Prison Break 4.9: "Greatness Achieved"

Due to scheduling conflicts, I would up watching this episode on Election Night, while enmeshed in the endless stream of returns, exit polls, and electoral votes. One might think that it was difficult to pay attention to "Prison Break" with all that excitement. Surprisingly, I think that this episode managed to match the intensity of the evening. It certainly managed to hold my attention.

With the final "slice" of Scylla still in the General's possession, it's time for Michael, the Escape Squad, and their erstwhile allies to make their move. T-Bag's previous office-bound subplot finally ties into the plot in a more substantial way in this episode, providing him with the chance to give the team sufficient cover. Watching him swivel around like a maniac in his chair to mask Michael's attempt at digging was priceless!

The real action, of course, was the plan to gain access to the Company facility, and Michael's health issues along the way. Michael's illness has been building as a concern all season long, and while I'm not sure that the condition is something that would go from nothing to disabling in a matter of a week or so, it works for the dramatic purposes of the story.

The situation goes from bad to worse in a matter of moments, and the net result is the loss of another Escape Squad member. Bellick finally does something this season, sacrificing himself for a good cause, and it's a nice attempt at redeeming a character that has been, to this point, a coward. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that Bellick was ever a character that inspired a shred of sympathy, so his death was simply overdue. (That didn't stop the producers from playing it up as a tragic moment, of course.)

Equally interesting was the drama back at the warehouse, where Agent Self was using basic technology to punk the General and render Wyatt the Assassin obsolete. As amusing as that was, it paled in comparison to the powerful turn in Mahone's vengeance subplot. Mahone finally had the chance to take his pound of flesh and kill the man who murdered his son, and seldom have such just desserts been so disturbing.

It made sense for Agent Self to allow the torture; this secret war doesn't play by the rules, and Self is pragmatic enough to know that. It's a little more surprising for Sara to make the choice to leave Wyatt to his fate. Sara has darkened considerably since her return, and while it challenges Michael into asserting his mercy on occasion, it might also drive a wedge between them. Most of my fear, however, is reserved for Mahone. With that plot thread resolved, I have a feeling that the writers will consider him expendable.

My sense of Gretchen's decision to return to the General was fairly obvious: she intends to use that connection to gain intelligence and facilitate the retrieval of Scylla. At the same time, I have to wonder if she could be convinced to return to the Company fold. After all, even if Gretchen is focused on her own enlightened self-interest to the extreme, that doesn't preclude a good enough offer from the General to sway her back to that side.

There are four episodes left until the mid-season cliffhanger, if this season follows the usual pattern, so we're definitely gearing up for the play on the final piece of Scylla and the break into the Company compound. So far, the season has managed to exceed expectations, and with a few more episodes like this, it could hit the hiatus on a high note.


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