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Despite the usual silliness, this was my favorite episode in weeks. It’s been like two entire seasons since T-Bag made me all teary-eyed, then made me feel like I needed to take a shower for letting a fictional psychopath make me teary-eyed. Anyway, a lot of this episode is a surprisingly sweet tribute to Bellick, and who the hell knew we’d miss the cat-strangling bastard that much? Mahone is interesting again now that he’s gotten his vengeance out of the way, and we meet the guy who designed Scylla’s security system. Also suddenly interesting? Booberella and Gretchen. Go figure. Also: It is, in fact, a toomah.4.10 The Legend. Once again we open at a somber Conference Table of Justice, but this time we’re mourning Bellick and it’s way sadder. I have to tell you, his absence leaves a bigger hole than I would have thought. Whereas Roland I’ve already pretty much forgotten about. Self tells them that Brad’s body is being held at Homeland Security as a John Doe until this is all over with, and Sucre and Linc and Mahone are very quick with the “aw, hell no!” They remind Self that this wasn’t part of the deal – he told them at the very beginning they’d get a proper funeral if they died serving their country on this mission – and they are fiercely adamant that Bellick’s body is sent home to his mom. As in, Sucre yells in Spanish and physically assaults him. Self knows he should probably appease the guys doing his dirty work for him, so he agrees. Also, you did promise them that, jerk.
Gretchen meets up with Self and Michael to hand over the missing pages and let them know that Scylla’s being moved tomorrow. In fact, Lisa and Baldy are watching a security camera showing the whole elaborate process, which involves technicians in haz-mat suits for some reason. “Perhaps we should call in David Baker,” says Baldy, and I guess this is the first time we’ve heard that name. Lisa wants it kept in-house.
Sucre, Mahone and Linc are packing up Bellick’s stuff, and Mahone notes that he kept his fake badge from the police benefit they crashed. Aww. He’d failed the exam five times, says Sucre, and I’m unexpectedly touched. He was around a long time, you guys! It’s sad! Michael is at the whiteboard, trying to make sense of the new pages, which are presumably a blueprint of the Company’s basement. With Mahone’s help, he realizes the letters aren’t symbols for heating ducts and whatnot, they’re actual letters, spelling out – wait for it – David Baker! Dun!
Booberella brings Cole/T-Bag his morning coffee and also the fingerprints he requested, those of one Gretchen Louise Morgan. Hm, doesn’t seem like the sort of thing even the most resourceful receptionist could procure, huh? Gretchen is an accomplished equestrian AND an Iraq war vet, which is cool, and like, why did they wait a whole season before making her interesting? And speaking of interesting, T-Bag does a double-take when Booberella says she checked and there’s no mention in Gretchen’s records of Scofield, Burrows, or Whistler. Wait, when did anybody say anything about Whistler? She blows it off but T-Bag is visibly suspicious.
Sara googles up the most likely David Baker, a freelance city planner, and gets an address. Michael says he and Sara will pay him a visit while everybody else gets started on the Company basement. “And Bellick goes back to his mom!” Sucre pouts endearingly. But the plans change a little when Michael collapses mid-sentence, again. Sara goes into Doctor Mode, and when you mix that with Girlfriend Mode and “You Have Got To Be Freaking Kidding Me, No Way Does This Guy Cheat Death Every Week For Four Seasons And Die Of A Damn Tumor” mode, it’s quite a force to be reckoned with. She’s adamant that Michael’s going to the hospital this time, period, and Mahone offers to find the mysterious Mr. Baker while the rest of them continue to the basement as planned. Sara’s kind of awesome here and it’s about damn time they give her something to do. She’s a freaking doctor, for heaven’s sake, surely that can be useful more often in their big serious mission.
