“Only my icy blue glare can save me from the nightmarish heat of Death By Saran Wrapâ„¢!”
So okay, everybody up to speed? With the scary Panamanian prison and the chicken foot deathmatches and the heads in boxes and the possibly shady Australians that sound like they’re from London? If not, you should take a few days off and catch up here. Otherwise, off we go with the 5-episode miniseason Fox might as well have called “Oh Thank Christ, We Have A Few Episodes Left Over From Fall So We Don’t Have To Show American Idol 7 Days A Week, At Least For Another Month Or So!” 3.09 Boxed In. We pick up where they left us in the fall, with Michael being led out of Sona. There were two escape attempts in the last couple of days, and Michael is a person of interest, given his reputation as an escape attempter and all. Lechero and T-Bag watch longingly as he and his carefully applied sweat stain are carted away across No Man’s Land. Our goateed friend the Colonel has been replaced by a General (upgrade!), who doesn’t even have so much as a soul patch, although I guess those are some pretty nice sideburns. He’s the one who’s supposed to find out what the hell all that was, with the goddamn helicopters and machine guns and whatnot. Seriously, he implores to Michael, what the hell? Michael, truthfully as it turns out, tells him he doesn’t know who sent the helicopters or why. The General doesn’t believe him, so he shoves Michael into this weird little saran wrap cage in the middle of No Man’s Land. Apparently, if Michael doesn’t cooperate, he will be steamed like so much broccolini. Lechero, watching from his window, says “he’s finished.” And sure enough, that carefully applied sweat stain is growing at an alarming rate. He slides to the ground. Take your shirt off! You can’t even give us tattoos in a heatstroke situation, people?
A bandaged Linc walks out of a hospital with Sofia. She wants to believe everything James says, but that’s really hard to do once you’ve discovered a secret apartment with secret passports and secret identities and shredded documents and hot squinty annoying women purring vague threats at you. Linc doesn’t especially care – he’s just interested in getting Whistler out of Sona, which is what he’s been trying to do every single day for his own reasons. She’s thanking him for all his help when Retchin pulls up and growls at him to get in the car, and Sofia’s like, oh hey, there’s that hot squinty annoying woman again! Linc grudgingly obliges, and Retchin warns Sofia again that it might be in her best interest to just go home.
Gah, Mahone looks like crap. He’s getting dropped off at Sona, again, and Agent Lang tells him he doesn’t deserve to be here. He says that all things considered, yeah, he probably does. She gives him a coin she says belonged to her dad – it kept him safe in the mines every day till he retired. He tries to decline but she does that thing where she says “Give it to me when you get out,” when she really means “Byebye, Lucky Coin! You had a good run!” She gets all huggy and he’s all resigned and sad and hollow-eyed, and honestly, how many more levels of “totally fucking broken” does William Fichtner have? He’s still wearing his Sure Thing Just A Formality Court Hearing suit as he’s marched up to the prison right past Michael, and they exchange steely-eyed glares. They’ve missed each other. Also, I look forward to seeing that suit for the next few episodes.
Mahone: Sadly resigned to his fate? Or drinking in the glorious sight of the hot sweaty nemesis he feared he may never see again?
Retchin yanks a blindfolded Linc from the car. They’re outside the kind of shack one might, for example, keep hostages in. She says this is a favor to him after what happened yesterday. Oh right! When last we saw her, Susan was avoiding answering General Baldy’s “you totally fucked up our cool escape attempt and we have people killed for way, way less” phone call. Presumably she survived the night? And kept her job? Go figure. Anyway, she tells Linc this is incentive, and he’s got one minute. So of course the door opens to reveal LJ, who is totally freaking adorable in his well-worn “white T shirt and duct tape” ensemble. Linc hugs him and it’s all sweet and everything, but Linc’s eyes are darting around the room. LJ warns him not to try anything – they follow Linc everywhere he goes, and also, that bitch is crazy. She cut off Sara’s head, he says. He closed his eyes but he heard it. This makes me want to punch the writers in the face. I mean, the “head in a box as a warning” thing is trite and clichÃ©d and a silly way to get rid of Michael’s primary motivation, but okay, fine. But who beheads people with knives as like, a means of death? You do that after they’re dead, and you do it with a hacksaw and a blue tarp you keep in a duffel bag. This girl is the worst Kellerman ever.
