PRISON BREAKS NEW GROUND
Last season, PRISON BREAK kept viewers on the edge of their seat as the characters executed the most intriguing and complex escape plan ever hatched. But at the time, the show seemed like something of a one-trick pony. And in retrospect, the season-ending cliffhanger seemed like something of a let-down. After all, it was the inevitable conclusion.
But upon viewing the first two episodes of the new season, it quickly becomes obvious that what came before was little more than a tense and exciting tease for what was to come. Because while most of the first season took place within the rather claustrophobic confines of Fox River penitentiary, the new season begins where last we saw our rag-tag team of misfits: out in the big, bad world. And if the thought of T-Bag, Abruzzi and Haywire roaming the streets doesn’t send chills up your spine, you haven’t been paying attention!
By the end of the first episode, several major questions are answered… and a thousand more raised. If the confines of Fox River both focused and limited the scope of the first season, events which transpire during the initial two installments of the new season set in motion more plotlines than you’d find in five daytime dramas. And that’s a good thing. Rather than feeling hampered by what amounted to a single question regarding the escape — “will they or won’t they?” — the show now faces the almost daunting task of following nearly a dozen characters as they spin off into their own individual yet linked storylines. It is a challenge the series seems more than capable of handling.
Several surprising twists make it clear early on that this is a show which will make up the rules as it goes along… and then feel free to break them. And while the casting of William Fitchner — who intrigued as the mysterious sheriff on the best of last year’s sci-fi dramas, INVASION — won’t do much to calm fans of that series rattled by its cancellation, the federal agent he plays here is a fantastic addition to the canvas. Not only does his presence give Scofield and his fellow fugitives a new foe, but his “by the book” lawman creates the perfect foil for bad boy C.O. Bellick, who is bound and determined to bring back the escapees by any means necessary. (You get the distinct impression that Bellick, newly motivated by the end of the first episode, takes the whole “dead or alive” thing serious… and prefers the first option.)