV, let me have my chewy hunk of bread for chrissakes. Even Lechero, which is apparently the big badass’s name, is trying to calm him down. In a moment of pure asshattery, Sammy pushes the guy over, sending him and the water supply tumbling to the ground. Nice, genius. Everyone just kind of stares as the water spills out everywhere, and Andy Serkis has officially had enough of this shit. Lechero assures him there will be more water, but he just kind of hisses incoherently and slithers away. It takeses our water! Tricksy thugses!
Great. Now it’s all muddy.
Mahone is quietly freaking out in the corner, and he looks at Michael’s water like “man, you know what would be good with that water, is a big handful of not-go-crazy pills!” Michael re-examines the note Bellick left in his pocket: “Versailles 1989 V. Madrid.” Bellick hobbles up, Quasimodo style, and asks for water. Michael needs some information first: What the hell is the deal with this note? After a few sips of water Bellick talks: “This guy gave me some rat meat in exchange for putting that note in your pocket.” Eventually he tells Michael where to find Whistler, and Michael sloshes through the sewer calling out for him. He’s also sort of looking around, feeling pipes, no doubt memorizing the layout of the place. Cause he’s awesome like that. “My name is Michael Scofield,” he stage-whispers. “I was sent to get you out of here.” Whistler’s being shy though, and Michael’s about to leave when he finally says “You’re here to get me out of Sona?” Michael is surprised he didn’t know they’d sent someone after him. Whistler’s like, well, that’s very kind, but the second another inmate sees me I’m toast. Michael sort of rolls his eyes. Dammit, it can’t ever be just a straightforward old-fashioned prison break, can it? Always with the complications!
Credits. Chicken foot.
Whistler wants to know if Michael works for these people, the ones who want to break him out. He says there’s a misunderstanding with the mayor, and Michael’s all “is this the part where you pretend you’re innocent? Just a pawn in all this?” Which, um, isn’t that what your whole life has been about for the past few months, Mr. Broody Geniuspants? Maybe we could drop the attitude? Whistler is kind of spooked by this whole thing and genuinely wonders why they want him out. Michael is in problem-solving mode though, and doesn’t especially care about their motivations.
“Well aren’t you charming! But seriously, I’ll kill your family.”
Linc meets with Cat Scratch Lady. She’s like, okay, you don’t have to do all the “if something happens to either of them I’ll hunt you down, etc.” crap, let’s just assume you’ve gotten all your threats out of the way and get down to business. They’ll meet at this restaurant every day and Linc will give her a full report on Michael’s progress. Linc wonders why the hell they need Michael for this. She says that because of the nature of Whistler’s crime, they can’t use the familiar avenues of brute force and/or bribes. They have to go in through the back door. Huh huh. Linc says they need more time; she says they have a week, period. He asks her name and she smirks and says “Susan B. Anthony.” Linc, who I’m not even sure gets the joke, assures his new friend Susan that it won’t be her he’ll go after, it’ll be any moms, dads, sisters or brothers he can find. He’s grinning a little and she’s smirking right back and it’s the flirtiest, most charming death threat we’ve seen since Kellerman. Sigh. Kellerman. Fail, Private Practice! Fail miserably and swiftly and give us Paul Adelstein back!
Hey look, it’s Sucre. Oh good, so someone plucked him up from the street and the certain death we left him in last season. He’s in a pawn shop or something, and visions of Maricruz dance in his head as he hands over a wad of bills in exchange for a handgun and ammo.
Meanwhile, back in the prison yard, Andy Serkis has gotten all riled up again, and he’s amassing a bit of a following. He’s yelling for Lechero to come out and face the growing rebellion. Bellick is still being treated like crap, way more than Michael or Mahone, so I’m wondering if that’s because word got out that he was a CO, or just because he never, ever knows when to just shut up, and has already mouthed off to the entire population. Probably a little from column A, a little from column B. He spots Michael walking by and asks him why he’s so interested in that sewer guy. “No reason” Michael hisses, trying to get away. “Why you whisperin, college boy?” Good question, Bellick! Bellick can smell a nice blackmail opportunity a mile away, so when Michael tells him to keep his voice down he’s all “what’s in it for me?” Michael: “I’m sorry, do you have any other friends in here besides me?” Bellick says that friends don’t let friends go hungry and thirsty and naked. Michael snarls that he’ll take care of it if Bellick just shuts up. “Why’s he hiding?” Bellick calls out after him.
