est. 1981

Prison Break Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

In Uncategorized on August 22, 2006 at 5:01 pm
Please take a moment to ensure that you watched the season premiere of Prison Break last night. If not, you might want to steer clear of this blog until you’ve had the opportunity…

After a relatively short wait during the Summer (thanks to the World Series, Fox has started having its season premieres in late August / early September instead of November) the fans of Prison Break have been blessed with a beginning to the new season that is a perfect example of the typical Prison Break episode. Yes, that is a compliment.

Mixing equal parts of suspense, action, and puzzle solving, with just smidgen of senseless violence, Prison Break is many shows for many people: it’s Lost for people who don’t want to think too much; it’s the X-Files for people who like occasional answers; it’s Oz for people who like their anal sex implied instead of graphic; it’s the Fugitive for people who don’t like amputees… Whatever your tastes, there’s probably something in there for you. Be it the disturbing charisma of T-Bag, the brainy sexiness of Michael, the brutal and methodical mania of Abruzzi, or the pennance and self-flagellation of Sara, there are a myriad of characters for every viewer to identify with (unless, of course, they decide to kill the character you identify with, but we’ll talk about her in a minute).

But we all know that a show with good characters is nothing without a good story, and the deceptively simple concept of PB has blossomed into brilliantly structured show. Like Lost, we have multiple characters with their own individual desires and goals, but they all had the same major goal: get the fuck out and stay out. And since we are currently following about a dozen different characters, it leaves room for chaos and violence to run rampant and destroy characters whenever it is deemed necessary. This, unlike Lost, allows an extreme level of uncertainty to the characters lives. Whereas on Lost, you often find yourself suffering from a constant rotation of dead people from the background (the obvious exceptions being Boone & Shannon and Ana Lucia & Libby) or threats of death that don’t pan out (Charlie and Claire), PB has no qualms about capping people off left and right.

Case in point: things are looking up for the boys. They’re out, they’ve eluded Bill Fitchner’s character (thank God that Invasion was cancelled, because I’m very happy to see him in the PB cast), and Veronica has found Steadman. We are well on the way to exonerating Linc. Oh wait… that’s not a police car pulling up out front. How’s Veronica gonna get out of – oh shit!

You can take a moment to analyze all the reasons why she had to leave: I’m sure Robin Tunney thinks she has better things to do than TV, and it will further galvanize Michael and Linc, however, the fact of the matter is that Linc and Michael were going to Mexico. Now, they have no choice but to go to Montana (or something of that nature) and finish up what Veronica started. Plus, the season would have ended pretty quickly if Veronica proved Steadman was alive in the second episode.

Which brings me to my second reason for loving this show: width and length of story. About seven months ago, Entertainment Weekly ran an interview with the PB creators where they spoke about the scope of the show once the boys were out. The boys are out, and they’re well on they’re way to getting the money and getting the hell out of the country, which means they’re going to have to split up. The word the creators used to descripe the show after that was “epic”. Now I like epic, and I can’t wait to see what happens after that, but we must note that once that does happen, we’re well on our way to the show ending, and the creators know it. They have fully admitted that they don’t expect the show to go past season 3, maybe 4. And as much as we enjoy the show, it has to end when the story is over, and i respect the fact that they don’t want to fill up five or six seasons of Michael and Linc running.

Now this is not to say that the show is perfect. Like I said, this episode was a prime example of everything that is right as well as everything that is wrong, and there are two major problems with the show that can be very difficult to ignore: Stretching, and Plot Holes.

Stretching is a problem the show ran into about midway through the first season. They were literally a day away from escaping, and then a problem arose. Then they were in the middle of an escape attempt. Then a problem arose. Then they were about to escape again. Then we had a flashback episode. Understandably, the American television season is approximately 24 episodes, and they couldn’t blow their loads too quickly with the escape, but the show could have benefitted more with a longer process of escape instead of a short process that kept getting delayed (the dramatic intensity might have lessened a little, but at least the audience wouldn’t have felt like they were getting jerked around).

There was very little stretching in last night’s episode, an accomplishment which I am always happy to see with PB. Some might argue that the fact that Sara is still alive is stretching, that she OD’d and should be dead, but my response to that is this: rewatch to season finale. The very important word when they found Sara was “possible”, as in “possible D.O.A.” People OD every day, and our nation’s medicine system is quite skilled at bringing them back to life. Now Abruzzi surviving getting his throat slit and T-Bag getting his hand sewn back on (you know it’s gonna happen, it’s just a question of how disgusting it is when it’s re-attached) are a little more far-fetched, but we’ll forgive them their plot holes: I’ll tear those open in a minute. Besides, up to this point, PB seems to be following a redemption = death system: Veronica finds Steadman and dies because of it; Agent Hale helps Veronica and dies; Nick has a change of heart and dies. Lost has a tendency to follow a system similar to this, but it gets a little sloppier when people like Libby die, so we’ll have to exclude them as an example. Basically, if you have a character affirming revelation that changes who you are for the better, like, say, seeing Jesus on the wall, you better expect to have your throat cut. Or maybe you’ll just get one in the brain. Sara hasn’t completely redeemed herself yet, due to the obligation and feelings she has for Michael, so she ain’t going anywhere for a while.

Now we get to plot holes. If there is one thing that defines PB best, it’s the plot holes: How did Michael get four years worth of tatoos in a couple months? What would have happened if he hadn’t been sent to Fox River? What if Sucre weren’t having women troubles? There are so many questions begging to be answered, and this season opener was no exception: how exactly did they get out of the field with the cops and helicopters closing in on them? Suddenly, they’re running through the woods again. Good thing, ’cause otherwise Season 2 would have been pretty damn short. However, excepting these little hiccups, ignoring them, in fact, is an integral part of enjoying the show. This isn’t high art: it’s entertainment, and the perfect example of why the show is the way it is can be seen during every episode, at the very end of the opening credits: “Executive Producer: Brett Ratner”. That’s right kids, the new king of popcorn franchises is helping make this show what it is.

I feel a little dirty every time I see that. But then I realize that no matter what problems I have with the show, I still can’t get enough of it. I cheered when they got over the wall, I cringed when the pipe burned Michael, and I jumped when they lopped of T-Bag’s hand. And I wanted more.

Now that’s entertainment.

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