“What’s in the box? What’s in the f#&king baahhhx?”
Okay, Prison Break. You and I need to have a little talk. I’ve always loved you unconditionally, even when you’re implausible or silly or brutal. I was even okay with Kellerman gone, or Sara spending the entire season offscreen. And I know that you’re pretty good with the red herrings and the fakeouts, so I’m not angry yet. But if that box contains what you want us to think it contains? I will break up with you, so help me god, because that is so not cool.
Oh, and some other stuff happened this episode too. 3.03 Call Waiting. Linc’s pacing in his hotel room as some shiny anonymous loafers make their way up the stairs. He’s trying to make sense of the bird book, god bless him, but he’s done an awful lot of thinking lately and it probably kind of hurts. He finds a page that has some numbers on it and the word “STAMPEDE.” Okay then. The loafers slip an envelope under the door – it’s the requested photos of Sara and LJ. He stares at them awhile and Sucre almost gets broken in half when he sneaks up on him. For heaven’s sake, man, knock! Were you raised on a llama farm or something? Oh, right. Anyway, Sucre’s all “so that sucks about Michael, but hey, remember all that money?” Linc says the money’s gone – which, let’s just assume he has a good reason for not having gone out there and looked for it – and whatever he can find is for Michael. He’s getting more and more annoyed as Sucre gets more and more annoying. Finally Linc whips out his hostage Polaroids all “Yeah, I’m sorry your vagina hurts and everything, but I have this kidnapping thing to take care of.” Sucre is suitably sheepish and says he wants to help, it just seems like it keeps getting deeper and deeper. Can’t argue with you there, Papacita.
In the yard at Sona, the Artist Formerly Known As Skinny Black Fabio is finishing what, his second or third deathmatch in three days? Let’s get a handle on that aggression there, Sammy! Shoot some ball with Tracy McGrady or something! Speaking of, we see Michael fiddling around with a door, “doot dee doo, just feelin this door, not trying to formulate an escape plan, la la la,” when Tracy observes, “it doesn’t take long for man to become animal.” This sounds like a come-on, but it’s not. He tells Michael the smart ones go for the dead guy’s bunk first. Michael: “What do the dumb ones do?” Cue Bellick, hobbling out and grabbing for the guy’s shoes. Ha. He gets into a squabble with a drag queen, insofar as one can be such a thing in a place like Sona. I mean, they can barely get water there; they can’t possibly get quality wigs. Anyway, he and Bellick each find themselves with one shoe.
Michael makes a half-hearted attempt at sucking up to Lechero. He offers to maybe help out around Sona, you know, any pipes that need to be dissolved in acid, any holes that need to be dug through concrete floors, that sort of thing. Lechero’s all, cracka please. I’m the boss, we don’t have any deal, you and me ain’t got no ties. Michael is visibly losing hope every minute.
Incidentally, Wentworth Miller is this week’s MVP. (Sorry, Tracy McGrady.) Honestly, he gets to emote more in this one episode than he did in the entirety of season one, and the fact that he plays Michael so stoic and steely most of the time makes it incredibly effective. Bravo, sir. Also, please come sit on my couch and watch the Discovery channel with me, and let me have your hot, squinty, nerdy, possibly gay babies. Please.
So Michael’s looking pretty defeated as he walks out to the visitation fence, like you can imagine that Sad Charlie Brown music playing. Linc: “That bad, huh?” He fills Michael in on his big Bank/Bird Book Caper and is admirably humble about his awesome sleuthing. He shows Michael the photo of Sara and he positively melts. Aww. Linc draws his attention to how Sara’s holding the paper, like she’s pointing at something. Linc, who has learned a thing or two in the past couple seasons, has a copy of the same newspaper she’s holding, and she’s pointing to a story about Santa Rita, which is a nearby town. Michael says she’s trying to tell them where she is, but he’s going to need more than the name of a town; he has to talk to her. And if Michael can’t break Whistler out of there, Linc’s going to have to break LJ and Sara out. Dun!
And speaking of Whistler, he’s following Michael around later asking when moving day is. Michael, bitchily, says he’ll tell him the plan when Whistler tells him who he is. Whistler sticks to his fisherman story, and hey, also, Mr. Suspicious Pants, how am I supposed to know I can trust you? Michael: “You don’t.” The irrepressibly jovial Tracy McGrady is desperate to talk sports with Michael, but Michael hasn’t seen SportsCenter in awhile. He tells Tracy he needs to get his hands on a phone, to which Tracy hilariously replies that he needs to get his hands on some pechos but that ain’t gonna happen either. (That’s “boobies” for you gringos.)