Tracy McGrady is answering that very question, only to Mahone. Ooh, he’s so sneaky. He saw Michael and Tracy talking earlier and now he’s getting the scoop. Turns out the mayor has a deal with Lechero – whoever finds Whistler and kills him gets to see a judge. A court date in Panama! My heavens, what a prize. Mahone certainly thinks so, especially when Tracy clarifies that the judge is nice and friendly with the mayor. Mahone’s all “wait, killing people, no questions asked, to save my own ass? That’s totally my Thing! I’m on it!”
Sucre: Appalled by Bellick’s inhumane treatment, or appalled by Bellick’s undergarments?
Bellick shuffles up to the fence. Sucre has come to visit, and he brought cinnamon raisin bread and lemonade! No, he brought that handgun, and he demands to know where Maricruz is. Even Sucre is kind of thrown by how utterly pathetic Bellick is, begging him for help. Sucre can only assume Maricruz is dead by now, so Bellick can die with her. Bellick finally admits that he never had her in the first place. He threatened her and Auntie Sucre with jail time and told them to hit the road, and he knew there wasn’t a phone out there so he could string Sucre along forever. Which I totally called, but so did a lot of other people, so yay us. I don’t like Schmoopy Lovestruck Sucre, but I don’t especially like the idea of starving pregnant women to death either. Bellick begs Sucre to call his mom in Joliet, and I can’t say enough about Wade Williams this episode, because dammit, the first thing Bellick asks for is his mommy, and he’s just so pitiful there all naked and starving. Sucre turns his back on him and takes off, ignoring Bellick’s increasingly desperate pleas for help.
We’re back in the sewer now, but it’s not Michael come to pay Whistler a friendly visit. It’s Mahone, snooping around with questionable intentions. He’s about to give up when he hears Whistler’s sad little kennel cough.
Linc and Michael are having their daily debriefing, huh huh, and Linc is glad to know Michael’s found Whistler but is also quite antsy to get on with it. Michael tells him about the notes and slips his copy to Linc, not sure if it will be any help. Michael’s steely exterior is starting to crack, and it just melts me, people. He says no one’s ever broken out, let alone with a week to plan it. “Whoever took Sara, and my nephew, tell them I get it. I’m going to break this guy out of here, or I’m going to die trying. And if it’s the latter, then that should count for something, right?” Oh, Sensitive Noble Michael, you make me swoon more than Wet Michael and Angry Michael combined.
“Wait! I didn’t get to make a little swan out of it!”
Whistler watches Mahone from his stinky little hidey hole. Somehow, Mahone manages to find a crowbar or some similarly large pointy stick in the sludge. Iw. In his best Good Cop/Talking Haywire To His Death mode, he calls out that Whistler’s in danger here, but he can take him somewhere safe. Finally Whistler speaks: “If you’re here to help me, then please just leave me alone.” Mahone responds by locating his hideout and shoving the business end of his pointy stick right into it. Hey, that’s the opposite of what he said!
Panama City is apparently much smaller than I thought, because Linc rounds a corner and spots Sucre near a bus stop. They exchange a nice man-hug and Linc’s all, oh hey, glad you’re alive, also, Michael’s back in jail for no reason, think you can help out? Sucre feels for him but he’s got his girl to go back to. She’s in Chicago! Linc’s all “the same Chicago where you’re still wanted for breaking out of prison? That Chicago?” Sucre says he’ll figure something out, but Linc, who knows a thing or two about all this, adamantly suggests “the innocent people in your life? You gotta keep them innocent.” If that means walking away, that’s what you do. Sucre just wishes him a genuine good luck and gets on the bus. As it drives off, Linc notices an ad on the back: Banco de Versaillies. He pulls out Michael’s note from Whistler and stares at it all “Arooo?” Dude! Linc gets to figure some shit out now! How utterly awesome. He’s right, too – we cut straight to the Pocketpicking Lady, staring at her identical note and telling a taxi driver to take her to the Banco de Versailles, por favor.