T-Bag finds out from Mr. White that Trishann/Booberella was sent over from a temp agency about a week before he arrived. Interesting! Mr. White also tells Cole he’s going to have to step up this afternoon, covering Andy’s presentation to a bunch of fancy new franchise people. Robert Knepper’s panicked “hoo boy, can’t wait!” reaction face cracks me up. Before he can start studying up on, you know, what the hell this company even sells, Gretchen stops by to tell him Scylla’s moving, but they’ll stick to the plan. And the plan is that if Michael et al do find Scylla, they take it and sell it to the Chinese gang who initially paid Whistler to do it. If Michael gets captured/killed/maimed, well, not their problem. I should mention that Gretchen uses a colorful Southern metaphor to explain this. (“What the hell kind of hillbilly are you?” She wonders, when T-Bag doesn’t know what “noodling” is. I didn’t know either, but to be fair, I’m a coonass, not a hillbilly.) Sucre and Linc arrive, annoyed to find Gretchen there. “Where’s Pretty and the Fat Man?” T-Bag demands, and when Sucre snaps that Bellick’s dead, T-Bag seems genuinely abashed. But just to be on the safe side, Sucre advises that if he makes a joke about it he’ll rip his tongue out. Aw. So cute. I forget that between seasons it was Bellick and Sucre who teamed up to get out of Panama, so I guess they were kind of special pals.
Lisa has some bad news – dismantling the security system around Scylla is trickier than they thought, so they’ll need more time. Baldy has a better way: David Baker. Popular guy today. As a matter of fact, Mahone is approaching his front door as we speak. He says the magic word, “Scylla,” and Mrs. Baker lets him in.
Linc and Sucre wiggle through the Brad Bellick Memorial Tunnel and onto the other side, where they run smack dab into a huge cement wall. There’s a subtle little clicking noise and they realize that Sucre has stepped onto one of the little land mines that are neatly lined up in front of the wall. D’oh.
At the hospital we get Dr. Sara, who is second only to Crafty On-the-Run Sara on my list of favorite Saras. She requests a neurologist for her “husband.” In the waiting room they both giggle like teenagers about that, which is both sort of out of character and also adorable. Sarah Wayne Callies has some nice subtle little couply mannerisms that sell their relationship for me. Michael’s trying to get an update but cellphones don’t work so well underground so he just has to sit and fret. And Sara, for no real reason, flashes back to when she first met Bellick, not at Fox River but at AA, where he attempted to woo her with the greatest pickup line ever: “I got a gift card to the Red Lobster off the Interstate.” Ha. She never thought they’d be so sad for Brad Bellick, she says. None of us did either! Michael reminds her that a lot has changed since Fox River. “You know you can’t control this,” she cautions, referring to the large cancer-shaped elephant in the room. He grins and says he was about to say the same thing to her. She can handle this once they know what they’re dealing with, but Michael’s not so sure he wants to find out.
So Mahone is making friends with Baker, who thinks Mahone’s with the Company. He’s working on a miniature self-sustaining city and doesn’t look up much during the conversation. He says he likes to freelance, work on a project then move on. “You always leave your name behind?” Mahone asks, and yeah, good point, what’s up with the Reclusive Weirdo act when you’re the one who put your name right in the plans? Mahone says they’re considering modifications but can’t understand the blueprints. “Didn’t you read the legend?” Baker asks. (Ding ding! Episode title! That’s a fun game to play.) Mahone says sure, but they’re still having trouble. This seems to confirm it for Baker: “You’re not Company,” he grumbles, and resumes pruning his tiny trees. That is not a euphemism in this case, but feel free to imagine what it might mean if it were.
