If there is one thing I should learn to do, it is to quit while I’m ahead. Although if I had to add more than one item to that list I would also include: speaking a new language, how to make my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce, and being able to do a J-turn—each of which is an important skill in its own right. However, for argument’s sake, let’s say that today my lesson should have been to quit while I was ahead. Pop quiz, hot shot, and I failed. I failed miserably.
You see, I watched the first season of Prison Break back in February and I was lukewarm about the show. I found a lot of faults and about midway through it, I was tired of the “close calls” in every single episode. I should have walked away after the first season, but they ended with a flipping cliffhanger. Yeah, I realize this is a ploy to keep audiences watching and I should have known better than that; but damn it, it hooked me (oh, are all the other lemmings jumping off the cliff? Sounds like something I should do to…). So I told myself I would just watch season 2 and stop there. How was I to know that it would also leave me hanging? Fudge. By then, the writing was on the wall and I just had to watch every season. I am such a sheep.
I’m not sure I should even bother with much a synopsis for seasons two through four. The entire series is a cycle. In season one, they break out of prison. Season two finds the convicts on the run and trying to essentially break into a place (in search of buried treasure). Somehow a few of the characters end up in a Panamanian jail at the end of the second season, so we are back to breaking out of the slammer in season three. Oh, and the last season? Everyone is on the run (again) and trying to break into “the company” (a top-secret organization straight out of the dreams of a conspiracy theorist). Out, in, out, in—make up your minds already!
The more I watch Prison Break, the more I wonder whether the character of Michael is a psychopath. The body count stacks up in every season and Michael is not concerned that he is hurting other people in order to achieve his own goals. He also seems really cold and expressionless. It’s a bit creepy and I started to wonder if I shouldn’t be rooting against him. Need I remind you that a kitty was killed in the first season because of Michael’s actions? What a dick.
Of the last three seasons, I thought the second season was the best. Because each of the convicts from the initial escape went their separate ways, it makes for an interesting story as they race for the secret treasure. A shady FBI agent (William Fichtner) is intent to hunt down and kill each of the ex-cons; so it is essentially a large-scale game of cat and mouse.
From there, it started to go downhill. I was quite confused that in the 3rd season, everyone in the Panamanian prison spoke English, that the character of “Sarah” was referred to but never shown in a shot (other than in flashback or from behind, never showing her face), and that the super-spy prisoner Michael is forced to help escape has votive candles in his cell (I guess he just tried to spruce up the place).
Season four was comprised of several “wtf” moments. OK, I enjoy a good heist movie/show—even when it is elaborate and unbelievable—but this job seemed really impossible and unrelenting. For some reason this season opted for the viewers to be told about action rather than actually see it. We hear that the two characters left behind in the Panamanian prison at the end of the third season somehow break out in a massive explosion, though we aren’t shown it. I don’t know, a prison-wide breakout with plenty of fireworks seems like something people would be interested in, but we aren’t lucky enough to watch it happen. [*Spoiler alert*] However, what really irritated me with season four is that the show brought back just about everyone who had supposedly died previously and characters we haven’t seen since season two. It was like one of those awkward family reunions, only without the apple pie. But I watched it (*smacks head*).
I was actually relieved when the final episode concluded. It is possible that I actually cheered—the whole thing is a blur to me at this point. I know I should have stopped watching the show (I can stop any time, you know), but at a certain point I had already invested a decent amount of time in it and I wanted to have closure. I guess the show was decent enough to hold my attention, but there are probably better crime dramas (like Sherlock, Lie to Me, or Castle) and conspiracy shows (like X-Files or Alf ) out there.
Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!
Season 2 score: C+
Season 3 score: C-
Season 4 score: D+
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