“Do I want to have sex with you, or do I want to do terrible things to your loved ones? I’m so mysterious!”
Linc is having his daily meeting with Susan, who, because she is boring, I will from time to time call “Snoozin.” She laughs when Linc asks to talk to Sara, but he firmly tells her it’s not a request, it’s a dictation of terms. She tells him that firstly, Sara’s fine, and secondly, he has a better chance of “bangin her on that bar” than talking to her. She’s a classy lady, our Snoozin. Anyway, Linc thanks her for the offer but declines, and she gets all flirty like “Oh yeah? What if that’s a dictation of terms?” Linc, who, to his credit, hasn’t been laid in a really long time, is thisclose to flirting with the evil woman who works for the evil people who kidnapped his kid. Again. But I can understand how he’d be conflicted. This has got to be the most chaste show on all of primetime television. Linc can’t resist pushing it: “My brother got the bounty off Whistler’s head in two days. That’s more than your people could do in two weeks.” If they want Michael to fetch, they need to throw him a bone. Huh huh.
According to Tracy, they took away the phone service once the cons took over and started making deals from the inside. They didn’t just cut the wires, they took them, so MacGyver Michael can’t even fix anything. There’s only one cellphone in Sona, and guess who has it? Lechero! Who’s not quite as sweaty as the rest of them. (And now that I know where they film these scenes, which is in Dallas, on my friend Brian’s way to work even, I can tell you that the vast majority of that sweat is real.) He is displeased with the thinness of the envelope he’s being handed – his take from his operations outside: “The gravedigger dropped it off.” Stuff’s just moving slow, the guy explains, but Lechero stands up and the music gets all ominous as he wonders if it’s moving slow, or if somebody’s making it move slower. He’s looking at Sammy and the crew now, who are all laid out on couches, obviously strung out on something or other. Lechero instructs Teodoro to set him up an appointment with “the barber.”
Sofia waits at the fence as Whistler walks up to greet her. She’s embarrassed cause she hasn’t had a shower in 3 days, but she did manage to get her eyebrows waxed and her makeup professionally applied. She gets a little misty when she talks about the past couple of weeks, how every time they dragged out a body…He doesn’t let her finish the thought and just promises her when he leaves it won’t be like that. She finally confesses that his book was taken by some guy who says he’s Scofield’s brother, so who’s Scofield? He’s just someone who can help him get out. The less she knows the better. He says the book just has notes, phone numbers in it, that sort of thing, but she doesn’t believe him. Whistler: “Why would I lie to you? You’re the only person in the world I can trust.”
“So wait, you’re saying this isn’t about birds?”
As she’s leaving, a guard reminds her to sign out. She sees that someone’s been there to see one Michael Scofield, and that person had to sign his name and leave his local address. Clever girl!
Michael’s lurking around at Lechero’s penthouse lair, staring at an empty cellphone charger. Sammy sneaks up and wonders if he’s looking for something. Michael implies that he’s looking for drugs and Sammy tells him where to go, but adds that if he finds him sniffin around where he don’t belong he’ll be in that ring again, this time against Sammy himself.
Poor, defeated, jonesing Mahone makes the same trek down the hallway that Michael did at the end of last season, only his features cool sitar music and lots of cool visual effects. These things are meant to underscore how rapidly and thoroughly he is losing his shit. He sees some guys shooting up, and watches them for awhile, almost certainly thinking “Say! I bet those guys feel a hell of a lot better than I do!”
Michael spies on Lechero as he answers the coveted cellphone. He’s holding the photo of Sara, antsily and furiously trying to figure out what she’s trying to tell them. It’s painful to watch, because again, we’re so used to Steely Michael, who has dealt calmly with muddy deathmatches and multiple threats of serious bodily harm, but he’s crawling out of his skin worrying about Sara. Lechero’s phone goes out on him in the middle of a call and he goes in to his lair to charge it, but not before T-Bag can tell him that the Barber(a) can squeeze him in around 2. “If that pleases you, patron. Simultaneously, Lechero and I laugh out loud at his truly admirable display of suckuppitude.
Michael catches T-Bag coming down the stairs and unceremoniously declares that he needs Lechero’s cellphone and Teodoro’s gonna help him get it. T-Bag blows him off – “No problem. Should I turn water into wine while I’m at it?” – until Michael reminds him, and confirms for us, that his new buddies don’t know everything about his past, and that even here they probably don’t like kiddie rapists all that much. T-Bag amusingly clarifies, “so let me get this straight: you’re gonna tell on me?” but he knows Michael’s right.
