Linc, Michael and Kellerman need to get a message out, and it’s Fox News to the rescue! Dr. Sara’s back, yay! And no one’s even torturing her or anything! Bellick’s uppance looks like it might be coming, but he has some insight for Mahone. Haywire’s back, and hey, remember how he’s totally bonkers? You will be reminded. Sucre reminds us that he’s a petty thief, and that we are all 100% over Maricruzzzzzz already. No T-Bag this week, so I guess we can assume he’s at home with the Hollanders watching Fox News like the rest of America. Did we mention you’re watching Fox? This is Fox!2.15 “The Message.” Michael, Linc, and Kellerman are, to put it delicately, shitting bees. They’re in their motel room with the recently departed Terrance Steadman, who was supposed to be their way out of this but is now only one of the many, many reasons why Michael’s little plan to alert the media is turning out to have been really dumb. The Highway Patrol calls for Michael and Linc to come out come out wherever they are. And hey, is that a Fox Newsâ„¢ van out there as well? Of course it is, complete with a carefully coiffed Fair And Balanced attractive female infotainment personality hovering around with her meek cameraman. Michael can’t very well have the entire A-plot happen at a competing network, for heaven’s sake. Kellerman suggests that next time Michael wants to hold a press conference he should do it in a room with a back door. Linc is all, hey, remember this dead guy? The one who no one will ever be able to prove is Terrence Steadman, lying next to most of his cranial contents in this motel room full of our fingerprints? Kellerman: “What, you afraid someone’s going to pin a murder on you?” Ha. So they’re just going to leave the body and the fingerprints in the room and stroll out the front door? Michael says damn straight they are.
Kellerman shoves his badge through a crack in the door, “FBI! Hold your fire!” He comes out dragging Michael and Linc behind him, saying he’s taking them to Billings. The cops are getting less dumb every episode and want to see that badge again, but before they can, Kellerman gets his gun to some poor underpaid Fox cameraman’s head. Camera guy is thinking that if he makes it out of this alive, he better come back to a bigger office and a really nice health plan.
Anyway, now it’s another goddamn gunpoint standoff. There’s lots of macho posturing and belligerent yelling and crosstalk, and it’s getting really hard not to make Fox News jokes here. They wrestle their hostage in to an unmarked car and speed off. The camera guy’s in the backseat with Kellerman’s gun still shoved up against his head, all “So, you think I get overtime for this or what?” Michael’s good old reliable steely-eyed glare has been morphing lately in to sort of an annoyed/pained/constipated steely-eyed glare, and let me tell you, it’s been getting an awful lot of mileage these past couple episodes.
At the Chicago FBI field office, Agents Lang and Wheeler sheepishly fill Mahone in on the progress they made while he was convalescing and murdering secret government agents. This does not take very long. All they have for him is that Bellick was unbelievably speedily booked in to Fox River for murder, and that Mrs. C-Note was arrested at a pharmacy. Mahone very visibly does not give a rat’s ass, but a call comes in that does seem to capture his interest.
Linc is just sort of driving around aimlessly. Nobody knows where they’re going. But wait! Michael’s steely-eyed glare is back, and it stares daggers at the car radio. He tells Linc to pull over at some giant abandoned warehouse. We have learned from this show that giant abandoned warehouses are placed at regular intervals along the highways of America’s Heartland. Just like Dairy Queens! Linc wants to get rid of the hostage and Kellerman, but Michael’s not done with them yet. Kellerman finds a tarp of some sort, which Michael says is exactly what they need. Camera guy does not like the sound of that, and he hasn’t even seen what Kellerman normally does with tarps.
Bellick is waking up from what looks to have been a rough night. He’s in the infirmary, having recently had the shit kicked right out of him. He calls out for the nurse, but instead he gets a nice lecture from an inmate worker: When Bellick was a CO, he turned a blind eye to all sorts of horrible things, and hey, how’s that blind eye feeling right about now? The inmate hints at some unfortunate things that people have been known to do to eye sockets, and also lets him know that it’s no fun beating up on dead people, so he has a long life of pain ahead of him. Oh Bradley. Hear that? That’s the sound of your uppance coming.
Cut to Mexico, where Sucre is riding a bus through the middle of nowhere, along with a few dozen members of the International Union of Ethnic Stereotypes, Mexican Chapter. And of course the requisite cages of squawking chickens. I’ve never been to Mexico, but according to what I’ve seen on television, caged fowl rely heavily on its public transportation system. Sucre confides to a smiley guy next to him that he’s on his way to Ixtapa, which is a thousand miles from wherever the hell they are, to claim his woman. The mustachioed old guy is pretty adorable and wishes Sucre good luck.