Whistler greets Mahone as he’s shoved into the yard. “Looks like things didn’t go so well,” Mahone observes, noting that Whistler should be gone by now. “So should you,” he responds. Whistler says it’s not over yet, and he feels bad for Michael but there is a way out without him. He gives Mahone his word that he won’t leave without him. Aww. Lechero watches their intimate little chat with narrowed eyes. Bellick asks T-Bag if he’s seen what they’ve done with Michael, out there in that “redneck sauna.” “Wonder if he’s got a tattoo to get out of that one!” T-Bag snarks merrily. Ha. Bellick has seen Michael up there whispering with Lechero and knows he’s got to be cooking something up. T-Bag swears he knows nothing of it. It is at this point that Bellick does that thing where he manages to be a smartass at the exact wrong time. Some guy is puking in the yard, and he says something about too many cocktails. Another guy, I think perhaps the one who was beating puking guy up, thus initiating the puking in the first place, tells Bellick to clean it up. Bellick says that’s not in his job description anymore. We’ve probably seen this guy before, but you’d think I’d remember the Tibetan Monk/ Latrell Sprewell/ John Travolta In That Terrible Scientology Movie thing he’s got going with his hair. He tells Bellick that things have changed, he better do what he’s told. Bellick ignores the threat and shoves the guy, who finds himself stepping right in the aforementioned puke. Uh oh! I smell chicken foot!
Michael still hasn’t taken his shirt off, but he’s handcuffed, so okay, fine. He’s feeling around, trying to find a way out of his redneck sauna, but the woozy video effects tell us he’s getting dizzy.
Sucre hops off a bus at that same ornate concrete staircase where Linc had his Sara-head-flashback-induced breakdown not so long ago. The smuggler guy is there waiting for him, and suggests he sneak this box into Sona for the totally reasonable salary of zero thousand dollars. Sucre is like, “um, no.” But smuggler guy’s handgun says “oh yes you will!” As Sucre checks in to work, he overhears the General telling one of the guards to bring this thimble of water to the prisoner, and Sucre offers to do it for him. Michael takes the water but tells Sucre to go away and not come back. “We all have to quit sometime.” Sucre says nope, not after everything that’s happened, but Michael has reached Mahoney levels of hopelessness and dismisses him sadly.
“OMG I miss you so much, Papi!”
Lechero and Whistler are in the escape tunnel, quibbling about Whistler’s helicopter stunt and trying to dig upwards. It’s not going very well. “We need the engineer,” Lechero declares. He and Whistler sneak back up to the penthouse, narrowly avoiding Sammy, but T-Bag spots Whistler darting off. He ponders this, doing that tongue rolling thing that has given me the heebiest of jeebies since season one.
The General wanders over to give Michael a pep talk. It’s 125 degrees in there. Why doesn’t he come in and have a chat in the air conditioning? Heatstruck Michael says the General doesn’t understand. They can’t stop these people. He can’t help Michael. Oh, but he can! He decided Lechero’s fate and he can decide Michael’s. He starts to walk away, but Michael, with remarkable, possibly sunstroke-induced candor, simply says “from the moment I got here, I’ve been planning my escape.” T-Mac sees them opening the sauna and tells the other window-gazers “he’s talking!” Whistler is unhappy.
Poor Michael realizes that the truth is pretty ridiculous, but hey, might as well give it a shot while there’s a couple of window units pointed at him. “The people who sent the helicopters are the same people who framed my brother.” Yeah, even that relatively innocuous statement sounds silly when you say it out loud. The General agrees – he says if this were true, he’d understand Michael’s trying to save his nephew’s life, and he’d help find LJ, and all would be well, but really? Intercontinental government conspiracies? With helicopters? Michael desperately says it’s the truth and it’s all he has left to give. The General considers.
Linc walks into the hotel room he now shares with Sucre. He tells Linc they’ve got Michael in the Redneck Sauna, but it’s going to be okay. Linc and his comically large biceps disagree about the “okay” part, and he starts to freak out a little.
I know it looks bad, but a few naked chin-ups might make you feel better. I’m just saying.
