TV Article

Bad Break

On ''Prison Break,'' Lincoln and Michael fail to free Lincoln's wrongly accused son, LJ; meanwhile, the warden takes one for Bellick, and T-Bag murders that nice vet

THE WEAKEST LINC The desperate dad's plan wasn't up to Michael's standards
THE WEAKEST LINC The desperate dad's plan wasn't up to Michael's standards

''Prison Break'': The loyalty trap

Get ready for adventure, kids. The prisoners have gone their separate ways, and while the others are presumably leaving the state, Michael and Lincoln are staying in the neighborhood to free LJ before his trial.

Agent Mahone, who miraculously chose the one tattoo (out of dizzying hundreds) that would lead him to Michael and Co. in the cemetery last episode, didn't make any similarly astounding leaps of logic this time, but he found the brothers nonetheless. And now that he and Michael have made direct eye contact, they are officially adversaries.

Having Lincoln hide from LJ that Veronica was dead was heartbreaking (though not as heartbreaking as the fact that no one is fighting for LJ in a legal way right now). The lie seemed especially dramatic coming so soon after LJ's comic response to Agent Mahone's praise of the ingeniousness of the break: ''Cool; now we're buddies.''

But who knows? If Mahone isn't part of this grand government conspiracy (the CIA is involved, and he is the FBI, and we all know they don't talk much), maybe LJ and Mahone will be buddies down the line. Mahone is obviously a man who wants professional glory, but if he's an honest glory seeker, he'll look into LJ's claim that he was framed once the body count doesn't make sense to him anymore. (I mean, with Veronica going ''missing'' and Nick, LJ's mother, and LJ's stepfather being murdered just as Lincoln's case was being looked into again? A smart man won't accept so many violent deaths as a coincidence. He'll be the first one to track Veronica's plane ticket to Montana.) For now though, Mahone and LJ remain enemies, and nothing emphasizes that quite like Mahone giving LJ a swift kick in the stomach after his failed escape attempt.

During the attempt, Mahone said something odd to Lincoln: ''Give yourself up and your kid can walk.'' For double homicide? Does that mean he already believes that LJ didn't commit the murders? Likely it was just an empty promise, but it was also an unbelievable one.

Since their first attempt at saving LJ was a bust, albeit a pretty brilliant one for a last-minute plan, the brothers will have to track LJ to Arizona now; quite a project when there's a bullet in Lincoln's leg. Obviously, Michael is too smart to take Lincoln to an area hospital, but what's a smarter option? He could go to Tancredi for help again (if she's out of the hospital yet), but the chances of her helping him now that she knows about T-Bag, Abruzzi, and the other escapees is looking pretty slim no matter how sweet a promissory note Michael wrote on his origami. (We already know the warden didn't accept his origami apology.)

Speaking of the warden, his sacrifice for Bellick was shocking. By choosing to quit, he aligned himself with the guard and renounced all loyalty to Michael. And loyalty is so important to this show. And while Geary's coming back to bite Bellick in the ass was satisfying, it was strangely sad to see Bellick's firing and near suicide. Bellick totally deserves to be screwed over — he did take bribes, and he stuck Tweener in a cell with Avocado, after all. But one thing this show does brilliantly is make despicable characters human: Mob boss Abruzzi has killed plenty in his time (and he cut off a couple of Michael's toes in season 1), but he wants to protect his children (awwww). And while Bellick toyed with the safety of his prisoners, he also lives with and presumably supports his aging mother; moreover, he's a recovering addict who helped Dr. Tancredi find her job. Of course, none of the good that comes out of these characters justifies the bad things they've done, and Bellick's decision to go vigilante, while exciting, will no doubt make him a worse man.

As for the escapees' escapades, it was sad to see T-Bag kill that veterinarian, especially after the vet made that adorable comment about peanut butter. I hope T-Bag's use of the navigational system in the vet's car will eventually lead to his being tracked. (Personally, I wonder if the Utah money scheme isn't all part of Michael's plan to have the prisoners rearrested. He did promise Dr. Tancredi in his note that he would make things right.)

Tweener's rocking the ride share to Utah at the college was genius. And though Westmoreland was certainly not Tweener's grandfather, he did go ''out with his boots on'' as the younger man said. If Tweener and T-Bag arrive in Utah at the same time, it will make for an interesting face-off; Tweener is obviously less experienced in violence, but he's a better thief. He's is also younger and is working with an intact set of hands. T-Bag has that freakish lunatic strength, but he doesn't have a gang outside of the prison walls.

Abruzzi does have a network outside of prison, and it could both help and hurt him. Abruzzi, Sucre, and C-Note are all bound to make the mistake of immediately going back to their loved ones, but while Abruzzi could have some helpful cover if he continues to promise to deliver Fibonacci to the Mob, the latter two will not be so lucky. (Though I suppose they're lucky in not owing the Mob any favors.)

Abruzzi's subtly threatening goodbye to Michael was shiver worthy, but he can't possibly know already that Nick Savrinn didn't do his job of obtaining Veronica as a trade-off for his father and that Veronica is already dead. So I wonder how he'll barter with Michael now.

On a less tense note, Michael's backpack with a shirt and tie combo: working.

So what do you think? How will Michael handle Lincoln's gunshot wound? Will future bounty hunter Bellick catch up with Michael or the others? Who would win in a fight between Tweener and an injured T-Bag? And most important, do you like Michael's latest fashion choice?

Originally posted Aug 28, 2006