When Prison Break is finally done and dusted, I imagine that episodes such as this week's 'Blow Out' will soon be forgotten by fans. That's not to say it's a particularly bad episode; it's just a little short of the standard set out by Prison Break episodes of seasons past.
My main problem is that very little happens in this episode that upsets the current storyline, or changes relationships amongst the characters. Why is this such a bad thing? You see this episode had the potential to really mix things up for the characters, but sadly didn't. Two storylines really disappointed:
So Mahone is arrested whilst aiding Michael. Now this could have led to a number of different new storylines for Mahone. He could have been killed by Wyatt. He could have been returned to prison. Instead he is freed by Michael + co, and returns to his position, as one of the team working against the Company. So nothing has changed for Mahone. Similarly, Wyatt confronts Agent Self. Now this could have led to Wyatt killing Self, forcing him out of his job, or taking Self prisoner, to find out what he knows about the Company. Instead he delivers a warning... not exactly the most exciting outcome from that confrontation, is it? Also it's barely believable, given Wyatt's swift treatment of Self's colleague last episode.
All in all this episode just seemed to be killing time, developing the plot for later, more exciting episodes. And there are plenty of storylines in the works that are introduced or developed in this episode: Roland's possible betrayal of the group, Gretchen's alliance with T-Bag, a further mention of Self's love interest. And of course with another Scylla card discovered, we edge closer to the 'break in', that will surely be this seasons finale.
Revealed in this episode is part of Gretchen's past, and we now learn she has a child. This seemed like a good opportunity to show us the human, compassionate side of Gretchen, but we really didn't see enough of her with her daughter. It was only when she left we saw any feeling she had for her daughter. Personally I question whether or not it's a good idea to develop the character of Gretchen, or whether she should be included in this season at all. But if they are going to bring her in as a main character, they need to convince us of her human side.
With the emphasis on Mahone and Gretchen this episode, little time is spent on Sara, Michael and Lincoln, and even the tokenistic reference to Michael's mysterious illness was omitted. Personally I think that Lincoln's significance has rapidly decreased since the end of Season 2, and I don't see there being that much more development of that character this season. Lincoln is at his most likable when interacting with LJ, which is unfortunate since it seems that LJ won't feature this season. That leaves Michael and Sara, whose extremely complex relationship needs attention each episode, as it is always going to be changing, and always under intense pressure. Although I see the merit of developing different characters, due attention must be paid to the lead characters.
What I haven't really mentioned so far is T-Bag, who leaves his job at GATE, only to be confronted by Gretchen as he makes his escape. The prospect of T-Bag and Gretchen working together is extremely interesting, and could be great for the show, but as I have said before, it is really pushing it for us to believe that T-Bag would rather get revenge against Michael than take a new life abroad with the 'nun' from Sona.
All in all, this episode, whilst not being particularly special or outstanding, was still enjoyable to watch, and shows positive signs for the rest of Season 4. The Wyatt-Mahone relationship is becoming one of the most interesting aspects of this season, and as things continue to escalate, we have to ask ourselves if Mahone will survive