Oh, hey, right, Haywire. I’m interested to know if they can make this storyline useful at some point. Anyway, he and his happy border collie pal are raiding a Dumpster in Wisconsin for food and raft-building supplies (he’s going to Holland, you may recall) when a couple of teenagers approach, asking him to buy them some beer. Haywire’s all “sure!” and those kids should maybe try asking favors from people who aren’t digging through garbage and/or obviously batshit nuts. But Haywire is actually kind of charming. He asks if he can get some food for his dog while he’s in the store, which, aww. The guy half of the couple says sure, he can get himself a beer too if he wants. No thanks, says Haywire. His dad used to drink.
Our friendly videographer/hostage plods through the Fox newsroom. He approaches the carefully coifed infotainment personality from earlier, who incidentally is not even remotely blonde enough to get a job on Fox News. She’s going to want to see this, he says, handing her a tape.
At the FBI office, Mahone and his underlings are watching…wait for it…Fox News! And they didn’t even give that girl reporter the story! Some guy is saying “blah blah, leaving a trail of crimes in their wake. Today, they left something different.” We see Linc’s big bald videotaped head under all the damn Fox logos and he’s saying “My name is Lincoln Burroughs, and I’m innocent.” Did we mention you’re watching Fox?
Linc tells the Fox audience that he escaped because he was sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit, Steadman wasn’t even dead until last night when he committed suicide, etc. But guess who else loves Fox News? Dr. Sara! Yay! I’ve missed Dr. Sara. She looks fantastic, incidentally, and I’m sure Fox News is relieved to have reached that coveted “Dope Addict Physicians On The Lam” demographic. Also covered? The Asian-American Secret Government Assassin demographic, as we see that Agent Kim is also a fan. He fumes as Michael says that Steadman killed himself because he was afraid of the people who’d been hiding him – the same people who want Michael and Linc dead. “They are a group of multi-nationals, corporate interests. Together they’re known as The Company,” Linc exposits, and I am so grateful to him for spelling it out for me, honestly. Kim goes absolutely apeshit, demanding that someone start a wildfire or something, anything to distract the media from this, which, like, yeah, Attractive Patsies Hunted Down By Huge Government Conspiracy vs Trees On Fire? You don’t have to be Fox News to know which one of those is going to be the top story at eleven. Also, you’re watching Fox!
Aaaand we’re back in Mexico. Apparently, Sucre hasn’t actually paid for his bus ride and he’s kicked off at Calomatillo, which is where his’s new mustachioed pal is getting off as well. He offers to put Sucre up for the night if he’ll cook the aforementioned chicken for them. There’s not another bus till tomorrow, so he agrees, especially when he sees that the nice old man has a car parked outside. See, Schmoopy Lovestruck Sucre is not only less interesting, he’s more felonious. Michael and Linc only steal cars from evil people, like government assassins and television news infotainment personalities.
Meanwhile Michael’s still talking. He’s addressing Sara now, saying he hopes she’s found her safe haven. At this point during the taping, Kellerman is probably just off-camera chuckling a little about how hilarious Michael’s reaction will be when he finally hears Kellerman’s great story about all that stalking and torture. Good times! Sara’s reaction is likely to be pretty hilarious as well. Mahone starts barking orders but the whole room falls silent when Michael says that one Agent Alex Mahone is responsible for a number of deaths, including Abbruzi’s, Tweener’s, and Shales’. Awk! Ward! Mahone’s all “This is boring, isn’t there a Lakers game on?” No, he actually remains remarkably stoic and just says “the guy’s nuts,” then walks out of the room. Agent Lang stays put though. She is very definitely pondering some things that make her go “hmm.”
Haywire comes out of the store with beer for the kids and a bag of something for the dog. The girl asks what he’s doing with the wooden crates he’s carrying off, and he says he’s building a raft, but he’s going to need a lot more wood if he wants to get to Holland. Do they want to see his raft? The kids obviously don’t have any parents or anything so they’re like, sure, unkempt weirdo we found in a Dumpster! We’d love to see your raft! It’s pretty nice, with a sail and everything. The guy goes off to pee and the girl is like, yeah, it’s very nice, crazy person, but how are you going to know where you’re going? Do you have a map or something? Haywire’s all “duh! Of course I have a map!” and presents the folded up painting he nabbed from the nice old lady’s house. She says she hopes he makes it, and she looks like she means it.