“I’ll get you your phone, but you owe me one unsuspecting prepubescent victim!”
Michael is staring through possible escape routes again when Whistler approaches him. Here’s what he knows so far: Michael’s got a brother out there who’s got his bird book, and he wants it back. Michael wonders what’s so special about it, but Whistler responds that it doesn’t have directions out of Sona in it, which is all Michael should care about, so maybe he should mind his own bidness. Whistler gets all snippy, saying he hasn’t seen “bollocks” in terms of escape plans, which, he blew up the sewer on his second day there to take a bounty off your head, mate, so play nice. Michael then tells him what he knows so far: some very bad people want Whistler alive, so every bone in his body is telling him not to help them do it. They want you alive too, remember, Michael? So I’d consider comparing stories eventually. Anyway, Michael explains that while he’s terribly sorry about the goddamn book, he’s had something taken from him as well, and shows Whistler the photo of Sara. “Let’s be clear: This is what matters to me.”
Michael watches the penthouse as Lechero takes another call. T-Bag makes a kind of a “chill out, I’m on it” gesture to Michael, as Lechero discusses the ebbs and flows of the illicit pharmaceutical business with his man on the outside. Lechero thinks maybe some of the ebbing is due to the misdeeds of some of his trusted advisors, but his guy swears nothing’s going on. Maybe the problem’s on the inside, Lechero muses, just as the phone cuts out. Hey, looky there, the phone charger’s been unplugged totally accidentally! He yells at his guys a little before putting the phone back on the charger.
Meanwhile, Mahone gets a visit from his public defender. He staggers out to the fence looking like absolute shit on a cracker. A shit cracker. He’s been putting together some notes on his case, he says, pathetically and shakily thumbing through some sad little slips of paper. But Raoul has some great news! He got Mahone a court date! June 13th! Mahone does some math and is like, wait, but that was last week. And yeah, no Raoul means next June. So I think they broke out in May, and Michael and Linc’s rendezvous in Panama was June 15, so it’s still June 2005 in Prison Break land. Damn, that’s an eventful couple of months. Mahone’s like, but I’ve got this guy in here, he totally set me up! Open and shut case, man! Raoul reminds him that an “inmate takes the fall for another inmate” defense isn’t really all that impressive. Mahone is panicking and begs for his pills. He really, really needs them, seriously. But his lawyer won’t get him any drugs, even if they are the kind that prevent multiple murderers from going crazy. Raoul leaves in a huff, and Mahone has such a tantrum he almost gets his foot shot off by the guards in the towers. The most disturbing thing about this scene is how totally hot this screencap is:
Withdrawal looks good on you, Agent Mahone!
Lechero is observing his crew with the narrow eyes of a man who thinks his minions are stealing his drugs. T-Bag reminds him that it’s time for his Barber(a) appointment, and as he and his crew leave, T-Bag calmly strolls by and pockets the phone. He hands it off to Michael, saying he has 26 minutes. Michael quickly calls Linc and says “Tell Sara to call me at this number,” but Linc tells him that Susan hasn’t even agreed to it yet. He’s meeting her now. And following right behind? Is Sofia.
Bellick finds Barber(a) and tries to flirt a little to get his shoe. He’s surprisingly good at it. Barber(a) says her name is Pistachio, which is freaking hilarious, and then s/he totally shoots him down. Ouch. S/he whips out a straight razor, but it’s not for Bellick, it’s for Lechero, who has arrived for his appointment.
Also arriving for her appointment is Susan, who tries to be all scary but Linc grabs her by the arm and says it’s pretty clear they need Michael, so stop pretending like you’re in charge and give us what we want, when we want it. Starting with the phone call. Nice.
Michael is more visibly freaked out than I think we’ve ever seen him. It’s incredibly tense and is giving me heartburn. He’s pacing around and wincing and fidgeting, then brrring! It’s her. Well, it’s a respectable Sarah Wayne Callies soundalike, anyway. And throughout their conversation there is also a silly “back of Faux Sara’s head” shot they keep cutting to that’s more distracting than anything else. When he asks how she is, she says she’s tired, which makes me sad. Michael says, with heavy significance, “I miss how we used to talk. Do you remember how we used to talk?” As in, I need some cryptic benign-but-also-significant information from you pronto. It’s a pretty cool conversation, with him telling her things like “I saw the picture and I understand the difficult place you’re in.” She says she doesn’t want him to think like that. He has to know it’s a lost cause. She and LJ can see it now. It’s a lost cause, do you understand? No, Michael whimpers, he doesn’t, can she help him understand? Maybe they need more time, she says. Like they’re giving him till midnight and she’s sitting there at 3am. A gun is quickly pulled to her head and she says “they’re saying I have to hang up.” They exchange sad desperate little “I love you”s before the line goes dead.