Back in the Sona Penthouse, T-Bag is cutting fruit, poorly, and Lechero is having a little spat with his Sammy, his second-in-command, who caused him a lot of trouble out there today with the whole “spilling the entire water supply just to teach some guy a lesson for eating food without permission” thing. We can hear Andy Serkis out there yelling, and there are more joining in. Then Lechero totally disses Sammy by giving “Teodoro” a gallon jug of water to give to the mob. T-Bag actually says “at once!” and lurches off like Igor to do his master’s bidding. We see the crowd getting rowdier as Michael amusingly fails to comment on the situation at all. He just wants to know where the American in his underwear is. Michael has his priorities, and right now his priorities involve clothing Bellick.
T-Bag is scuttling along with his water jug when he sees the still-unclothed Bellick, who begs him to see Lechero. T-Bag is reluctant, saying he could get himself killed “just talking to yo mangy ass.” Ha. He reconsiders when Bellick says he’s got information. T-Bag puts his newly esteemed status on the line by bringing Bellick’s Mangy Ass up to the penthouse, but Lechero’s ears perk up when Bellick babbles about a guy in the sewer. “Is he Australian?” Lechero asks. “Yes!” says Bellick eagerly, and Lechero seems pleased.
T-Bag finally gets the water jug to the mob and he’s, well, mobbed for it. Michael runs up to Tracy McGrady and they observe at a distance. Turns out Tracy’s 17, and he’s been here for 2 years. Also, he shoots 33% from behind the arc. That’s my very first basketball joke, people. We all knew it would come eventually. Michael asks if he knows about anybody ever breaking out, like maybe this Whistler guy. Tracy gets a little annoyed and says “You Americans ask a lot of questions.” At that moment Bellick shuffles out in a pathetically ill-fitting T-shirt and some of those truly awful early 90s Sinbad pants. He’s gnawing eagerly on something or other, so Michael knows he must have told somebody something they wanted to hear.
Whistler’s not in any immediate danger due to Bellick’s big mouth, but he is in pretty real danger due to Mahone and his pointy stick. Mahone’s dragging Whistler out of the wall, trying to calm him down, when Lechero’s entourage arrives. He grabs Whistler by the throat when Michael barges in. Man, this is some seriously popular stretch of sewer today. Michael and Mahone stare at each other with that familiar mixture of loathing and longing, and Mahone points his pointy stick in Michael’s general direction, declaring that Whistler’s coming with him.
You know, there’s a reason he was taking those crazy pills in the first place.
Michael comes right at Mahone: “You don’t actually think killing somebody’s going to help you get out of here?” Poor hungry, jonesing Mahone sort of babbles that yeah, that does seem kind of strange, but this is a strange place. One he wants to get out of. Incidentally, William Fichtner deserves all of Two and a Half Men‘s Emmys just for that one line reading. Michael says he’ll help him, he’ll testify, but Mahone knows he’s being patronized and he just gets angrier. Michael’s still approaching the pointy stick, holding out his hand. “Let me help you, Alex,” he says softly. Whistler takes advantage of this tender moment to slip away from Mahone, and he and Michael run away from Lechero’s thugs in opposite directions.
Lechero’s trying to figure out how to shut Andy Serkis up when Michael invites himself right in to the penthouse. He says he can be very useful, just take the bounty off Whistler. Lechero asks his new minion Teodoro if he can trust Michael. T-Bag, snakily, says “he’s a snake. Stabbed me in the back every chance he got.” Andy Serkis and the angry mob, which would be a good band name, are throwing things now. Lechero’s losing control. He yells for Michael to leave.
