On the season premiere of ''Prison Break,'' a smart FBI man breaks Michael's tattoo code; plus, Veronica makes the wrong call

By Kate Sullivan
August 22, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
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”Prison Break” is back: The trail heats up

Some notes for those of you who missed last season: The president is evil. The CIA agent known as Kellerman (absent in this episode) is evil. The Company is evil. Most of the prison guards are also evil. And the woman shot in the head during this episode was a huge part of the series until now.

Of course the door wouldn’t be open for no reason, Veronica! Of course it’s not that easy to walk into the secret lair of the president’s not dead brother, snap his photo, and get back into your rental car! Sigh. How many bodies have to pile up before one man’s name is cleared (and a massive conspiracy is revealed)? With Mob-murdered Nick Savrinn also dead, it seems no one is going to be taking up Lincoln’s cause for quite some time, never mind LJ’s. (He’s still wrongfully accused of killing his mother and stepfather and was arrested after shooting at Agent Kellerman.)

But to look at this episode a bit more chronologically, let’s start with the introduction of a new character: the FBI agent played by William Fichtner, who we immediately know is smart because he gets literary and recites a passage of John Wilkes Booth’s diary to establish what a fugitive’s mind is like. Oooh, you’re so impressive!

He’s actually absurdly impressive. There’s no way he would put together in a matter of hours the clues it took Michael months to create. Even if he did figure out that something was up with Michael’s tattoos (thanks to those superdetailed photos that the agent had before he even met with the tattoo artist), he never would have gotten the ”Ripe Chance Woods” (R.I.P., E. Chance Woods) clue so quickly. Who is he — Adrian Monk?

And why was the FBI man surreptitiously popping pills? My theory is not that he’s another drug addict — we already have that covered with Dr. Sara Tancredi — but that he’s terminally ill. If this is the last case he’s ever going to pursue, you know he’ll put some extra effort into it.

Speaking of Sara, in this episode she learned that the escape she abetted by leaving the door unlocked wasn’t merely that of two handsome, bald brothers. So now she has to deal with the fact that she helped release gems such as child rapist and killer T-Bag, Mob boss Abruzzi, and the aptly nicknamed Haywire, who killed his parents. (I can’t imagine that she’ll be working at Fox River again after this incident.) But the reveal scene wasn’t long enough; we didn’t get enough of an idea of the soul-crushing remorse she has to be feeling.

To me, the most poignant scene was another small one: the argument among the escapees in the car about terrorizing that little girl and her father. The scene was not only moving but was significant to the series as a whole. Think about it: Nearly every escapee has some kind of paternal issue. Abruzzi (who threatened the girl’s life) is escaping in large part to make sure the Mob doesn’t kill his kids. C-Note is going home to his daughter, who doesn’t even know he’s been in prison. Lincoln and Michael just found out their father is still alive and behind part of the conspiracy. Lincoln also has to save his own son, LJ, who’s now awaiting trial. Sucre is about to become a father for the first time. Even the deceased Charles Westmoreland was headed home to see his daughter before she died. And prisoners aside, who is Sara waiting for a visit from while she’s in the hospital? Her father. The show’s writers clearly need to see a therapist. Or maybe I do for reading so much into this.

What do you think? Does Prison Break have major daddy issues? What will Veronica’s death mean to Lincoln’s case? Now that the prisoners have split up, who do you think will be rearrested? And is it a senseless waste of emotion to hope that T-Bag is going to let that veterinarian live?

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