September 3, 2008

TV Review: Prison Break - Season 4 Premiere

The fourth season of Prison Break is here. It premiered with its first two episodes, "Scylla" and "Breaking and Entering," and seems to be all set for another season of action peppered with conspiracy theories and spiced with thoughts of revenge. That said, I am not sure the name Prison Break really applies any more, also, how far can this concept be taken before it has run its course? Do not get me wrong, I am a fan of the show and I like the characters, I just think that it may be time to perhaps think about making a spin off featuring the primaries, calling it something else. Well, that is neither here nor there. On to the premiere.

The new season does not take long to get going. We pick up the story not long after the events of the season three finale. The remaining escapees and survivors of the first three seasons are off in a multitude of directions. Mahone is hooked up with Gretchen and The Company, Lincoln and LJ are still in Panama, T-Bag is on the hunt for Michael, Michael is on the hunt for Gretchen, Sucre and Bellick are trying to get back to loved ones, and they are all on a collision course for each other.

The speed with which everything moves in the two hour premiere (well, two one hour episodes run back to back) makes you think that another writer's strike is in the offing. Of course that is not going to happen, but man, do they ever move quick. No time is wasted in getting out protagonists back together, old bad guys out of the way, plot devices switched over and a new reason for them to work together in place. By the time it was all over, my head was spinning.

The plot, such as it is, has Scofield and his crew and now in the charge of Homeland Security Agent Donald Self (Michael Rapaport), who wants them to steal data from a highly secured location that will help take down The Company. The cost? Freedom for all of the wanted felons involved.

All right, I'll buy that. It doesn't strike me as much of a prison break, but it could prove to be an exciting season. I only hope that they slow it down some, allow some of it to sink in rather than bludgeoning us with everything all at once. Everything that happens in these first two episodes could have been nicely fleshed out over an entire season. I guess they have bigger plans than just stealing some data.

Now, beware of spoilers, but in these two hours we have the death of Whistler, the death of Gretchen, the birth of Sucre's baby, T-Bag and a little cannibalism, the revelation that Sarah is still alive, The Company finding Linc in Panama, the theft of some important data, the data is revealed as unreadable, Michael and Sarah are reunited, everyone is arrested, everyone is brought together in one room, they are joined by another felon, they are forced to wear tracking bracelets, they stake out the bad guys house, the use the maid to find the data, have to break in anyway, find they don't have all they need, and probably some other things I am forgetting. Oh yeah, how could I forget Michael getting his body tattoo lasered off, without anesthesia (I guess Miller has intentions of doing some topless work this season, he never did like the body suit tattoo thing he had to wear. You ever notice how often he had long sleeves on? Outside of Fox River, the tat is little more than a conversation piece).

Whew, let me catch my breath for a minute........ Okay.

You know, it was not a bad premiere, just a little too much too fast, and now I sound like a broken record. I like the character of Michael Scofield, Wentworth Miller plays him with nice blend of confidence, intelligence, and vulnerability. I also always loved Robert Knepper's T-Bag, the dude is seriously creepy and his line about the Mexican food? Priceless. The whole ensemble is quite strong and varied enough not to become boring.

I am interested in the rest of the season, I just hope they tone the pace down a little bit.


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