In the words of the great DJ Khaled, “Congratulations Michael, you played yourself.”
The penultimate episode of the Prison Break revival featured the impossible: Mr. Always Has a Plan got outplanned. The cool and calculated genius, who is seemingly always five steps ahead, let his emotions get the best of him, leaving him so vulnerable that he talked himself into thinking a kid however-old-MJ-is years old could plant an incredibly sophisticated map inside a child’s drawing. I mean, the kid is weirdly obsessed with Greek heroes, but c’mon!
“Progeny” ratcheted up the already blazing pace of the fifth season, packing multiple episodes’ worth of events and travel into one installment. The result was a mixed bag, feeling both rushed and exactly what we’ve been waiting for. Having the boys back stateside working together to rescue Sara is a much better use of this revival than the characters being separately scattered around the world. Plus, T-Bag is back, and there’s a T-Bag Jr.!
While the episode may end somewhere in upstate New York, the eighth episode begins somewhere in the Mediterranean. Michael, Lincoln, Whip, and Sucre survived last week’s nosedive into the water to avoid being blown to smithereens, and they’ve managed to be rescued by a fishing boat that is taking them to Marseille. First Greece, now France — this has been a pretty solid vacay.
A quiet Michael is reflecting as he stares out at the sea, prompting flashbacks to six years earlier, when he was having a classic Aaron Sorkin walk-and-talk with Poseidon, a.k.a. Jacob. “I own you Scofield,” the villain declares. “I know everything about you.” Not the best way to motivate your employee. (If he’s taking suggestions, EW wins me over with free fruit in the lunch room.) As they talk strategy, Jacob, who says they are changing the world, gives Michael lessons about being a psycho rogue spy, complete with showing him his secret lair, which seems to be right in a busy hallway. Weird location, but unfortunately I can’t judge because I’m no psycho rogue spy, even though it seems I now have the tools to become one. The purpose of Michael’s visit is to get Jacob to sign off on getting him a partner to help with the next job. Enter Whip, a.k.a. David Martin, who Michael believes can be easily manipulated since he has no family. And that is what they call planting a seed, kids.
Back in the present, the fellas have made it ashore in Marseille. As Whip and Sucre go to grab some food, Michael texts Sara, who replies by calling their son Mike Jr. Sound the panic alarm because only Jacob and I do that. Knowing this, Michael is in a rush to get back home. “He’s baiting you, Michael,” Lincoln tells his brother, who responds, “It worked.” He can’t get there quickly enough; it seems Sara is trapped in the closet. Cue the R. Kelly soundtrack. MJ (sorry, Michael) is unaware of the drama around him, just minding his own business and drawing a pirate ship. Lame Jacob is quick to criticize the size of the mast. Calm down, man, it’s only a Lego treasure map. Color Jacob intrigued.
The plan to rush to Sarah’s aide has been slowed by the fact that Michael has exhausted all of his contacts, but Lincoln has an idea — and it involves a callback to his and Prison Break‘s past. Remember the knucklehead Lincoln was running from in the premiere because he owed him $100,000? It was Luca Abruzzi, the son of Fox River 8 member and feared mobster John Abruzzi. R.I.P.! Lincoln had been smuggling pills for the younger Abruzzi, and when he discovered they caused fatalities, he dumped a batch, hence the debt. Trying to use Luca’s desire for vengeance to his advantage, Lincoln calls up the crime boss to get a ride back to the States, promising he has the money he owes. Luca eventually agrees, which is perfect timing since news of the guys being wanted has reached Marseille.
Jacob has called in his two lieutenants, Van Gogh and A&W, for a brainstorm session. Van Gogh wants to know why Outis would return to the country, causing Jacob to (kind of) come clean about his history with Michael. “He wants to kill me,” he reveals. “Thinks I stole his life.” I mean, he’s not wrong. Joining the team is Theroux, a.k.a the hacker who previously lied to Sara to cover for Jacob. He’s been trying to decode the message Michael sent to Blue Hawaii. Recap of what he’s discovered: Other information could also have been sent, the tattoos reveal message boards and visiting hours for zoos, and some porn sites have images of the CIA director’s murder, which Jacob framed Michael for.
As the boys head to catch their ride, Michael begins to move his pieces into motion. C-Note gets a call from France; Whip is sent to Chicago to find out why he’s Michael’s whip hand; Sucre takes Michael’s phone to falsely lure A&W and Van Gogh to JFK Airport; and finally, after being nowhere to be found for many episodes, T-Bag makes his return and receives life-changing info from Michael, but in exchange, he must take a life. He’s taken some for less, so it seems like a fair trade.
Instead of JFK, Michael and Lincoln fly into a small airport in upstate New York, where they are greeted by Luca and his unfriendly crew. Lincoln ‘fesses up to not having the money, and to avoid being killed, the brothers bluff Luca into thinking the DEA is en route thanks to C-Note and Sheba. The plan succeeds in chasing the criminals off, until they return to the scene later to find their product still there. Security footage shows that the sting was a ruse. Luca pledges to kill Lincoln, and he already has a plan for how to find him. So, are we officially saying that anybody can just have a plan now? Does Michael give his power to anyone he comes into contact with?