Meanwhile, underground, Linc is very, very sweaty. He’s also trying to figure out what the next step is, ideally one that does not end in hundreds of Sucre chunks sploded all over the place. “You think Gretchen set us up?” Sucre suddenly asks, and Linc’s “LINC SMASH” face says he agrees that’s a possibility. He runs back up to the office, interrupts T-Bag’s rehearsal for his big meeting, and drags Gretchen into the closet. Seeing this, it occurs to me that I might be on board with a possible Linc-Gretchen grudge-fuck at some point. Just a thought. Anyway, we cut to Cole Pfeiffer’s presentation, where he’s spouting the exact kind of crap that corporations make their poor, poor employees sit through at company retreats. Apparently that’s what Gate sells, is bullshit seminars. Hey, maybe T-Bag really has found his calling! He’s doing well – he has that awesome hellfire preacher delivery, after all – but he eventually derails into a story about when he was
serving a life sentence for grisly murder volunteering at a penitentiary and worked with the head guard, “a big, burly bull named Brad.” So Brad, you see, he always thought he’d retire one day and be free. So Cole was sad to hear recently that Brad had passed away, and the saddest part was he died without making it out of that prison. He never got his freedom. I have to tell you, I loved this scene, all that subtext is really heartbreaking and surprisingly earnest, even if he does use the phrase “the captivity of negativity.” Cole Pfeiffer tears up a little, and I swear I think T-Bag does too. Like, an actual gaspy sob that takes him by surprise. Robert Knepper is SO AWESOME. There are like seventeen layers here and he’s playing every single one. They cut to one of those old-school blue Prison Break flashbacks of Bellick grinning and putting on his police cap, and it makes me all verklempt again, on second viewing even!
Mahone is still going after Baker, finally dropping the act and earnestly saying he knows what happens; they take over your life, they find something on you and you have to do what they tell you or you’ll be destroyed. They’ve hurt a lot of people, he says desperately, “we lost a good man yesterday trying to stop them.” Aww. Baker swears it was just a job, nothing more, but Mahone doesn’t believe him. “They told you what it was and you wish you didn’t know, cause now you’re trapped.” And somebody’s ears are burning, because the distinctive scary black sedans of the Company’s hired thugs come squealing up the driveway. Whoa, easy on those tires, there, folks, no need to burn through those things, they’re probably like $400 apiece. Also, way to be all covert and stealth, morons. This is no way for hired killers to conduct Company business! Kellerman would roll over in his grave, if he had a grave, which he probably doesn’t; he probably has like, bits of graves scattered all over the Illinois countryside. Or he’s totally still alive! I stand by my ambiguous interpretation of that scene, dammit. Is Private Practice cancelled yet? Anyway, Mahone thinks Baker does know something terrible, and his little “city of tomorrow” project is how he’s compensating for it, but he needs to man up and help them out in the real world. Baker put his name in there for a reason, Mahone says, and if he does this, Mahone can make things better for both of them. Just as Baker’s about to break, the Company men barge right into the house past Mrs Baker, even though she totally asked them politely not to. Now that’s just tacky. Good help really is hard to find.
So Gretchen and Linc get back down to where Sucre has been standing very very still waiting for them. Sucre accuses her of setting them up, but she says she has no idea why they’d want to put explosives under their own damn building and she had no idea any of this was here. However, she can be of help. She recognizes the mines from her time in Fallujah and knows how to disarm them if Sucre can move his foot juuuust a little without exploding. Cool. Again, why did Gretchen take this long to become interesting? (This episode’s “Written By” credit goes to the same writer who gave us Sweet Caroline, so she seems to have a flair for giving boring characters cool backstories out of nowhere.) Sucre blubbers in Spanish for Linc to call Michael, presumably to get his permission to do what the crazy lady says.
Michael’s neurologist is concerned about his medical history and wants to admit him, just for a couple of hours, so they can monitor him while they wait for the MRI results. By the time Sara convinces him it’s a good idea to like, not die, if possible, they see cops in the lobby and freak the hell out. This is also the exact moment when Linc tries to call him re: the bomb situation so Michael can’t answer. On their way out, they run right into Dr. Neurologist, who tells them it’s really, really a bad idea to leave now, and also, he’s not stupid, he knows who they are. Well, you’re the only not-stupid person in town, Doc, because the prime players in the hugest news story ever – escaped prisoners, government conspiracies, faked deaths, assassinations – have been gallivanting around LA all season with no problem. Doc says those cops aren’t there for them, and he’s not going to turn them in, but Michael scurries off anyway, Against Medical Advice. Sara begs the doctor to call them when he gets the results.
