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After only three hours of Prison Break, I am officially hooked. In spite of that, “my” Philadelphia Eagles were playing on Monday Night Football, so the FOX drama took a back seat for the night. So it is with slight bitterness that I write this recap (the Eagles lost) knowing that I’d have enjoyed myself better skipping the game. But I did learn one thing; as crafty as protagonist Michael Scofield is, Michael Vick could escape any damn prison he wanted to. The guards would all be shooting at him, but he’d simply dance from side to side, avoiding the bullets with ease as he outran the cars chasing him to freedom. Damn him and the Atlanta Falcons.
The show began with its now-expected INTENSE scene. Although this scene still came as quite a shock – Lincoln Burroughs, the convicted murderer of the Vice President’s brother (Hey, whatever happened to that Conan O’Brien looking pilot on 24 who murdered a couple people, stole the fighter jet, and shot down Air Force One? Sorry, that’s been bothering me for several months now.) who is in his last month on death row, was awakened in the middle of the night and rapidly escorted to the electric chair. The guards strapped Lincoln down and were just about to throw the switch when… When… When Lincoln woke up from his bad dream, covered in sweat. OK, this was actually pretty lame because as many liberties this show takes with the realities of prison life, we all knew that executions don’t exactly work this way – so we knew it was all a dream from the get-go. That – or a new Tool video.Lincoln’s brother Michael was also dealing with his nightmare – Haywire, the clinically psychotic new cellmate he was purposely assigned by sadistic guard Bellick. While Haywire was away, presumably with the doctor, Michael had some time to work on his escape hole behind the toilet. Realizing he needs a cell mate who buys in to his plan, Michael offered up some hints to Haywire. As it turned out, Haywire was not interested in escape at all, as he was getting free medical care, food, and shelter at the prison. Haywire was far more interested in something else – Michael’s elaborate full-body tattoo. But before he could get a good look, a doctor came with his daily pills and forced him to swallow them. “They think I have schizo-affective disorder with bipolar tendencies.” The writers, heeding my plea, gave me another sarcastic line in a primetime drama! Michael’s reply? “Think you’ve got it?” Awesome.
After swallowing his Lithium (or whatever), Haywire made haste to the toilet (which was suspiciously loose from Michael’s recent futzing) and did his best Lara Flynn Boyle impersonation. For the record, he did a good job – “BLEEEHHHHH!” He doesn’t want to take the pills because they “make [him] dull.” If you’re thinking that Haywire would be a poster child for prison reform – a mentally ill individual who is simply “living off the system” and not even ingesting the expensive prescriptions we taxpayers are funding, you’re right. He should just live with his parents, right? Oh, wait… Turns out he murdered them. Oh well. Let’s hope he didn’t kill them because they wouldn’t show him their scars – because this dude really wanted to see Michael’s tats. He was like a drunken 21-year-old virgin in a strip club for the first time – Take… OFF… YOUR… TOP! Ah, memories.
Later, in the prison yard (again, I must mention that this prison allows for a shitload of playtime) Michael’s first cellie Sucre ignored him and his pleas to come back and escape with him. He even tried singing some Norah Jones softly in his ear, but Sucre wasn’t having it. Scuzzy mobster Abruzzi saw the frustration on his new friend’s face as asked, “What’s the problem?” Upon learning that Haywire was mucking up the plans for their escape, Abruzzi astutely noted, “Yeah, that’s a problem.” Showing his softer side, Abruzzi mentioned that if Michael were to renege on the escape offer, he would be summarily gutted. The funny thing about this conversation was how close these two men were to essentially kissing on the lips. I understand that their conversation was for their ears only, but man, I can’t imagine prisoner dental care is so great that their breath was Winterfresh enough to accommodate such canoodling. Perhaps Abruzzi was uncontrollably drawn to the cologne Michael was wearing – the kind he so carefully tattooed on his right forearm – “Cute poison.”
Cute poison? The tattoo drew us into a civilian-Michael flashback in which he was tacking up some chemical reactions on his wall which read, in part, “Pure anhydrous phosphoric acid is a white solid that reacts violently with sulphate acids…” [To all you Michigan Militia members who Googled for some destructive bomb plans and stumbled upon this TV blog, sit back, relax, read a Laguna Beach recap, and stop all the hate already. It's not like Jason cheated on you!] There were some formulas on Michael’s paper that I’d have been able to describe 10 years ago, but I won’t even try now. But I don’t have to, as this is more or less the page Michael had. I will make it my goal to have something educational in my Prison Break recaps each week. And hey, if you ever feel like a loser for reading certain websites, rest assured that there are people who enjoy “The Chemical of the Week.” Can’t wait til they figure out why their hit count just dodecatupled. I think I just made up a pretty cool word.