T-Bag slithers up to Whistler at the window. Whistler seems to have made friends with Lechero, T-Bag observes. He’s acquired a lot of mysterious white guy pals lately. T-Bag doesn’t have a problem with Lechero’s new playmates, but Sammy does. They both know someone has to get Sammy out of the picture, but Whistler is skeptical. T-Bag has someone in mind for the job – someone who owes him. But if he pulls it off, he wants in the club. Whistler chuckles but ultimately tells him they have a deal, even though T-Bag never really mentions what club, so he’s got a huge loophole there. He should probably get something more specific in writing, maybe have it notarized. Instead, though, he just walks out onto the balcony and exchanges the Hairy Eyeballâ„¢ with Sammy, who never liked that stumpy little creep Teodoro in the first place.
Linc and Sucre, like any domestic partnership, are arguing about money. In public. Sucre can’t quit his job at Sona, on account of that girl he knocked up and all, but if Linc could spare him some cash… Linc tells him he doesn’t have any cash, and I’ve just stopped wondering how he’s paying for his hotel room and why he can’t just go fish that duffel bag of hundreds out of the water where Kim tossed it seconds before his awesome demise. Anyway, they don’t resolve anything, just stalk off their separate ways. Hey, don’t go to bed angry, guys. Everybody knows that. But someone’s listening to their conversation. Someone who says into his cellphone “Get me Gretchen.” Dun!
Back at Sona, the General has done some research and is surprised to find that Michael’s crazy story might actually have some truth to it. Surely the guy Michael’s supposed to break out can clear this up, right? The General’s only been around for this one episode, so he doesn’t know that there is a zero percent chance that will solve anything at all, and a pretty high probability of making everything much worse. Michael hesitates, because he’s seen this show before, but ultimately gives up Whistler’s name after the General promises he’ll find LJ.
Whistler, meanwhile, is at the visitation fence getting the third degree from Sofia. He tells her gently that the passport, the apartment, all of that is for the two of them, so they can run off to France like they’ve always wanted. “How can I believe you?” she pleads tearfully. Before he can answer he’s interrupted by a guard and his enormous gun, presumably there to drag him off to the General, so all he can say is “just know that I love you.” Sofia does not look especially satisfied with this answer.
The General confronts Whistler with Michael’s story, but Whistler’s all “who, me? Heavens no! I haven’t the faintest idea!” The General is not in the mood. He knows it’s all true, he just needs to know who’s in charge on the outside. After a few attempts to drag Retchin’s name out of Whistler, he has a big scary chair type device brought into the interrogation room. This chair looks like it can probably be very persuasive in these sorts of situations, especially because it comes with a rag, a bucket, and a hose. Looks like Panama has its own rich tradition of waterboarding. How topical!
Mahone and his suit are watching a soccer match in the yard when T-Bag approaches with his offer. “It involves you, a chicken foot, and a guy who’s got it coming.” Heh. If Mahone could just get Sammy in the ring and do that neat FBI neck-snapping thing then T-Bag will cover all of his “medical expenses.” Mahone is on the verge of tears, and T-Bag says he’ll give him some time to think about it. “You’re the best cock in the fight.” He whispers. Huh huh. “Don’t let me down.”
“If my commanding Ricardo Montelban baritone doesn’t break you, my magnificent nostrils will!”
Wikipedia tells me that CIA agents who volunteer to undergo waterboarding last about 14 seconds. Whistler, in a remarkable but not entirely unexpected display of pussitude, lasts zero. All they do is recline the chair back and he admits to working with Scofield, but won’t admit there’s anyone else involved. The General drags Whistler out and sits him on the bench next to Michael, who’s sitting under the exact same world map I used to have in my kitchen. The General is a member of the National Geographic Society! Anyway, Whistler won’t confirm Michael’s story, but Michael has a trump card: “Ask him about that woman he’s been meeting with.” Whistler’s all “it’s not what you think!” but Michael doesn’t care – he just knows Whistler knows her name, and the fact he’s not admitting it makes him look pretty dirty. He finally relents: “Gretchen Morgan.”
Speaking of Retchin, she cozies up to Sucre at the same bar she met Linc. Which was like last week. Damn, these are some busy people. Anyway, she has a proposition for him: Linc causes more problems than he solves, and she’ll give Sucre fifty grand to stick around for awhile and be her mole. Sucre is tortured and says he doesn’t know. Retchin wrinkles her nose in a way that is almost charming and says she thinks he does.
