Not meaning to beat around the bush, let me just say that I love Prison Break, and this week's episode was the best so far this season. I really expect the rest of season 4 to be as good, if not better, than this episode, and in particular I can't wait for next week's installment.
So why was this episode so good? Well for me it felt like a return to form for the show, with the break-in reminding us all of the great episodes of past seasons in Prison Break, particularly season 1. The "break-in" has been alluded to throughout this season, and you really felt that it would make or break the season, in the same way that season 1's break out, a masterpiece in television, provided a perfect climax to a terrific climax. Had the break-out been poor Prison Break wouldn't be the show it is now.
So the pressure was on for the "break-in" to deliver. And for me, it did. There was genuine tension as Sucre fumbled about on the ladder leading up to Scylla; a laugh out loud moment (for me) when the General sees Michael about to grab Scylla. For me, everything just seemed to 'work'. Having none of the characters talk for the duration of the break-in really gave things an added intensity, particularly when Sucre nearly falls off the ladder. For probably the first time this season I actually liked the use of Michael's illness. It really felt like Michael was being attacked by his illness, and you really admired him for sacrificing his health for the good of the group.
I thought the opportunity to tie this break-in into the original prison break was missed by the writers. What I would liked to of seen would be brief flashbacks to season 1 at moments like when Sucre is praying the car, at this moment if it had briefly flicked back to Sucre and Michael becoming friends in Fox River, or when Michael, Linc, Sucre and Mahone are about to break-in, a flashback to the escape out of Sona, or when Michael and Lincoln hug, a series of flashbacks to the brothers in Fox River and on the run together. For me, that would have neatly tied things to the previous seasons of the show, and remind us of the complex pasts these characters share.
There was a lot going on in this group outside of the break-in, with the Chinese returning to try and claim Scylla, who end up taking Agent Self and T-Bag's receptionist (who is actually working for Self) prisoner. This was orchestrated by T-Bag and Gretchen, who seem like they are coming out on top out of all this Scylla business, planning to steal Scylla from Michael and sell it to the Chinese. Meanwhile the Company have been alerted to the break-in and are on their way to apprehend Michael and co. If Michael tries to escape through T-Bag's office he will be killed, if he stays the Company will get him. So what is going to happen next episode? With Self out of the way, it's really hard to know what will happen next to the group.
And remember that the General still has the sixth card, which Gretchen failed to steal. It was pretty entertaining to see Gretchen try and seduce the General, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe looked amazing and it was a nice change for the character, oh and we also learn that the General's real name is Jonathan, and that he's the father of Gretchen's child. How interesting...
I'm not really sure how I feel about bringing the Chinese back into the forefront of the story. It definitely complicates an already complicated story. However as long as the writers have a clear idea of what part they will play in the Scylla plot, I think they can be a good addition to the season. It is nice to see that other powerful organisations exist outside of the Company, and that the General and the Company are not invincible (which they have sometimes seemed liked in the past). And now that we have learnt a great deal about the ins and outs of the Company, it's nice to have a new mystery introduced into the show.