Emote, Went! Emote like the wind!
He immediately calls Linc and tries to convey her clues as best he can before he has to get the phone back where it’s supposed to be. She could see that it was a lost cause. Santa Rita is the patron saint of lost causes. He thinks they’re not in Santa Rita at all, that there must be a statue they can see from wherever they are. He also tells him about the midnight-3am thing but T-Bag is having a conniption trying to get him off the phone so he can’t say much more.
There is much tense music as Michael makes his way in to the penthouse just in time to put the phone back, but not in time to actually get back out. T-Bag saves the day, stalling Lechero long enough for Michael to sneak out. Lechero finds T-Bag incredibly amusing, much to the chagrin of the old crew, particularly Sammy. Lechero is still chuckling when he sees that the phone isn’t quite on the charger correctly. He frowns suspiciously.
Linc’s phone rings. When he sees the number he’s all “arooo?” He answers it but says nothing. On the other end of the line, also saying nothing, is Lechero, who knows that someone has been making unauthorized calls. They both just stand there for awhile till Lechero says “who is this?” and Linc hangs up. Smart Linc! Lechero tells one of his minions to find out everything he can about Linc’s number.
Meanwhile, Linc gets a knife held up to his back, which is much less scary when there’s a seriously hot woman on the other end. It’s Sofia, demanding to know what he wants with Whistler. He assures her they’re on the same team, and that he and Michael are working to break him out. She’s all, no, he has a lawyer, he’s just a fisherman, and Linc says oh right, a fisherman they want out so badly they’re willing to kidnap my son to get him. Sofia looks genuinely shocked by this. He tells her she and Whistler need to have a little chat. He jumps into a cab, on his way to the statue of Santa Rita.
“Say, you’re that rascal who killed a suspiciously large number of escapees! You rapscallion!”
Whistler checks on Mahone. You know, just clearing the air, saying they’re cool after the whole thing where Mahone fully intended to cash in on Whistler’s demise. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids! Whistler’s all, ptthhbt, water under the bridge, my friend, and hey, aren’t you that cop? From all the press conferences about the prison break? Cool! And hey, just while I’m here, what’s the deal with this Scofield kid? All Mahone has to say about Michael is that “for those he cares about he’ll do just about anything. But he’ll screw you three ways till Sunday if he doesn’t.” What, no mention of how you think you want to kill him, only to find yourself lost in his eyes? I guess that’s between the two of them. Anyway, Whistler’s like, okie dokie then, I’ll be off! Just wanted to chat! And Mahone’s still just Mahoney enough to say “no, you came here to ask about Scofield.” But they’re still cool.
Linc’s cab pulls up at the statue of Santa Rita. He looks around, asks passersby if there’s a clock around here somewhere, but there isn’t. Michael is back at Sona, sweatily freaking out right along with Linc. Finally, Linc realizes what she meant by 3:00 – he stands in front of the statue and looks 90 degrees to the right, or 3:00. We see Faux Sara watching him through the window and taking off her shoe, and sure enough, as soon as Linc figures out where they are, the shoe flies through the (evidently incredibly cheap and brittle) window and Linc knows he’s found them. He runs up the stairs, punching the hell out of some guy on the way. He breaks through just in time to see poor LJ getting dragged away yet again. One of the guys stalls him long enough for them to pile everybody into a van and take off. This is all within like 20 seconds and it’s exhausting and heartbreaking as he watches them drive away.
“Dad! I totally got paid my regular salary for these four seconds of screentime!”
Someone important and evil calls Snoozin. “Burrows made a move,” says the disembodied voice.
Linc reports back to Michael that he found the right place, he just couldn’t get to them in time. He tells Michael with admirable half-hearted optimism that he should keep that picture, give it to Sara when this is all over with. This does not cheer Michael up. He’s absolutely sick with worry and looks completely defeated. Linc tries again, saying he can do this; they wouldn’t have put him in here if there wasn’t a way out.