Following the successful fake-out, Michael and Sheba meet for the first time, but more importantly, he’s reunited with C-Note. Admittedly, C-Note and Michael is lower on the list of anticipated Prison Break reunions, but it’s still good to see any members of the Fox River 8 back together. (Well, I guess no one would be begging for a Tweener and Haywire reunion in heaven.) It might already be goodbye for C-Note, though, as he’s dismissed. “You’ve been a warrior,” Michael tells his friend. “I owe you.” You broke him out of prison, so he was really just returning the favor, I would say. Being an unknown to Jacob, Sheba is still in. “It’s the punch you don’t see coming that knocks you out,” she declares. C-Note has an emotional farewell with Lincoln, sharing a bear hug and an, “I love you.” Weirdly, Michael only gets a handshake. “When you need me again, you know where to find me,” says C-Note, most likely making his final appearance of the season (and possibly the series). I do need him to ask Mike Jones if he’s still using the same phone number.
Over the last few episodes, it’s been clear that Kellerman’s dying speech has had an impact on Van Gogh. And now, he tells his partner he’s done after this job. “There’s no getting out,” says A&W, to which Van Gogh replies, “If you think that way, then you’re a prisoner, too.” Get it? Because the show is called Prison Break! It’s possible he might have gotten to her, but Poseidon definitely overheard the conversation, and he doesn’t strike me as the forgiving type (see Sara in the closet).
Sheba, Michael, and Lincoln arrive at Sara’s dark-looking house. Sheba continues to demonstrate that she’s pretty ride or die, handing Lincoln a gun as he leaves to go inside. On the way in, Michael notices that the drain in front of the house’s mailbox contains hundreds of his signature origami swans. This leads to a montage of Jacob discovering them in the mail and dumping the secret messages. Add littering to the litany of charges against him. I mean, I’m all for him helping out around the house, but Sara never checked the mail once?! I’d like to see their chore chart. The brothers slowly make their way around the house and find no sign of anyone, including the now-empty closet. Michael sends a text to Sara/Jacob, asking to meet tomorrow, and the response confirms she’s alive. “And the endgame begins,” announces Michael in an all-time classic go-to-commercial line.
Back from commercial, the endgame is truly beginning in Syracuse. Jacob is barking orders to Van Gogh and A&W from a car near the agreed-upon meeting place. After Van Gogh is tricked into revealing himself, he leads Lincoln away, with A&W not far behind. She soon loses both Lincoln and service, prompting her to go talk to Jacob in person, which was exactly what Michael wanted — and Jacob knows it, so he speeds off. Watching from high above, Michael sends Lincoln to follow. When Lincoln’s car pulls up next to Jacob at a stoplight, the bad guy pulls a gun, but it’s an innocent-acting Sheba behind the wheel. Lincoln is reclined back in the passenger seat. The duo eventually track Jacob’s car to an alley.
As Michael meets up with them, they discover blood in the trunk of the abandoned vehicle and a childlike drawing that has a pirate ship, a family resembling the Scofields, and a three-headed hydra. “This is a message,” posits Michael, assuming MJ left it for him. “It’s encoded in him. He’s got my DNA.” Well then, better keep the kid away from the tattoo parlor. Michael’s insistence increases when he discovers that a nearby lake is designed just like the map. “I’m trying to figure out if you’ve lost your mind or not,” half-jokes Lincoln. I vote yes. Sheba won’t be allowed to come on this mission, as Lincoln kisses her when she tries to argue. Considering I’ve been predicting this for the whole season, this is a romance I could get behind. Now, just two remain: The brothers are heading to save Sara and MJ.
Whip has made it to Chicago, and his task from Michael gets a little tougher when he discovers the coordinates he needs to go to are in the middle of Lake Michigan. Underwater Prison Break? As Whip rents a boat to go retrieve the package, which is a jar that has blood in it, T-Bag records what appears to be a last testament. “God, I’ve been thinking, because a hard bargain’s been presented to me,” he passionately says. “And if that’s indeed what’s coming, it won’t be the work of a cold-blooded man, and it won’t be for sin, or for hate. If there’s blood on my hands, know this, world: It’ll be for love.” Damn, that disgusting criminal just tugged at my heartstrings.
Upon returning to shore, Whip is approached by none other than T-Bag. Please don’t kill Whip; we all just started to like him. The confrontation quickly escalates as the two psychos have their hands on each other’s necks. T-Bag has a lot of info on Whip/David Martin, including some insight into why Michael recruited him. “With your innate ability to thrive, rise to the top in even the worst occasions, you reminded him of a certain someone,” he shares. “Did you learn it, or was it ingrained in you? It was ingrained in you, son. You got it from me!” All right, that was a good twist. So is Whip’s new nickname W-Bag? Because that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
Michael and Lincoln have made it to where Jacob is keeping Sara and MJ. When Jacob heads out, Michael approaches the house, with his brother staying back as the lookout. Michael is so happy to spot his son through the window until MJ looks scared when he checks on Sara, whom we can only see from behind. Michael goes in, even as Lincoln warns him that Jacob might be back. But it’s not Jacob — it’s Luca. The younger Abruzzi fires at Lincoln, who, despite ducking down, shows traces of blood, leaving his fate uncertain.
Meanwhile, inside, Michael’s reunion with MJ takes a possibly deadly turn as well. It turns out Jacob drew that map to lure Michael here, and on top of that, A&W was posing as Sara. As she approaches the Scofield boys with a gun, the camera pans to the door, and we hear a gunshot as blood splatters. Damn, could Michael and Lincoln both be dead and the last episode is just about Jacob starting an art business?
What did you think? Were you surprised by the T-Bag and Whip reveal? Who got shot at the end?