The hunt for the six pieces of Scylla is moving at a much quicker pace than I would have imagined. I'm beginning to wonder if the writers mapped the current arc out for 13 episodes rather than the usual 22. It's keeping the season from losing its energy thus far, but I'm worried that the writers might run out of juice before the season comes to a close.
I'm still enjoying the new status quo, and this time around, the characters have more variation in their activities. Michael and Lincoln are still focused on the mission first and foremost, but Bellick and Sucre are on the hunt for T-Bag and Mahone is chasing down his son's killer. Meanwhile, Agent Self is getting his hands dirty, and in the process, he's exposing himself to the enemy.
The operation within Homeland Security was a bit too easy; either that, or our counter-terrorism efforts are seriously lacking. The writers did their best to keep the tension high, however, and once the initial suspension of disbelief was managed, it was a fun ride. Two other plot threads, however, made the episode that much better.
Mahone's scene in the diner with his estranged wife was one of the best moments of the fourth season. While Wentworth Miller manages to sell Michael's genius and desperation week after week, it's no match for the broiling intensity that William Fichtner brings to Mahone. I have the feeling that his recent turn may end tragically, which would be a shame. The Michael/Mahone dynamic has not been exploited this season, and if Mahone is the first sacrifice of the season, I'll be very disappointed. I'm not sure the series can survive long without him.
T-Bag's subplot provides a completely different level of entertainment. I love his interaction with the gorgeous and devious receptionist (Shannon Lucio is stunning, to say the least). It's also good to see a timeline imposed on his activities as well. It will practically force him to work with the Escape Squad again, and those conflicts are also worth the wait. I'm a bit disappointed that we haven't seen T-Bag attempting to do his "job", since it would be comedy gold, but I'm no longer waiting for the character to fade into the background.
In contrast, I'm not quite sold on Gretchen's subplot yet. It seems like an unnecessary complication to an already messy situation. Then again, she could be on her way to a semi-redemptive turn similar to the one Kellerman was given in the second season, and that could be interesting. Gretchen could be the wild card of the season.