There’s a knock at Self’s door, and who should come strolling in but the mysterious Booberella. “I messed up,” she stammers, and it’s clear all of a sudden that she’s in cahoots with our friend Don. Cool. And they sent her over a week before T-Bag got there, which means Self knew Gate was important before Michael and everybody showed up, right? Or at least before they had the bird book. Interesting. She slipped up and said Whistler’s name, and by the way, this assignment is a real pain in the ass. No kidding, she’s been tied up and smacked around, I hope she’s getting serious overtime and a generous per diem. He offers to reassign her but she says she’s sticking this one out; she really believes they can bring the Company down. And thus begins Booberella Deathwatch 2008.
Mahone’s still trying to reason with Baker when he gets a staticky underground call from Linc regarding Sucre’s predicament. He’s outside trying to get a better signal when he sees the besuited thugs crawling around. He tells Baker the Company is moving Scylla, and they’re here cause whatever he did for them all those years ago? He’s gonna have to do it again. Baker tells Mahone he’s known about their little break-in plan for months, presumably when Whistler started all this mess, and they’ll never even get past the first wall. “What’s gonna stop me? The mine field?” Sounds pretty likely to me, yeah, but it makes Baker realize they’ve gotten further than he expected. Before he can respond, Mahone whispers “please don’t say anything” and slips away just as the thugs arrive and grab Baker. Damn, not even a perfunctory “please come with us, sir?” Rude! Mahone’s made it out to his car, and Mrs. Baker comes squealing up beside him. She points out a dirt road that will get him away safely, and she hands him a sheet of paper. “He won’t help you,” she says about Baker. “This will.” It’s the titular legend – the one Mahone bluffed about earlier, the one that’s the key to deciphering the Scylla blueprints. High five for Mrs. Baker!
Sucre is understandably reluctant to move his foot so Gretchen can disable the bomb, especially since Gretchen has just told him that keeping still is what’s keeping him intact. She’s a complicated woman. No, the point is that he’s got the pressure on it juuuust right to not engage the firing pin, so he has to keep that exact amount of pressure on it while he moves his foot enough for her to reach it. Sucre is on the verge of tears, saying he can’t do it, but Gretchen raises a number of good points here: a) Everybody wants Scylla, so she has negative incentive to blow anybody up; b) If it goes off, Sucre loses a foot, but she, being down on the ground tinkering with the thing, loses a face; and c) What the hell else does Linc have in mind? Bomb squad? SWAT team? The MythBusters guys? Lots of pillows?
And back at the Warehouse, Mahone has returned and presents Michael with the legend. Michael’s like, oh, okay, this makes sense, these things represent microphones, and these things here are a line of JZ33 landmines buried about 7 feet away from the wall. “That must be what Linc was talking about,” Michael says, and yeah, that’s some cool decoding and all but we’re way ahead of you there. He’s incredibly calm for someone who doesn’t know that Linc and Sucre have a hot, chatty, annoying, suddenly interesting explosives expert down there with them. Oh, but here’s an amusing twist: they’re manual override only; that is, any attempt to disarm the bombs themselves without overriding the switch will set off the alarms. Neat! Oh no wait. Not “neat,” “crap.”
Linc’s phone isn’t working so Mahone hurries over to Gate to pass this info along. Between the attractive young brunette loitering around his desk, and the sweaty, shady-looking guys running in and out of his office without saying a word or making eye contact with anyone, T-Bag’s coworkers must think he’s running a brothel out of his supply closet. Mahone gets to the wall just in time to stop Gretchen and cut the power to the override switch long enough for Sucre to move his foot. 20 seconds. And for 18 of those seconds, Sucre is whimpering and sobbing and almost certainly soiling himself. He finally gets the balls to step off of the bomb and hooray, crisis averted. They all stare at the huge concrete wall, and the CSI-cam takes us through the wall and shows us what’s on the other side: it’s the stylish yet powerful Bose Wave Radio! No, it’s the star of the show, Scylla. But it does look like something you’d plug your iPod into.