Whistler doesn’t have any more information on Retchin, like how to find her in this huge city. But Michael knows how. He’ll just need to borrow a phone please. He calls Linc, tells him everything’s fine, and hurriedly asks when and where he’s meeting her next. Why, he’s off to meet her in an hour, as a matter of fact, at the Garfield Price Building. (On the subject of Garfield, I have only this to say.) Michael wants Linc to give her a message: Everything’s going as planned. Linc is confused and annoyed but gets nothing else out of Michael.
In the yard, we see Sammy surreptitiously retrieving a package from a crate of vegetables. Bellick slips into his cell, and I’ll give you six guesses what chicken part is on his bed. It is not, in fact, a tangy delicious Buffalo Wing, but the Foot of Doom, thrown down by Hair Extensions Guy, who has been waiting around for this moment so he can glare menacingly at a scared-shitless Bellick. Man, Scared Shitless Bellick always makes me angry because dammit, I refuse to feel sorry for him, but he’s such a sad sack loser that I am always tempted to. “Stumpy, wait your turn, man!” Sammy scolds T-Bag as Bellick rushes into the penthouse to plead his case, which, ha, stumpy. Anyway, Sammy tells Bellick tough shit, the foot is down, the fight goes on. Lechero overhears this and wonders when Sammy decided he had that kind of authority. Probably right around when the Colonel totally emasculated you in front of your entire prison regime, would be my guess. “It’s not your place” he tells Sammy. “Well maybe it should be,” Sammy replies. Oooh, that right there is a more chicken-foot-worthy gesture than Bellick’s.
The General gets a phone call: Retchin has arrived, and he’s on his way. Again, I must stress that there is absolutely no way this is going to result in anything good. Meanwhile, Sucre ducks into the hotel room. “What happened?” Linc asks him. “It worked! She came up to me just like you said.” You two crazy kids with your doublecrossing and your playacting! They confirm that they’ll just “stick to the plan,” but Sucre’s expression tells us that a triplecross is not out of the question.
Mahone is freaking out. I should just go ahead and make a macro for that sentence, because oh my god, Mahone loves him some freaking out. Anyway, T-Bag takes full advantage of his misery by tossing some heroin at him and revisiting the subject of neck-snapping as it relates to chicken feet and Sammy. Mahone, literally convulsing, angrily spits out, between spasms, to leave him alone. T-Bag reminds him that withdraw could actually kill him, and it won’t be pleasant. “See you on the other side,” Mahone snits convulsively.T-Bag, class act that he is, not only shoves him to the floor, but literally kicks him while he’s down. He hisses that when the diarrhea and puking start, Mahone better not come running for him. He leaves, and Mahone desperately grabs for Agent Lang’s coin, clutching it to his chest it to his chest like a talisman. Or a locket containing Michael’s discarded hair clippings.
Linc arrives for his meeting with Retchin. They snap at each other about how shitty everything has become for both of them, with Retchin having the nerve to say that Michael keeps screwing things up. Linc makes the very good point that he’s doing a whole lot more than her guys are. I mean, holy shit, people, give a guy some credit! Suddenly, the General himself strolls right into the bar and hauls her away. Poor Linc desperately screams “I had nothing to do with this!” over and over as the General and his guys disappear with Retchin in tow.
In the General’s interrogation room, Retchin is all “why officer, I’m just a vacationing social studies teacher, what on earth are you talking about?” I think she’s doing a decent job, but he obviously thinks she’s as good an actress as many Prison Break viewers do. He yells for the hose. Ruh roh! Hold your breath, Retchin!
Bellick is getting rrrready to rrrrrumble. He’s poking around some painting supplies, and seems to find what he’s looking for. He wraps his knuckles in cloth and shoves some tissue up his nose, then marches out into the ring.
Susan/Gretchen is strapped to the chair, and she’s dropped the “who, me?” act but still isn’t talking. She sort of lies back and waits for it. This ain’t her first barbecue, people, and the General knows it. This time they follow through with the waterboarding, which is way, way less fun than the imaginary summer pastime the name suggests. Also? more Saran Wrapâ„¢! She does much, much better than Whistler. After what I suspect is more than fourteen seconds, she’s brought back up gasping and gagging but still denies everything. The sight of an attractive brunette withstanding water torture makes me miss Sara AND Kellerman. Sigh.
