TV Article

The Fed's Ex Delivers

On ''Prison Break,'' Michael digs up dirt on Mahone with the help of the agent's former wife; plus, Bellick tries to get T-Bag to lend him a hand

GARDEN-VARIETY SOCIOPATH It turns out Mahone is a lyer
GARDEN-VARIETY SOCIOPATH It turns out Mahone is a lyer

''Prison Break'': Michael strikes back at Mahone

Typically, I am not a person who suspends her disbelief much. I scream at romantic comedies when the leading man does something impossible for love like bring a parade down his jaded ex-girlfriend's block. In thrillers, I tear out my hair when the hackers guess the proper codes or the negotiator manipulates just the right weakness with a corny line to the hostage taker just before the bomb goes off. And yet, I find that for Prison Break, I can roll with almost anything. I think the show's earlier ingenuity bought it some crazy points.

So I'm fine with the fact that wanted criminal Michael could rent a car with a fake ID that totally wasn't lost in the river rapids, while his brother got recognized just sitting in a car outside of a diner. And I'm fine with the fact that T-Bag didn't figure out that of course she doesn't live there anymore. And that Linc refuses to disguise himself better by, say, growing a beard instead of keeping his face in constant stubble. Let's face it, other shows are equally improbable, and they're boring. So let Prison Break have its absurdly evil government, its lost treasure, its convenient convenience and amazing timing and superfast interstate travel.

On to this episode, which I will only lightly mock because I love this show.

It opened with Michael following yet another tattooed plan: finding something he buried under a cactus in an arboretum. While he didn't get the goods (and it wasn't explained why he needed so much explosive fluid), he did escape, thanks to a lucky guess that no arboretum volunteer could possibly be as jacked as that fed who was mock gardening near the target cactus.

Turns out Mahone (who has done quite a bit of mock-gardening himself) accessed Michael's hard drive, and thus a good portion of his secret plans. So Michael made a point to learn as much about Mahone as Mahone knows about him.

I know a lot of message-board posters are going to take issue with the ease with which Michael found Mahone's ex-wife's name and address, but with the right database and a credit card, you can find that information, even if it won't be as clearly laid out on one page as it was in this episode.

Michael's FBI-impersonating visit to the former Mrs. Mahone turned up some very useful information. First off, Mahone wasn't always a pill-popping crazy; he became one when the Shales trail ''went cold'' and he took to pouring odiferous lye all over his backyard. Then he told his wife he wanted a swift divorce. Hmm. It's obvious that Mahone wanted to protect his family and so pushed them away. But did he just want to push them away from the dead body in the garden? Or did he want to push them away from the life of murderous indentured servitude that he knew he would soon be forced into? I'm eager to learn when and why Mahone adopted the ''sometimes things happen that are just out of your control'' mantra.

As for the big phone-call scene between Michael and Mahone, I have an issue with the show's editors, who suddenly seem to think the audience is stupid. When Michael phoned to psych out Mahone (using Mrs. Mahone's cell phone), the flashback to just minutes before when Mahone circled Gila on the map was completely superfluous. I mean, thanks for the birdbath flashback — that explained a cryptic scene in an earlier episode — but I think we all knew what Mahone meant when he said, ''It may be sooner than you think.'' (Also, is Gila that prominent on a U.S. map?)

Luckily, Sara is as good with a pen as the feds are with their computers. She deciphered nearly all of Michael's message. (High five to any viewer who phoned information and asked for the Sundown Hotel listing in every state.) Unluckily, Mahone knows where she is, thanks to Kellerman, who gave him a heads-up. (Kellerman did hide that info from Mr. Kim. Does that mean he still might be on Sara's side?)

Fortunately for C-Note, he had plenty of people on his side. He is the only prisoner who still has a network of helpers, and that's why he was able to reunite with his wife and daughter. Well, that and some superiorly sloppy work by the feds. They didn't take the girl out of school ahead of time? They didn't have the wife wear a wire in case C-Note himself didn't meet up with her? (And the school practically facilitated the kid snatching; dudes can just run in and out of there.) As happy as the reunion was, C-Note's wife asked the question that's on everyone's mind this episode: What do we do now?

Just when viewers (okay, me) realized that if LJ got shot while on the run, Linc would have no one, bam, LJ got hit by a car instead. Then the two fellas were arrested. So what now? Are they going to have to break out again? At least if LJ died, we'd be spared his and Linc's awkward bonding. Their discussion of sex and waitresses' asses was cringe worthy. And you know that he meant ''know about girls'' in the carnal sense. Ick. Shudder.

Speaking of ick, it seems that T-Bag might lose his hand again. If he only had Michael's credit card and Internet-searching skills, he could have had Mrs. H's real address in no time and avoided Bellick. (Though then he wouldn't have been able to deliver this great line: ''I couldn't possibly expect a grown man who still lives with his mama to understand the machinations of love.'') In spite of myself, I did feel sorry for T-Bag when Bellick revealed that the prison guards had read all of his love letters.

So what do you think? Is Mahone crazy to dig up the body in his yard now? Will Michael have to come up with yet another escape plan for Linc and LJ? And where will C-Note go now?

Originally posted Oct 31, 2006
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