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Prison Break: Season 2

Prison Break: Season 2

The Last Dragon

What He said:

Last we saw our group of aspiring escapees, they did actually get out of Fox River State Penitentiary. This surprised me. I know the show is about escaping from prison, but I didn’t expect it to happen at the end of the very first season. I knew they couldn’t and probably wouldn’t drag the premise out forever, but they threw me for a curveball having them break out by the conclusion of the very first season.  It was a bold move and I give them credit for it; because I know I was dying to know where season two would go.

This season focuses on a few different things. First is their escape itself. Sure, they got out of prison, but they are on the run and trying to evade the authorities. It’s not as if the cops just call it quits once they get out. It’s all hand son deck. After that, the next goal on their agenda is the pursuit of Westmoreland’s (Muse Watson) money. If you remember from last season, it turns out he is mythical thief D.B. Cooper. This is where things get particularly interesting, because most of them want it for themselves. The final component of the season is the continuing war with The Company, the mysterious group that framed Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) for the murder of Terence Steadman (Jeff Perry).

Prison Break: Season 2

Michael, Lincoln, Sucre, C-Note, T-Bag, and Abruzzi make a break for a van that Abruzzi’s men (remember he’s a mob boss) had stashed in the woods somewhere along their escape route. They tell Tweener (Lane Garrison) to take a hike for his betrayal (he was forced to spy on his fellow inmates by the head prison guard). They also ditch Haywire (Silas Weir Mitchell), because he’s simply nuts and puts them all at risk for getting caught with his erratic behavior. Nobody in the group is crazy about T-Bag (Robert Knepper) either, but T-Bag being T-Bag manages to weasel, slither, and manipulate is way into the group.

Bellick (Wade Williams) is absolutely fuming about the escape. At the end of last season, he got wind that they were trying to escape (courtesy of Tweener), and as a result they had to tie him up and keep him in an underground tunnel. When he is discovered and freed, the first and only thing on his mind is catching them. He basically asks for his shotgun and takes off after them. He doesn’t stop to think or breathe and goes right after the escapees without any consideration for anything else.

Warden Henry Pope (Stacy Keach) isn’t too happy either. The Pope took an interest in Michael because of his untraditional background (for an inmate). Michael helped him out with a special project that is supposed to be a surprise anniversary gift for his wife. When Michael (Wentworth Miller) betrays that trust by breaking out of Fox River, The Pope is livid. He sends Bellick and the rest of his men after the Fox River 8, which is what they’ve become known as since their escape.  

Prison Break: Season 2

A new adversary they face this year is FBI Special Agent Alexander Mahone (William Fichtner). Mahone is a very interesting character. Besides the fact that he has some insane detective skills, he’s got something else going on. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that he is obsessed with catching these guys and not simply because he’s an FBI agent. Mahone’s intelligence and perception seem to rival Michael’s. Every turn they make, he’s there waiting for them.  He is either a genius, has low latent inhibition, like Michael, or has some other similar personality trait that makes him extremely perceptive. He also has a very compelling backstory. The only thing I will say about that is that it revolves around the one case that he never solved. Oscar Shales is a serial killer who got away and has haunted him ever since.

The Pope, Bellick, and Mahone cross paths very early on. Once the men go beyond the boundaries of the country, the FBI takes over the case, much to the chagrin of The Pope and Bellick. Bellick refuses to stop looking for them. He was humiliated by them and wants revenge (not necessarily justice). Bellck and Mahone’s paths cross again down the line, but in a different way.

Prison Break: Season 2

*Minor spoiler alert* Bellick gets fired from his job at the prison. If you know anything about him, you know he’s a crooked as the inmates he watches over. Well that finally catches up to them when the authorities start investigating the inmates escape; and the fact that he was getting money and favors from inmates comes out. This is where the character takes an interesting turn. We’re used to see him as an alpha male. He’s not necessarily the toughest guy in the world, but he’s the head prison guard, and that comes with a certain amount of power. He’s also not afraid to get his hands dirty. But when the character is fired from his job, he’s totally lost. He is forced to reinvent himself a few times. First, he decides to become a bounty hunter of sorts and attempt to capture the Fox River 8 (there is a huge reward for them). Later on, while still hoping to collect money for their capture, he becomes muscle for Mahone. This is totally off the record and plays into what I mentioned earlier about Mahone having an unhealthy interest in capturing the escaped inmates.  

Michael, Lincoln, Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar), and Abruzzi (Peter Stormare) eventually manage to ditch T-Bag. They get new clothes and some pocket money, all thanks to Michael’s ridiculous planning skills, and part ways. Michael and Lincoln try to rescue Linc’s son, LJ, who has been framed for murder by The Company. Abruzzi goes back to the mafia. Sucre is hell-bent on reuniting with the love of his life, Maricruz, who is slated to marry his weasel of a cousin. C-Note’s first priority is to get his wife and kid and flee the country. T-Bag, of course, becomes a drifter or sorts, killing people along the way. The guy just can’t help himself. He’s a natural born killer.

Prison Break: Season 2

When Lincoln and Michael try to rescue LJ, they come face-to-face with Mahone and are forced to retreat. They spend various parts of the season trying to reunite with JL, as well as contact Dr. Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies). Sara was the doctor at Fox River, but was fired because of her role in helping Michael escape. Like Michale, Lincoln, and LJ, she is now a target of The Company; because of the fact that Michael cares about her.

