Aubry D'Arminio
October 23, 2007 AT 09:37 PM EDT

The media have been abuzz with Prison Break bits — Q&As with slightly annoyed producers explaining why Sarah Wayne Callies was written off the show; a lovely, if aggressive rebuttal from Ms. Callies herself, and spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. Even the New York Times chimed in with a piece comparing PB and House. The long and the short of it? House‘s ratings survived its (cough… nonexistent) cast shakeup because it’s essentially a hospital procedural: The (ahem) character changes didn’t irk fans as long as they still got their promised dose of medical mystery. Prison Break — a serialized program to the core — screwed with devotees hoping for a big payoff to Season 1 and 2’s Sara/Michael drama. If you just went “Well, duh,” then I’m with you.

(BTW, this all totally ignores my theory that old ladies just like to go to bed with visions of Hugh Laurie in their head. They don’t care about Cameron or whomever. Go check your mom or grandma’s TiVo. You’ll see what I mean.)

Anyway, the most important PB news in my book, the most shocking, and, quite frankly, the most annoying is Fox’s announcement that, to make room in its schedule for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (hello… 2003), the network will stop airing original episodes of PB after a fall-finale cliffhanger on December 17th. The season will then resume four months later on April 14th. Remember the good old days when your favorite network shows aired straight through the season, save a few reruns here and there? Now they’re like Halley’s comet. I tell you now, that had better be one hell of a cliffhanger. I want Michael poised to push Susan B. off a building, while R.J. is swimming to the U.S., and Lincoln is preparing to make sweet love to Sofia with Whistler about to walk in, guns a-blazing. I want T-Bag, Lechero, and the “nun” on the run in the middle of the Panamanian jungle. (Which dude will she pick? Will she embrace T’s rubber hand?) Fox can do what they wish to Sucre. He’s a total muppet. After all that whining about staying out of trouble, he goes and jeopardizes Michael’s plan for $5,000? I want the promise of a new character played by a big actor. He/she should have an Oscar or an Emmy and have never appeared on a Law & Order. Or they can just be from Twin Peaks. Or The Long Riders. And I mean you, James Keach, real-life brother of Stacy Keach, a.k.a. Warden Pope. Let’s get you both in Panama, or Scottsdale (where it seems the action is headed, need the writers hint that one more time?).

But why, you ask, do I talk of hypothetical new guys when last night’s epi introduced a real one?

addCredit(“Prison Break: Bill Matlock”)

No reason. The fresh inmate is pretty cool. Some sort of EasternEuropean spy-for-hire I think, but the possibilities are endless. Hecould be sent in by the Company to hurry Mike’s operation along. Hecould be commissioned by another group to cause a rift between Michaeland Whistler. In that case, I would say that calling Whistler’s wholeidentity into question did the trick. (What do you guys think of thename he gave Whistler? Was it MacFadyen? Is it English? Scottish?) Orhe could just be some normal guy who moves like a cat and just happenedto recognize Whistler. From the Ambassador’s entourage. In Nice. In1997. Either way, Whisty is going be accused of killing anotherprisoner in the next episode, and I’d bet my first born it’s this dude.Which is a shame because I like his look: Part Russian ballet dancer,part snake from Disney’s Robin Hood, and totally hard-boiled.

Now to the escape. I get why they must do it during the day. (Doesanyone else think the murdered rat foreshadows a rat in Mike’s crew?).I almost get the weaknesses they found in the first security guards (myquestion: why wouldn’t the one who has to turn away from the sun get anumbrella, or sunscreen, or sunglasses). But I’m not sure I understandthe crutch Mahone discovered in the final guard. A caffeine addiction?What are they going to do, hide the coffeemaker? Steal all the papermugs? Do they think he’s going to get all cracked out or something? Orwill not having his Cup o’ Joe just mess with his routine? Explain.

While you’re at it, decode the timeframe Susan B. scribbled out onher pad as she chatted with Lincoln. Tell me what you think is inLinc’s cooler — I thought it was going to be Sara’s rotting face, butunless I missed something that wouldn’t make much sense. And share allyour other hopes and dreams for November 5th’s two-hour epi…

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