Enough chemistry; Michael’s forte is structural engineering and as Warden Pope was finding out, he was damn good at it. Michael, the convicted armed robber, was nearly finished with the Warden’s Popsicle stick Taj Mahal anniversary gift for his wife. I’ll give the warden props for being unique… I mean, how many anniversary gifts can double as your kid’s 8th grade science fair project? Or kindling? Or all three? Regardless, the warden was beaming ear to ear and even went so far as to say, “I wish there was a way I could pay you, Michael.” Oh, but there was: Get that freak Haywire out of his cell. Unfortunately, in the world of Fox Run Prison, the head guard (Bellick) controls cell assignments and short of a physical or sexual assault, tough noogies on a transfer. Bellick, the dickhead guard who hates Michael like no other. Bellick, the cyborg guard who appears to work 24-7, as he is ALWAYS involved in any guard scene, day or night. That Bellick. Crap.
Even though Michael was in a bind, he wasn’t scheduled to die like his brother. In a case of too little too late, Veronica had decided to begin investigating the case against Lincoln and to “be his lawyer” again. Gee, honey, perhaps you shoulda started this process a few years ago. Anyway, she met with Lincoln and gave him an update as to her recent activities. She mentioned the affidavit Leticia Brown gave her but caught Lincoln off-guard when she said the Secret Service appeared and most probably abducted Leticia. Lincoln knew he was in some deep shit, but didn’t figure it was that deep. In fact, he gave us the first clue that perhaps those Secret Service guys aren’t so official after all. SUMMER OF SECRET SERVICE AGENT SECRETS! He told Veronica about Project Justice, the new reality show on Bravo. Gotcha! Project Justice is actually some pro bono hippie peacenik organization that helps death row inmates out. Lincoln learned of Veronica’s new single status and she was on her way to save the world. Go Veronica!
Everyone’s favorite heartbroken thief, Sucre, was still trying to get in touch with his fiancée, with no luck. He did get word that he had a visitor but his excitement was tempered by rotten ol’ Hector’s ugly mug on the other side of the screen. Hector was there to rub it in that he was “with” Mari Cruz now so stop calling her. Concurrently, Michael was showering while Haywire was leering at him with all the creepiness of a, well, of a psychotic criminal leering at another naked criminal in the shower. I can’t think of being placed in a much creepier situation. Also, Warden Pope was asking Bellick if he would consider transferring Haywire out of Michael’s cell, as he’d asked… No dice. In fact, the only outcome of Pope’s request was Bellick cornering Michael, seething at him for “going around his back to Pope,” and subsequently grinding his heel into Michael’s nub where his toe used to be a few days ago. Ouch. Bellick was able to do this undetected because Michael was alone in a supply room gathering up some nice Phosphoric Acid. I guess Fox Run Prison is like a big science classroom where the inmates are allowed to browse for various chemical compounds at their whimsy. Regardless, Michael was able to successfully steal the bottle even after getting stomped.
Once back in his cell, Michael tried a new tactic on Haywire – passive aggressiveness. “Y’know Haywire, I don’t think we’re gonna work out. And since I was here first, I think you should go.” Unfazed by Michael, Haywire responded, “I crapped myself in junior high.” Awesome… A crazy character that is actually crazy! He went on to tell the story about how the kids were pissing him off in gym class so he dooted in his shorts, mooned his classmates and yelled, “Look! I have a tail!” (All I know is, the writer who came up with that gem must have gotten some strange looks from the others at the table.) After sharing this personal account, Haywire begged Michael again to show him his tattoos. Michael again refused but told him that they “meant nothing.” Just then, the free-ranging Abruzzi appeared at his door to check on the progress. These prisoners wander more than corporate workers.
Sigh… back to the Sucre storyline… He finally got in touch with his girl and sweet talked himself back into her good graces. She capitulated and despite Hector’s lies about Sucre cheating on her (in prison! With a woman!), believed him when he told her he loved her. But she wants a baby and she wants it NOW and she’s not sure she can wait the 16 months until Sucre is up for parole. Oh Sucre, whatareyougonnado besides lie in your bed and sulk? Who knows, but Veronica knows that she needs to speak with the fine folks over at Project Justice. Unfortunately for her, the guy who runs the place, Mr. Foreskin, doesn’t have the manpower or evidence to open up Lincoln’s capital case. This bad news caused Veronica’s face to sink in even more than it usually is. Her face would pucker even more if she knew that the Secret Service guys were not only tailing her every move, but one of them was rifling through her house at that very moment – and he found a key picture: Veronica with Lincoln and Michael all together. Uh oh.
As Michael’s cover was unraveling, so was his shirt. Yes, haywire Haywire was ripping the shirt off Michael’s back as he slept, in a desperate attempt to see that damn tattoo. He caught a glimpse of it and muttered, “They’re like a maze! Why would he put a maze on his skin? Why would he put a maze on his skin?” Now, with all the cryptic nonsense covering his body – by the way, “Cute poison” was there so that the “PO” and “SO” in “POiSOn” would clue him in to “Phosphoric Acid” and “Copper Sulphate.” Quite a stretch, but who cares. His tattoos could say, “Those Hungarians do love their water polo and participated in the most famous water polo matches and truly ugly brawl in the 1956 Olympics” and that would somehow remind Michael that a low pressure system over Illinois results in a westerly wind. – As I was saying, it appears that crazy Haywire was totally honing in on the meaning of the tattoo. Because of that, Michael had to act, so he asked Abruzzi to score some Drain Line Root Control (for the Copper Sulphate) – perhaps to poison his cell mate.