Back at the Warehouse, Michael is apologizing to Linc for not being there for him earlier. Yeah, what kind of selfish asshole has a life-threatening neurological condition while his brother stands around in an underground minefield? Jerk. Anyway, Linc says he realized Gretchen could be useful in getting the next card, and she says she’s on it. And iiiwwww, I bet she is. I bet I know exactly what she’s on, and the image is seared into my brain forever.
Self shows up on his way to the airfield to ship Bellick back home. Sucks to be cargo, Brad. Not cool. The guys have a sort of impromptu wake, and nope, there’s no “dun!” moment where it’s not him in the coffin. It’s him, and he’s wearing a suit, and he looks that special kind of dead that people look after they’ve been embalmed and posed, so good job, makeup people and Wade Williams. Before they close the casket and send him off, Mahone throws his pilfered LAPD badge in with him. His mom will appreciate that, Sucre says adorably. Again, I am more verklempt than I expected. The van drives off and everyone disperses silently. We hear Sucre making the call to poor Mrs. Bellick.
Mr. White tells
convicted felon Theodore Bagwell community service volunteer Cole Pfeiffer that he did a great job with the presentation, and hey, that’s admirable work, being around all those criminals. “We’re all the same,” T-Bag says, barely suppressing a giggle. Mr. White hands over Booberella’s application as requested, and when he leaves, T-Bag calls the number listed for her previous employer. And surprise, when he calls “Mr. Smitty,” it’s Agent Self who answers. Dun!
Michael has called a meeting of what’s left of the Superfriends, and goes over everything he’s learned about the security system. Meanwhile, Sara is curled up into a little ball of stress, having just spoken to the neurologist. She is obviously in tears throughout Michael’s debriefing. (Huh huh. Debriefing.) The good news is that in order to avoid having any visual evidence of its existence, Scylla is kept in a room with no cameras. The bad news is that there are sensors that will detect any breathing human weighing more than two pounds. So now all we have to do is find a deep-sea diving fetus capable of independent thought and movement! (To be fair, fetuses don’t breathe air, so maybe that’s an advantage here.) And also they have to find a way through the wall in the first place, which is fortified with steel fibers. So, a deep-sea diving fetus ghost then. “It’s complicated,” Michael understates hilariously.
Finally he gets the news from Sara, who puts her doctor face on and cuts to the chase: he has a hypothalamic hamartoma, which doesn’t seem likely given the symptoms, sheesh, read wikipedia, Prison Break. This would have been a way cooler storyline if Michael did in fact have “laughing seizures” and “hypothalamic rage.” Missed opportunity there. (It is worth noting that the wikipedia entry also includes the words “precocious puberty” and “imperforate anus.” I’m just saying.) He needs surgery. Now. Michael says he needs two days, to get this whole Scylla thing happening, but Dr. Sara says nope, tomorrow, or you could die, end of story. So what’s it gonna be, Michael? Lifesaving brain surgery, or exhaustive search for that spectral freediving fetus?
So yay, good job, I liked this one a lot. It’s a completely different show every season, but if it works, it works, and I’m still paying attention. A surprisingly effective and believable tribute to Bellick, complete with a nice double entendre with the title and everything. So what exactly does it mean that Booberella is Homeland Security? How did they know about Gate before Michael got ahold of the bird book? Do I have to be suspicious of Self now? This is hard! And get ready, because I’m 99.44% sure that next week will involve Gretchen performing some seriously unsavory acts to get that card. It’s okay, I’ll watch it for you. That’s what I do, people. That’s what I’m here for.