Michael makes his way through the yelling and the throwing to Tracy McGrady, who’s standing in the same place, in the same position as before. Michael hands him some cash he got from Linc and tells Tracy to get booze, as much as he can, and meet him in his cell. And I bet it’s not for a birthday party. Yee! MacGyver Michael’s back! We’ve missed you.
Linc is smarter than I am when the chips are down. Way to think, Linc. He’s lurking at the Banco de Versailles, where one Vera Madrid – as in, V. Madrid – is helping a familiar pretty face. She introduces herself to Ms Madrid as Sofia Lugo, James Whistler’s girlfriend. Cool.
Sucre’s waiting for another bus. He starts making polite conversation with a young mother next to him. It’s perfectly jovial and friendly, and they chat about his pregnant girlfriend, but some cops walk by and he sort of freezes. They sniff around him for awhile, ask a few questions, and move on, but it’s enough to freak the nice lady out. She and her cute baby get up and walk away from the crazy scary weirdo on the bench. When the bus pulls away, Sucre is still sitting there, having realized that Linc has been right several times already this season, and that one of the things he was right about was that he has no business dragging his family down with him. Aw.
Mahone tries to coax Whistler out with him, but no dice. Meanwhile, MacGyver Michael is busy tearing a sheet into teeny strips and tying them together. Tracy McGrady shows up with a bucket of moonshine as promised, and is sort of disappointed when he realizes there really isn’t going to be a party. He runs off to find plastic bags for Michael, who promises to make it worth his while. I’m going to start the Prison Break Homo-Erotic Subtext Drinking Game, wherein I take a drink every time anyone says something like that and I think “huh huh.” I will be very, very drunk by the second commercial break every week.
Back at Versailles, V. Madrid opens a safe deposit box – presumably #1989 – and hands it over to Sofia. We don’t see what’s in the box yet, but Sofia takes it and Linc follows her outside. He confronts her; hey, we sort of met at Sona, you can lose the whole grieving widow act, I know who you are. He rather rudely grabs her bag from her and digs around until he finds a teensy little field guide: Birds of the Northwest Hemisphere.
“Jerk! Now I’ll never know the average airspeed of a European swallow!”
Linc’s all “what the hell does he want with this?” She doesn’t know. “He’s just a fisherman!” she pleads. Linc gets all menacing: “Well tell your fisherman friend Scofield’s brother has this.” She calls after him as he’s running off “Why won’t you people just leave him alone?” Linc gets, as the kids say, all up in her grill, growling that he doesn’t want to be a part of this any more than she does. It’s clear she doesn’t know anything about the orders to break Whistler out, and they part ways, each really confused. Watching this scene from a nearby car is Eliot Pike, the sweaty guy who approached Michael at the fence yesterday.
Michael puts his sheet-rope into a plastic bag. He pours the booze into it, asking Tracy McGrady to watch the hallway for him. Aw, he’s the new Sucre! Michael hurries off, assuring Tracy that no one will ever know he helped him. In the sewer, Mahone has gotten ahold of Whistler and is dragging him along when he encounters Lechero’s thugs. He threatens them with Death By Pointy Stick. Michael has made it down there by this time, feeling for something in that same stretch of pipe he was examining earlier. Huh huh.
Sammy paces as the thirsty mob gets louder, and brandishes a scary knife. He begs Lechero to let him cut one throat, just one, pretty please? That’ll shut em up! And then they’ll regroup later, with a real reason to come after you, T-Bag finishes. Sammy tells him to shut up but Lechero thinks he’s got a point. Also, this whole thing is entirely your fault, Sam, so maybe you shouldn’t be so stabby about it. The phone rings, and it’s one of the “guards” telling Lechero that this whole water thing is kind of his problem, and there won’t be any more for a couple of days. This pudgy little CO puts Lechero in his place, and it’s pretty interesting to watch. He may have a nice TV, but at the end of the day he’s still a prisoner like the rest of them.
McGyver Michael is hard at work in the sewer. He opens up a main tank and tosses the plastic bag of booze-soaked rope down. We get one of those CSI-like POV shots of the bag landing in the pipe next to a huge blockage. Aboveground, Mahone is just managing to drag Whistler out, and Sammy has more bad news for Lechero: “They got Whistler.” Michael lights the rope and runs out as we see the flame shooting down the pipe. That is so much cooler than Liquid Plumbrâ„¢.