Turns out “waterboarding” doesn’t have anything to do with surfing at all. Go figure!
The General brings Michael and Whistler into the room and asks if she knows them. She says she doesn’t, but Michael reminds her that she’s been to visit Whistler at Sona. He asks Whistler if she’s the one who set up the escape and he hesitates but ultimately says yes. Gretchen finally gives up LJ’s location, which I’m sure is totally where he actually is and not a trap at all. She claims not to know anything about an escape – she’s just the babysitter, working for someone higher up. She’ll take them to the hostage. Yeah, I’m sure she totally, totally will. As he’s led out, Michael asks her “Was it you? Did you kill Sara?” Retchin says she has no idea what he’s talking about. “I’m coming for you,” he promises, which isn’t as dirty as it looks on paper, and okay, I guess I could get used to Hot Angry Vengeful Michael.
Bellick, meanwhile, is not doing so great himself. Hair Extensions Guy is beating the hell out of him, but he manages to lunge forward and kind of shove him in the face. Hair Extensions guy kind of loses his composure and Bellick is able to get the upper hand, knocking him to the ground and ultimately killing him with a well-placed uppercut. Bellick is kind of horrified to see that he’s killed a guy with his bare hands, but then he realizes he’s totally not dead, and also, everyone’s cheering for him. “Yeeeahhhh!” he bellows triumphantly. T-Bag retrieves one of his discarded knuckle-wraps and sniffs it. Which is the sort of thing T-Bag likes to do, sniff things creepily, but this is actually detective work. Obviously Bellick has soaked the rags with turpentine or some other solvent bored 14-year-olds like to huff (acetone, according to a quick blue flashback). Well played, Bellick! Honestly, Michael didn’t even think of that one. T-Bag confronts him but Bellick says nothing. T-Bag lets it go and saunters off, realizing he’s just found his new assassin.
The General, his driver, and Retchin pull up at what actually is the place we last saw LJ. “I’m sorry,” she keeps saying as he opens the door to reveal absolutely no adorable teenage hostages. Before he can say “What the hell?” he’s got a fashionable pointy boot right to the gut, and she dispatches the driver just as easily, with a cool secret belt-buckle shiv to the neck. She snags his gun and shoots everybody for good measure, then unlocks her handcuffs and calls for help.
Sammy meets with Augusto, Sucre’s drug smuggler, at the visitation fence. He thanks him for the cigars, but Sammy obviously hasn’t opened the package. It’s not cigars, it’s something that might come in handy with Sammy’s power struggle with Lechero. “Lechero’s days are numbered. You know what you need to do.”
A police officer drives up to where Michael and Whistler are still being held. “What happened to the General?” Michael asks, in a way that suggests he already knows the answer. Found murdered this morning (did we lose a night somewhere?), and he and Whistler are going back in. “I’m sorry to hear that” Michael says. “He seemed like a nice man.” Well, aside from the torture thing, yeah, he was. RIP, General! You never even got a proper nickname. Once inside, Michael borrows Lechero’s phone to call Linc, who we know Gretchen called right after she killed the General, but we don’t know what was said. Linc is annoyed; he just talked to LJ and he’s fine, but Susan is unhappy. He says Michael could have gotten LJ killed, but Michael says as long as they have Whistler, they’re good.
Michael confronts Whistler in his bunk. He thinks this is exactly what Whistler wanted. “You let the fox into the henhouse.” He thinks the only reason Whistler gave up Gretchen was so she’d swoop in and pull him out of the fire. He reminds Michael that Michael wanted him to give her up, which, yeah, good point. Whistler says it doesn’t end with her, and Michael’s like, yeah, I know, don’t you worry, but how the hell do you know? Whistler just asks if he’s going to go through with the plan. He will, because he has to, but once they’re out he considers him collateral. That’s two appearances by Hot Angry Vengeful Michael! Badass!
In his cell, Sammy is tired of random guys giving him shit for Lechero’s incompetent management style. He opens his cigar box and takes out the handgun inside, loads it, and stalks off determinedly.
So yay, four more episodes till it’s gone for who knows how long. Is there something Sucre’s not telling Linc? Is there something Linc isn’t telling Michael? What the hell, ultimately, is the deal with Whistler already? Let’s see how much they can clear up in the next four weeks!