Michael strolls with newfound determination down to the window Bellick’s first friend ran out of. He flashes back with us to the many, many gunshots that resulted. This depressing reverie is interrupted by Whistler, who says he thinks they need to talk. They have something in common, he says: Sara’s why Michael’s here, and Sofia’s why Whistler’s here. Michael’s like, well, if your girl’s not being held at gunpoint we don’t have much in common, but let’s start with why the Company wants you out so bad. Whistler: “What company?” Michael doesn’t have time for games and walks away. “Okay.” Whistler relents. He’d been running charters, fishing, sightseeing, whatever pays the rent. About a year ago he took some scientist guy out to take water samples, that sort of thing, and a few months later someone calls wanting to know where he took the guy. He tells them he doesn’t remember. Obviously this is the wrong answer, because scary government types started showing up at his door. So he took off to Panama to lay low for awhile with Sofia, which worked until the infamous bar fight. He ends up in Sona and the same guys show up saying that whenever he gets out, he’s supposed to take them to where he brought the naturalist guy. That’s why he needs the book: It has notes and coordinates from his trips. Michael says his only concern is getting him out of there. Any other beefs he has with the Company are his problem. Whistler’s all, fair enough, but how are we getting out? “All I keep hearing is how no one gets out of this place.” Michael: “I think I’ve heard that one before.” Aw yeah.
T-Bag is making his way up to the penthouse but he’s stopped by Lechero’s entourage, who give him the sort of shit you give weasely little guys when you don’t know how many people they’ve murdered just in the last week or two. He enters Lechero’s lair to find him deep in thought. Teodoro is very grateful for the help he’s gotten but he’d like to be relieved of his duties. You see, there seem to be some loyalty issues going on amongst the troops. This gets Lechero’s paranoid wheels turning again. Oh, T-Bag. Sometimes I don’t give you enough credit for being such a great sociopath. He’s just playing him like a freaking piano, faking reluctance: “I ain’t no rat!” Finally he heaves a big theatrical sigh and admits that someone might be out to take over Lechero’s position. He tells a whole story about overhearing them talking about “to hell with Lechero,” throwing in some nice colorful details, and honestly, it’s like he’s Iago as interpreted by Blanche duBois. He dramatically assures Lechero that he himself is worthless, but those closest to Lechero have everything to gain if he falls. Seriously, again, no matter what you ask Robert Knepper to do, even if it’s very little, he will do the hell out of it. Lechero’s all “request denied! You are now my official rat.” This looks to be exactly what T-Bag was going for.
“So. Seen any magic pill pens lying around?”
Bellick is stealing the other shoe from Pistachio/Barber(a)’s bunk when Mahone approaches Michael. His little conversation with Whistler has sparked his interest and he’s noticed Michael doesn’t seem especially worried about their accommodations. He’s all “stop me when I’m wrong: they wanted you here, in Panama, framed for murder, and now all of a sudden you and Whistler are buddies. What special talents do you have that they might be interested in, eh?” Michael denies it and Mahone’s all, oh, so it’s kosher if I kill the guy then? Michael reminds him that it’s not him Mahone should be worried about pissing off, it’s the Company. You know, the ones who go after your family before they go after you. Mahone considers this. “Be careful, Alex,” he says sincerely. Bellick’s head pokes out from behind Pistachio’s curtains, where he’s been listening to this little exchange.
Michael wanders around some more and looks out at the gravediggers, one of whom has already been mentioned in this episode, and he gets a nice “Eureka!” look. Will he figure out some way to play dead to get them out? Cool.
Linc gets back to his room to find Sucre passed out drunk at his doorstep. He deposits him on the couch when his phone rings. It’s Susan, who says she doesn’t really blame him for trying, she’d probably do the same thing. But no more trying. She means it. And just to show how much she means it, she left him something in the garage. Eeee!
He wanders down to the garage and there amongst the trash is a, well, a roughly head-sized box. At which point I say “Not! Fucking! Even!” out loud. I’m channeling Brad Pitt: “What’s in the bahhhx? What’s in the fuckin baaaahx???” There does appear to be blood seeping through the bottom and Linc and I are both getting this horrible creeping dread. He approaches it and opens it, and we only get a few frames of what’s inside and they’re vaguely disturbing but not much help. Not fucking even.
I have no idea what this even looks like, but it has haunted my dreams nonetheless.
Okay, so just, no. I mean, they wouldn’t do that, right? Apart from the fact that it doesn’t make much sense plotwise, it’s just totally fucked up (and also derivative; see above re: Seven). I know there’s a lot of speculation about Sarah Wayne Callies and who said what about her coming back or what have you, but they have to be faking us out here. After all that awesome character development last year they can’t kill her like this. Seriously, this has honestly kept me up at night, and yes, some of that might be the cold medicine, but the point is, I think it’s a fakeout, something gruesome but not belonging to either LJ or Sara. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.
What about you guys? What’s in the bahhhhhx?