This would be the “fire” part of “Fire/Water”
Mahone continues to brandish his pointy stick, which is also probably pretty smelly, as the flame works its way down the fuse to the incredibly flammable plastic bag bomb sitting next to the world’s grossest clog. Lechero steps in to handle the Whistler/Mahone situation, saying he’ll decide this. “You decide nothing! You can’t deliver. You’re done here.” Andy Serkis pipes up. Some inmates are all “yeah!” and some are more “oh no you di’ent.” Lechero is decidedly in the latter category, but before he can open up any cans of Sona-brand Whoopass the whole place feels an explosion deep underground. After a few seconds of “WTF?” a water pipe bursts open right into the yard. Everyone’s all “wheee!” like kids playing in a fire hydrant and Lechero has kind of a “well I’ll be damned” look on his face. He turns to see Michael emerge, all sweaty and triumphant. He’s still grinning as poor, poor Mahone asks what they do now, referring to the bounty on Whistler’s head. Lechero grins at Michael. “You’ve been outbid,” he tells Mahone, who does not like this turn of events. Lechero is genuinely amused and impressed with Michael’s little trick and agrees to leave Whistler alone.
“You smell like shit, kid, but you saved my ass!”
Poor Sucre. He calls Maricruz, who is relieved to hear his voice. Petey told her he’d be coming back up to Chicago, and she tells him to be really careful. But Sucre, poor, poor Sucre, tells her that the only thing he cares about right now is that she and the baby are okay. He’s not coming back. It’s not because he doesn’t love her, because we all know he does, it’s just sometimes the only way to protect the people you love is by staying away. It’s sad and all, but it’s also sad that it took him 3 seasons, a jailbreak and an international manhunt to reach this conclusion. He’ll find her one day when he gets his life together and he’ll make them both proud. Wow. Sucky choice to have to make, but I think they both know it’s the smart one.
Linc walks into what I guess is his hotel room, and “Susan” is waiting for him. “They told me your brother got all the brains, but I didn’t realize you were this stupid.” Oh, he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, Susan, don’t you worry. He was supposed to stick with the plan but instead he’s out there pestering Whistler’s girlfriend. He better quit playing Sherlock Holmes and leave Sofia alone, because she and her scary handgun said so. Linc is unfazed. Death row will do that to a guy. “How bout you beat it so I can get to work?” he inquires calmly. Not till he hands over whatever he took from Sofia. He feigns ignorance but she tells him about the hacksaw and tarp she’s got in her trunk, and you guys, it just makes me miss Kellerman. Now there was a guy who could threaten death and dismemberment with style! Anyway, he tosses over the bird guide and she leaves, but ha! He’s totally given her a duplicate, and he reaches into one of his many pockets and starts examining the real thing, looking rather deservedly pleased with himself. You go, Brainy Linc! I might like you better than Brawny Linc.
Lechero’s thugs are in the penthouse with Andy Serkis, who is not having a good time at all. He’s whimpering, in fact. “So it’s water you want, eh?” Lechero taunts. “Here’s your water.” They all shove his face into a bucket, and once again I think of Kellerman, who was so much better at this water torture/drowning in small containers thing, and Sara, who was a much cooler, ballsier victim.
Hottest rat-eating sewer-dweller ever!
Everyone’s still playing in the water outside. Michael is sitting next to a strikingly hot Whistler, who, holy crap, cleans up real nice. Damn! He thanks Michael and asks him how they’re getting out of there. Michael: “I have no idea.” Dun!
I really liked this one. It seemed nice and old-school, with the espionage and the double-crossing and the secret messages and the science projects. So what’s the deal with the bird book? Does it have something to do with the numbers written on the “Versailles” note? Is Jodi Lyn O’Keefe really boring, or is it just impossible for anyone to fill Kellerman’s shiny Secret Service loafers? Discuss!