On ''Prison Break,'' the president's brother shoots himself rather than help the brothers and Kellerman; plus, T-Bag plays at being a daddy

By Kate Sullivan
January 24, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
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”Prison Break”: Uneasy alliances

Back from hiatus, Prison Break jumps right back into the crazy, reviving someone who should have been dead (Mahone was shot by a former Secret Service agent! Don’t they have mad gun skills?), and killing off someone whose survival was the key to the whole conspiracy. If Steadman had shot himself three years ago, none of this would have ever happened, but back then he thought he’d be playing golf and drinking mai tais after Lincoln’s execution.

Nothing seems to be working out as planned for anyone. C-Note’s wife is headed to jail, and he’s a single parent on the run. Mrs. Hollander didn’t magically fall back in love with T-Bag (even if her kids temporarily did). Mahone wasn’t killed as Kellerman had planned. And of course Kellerman wasn’t killed as Kim had planned. Then Steadman took his own life and ruined everyone’s plans.

Anyway, back at the top of the episode, when some strategies were still intact, Kellerman told the brothers they were friends because they had a common enemy, a true enough statement. But Lincoln suddenly remembered where he’d seen Kellerman before and sucker-punched him in the ear. When Linc pulled a gun on Kellerman, the agent went with the pat response: ”I was just following orders.” Linc doesn’t know what we as the TV audience know, that Kellerman gleefully followed those orders, but all the same the answer didn’t sit right with him. And you know, Kellerman’s sudden turncoating shouldn’t either.

Revenge is often listed highest on a scoundrel’s ranking of needs, but what does Kellerman really gain from it other than a smug smile? He’d get more from the president (money, maybe even a chance to be First Husband) by merely threatening to reveal that Steadman is alive. The boys needed to trust Kellerman to get to Steadman (and maybe later on use his untraceable phone to call Sara), but I don’t think they’re going to be able to trust him for long.

There wasn’t a lot of time for Michael, Linc, and Kellerman to hash things out before running for a plane to take them to Steadman’s secret hideout, and apparently there wasn’t even time for the pilot of the plane to register that he was looking at the two most wanted men in the country. Think about it. You can picture John Mark Karr (the creep who claimed to have killed JonBenet Ramsey), because he was on TV for a week. Even if this pilot is not a Fox News junkie like everyone else on Prison Break (TVs are on everywhere!), he would know what Michael and Linc looked like.

And Mrs. Hollander’s kids might have seen Uncle Teddy on a newscast too. It’s unfortunate they didn’t, now that they’re tied to dining-room chairs as if they were in yet another remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

It was painful to watch Mrs. H. cringe as her daughter ran to T-Bag’s arms; she was watching T-Bag’s duplicity in action. His charm seemed so deadly then. And T-Bag’s ”indiscretions” aren’t so far in his past. It was by sheer luck that he didn’t get to attack that preteen girl at the motel last fall. And he did just kill that female postal worker, presumably the guy at the pool hall whose prosthesis he’s now wearing, and the veterinarian who had reattached T-Bag’s real gangrenous hand — supposedly because doing so was a means to an end: to get to the Hollanders. Now that he’s terrorizing the only people he supposedly loves, any sympathy viewers may have had for him is gone.

Meanwhile, sympathy for Mahone has risen. It was good to see him satisfied that Kim has been screwed over by Kellerman, even if Mahone had to get shot for it to happen. But he couldn’t rest on that satisfaction. After his son was hit by a car, Mahone had to go back into killing mode, taking care of Kim’s messenger. He can’t join ’em anymore, so he needs to beat ’em. (Side note: How weird would it be to be the guy who drove the car that hit Mahone’s son? You leave George Washington University with an international-studies degree and apply for the lowest rung on the Secret Service ladder only to find that your job is hitting kids with cars. It’s almost worse than the photo-editing job that another junior agent had to do when Kellerman was kicked off of the president’s team.)

Mahone is ready to serve his time for the crime he committed, but it is clear that Bellick is not at all prepared for the hard time he’s serving. After his lunchroom brawl, Bellick inexplicably became top-bunk material (all he did was hit a big guy with a loaded sock), but he was still the low man on the totem pole in the prison. Guard Stokes tipped him off that the big guy had connections with the night staff and plans to beat Bellick in his cell. So much for the new warden cracking down on special favors….

And so much for hoping Terrence Steadman would take a hit for the team. Instead the man who Michael said ”imprisoned everyone in this room,” including himself, decided to free only himself by taking his own life. I have to say the climactic moment of the episode felt rushed. Michael suddenly decided that calling reporters was a better idea than a ”stroll into the lion’s den” of D.C. And who can blame him, given all of the feds involved in this conspiracy? But there were way too many guns in that motel room for a crazy man to grab.

Kellerman should have taken Steadman out at the knees before he raised the gun to his face. What a waste. I was sorry to see him go so soon. He had a lot to answer for, to his captors especially. And it was interesting to see Steadman and the rogue agent interact, with Steadman calling Kellerman ”the serf that would be king” for having proposed marriage to the president. It’s funny how everyone on the show wants to be a part of a family, even if it’s a super-evil, conspiracy-based family.

Now that Steadman is dead, his hotel roommates are in a bit of a jam. It would seem that all they have now is Sara’s key, believed to belong to a storage space holding audio tracks of the supposedly dead Steadman chatting on the phone to who knows who. But will Sara agree to work with Kellerman after he deceived and nearly killed her?

What do you think? Did Kellerman have romantic feelings for the president or was his marriage proposal really a business proposal? Now that Mahone is going against the government, is it only a matter of time before Kellerman is back on the government’s side? Or will both agents help the brothers? And will the new warden be an unlikely ally to Bellick?

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