She reaches down for a beer and Haywire sees that her arm is bruised. “My dad drinks too,” she says, by way of explanation. They have about half a second of bonding time before his eyeballs get all huge and I’m like, oh right, he’s bonkers. Her boyfriend reappears just as he’s grabbing her by the wrist. She tries to pull away from him but he’s not letting go. He’s apologetic, but he has now officially crossed the Wacky Line and there’s no going back. The kid, whose name is Matt, and who needs to rethink his Leif Garrett haircut, pulls his girl away from Haywire, but not before calling him a freak. Well, at least his hair is stupid for a legitimate reason, Matt! Haywire’s got his extra crazy eyes on as he watches them trudge off.
Bellick still looks like shit on a cracker but he’s being released back in to Gen Pop. He begs Nurse Katie, sniveling, tears, the whole nine, to please let him have one more night in the infirmary. How can she let him go back there knowing what will happen to him? It’s actually pretty funny: He tells her how pretty she looks, and says that they’ve been friends for as long as she’s worked there, can’t he stay another night? Oh, and also, can she leave the door unlocked when she leaves? Nurse Katie’s all “bitch please!” and walks off. We all know Bellick lacks the wit, the fake diabetes, and the steely-eyed hotness required to pull that crap off.
At some news station which shall remain nameless, because come on, people!, the camera guy is being interviewed about his ordeal. Scoffield said something about 450 miles in six hours, he tells Mahone’s minion, but that’s all he knows. Cut to Mahone and his fugitive map. Kim calls, just to see how Mahone is feeling. No, of course not, he calls to pester and threaten Mahone to get those brothers taken care of, stat. Mahone tells him they have a 450-mile radius around Helena, Montana, which includes Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake, and Denver. Kim’s ears perk up at “Denver,” which is where President Bitchface is speaking this afternoon. They’re going after the President! Dun!
Meanwhile, Michael, Linc and Kellerman are listening to the news on the car radio: “The Justice Department has denied all of the outrageous claims in the fugitives’ little rant, and also, conveniently, some vague threat has raised the terror level to Orange.” Looks like Kim’s underlings have served him well! That’s way better than a forest fire. Linc is annoyed that they pushed them off the front page, but Kellerman reminds him that that’s pretty much what they do. Michael says that no matter what, it’s out there now. The tape will work. They just have to get to “her” in time. Kellerman says it has to happen quickly – once anyone knows they have “her” the curtain comes down.
Mahone instructs Wheeler and Lang not to tip anyone off – if the President’s itinerary gets shifted around, the boys will know something’s up and go back in to hiding. Wheeler says they’ve caught them before, they can do it again. Mahone reminds him these are not pets we’re talking about, but Wheeler’s acquired some testicles during the last commercial break and gets all snarky, like “Uh, yeah, I’m clear on that part, but using the President as bait?” Mahone wants to know if Wheeler has a problem with the way he does things, and while that was probably meant to be a rhetorical question, Wheeler kind of awesomely goes “yeah, and I’m not the only one.” Internal Affairs has asked Wheeler to run all of Mahone’s orders by them first from here on out. Lang’s got kind of a “whatchoo talkin’ bout, Wheeler?” look on her face but Mahone just removes his glasses for dramatic emphasis, which only works on television, and says that in that case, Wheeler better get a pen so he gets it word for word. The President’s itinerary doesn’t change. Capiche?
We now cut to Kim and Shadowy Scary Old Guy Who Communicates Via Notepad. Remember him? It’s really not a very interesting conversation, on account of it’s one-sided, and also, I don’t know what the hell is going on. The gist of it is that President Bitchface will continue to be kept in the dark about what’s going on. Whatever that is. Surely even the busiest evil Presidents have time to watch Fox News, so it can’t be that she doesn’t know about Linc and Michael, can it? Kim sounds vaguely menacing, so maybe they’re working behind her back. Sounding vaguely menacing is sort of Kim’s specialty though, so let’s just file this scene away under “Possibly Important Later.”
Sucre is really going to town on that chicken. Note to chickens: stop riding buses! No good can come of it. Turns out the nice little old mustachioed man was just widowed last week after 42 years of marriage, and he’s adorable and nice and dammit, Sucre, I know you’re a felon and all, but for the love of Christ do not steal the nice man’s car. Either way, this storyline had better end with some really awesome payoff, or the horrible nasty death of Maricruz, or both.
