Prison Break 4.17: "The Mother Lode"

Every season of "Prison Break" has suffered from a massive mid-season hiatus, thanks to FOX and their inability to think ahead when compiling their fall and spring schedules. Usually, that means that the season hits a mid-season cliffhanger that sustains interest for the fans and sets the stage for the spring run. That's not quite what happened this season, and as a result, the show doesn't come back as cleanly from the hiatus as it could have.

Even with the convenient re-airing of the previous episode before jumping into the new material, I felt a bit lost. "Prison Break" is all about the tightly absurd serialized continuity, and that means that a lot happens that depends on what has come before. In other words, one episode worth of refresher doesn't quite cut it. I spent just as much time in this episode trying to remember the context as I did thinking about what was happening.

That's not the fault of the writers; that's the fault of the network. The story is progressing at a blistering pace, and I'm sure that it will all flow together as intended when re-watched on DVD (or whatever other means might be employed). Even with the context hard to decipher at times, the point of the episode was relatively clear.

Now that Michael and Lincoln's mother has been revealed as alive, it makes sense to put some focus on her motivations and methods. Her attempt on the General was well-done, and her attempt to fool Lincoln into keeping out of the way of her little coup. Based on what has been seen to this point, it makes sense that Christina is trying to take over the Company, so that wasn't much of a surprise. That she is willing to employ methods as heinous as those used by the General is a bit more surprising.

The bottom line appears to be that Michael and Lincoln can't be content with putting Scylla in someone else's hands. Helping their mother take down the General will only put someone else with questionable morals in control of the Company and perpetuate the cycle. Right now, they're not in a position to be ready to work together again, but once they both realize that Christina is not necessarily going to solve their problems for them, that should change. I still think the only way out of this mess is placing Michael in control of the Company.

If there was a weak point to the episode, it was definitely the Michael/Sara adventures. The encounter between the truck driver and the Company operative was predictable and cheesy. It also seems a bit hard to believe that the operative wouldn't slow down when the side door of the trailer burst open, but would come to an abrupt halt once Michael and Sara were on the ground! If he was willing to kill them in the first place, why not just get in the back of the truck and do the deed when they were defenseless?

Minor quibbles aside, it's good to have "Prison Break" back, even if it is just a short concluding run. After so many twists and turns and a resurgent fourth season, I hope the writers can provide a satisfying resolution.


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