Meanwhile, Veronica was playing detective as she questioned Lincoln’s arresting officer. He gave her the story and made it appear open and shut but in doing so, he came off as lying. Frustrated and somehow still sexy, she was about to abandon hope when one of the grown-up hippies from Project Justice appeared at her side. The costume department got his look just right, all the way down to the tousled hair, bad sport coat and cheap square tie. He was Nick Savern and he was willing to help out. The two grabbed a coffee and discussed what they knew. One possible clue laid with the victim – the VP’s brother. Turns out he was the CEO of a green energy company and was pissing off a lot of important and powerful people. Oil companies, the Saudis, the US government – rather well funded entities who stood to lose a lot if there was a sea change in the way Americans utilized the earth’s non-renewable resources. Damn, this show is getting good.
Let’s not forget about the evil granny out in Montanny. Last time we saw her (age-spotted hands only) she was busily chopping garlic while ordering a bishop’s assassination. This time we saw her (age-spotted hands only) chopping up some red bell peppers. Either she’s a prep cook or is making the world’s biggest salad. She was on the phone with the Secret Service guys discussing their recent breaking and entering findings. She immediately deduced that Michael got himself sent to prison in order to help his brother and that “obviously something’s up.” Obviously. This woman sees all in her magic vegetable stew… She also ordered the henchmen to act proactively against Michael in an effort to stymie whatever plans he had.
At the prison, Michael had replaced two tubes of toothpaste with the chemical compounds he had gathered. But instead of poisoning Haywire, who was now tearing his hair out over the “pathway patterns” in the tattoo, Michael ran face first into the jail cell bars and yelled for the guards. He pretended Haywire punched him and Haywire was taken away to the looney bin, yelling “Pathways!” This meant that Michael would be getting a new cell mate and it was none other than… Sucre! He somehow managed to get transferred back in because now he wanted to be part of the escape plan – if only to impregnate his fiancée so she wouldn’t leave him for another man. Hey, it’s prison logic, I won’t judge. But Dr. Tancredi will – the prison doctor treated Michael for his self-inflicted head wound and warned him that he was going to get killed. He smiled his cute little smile and asked her out on a date. Hey, it’s prison logic, I won’t judge. But Dr…. OK, not funny. Anyway, she shot down his effort and turned around long enough for Michael to squeeze out his chemicals into the drain on the floor – the one he dropped the origami duck into back in episode one. Everything looked to be back on track for the escape plans, as I can only presume this chemical combo will corrode something to help him later.
Through another grainy flashback, Lincoln explained to Veronica and Mr. Project Justice how he was set up. The evidence was planted in his apartment, the gun with his fingerprints was arranged by some character named Beau who was going to kill LJ, Lincoln’s son. Truth be told, I missed some of the explanation because I was consumed with the thought that freaking Beau from Big Brother 6 was going to play a role in yet another show this year (this would make four). I’m sure we’ll get a clearer story in the future. Up in the general population area, Michael was explaining the whole escape plan to Sucre now. He removed the toilet (again) and noted that the grout he had been corroding was at the point of being weak enough to break. So Sucre started loudly singing to create a ruckus while Michael kicked out the wall behind the toilet. While the prisoners yelled and sang and complained, Michael bang, bang, banged on the wall, and… He broke through! RoboGuard Bellick, now working the night shift, shut everyone up and Michael poked his head into the corridor behind the cells. He could smell freedom now! Nothing could stop him!
Except the Secret Service who had secured his transfer, effective the very next day, to another prison entirely. Oh well.
For those of you haters who can’t get past the inconsistencies and impossibilities but can somehow forgive “24″ for even more egregious errors, here’s a short list of just a few I noticed from this week, to save you the time from commenting:
1) Michael had a toe chopped off in a decidedly non-surgical manner just a few days prior and had no limp whatsoever.
2) The state of Illinois executes via lethal injection, not “the chair.” I know it was only a dream, but still.
3) How did the Secret Service guy glean that Michael was the guy in the picture at Veronica’s and figure out that he was in prison with Lincoln?
4) Copper Sulphate is a salt, while phosphoric acid is a somewhat weak acid. I doubt there would be much of a reaction between the two. There is a possibility the acid could liberate some SO2 which doesn’t stink but is rather suffocating. It won’t kill you but would drive you out of the area because you would get all choked up and your eyes would water… so the fact that Dr. Tancredi treated Michael in the presence of a rather large amount is absurd. (I think.)
Feel free to list more in the comments, not that I have to ask!