Color me surprised but Prison Break’s third episode “The Liar” actually built up some much needed momentum. Specifically when it comes to the evolution of the Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) character. This particular episode was indeed very Michael centric, as we followed him and his cell mates in their failed prison escape. It was here where the majority of the episode’s positives came about.
Yes to a degree, we were introduced to Michael’s cell mates in last week’s episode, but it was here where they actually shined. Of Michael’s three cellmates, the most interesting ended up being Michael’s second in command Whip (Augustus Pew). This character who doubts Michael’s sincerity in involving him in the escape, wonders about his true intentions given his perceived willingness in breaking out a terrorist. There were also clues left by Whip in this episode where we find out that during Michael’s six year disappearance, he and Whip were doing prison escapes for the CIA. Again all interesting pieces of information that hopefully are expanded on later this season.
Unlike Lincoln (Dominic Purcell), who has very much stayed the same throughout the show’s run. Michael has actually shown glimpses of change. In this particular episode, we see Michael not only using his smarts but also walks around the prison with a swagger we have never seen. So much so that it felt reminiscent to the same swagger Abruzzi had when he was at Fox River. We also saw a call back to Tweener when Michael stole a prison guard’s watch.
Above all else however we saw Michael actually being willing to sacrifice his humanity for the sake of escaping. In all the previous seasons we’ve seen Michael willing to sacrifice anything including his own life to save someone. He did that for Tweener, for Sarah (Sara Wayne Callies) and for McGrady in Panama. In this episode however, when the escape began going awry, we saw Sid falling through the air vent and onto a ton of prisoners trying to escape as well. Here we see Michael actually trying to save Sid but instead left him to die essentially for the sake of escaping.
Not to mention after the escape fell apart, we see Michael recording a video of himself saying a goodbye of sort to Sarah. He did this because he indeed felt his days were numbered. Thus proving he is indeed the same Michael that we grew to love for over four years. He is however, losing his humanity.
Sara and the Bag Man
One of the biggest mistakes I feel the show took in season four was the unnecessary moment between Sara and Bagwell (Robert Knepper), where Bagwell nearly raped Sara. It just felt as though it was thrown in to make a bad man just look even more evil. Not to mention, it squandered an opportunity of seeing Sara and Bagwell working together. Thankfully, we actually got to see these two come to an agreement of sorts to look into Agent Kellerman’s role in Michael’s imprisonment. Personally I just find the chemistry between Sara and Bagwell to be very good, and it helps to again further evolve the Bagwell character.
Failed Prison Escape
Call it what you will, but Prison Break just wouldn’t be the great guilty pleasure that it is if it didn’t involve some sort of failed plan. All of season one, which is still the best season for the show, dealt with plan after plan going wrong for Michael. So it only made sense for Michael’s next prison escape to go wrong as well.
Michael’s Six Year Disappearance
Maybe not necessarily a negative but more of a nitpick, tonight’s episode does allude to a lot of things that happened in the six years since the end of season 4; specifically what has occurred before and during Michael’s stay in Ogygia. Obviously this season is only nine episodes so there is only so much history you can cover. Again there is a great chance the show will indeed dive deeper into Michael’s past, which would explain his relationship with the CIA. My only concern would be if the show decided to gloss over these details.
Lincoln and Sheba’s Passport Adventure
As Lincoln, C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar) and Sheba (Inbar Lavi) start coordinating their escape from Yemen once Michael gets out, we see both Lincoln and Sheba having to find fake passports for both Lincoln and Michael. During that ordeal, we see Sheba being beaten by a stalker of sorts only to have Lincoln come in and save her. Clearly the show is setting up a romance between both Lincoln and Sheba, but the addition of that stalker who is infatuated with Sheba just seemed a bit rush. Then again, this is just a small nitpick for an overall great episode.
For a show that hobbled its way through its first two episodes, “The Liar” brought back the old school flavor that made season one such a success. From a promising plan going haywire to characters actually evolving and developing, tonight’s episode did everything one hoped for when Prison Break’s revival was announced nearly a year ago. Here’s hoping tonight’s episode isn’t just a flash in the pan.