Do you ever sit through an episode of television just violently shaking your head and wondering how such terrible plotlines made it to screen? That was me to the fullest during this episode of Prison Break.
Before I begin my rant, let me acknowledge that I did enjoy the scenes featuring Lincoln and Michael reunited, once again on the run together. Their chemistry and bond is the biggest reason the series worked when it did. If I were giving a grade based solely off those scenes and C-Note and Sheba’s adventures, it would be on the higher end.
However, there’s the matter of the characters named Jacob and Cyclops. Yes, the one-eyed terrorist is really named Cyclops. Trust me, I checked. The stupidity and ridiculousness of the separate story lines involving these two newcomers had me baffled as how at no point during production did someone step in to say, “Really?”
Bouncing back and forth between Cyclops, who’s turning into an expert fugitive tracker, and Sara, who falls for Jacob’s laughably bad explanation for his meeting with the people who tried to kill them, was so painful that I had to pause in utter loathing multiple times.
While by episode’s end the show has completely sold out Sara’s intelligence by allowing her to believe Jacob’s ludicrous story, she begins “Contingency” by being smart and seeing what’s right in front of her. After hanging up from talking to her husband, Sara is approached by her unlikely spy, T-Bag, who has some troubling news and conveys it as only he could. “There’s no easy way to deliver this news, darling,” he says, showing her the photo of Jacob with A&W and Van Gogh, “You’ve been sleeping with the enemy, baby.” Darling and baby: not sure they’re at the level in their relationship for him to be giving her those nicknames. In response to either the revelation about Jacob or T-Bag calling her baby, Sara immediately runs to go get MJ.
Sara isn’t the only Scofield on the run; Michael, Lincoln, and crew are navigating their way through explosions and chaos in the streets of Yemen. As if things couldn’t be tough enough, Ramal’s followers have pledged a reward of 10 million rial for the capture of the fugitives. “You give up your mother for cash like that,” quips Whip. Or, if you’re Ja, you spend that much on Freddie Mercury’s ashes. I’m really embarrassed it’s taken me this long to acknowledge that Ja is played by Rick Yune, a.k.a. Johnny Tran, the villain from The Fast and the Furious. I somehow referenced the franchise in two of the first four recaps and never mentioned Yune. My status as No. 1 Fast and Furious fan is officially in jeopardy.
The boys duck into an abandoned building to hide and figure out a plan. Michael contends that the best option is the train station, while Lincoln notes that might have been true four years ago, but now, heading to the airport should be the move. Lincoln grabs his brother and takes him into another room, wanting to know the answer to the key question, “How are you alive?” Thanks Lincoln. Signed, the audience.
“Michael Scofield had to die,” shares Michael, going full third person. “That was part of the deal I made.” Apparently, shortly after the events of season 4, Poseidon called Michael and told him that their pardons from Kellerman were no good, so if he wanted his family to stay free, the former Fox River inmate would have to break others out of prison for Poseidon. Michael says he originally declined the offer, which led to the events of the TV movie Prison Break: The Final Break, when Sara was imprisoned. “So I gave in,” he reveals. “Everything I did, I did for family. For you, for Sara, for Mike.” The terrorists moving closer ends the emotional exchange, and the team follows Michael’s wishes and heads to the train station.
Sorry Lincoln, but Michael might be right; C-Note and Sheba arrive at the airport to find all hell breaking loose. Sure doesn’t seem like any flights will be taking off from here. Despite Sheba’s insistence they find another option, C-Note won’t leave without Michael and Lincoln. Fox River 8 for life! ISIL showing up only adds to the madness, with everyone scrambling, including a pilot headed out a side exit. C-Note follows him, and they both get cornered on the tarmac by soldiers. Sheba continues to be a dynamite addition to the group, providing a distraction that allows C-Note to lay the smackdown on the combatants. “You kick a lot of ass for a good Muslim,” she observes, to which he replies, “You can take the man out of the streets, but you can’t take the streets out of the man.” Very cliché, but I love it! And staying at the airport may pay off, considering C-Note and Sheba now have a pilot and spot a nearby cargo plane.
Now, the moment literally nobody has been waiting for — Cyclops’ big episode. If you’re not familiar with Cyclops’ previous work, I don’t blame you since his name has never been mentioned. You’ll recognize him as the guy who attempted to rape Sheba and got his ass kicked by Lincoln. Well, things aren’t looking up for good ole Cyclops, as his terrorist buddies are picking on him because of his one eye. Classic terrorist bullies. He’ll show them, though! Cyclops channels Chazz Palminteri in The Usual Suspects, deciding all the evidence leads to the train station. Not sure what evidence he had, but don’t underestimate Cyclops… I guess.
And… Cyclops was right on the bullsEYE. The guys’ attempt at blending in at the train station goes about as poorly as it could. They nearly escape, and the all-knowing Cyclops is hot on their trail, calling the terrorist who picked on him earlier to give him the news and proclaiming, “I call the shots now.” There have been some bad Prison Break story lines/characters (don’t get me started on Sona), but this might take the cake.
