Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Prison Break. Read at your own risk!
The true villain of the Prison Break revival was revealed during Tuesday’s episode.
When Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) went to save Michael (Wentworth Miller) in Greece, he saw a picture of her new husband on her phone, recognizing him as Poseidon, the rogue CIA agent who had contracted him to supposedly work for the government, but was actually running his own syndicate breaking criminals out of prison all over the world. When an official seemed to be onto him, Jacob shot the man and framed Michael for the crime in the name of keeping him away from Sara. That’s right, good guy Jacob is anything but, and EW sat down with Mark Feuerstein on set to get the scoop on this big reveal (Read our postmortem with Scheuring, Callies, and Miller here):
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you watch the original Prison Break when it was on?
MARK FEUERSTEIN: I was aware of it and I watched it somewhat the first season, but I really got into it when I got this part, and I watched most of all four seasons. It was amazing. I don’t know if this is actually correct, because I’m not a TV history expert, but I feel like it was visionary. I know they’ve had cliffhanger shows before, but never was a show more compatible with serialized binge viewing than Prison Break. I feel so bad for all the people who watched it in real time and had to wait every week for the next thing because it’s like crack. I mean, you’ve got to know what’s going to happen. I got to watch it on Netflix. I just flew through it and I loved it so much.
I knew it had a rabid following. I was aware of Wentworth, because he and I went to the same college, so I was very happy for his success, and also I knew him back then, so I was just psyched to check it out and then also just psyched for him. I have a friend, Nick Santora, who wrote for all four seasons of the show, so I was connected to it in different ways and I knew of its rabid following.
When my agent called with the information that this casting director, Scott Genkinger, was really psyched about me playing the character of Jacob, I was psyched, but I didn’t know how psyched I would be. I went in and I met with Paul Scheuring, and this is not meant to be self-aggrandizing, but it’s very rare to have the experience of going into what you think is an audition and have a showrunner like Paul — who is a genius, and who has written such amazing television — pitch me the series, explain to me that it was all based on The Odyssey, and the fact that it’s the hero coming home to Ithaca, New York, not Greece, to his wife and child.
He laid all of this out for me, and then, in the context of that conversation, he said, “And you are Poseidon, the enemy, the villain to our hero Michael Scofield. You’re tracking him. You do certain dastardly things.” Not only was it awesome just in its own right, but having played the perfect doctor mensch on Royal Pains for eight years, it was an amazing opportunity because in this role, I get to seem like the perfect guy to have replaced Michael Scofield, the kind of second place great husband who will work as a father and as a husband for her life, only to end up being the worst possible selection she could’ve made.
Viewers were tricked into thinking Jacob was being wrongly accused of being the bad guy.
What was so brilliant about what Paul did is he wrote that episode where you think I might be bad, you think I’m sneaking information and working with these various henchmen who are doing all these pretty sick things, and then, when I prove to be on Sara’s side and actually help take them down in a brilliantly orchestrated, artificial way, she is left thinking, “Oh, thank god, oh, thank you,” and I’m just so relieved that I’ve convinced her that I’m good. So, he sets it up, he introduces the idea that I’m evil, and then he completely dismisses it, so the audience hopefully [went], “Yeah, alright, he’s a good guy. He’s all good,” only to then show that I’m really the sick f— that I am.
What was it like being one of the new guys on set? Was the cast welcoming?
It’s funny you ask that because on Royal Pains, our set was known in New York as the kumbaya set. Guest stars would talk about our show to other shows and people in town about how fun it was, because we shot at these amazing locations by the beach, in gorgeous homes on Long Island, and we were like this family. I mean, we got along so famously, and I love the cast and the writers and the crew so much, so it was interesting to come to a new set and see how it worked. Now, I know there’s been some camaraderie among all the characters filming in [Morocco], like Whip [played by Augustus Prew] and Dominic [Purcell] and Rockmond Dunbar and whoever else was in Morocco. They all became very tight, and it was like a real bonding sesh. I was the Wentworth of this season for Sarah, I became her new one-on-one person, and so she was incredibly welcoming to me. She’s amazing, as you know. She’s smart and funny and kind and has a good heart, and her politics are so evolved and on point, so we’ve had dinners, and we’ve hung out, and we’ve had lunch, sitting outside her trailer having a picnic. We’ve really gotten along and I really enjoy her. She’s just a very smart, sweet person, and now I’ve kind of trickled into the mix and I’ve gotten to hang out with Wentworth, which was awesome. He couldn’t have been cooler. We talked about Princeton, which is where he and I both went to college.
Does Jacob actually love Sara? Or did he just marry her to eventually have that power over Michael?
I think that’s an amazing question, because that is the deepest question an audience member might have about my relationship with her, and of course to play this character, I am playing it 150 percent as if he truly loves her. She will deny that in her way. I mean, I don’t want to give too much away, but if you look at the lengths I’ve gone to get to Michael Scofield, she has to question how genuine my emotion was for her, but I believe he really loves her. Why else would I go to the ends of the Earth to keep him away from her and ensnare my entire operation, at the risk of lives, to keep her if I didn’t completely love her? I mean yes, there is a male jockeying for position, but it’s also love.
Is he a little sociopathic?
Yes, there is a little bit of that, for sure. I mean he wants to let everybody know that he’s got you and he’s onto you. Clearly there’s a grudge. Jacob is deeply threatened by Michael Scofield, not only because he’s such a catch and would easily kick Jacob to the curb when push comes to shove with Sara, but he also wants to take him down, and it’s kind of like a face-off. Jacob thinks he can intimidate and scare Michael into revealing whatever his game is, but as you might imagine, Michael’s a pretty formidable opponent.
Prison Break airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.