Anyway, the nice old man gives Sucre marriage advice and asks him if he’s running from something. Sucre is really lucky there are so few televisions in El Bumfucko, Mexico. He says he’s running toward something. El Mustachio kind of awesomely berates Sucre for living on hope, which he says is only for those who do not already live in grace. Or, for example, those who steal cars from nice old men. He thanks Sucre for the company and says goodnight. Sucre spots a set of car keys on the table, gnaws thoughtfully on some gristle for awhile, then runs out and takes off in the powder blue Beetle. Dude. You couldn’t wait one day for the next bus? That nice old man just lost his wife and now you take his car? It’s not like he’s In Good Hands With Allstate or anything. I hate it when they make me hate Sucre.
Mahone’s AV club is filling him in on what they’ve learned about the videotape. Everything pretty much confirms the camera guy’s story, and they’re doing voice and body language analyses to see if they’re lying. Linc looks up and to the left after he says he didn’t kill Steadman, and anyone who’s watched enough Law & Order: Criminal Intent knows that people tend to do that when they’re lying. Anyway, Linc is pretty much working straight from the Lying For Dummies playbook – the eyes, the swallowing and blinking too much, the folded arms. It’s all a little too perfect but Mahone doesn’t give the boys that much credit. Yet.
I did, though, and I was totally right! We get a flashback of Kellerman telling Linc “Saying it that way plays it too sincere. The truth sends them back home to their families. Lies keep them busy.” I guess the idea is to create some wild geese for the FBI to chase, buying the boys some time. I know I tend to mention this a lot, but Kellerman is so, so awesome. I don’t know how much of that is Paul Adelstein’s fault, but my guess is a whole lot. (This past week I happened to catch the Scrubs Episode on which he guest stars as an overly touchy orthopedic surgeon, and I recommend the hell out of it. It should be easy to find now that they’re showing Scrubs in syndication eleventy billion times a day.) So Kellerman, being a total Magnificent Bastard, knows what they’ll be looking for. He coaches them step by step on all the stuff we just watched Mahone et al pointing at. It’s awesome. And I’ve been giving Michael a lot of shit lately, so I’m delighted to be reminded that in addition to the smokin’ hotness, he’s a damn genius. He taps out “the water is warm” with his right hand, disguising it as fidgeting. When Linc asks what the hell that means, he says it means nothing, and that’s the idea. It’ll take the feds awhile to realize that.
And okay, yeah, Mahone’s pretty fantastic too. The AV club is all scrambling to find bodies of water in the area, but Mahone’s all, you morons, he’s traveling with a rogue Secret Service agent! It’s a red herring! He keeps going, all agitated now. This can’t just be about the President. They had to know the tape would be discredited, he rants. They had to know the camera guy would be interviewed. There’s something else going on here. They reach the point of the tape where Michael apologizes to Sara: he “took advantage of her commitment to others, putting her in a place that’s every doctor’s nightmare.” Malpractice court? Clinic duty? In Kansas City, Dr. Sara is also scrutinizing the video on a library computer. Michael’s words make a light bulb appear over her head, and she starts thumbing through a big hardback book.
Meanwhile, Mahone’s techie cronies are saying that this is all bullshit too, all the same tells, same body language, everything says he’s lying. But Mahone is not so sure. “His voice: would you say he’s sincere talking to her, as opposed to talking about the crimes?” Minion: “Yeah, you could say that.” Mahone, awesomely: “I did say that. Would you say that?” Heh. Yeah, he would say that. Mahone chuckles. This isn’t about Steadman and it’s not about their innocence. It’s about finding Sara. D’oh. It totally is, you Magnificent Bastard! He wants a list of everyone who’s ever so much as sent a thank-you note to Dr. Sara.
Sucre speeds down a desert road in the nice old man’s car. There are cops behind him, lights and sirens and everything. Stupid Sucre. Anyway, we cut to the nice old man asking the cop where they found him. Sucre looks appropriately sheepish. He’s glad they found Sucre, he says, on account of he forgot to give him gas money. He gives Sucre a wad of cash and a sad-eyed gaze. “Find your girl. Then find grace.” I would think maybe the girl part would be easier if he had the grace part down first, but sure. He walks off sadly back to his empty little house. Sucre is a lucky bastard.
Lang is briefing Wheeler on Sara, and it’s making me angry. She lives alone, buys groceries and single movies tickets, and her Ob/Gyn records say she’s not sexually active. Christ, US Government, mind your own damn business! Sara’s genitals do not have to answer to you! Mahone comes in, snags the file, sees something interesting, and just strolls off with it. Wheeler’s all “ahem!” but Mahone doesn’t even acknowledge his presence.