Speaking of The Company, Michael and Linc, in addition to trying to rescue LJ and help Sara, spend their time trying to dodge them. Agent Paul Kellerman (Paul Adelstein) is still after them. He’s been in the bad graces of The Company and instead of reporting directly to (now) President Caroline Reynolds (yeah, The Company is that powerful) now reports to some new operative named Bill Kim (Reggie Lee). These two do not get along despite being on the site and it makes for some great tension.

C-Note and Sucre have varying degrees of success with their agendas. They find their loved ones, but being able to stay with them and live normal lives is difficult when you are an escaped convict.

Prison Break: Season 2

Tweener and Haywire had surprisingly interesting little side stories. They were easily the least relevant characters of the escapees, so when they were kicked out of the group, I figured their storylines would fizzle. I have to say, I was really surprised how they wrapped them up. They are both pretty sympathetic characters by the time their stories wind down – and Haywire in particular made for some hilarious moments.

Abruzzi goes back to the mob and plans to use his connection to the mob to flee the country with his wife and kids. Something is eating away at him though. He is obsessed with finding and killing the man who testified in his case, which led him to be put behind bars. His conflict is pretty damn interesting to watch.

T-Bag resumes doing what he did that got him put into jail in the first place – killing people. This guy is a chameleon. He is charismatic, a clever thief and blends in well. He’s like a kid in a candy store to be honest. He just loves the fact that he is free to do all the disgusting things he loves. Robert Knepper is truly fabulous in this role. I remember reading an interview with Knepper when the show on. It talked about how demented the character was and how much fun Knepper had playing him. I remember the character was a pretty big deal in the TV world at the time and I can see why. He’s a terrible person, but tremendously entertaining to watch. He’s pretty fascinating too. The more you get to know about his backstory, the more interesting he gets. Sometimes you even feel bad for him (very rarely, but it happens a few times during season 2). Then he turns around and kills another person and you lose sympathy for him. He’s so much fun to watch. I eagerly await each episode just to see what he does next.

All of the inmates have one problem though. In order to do what they want, they all need to disappear, and in order to disappear, they need money and lots of it. Staying in the country isn’t an opinion. They were all participants in the biggest prison break in history. So, what does this all mean? Westmoreland’s money of course! 

Prison Break: Season 2

After Michael and Linc fail to rescue LJ, they resume their plans to set up their next life. They fully intend on LJ (Marshall Allman) being a part of that life, but they realize they need to get their plans in order first. They run into Tweener along the way. And what do you know, that snake-Bag manages to slink and slither his way back into the group. He apparently found some map and memorized it, promptly before eating it. So, they need him. Though technically, Michael is always planning something to try and ditch him and hand him over to the authorities in the process. He cannot live with the fact in the process of getting his brother out of prison, he had to bring a serial killer along for the ride. Both C-Note and Sucre also pop back up again too.  So once again, the gang (minus Abruzzi) is forced to work together once again. The mistrust, working towards a common goal, double-crosses, and all the other stuff that made the uneasy alliance so interesting is back in season two, just in a different way.

That is how I would describe this season actually. All of the elements that makes season one are so enjoyable are present, but they are reworked and unfold through different scenarios. In season one, it was all about breaking out of prison. Michael wanted to save his brother’s life and is forced into a fragile partnership with several different types of people (and criminals no less). Michael is still trying to help Linc escape, this time from the authorities chasing them, but it also evolves into a mission of proving his innocence. As The Company chases them, and they come to know more about them, they try to fight back. The uneasy alliances between Michale, Linc, and the rest of the escapees is still there, but this time it revolves around Westmoreland’s money, and we all know money makes people act irrationally.

Prison Break: Season 2

It’s difficult to discuss a show you enjoy with a cast this big and cover it all, so you will have to forgive me if I don’t cover it all. I’ll point out a few things that stood out to me. I love what they did with some of the characters this year. Bellick is fantastic, as his life and situation are much different from season one. He has in a position of power in season one. He becomes a broken man, for a short time, before becoming an unofficial deputy of Mahone, which brings back that fire we know and love him for. Speaking of Mahone, wow, what an interesting and entertaining character he is. He’s the adversary of the convicts, the main characters, so he’s technically the antagonist, but is he really a bad guy or just doing his job? His story is quite fascinating. I also love what they did with Kellerman. I thought he was a pretty weak villain in season one, but I really enjoyed him during season two. He’s the victim of The Company’s politics and we get to see a little more of his personality and values come out as a result. When the characters split up and were off on their own, I thought it would get boring, but I was wrong. I mentioned that Tweener and Haywire’s stories were surprisingly interesting and even a little sad. I thought C-Note’s story was good as well and it made me look at the character in a completely different life. I also have to point out again just how damn entertaining Robert Knepper is as T-Bag. He is to this show what Ben (Michael Emerson) was to LOST. The show also has great action, thrills, and conspiracy-laced subplots. I am also a fan of Sara's character arc. She goes through a lot this season. She is angry Michael betrayed her trust, but also curious about whether he is telling the truth or not about this so called conspiracy stuff. I didn't dislike her at all in season 1, but they made her quite interesting this season.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading review on September 28, 2014.

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