Michael’s answer to the train station not working is to find another train station, despite Lincoln’s continued protests. “I have to stay focused, be the man with the plan,” says Michael “Always Has a Plan” Scofield. “Just like Fox River, remember?” You mean that time he was put on death row for a crime he didn’t commit and you broke him out and then were on the run for a long time? I’m sure it sounds vaguely familiar to him. Whip has hot-wired a car, and as skeptical as they may be, they all begrudgingly go along with Michael, a.k.a. “the horse who got them this far.” The man has proven to be right a time or two.
We finally pick back up with Sara, and she’s still running. Luckily, she’s made it Jacob’s parents’ house to grab MJ. She’s trying to Usain Bolt her way out of there, but just as she gets MJ in the car, Jacob, a.k.a Poseidon, a.k.a. Royal Pains in the ass, shows up. I have to give Sara credit, as she doesn’t even try to lie, instantly showing him the incriminating picture. No need to be concerned, though; he’s got a perfectly dumb explanation for it. Supposedly, this brave economist had a buddy use Sara’s phone to track down Van Gogh and A&W, whom he subsequently called to make a deal with. She ain’t buying what he’s selling and speeds off.
Jacob seems to have a secret weapon to win Sara back — Heather. Who’s Heather? All indications are that she’s Sara’s best friend. Yet she’s a little too #TeamJacob. The only plausible explanation is she’s carrying over her past allegiances for Taylor Lautner. Heather convinces Sara to look into this, so they go talk to Jacob’s hacker, who confirms the story. Then, creepily right on cue, Heather gets a call on her cell from Jacob, who tells Sara to rush to the police station. I’m assuming it’s not so he can turn himself in. It turns out there’s a lineup the police would like her to look at. Van Gogh and A&W are both in it, and she quickly identifies them. This leads to Jacob giving some baloney (apologies for my harsh language) account about “trying to play the white knight.” He says he put a tracker in the money he gave Van Gogh and A&W to leave his family alone. We get it bro, you’re rich. Sara falls for it and hugs her husband (insert throwing up gif).
The drive to the second train station gives Michael and Whip a little privacy, so Whip takes the chance to ask about his cohort’s past. “Whose been taking care of you through everything?” asks Michael, insinuating his protégé still has a big role to play. “Nothing changes. You’re still my whip hand.” The heart-to-heart is abruptly ended by Cyclops smashing his car into theirs. With ISIL fast approaching, they head for cover in an abandoned hospital and split up to find a way out. The only scary-ish movies I watch are the Scream franchise, and even I know to never split up.
Half the crew is ready to fight back, and the other half is on the verge of giving up. Lincoln and Whip are determined to get out, while Michael and Sid are pretty defeated. And Ja is… well, Ja is having a party with rubbing alcohol and Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” Michael is the opposite of a champion right now, reliving his past errors. “I wanted to make it better, but I made it worse… for everyone,” he confesses, as we see flashbacks of him secretly checking in on Sara and MJ from afar. “I made a lot of mistakes. Every one of them I made for love.” Lincoln plays the good big brother and motivates Michael to help him take down the ISIL soldiers who are making their way into the building. “It’ll be fun,” declares Lincoln. “I’ve always wanted a crack at these bastards.” Most kids dream of playing professional sports, but hey, admirable goal.
Ja’s still getting his Freddie Mercury on, which turns out to be all part of his master plan. His beautiful voice lures in the terrorists, allowing him to set them on fire with the alcohol and a torch. Ja truly is a champion. Meanwhile, Ja Rule, not so much. On the way out of the hospital, Michael is finally ready to cede the decision making to Lincoln. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, Cyclops tracks you down and corners you in Yemen. Speaking of Cyclops, the seemingly lone member of ISIL in Yemen interrupts Michael’s phone reunion with C-Note and shoots Sid, who has enough left to jump Cyclops and handcuff them together. Unfortunately, Sid was stabbed during the fight and dies. An enraged Michael starts non-stop punching Cyclops until Ja pulls him off, saying, “You’ll beat him by surviving.” I mean, you could beat him up and survive. They leave Cyclops alive for some reason and head for the airport.
C-Note’s pilot is getting pretty antsy, and even Sheba suggests they should go before they’re spotted. But C-Note refuses to abandon his friends, deciding they will wait another five minutes. The pilot literally doesn’t wait five seconds to start up the plane to take off. Lucky for him, Lincoln calls and tells C-Note to leave without them. “We’ll work something out. We’ve been through worse,” he says, kind of underestimating the situation a tad. With the plane now in the air, ISIL quickly turn their attention to the Ogygia boys who are watching nearby. They run for it… again. What transportation will they try next? Subway? Uber?
What did you think? Was this episode as frustrating for you as it was for me?