Linc reads in the paper that he and Michael have left a dead “janitor” in a Montana motel room. John D’oh. Everything will be okay once they find Sara. Michael is sure she’ll be there. Linc wonders if the only reason Kellerman is helping them is to get his hands on whatever Sara has. What if it’s all just a big setup? And Linc doesn’t even know about the pie and the water torture! Good thinkin’, Lincoln. Who’s a smart boy? You are! Yes you are!! Michael looks like he might feel kind of dumb that he hasn’t really prepared for this possibility.
Uh oh. I thought we were done with this Haywire story. The fact that we are not, plus the fact that Haywire is sort of loitering around watching Matt kiss Girl goodnight, does not bode well at all. Girl goes inside and is met by her father, who, luckily, is cartoonishly evil and icky. One could be forgiven for thinking “hey wow, I really wish some crazy person would show up and beat the everliving shit out of this slimeball pervert douchebag.” Well guess what! Dad reaches for a freaking fireplace poker and turns to go after her, but Haywire thwacks in in the head with a bigass hunk of wood. Then he thwacks him some more. I feel dirty for having found Haywire charming. But not that dirty, cause see above re: slimeball pervert douchebag.
Eeek! Mahone’s at Fox River. Worlds collide! He’s talking to Nurse Katie about Sara. He shows her a transcript of Michael’s speech to Sara – does any of it mean anything to her? Nope, says Nurse Katie. Sorry. Mahone gets an idea: is Brad Bellick still in the infirmary? Oh hell no. Hell yes! Mahone butters him up a bit, tipping his hat to Bellick for being a couple of steps ahead of his team a few times. Bellick’s all surly. Mahone says that Sara listed Bellick as a reference on her job application at the prison. Interesting! He takes a look at the transcript when Mahone promises to try and get him moved out of Gen Pop, and points to the part about finding her “safe haven.” It’s from the Big Book, Bellick says. Alcoholics Anonymous, which is how he met Sara. In fact, Michael’s whole spiel is a bunch of chapter titles. Mahone stands in the hallway, learning about recovery and serenity and other things he really ought to spend a little more time reading up on. He gets to a chapter called “Dr. Bob’s Nightmare,” where he sees the phrase “St. Thomas Hospital in Akron Ohio.” The next line in the transcript is Michael saying “I’ve considered many ways to apologize but I must arrive at one.” Mahone looks at his watch. Cool. I mean, crappy, but still, cool.
Sure enough, Michael and Linc are pacing around outside St. Thomas Hospital. Sara hasn’t shown, and while Michael thinks she didn’t get the message, Linc thinks maybe she’s tired of all this crap. Michael has faith. Linc opines that reality is kicking fate’s ass. That’s going to be the title of my memoir. Just then Michael hears the hospital intercom, calling for “Michael Crane” to please come to the front desk, you have a telephone call. Mahone is storming down the hallway at Fox River, calling for Akron’s finest to get to the hospital. “This is Mr. Crane” Michael says breathily in to the phone. “Sounded better than Origami,” says Sara. Squeee! By which I mean, it’s fortunate that she was able to locate him. He said he’d leave her alone but he had to contact her. “Because I have something?” she ventures. How did she know? She tells him that back in Gila she was going back to him when someone grabbed her. Oh, this is going to be a good story. “Did someone hurt you?” Michael whispers angrily. Swoon. Ahem. Anyway, Sara says she got away, but all she has from her dad is a key, and she doesn’t know what it’s for. They’ll figure it out together, he says. Sara likes the sound of that, and Michael smiles. No really, he does! I have photographic evidence! Okay, so it’s more of a smirk, and it kind of looks like it hurts, but still!
Linc and Kellerman are waiting outside for Michael when Kellerman’s phone rings. He looks at it suspiciously, and finally answers. No way! It’s totally President Bitchface! She’s calling to apologize. He looks a little misty-eyed, and it’s unnerving. “I want you to come home, Paul.” She wants to make it up to him but first he has to bring in Michael and Linc. He’s all conflicted. You’ll recall we learned last week that he lurrrrrves her. He doesn’t say anything, but he does smirk a little. She has to go but she’ll see him soon. He gets in the car wearing that same smirk. Stupid Kellerman! Don’t buy it! Michael: “In a few days this will all be over, one way or the other.” Kellerman, smirkily: “Absolutely.” Noooo!
Does Kellerman actually trust President Bitchface just because he wants to marry her? That’s a terrible reason to trust someone, especially when there are perfectly good television recappers who’d be delighted to have your evil genius babies. What the hell does Sucre think he’s doing? Why does Mahone have to figure every goddamn thing out? And most importantly, when is Michael going to make out with Dr. Sara already? Until next week!