Against all odds, "Prison Break" has found redemption in its fourth and potentially final season. After the disappointing third season failed to live up to the promise of a more harsh prison environment, there was little expectation that the writers could mine the concept for more gold. This season has been a pleasant surprise all around, and this episode continues the hot streak.
I've never liked Roland. He served a narrative purpose by giving the Escape Squad a simple means of copying five out of the six parts of the Scylla database, but it never felt like betrayal was far from his mind. Sure enough, in this episode, he turns his back on the rest of the team and attempts to cash in with Wyatt the Company Assassin. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to understand what the Company is willing to do. Maybe he should have listened to Michael and the others a little more closely.
His absence will not be missed, and his betrayal will be better remembered for giving Mahone a chance to beat Wyatt to a pulp. The writers do toss out a plot convenience in the end; Wyatt's survival only makes sense if the writers need him around for some plot twist down the road. Michael retains his compassion, but the others generally don't. I'm sure Agent Self would have happily massaged the situation to cover up Wyatt's demise at Mahone's hands.
The most important element, however, is how the game has changed in the space of a single episode. Now the Company is aware that the Escape Squad is after Scylla. That means Michael can't simply think on offense and let defense attend to itself. The Company is going to fight harder and make getting that last piece of the puzzle nearly impossible. A great challenge to Michael and his genius, but more so to his limited ability to adapt.
The fact that there are now casualties raises the stakes. Frankly, I think there should have been more leading up to this, and Bellick remains on my short list. (The character needs to do something to justify his existence.) Sucre doesn't die, but Roland does, and there's plenty of potential for consequences when working with T-Bag and Gretchen. This Asian connection is certainly going to be a problem.
I also found the Sara/Gretchen confrontation to be a great moment for the season. Gretchen has been living in a world where it's always "just business", but Sara has only been on the receiving end. It should be interesting to see if Sara's surprising show of force continues, and what Michael thinks of the change.