by Billie Doux
(This review includes spoilers!)
Prison Break was supposed to end with a ninety-minute series finale called "The Final Break," but apparently Fox decided not to air it. Instead, they took the last few minutes of "The Final Break" containing the "Four Years Later" sequence, and tacked it on to the end of episode 4.22, "Killing Your Number."
(If you have Netflix, "The Final Break" is there. It's episode 4.23, "The Old Ball and Chain / Free.")
The story takes place a few weeks after the events of "Killing Your Number." It opens with Michael and Sara getting married on the beach, followed almost immediately by Sara's arrest for the murder of Michael's mother, "Christina Hampton." Sara is immediately incarcerated in Miami-Dade State Penitentiary, which also houses our old friends T-Bag, Gretchen Morgan and the General.
Basically, the wedding. It was lovely. Things mostly went south after that.
What doesn't work
Since it had already been established that Sara was newly pregnant, the producers had a choice: find a way to center the story around Sara in jail before her pregnancy started to show, or advance the story a few months until after her conviction and then put her in prison and either deal with advanced pregnancy or write the plot around a baby. They decided to go with option one.
But why would Sara be placed in a penitentiary when she hadn't been convicted yet? Because it was a prison/jail hybrid. Seriously. They did that. They brought in Lori Petty (Orange is the New Black) to play "Daddy," the requisite caricature lesbian prison boss slash source of interpersonal conflict. Sigh. Dot-Marie Jones, Coach Beiste on Glee, appears as a violent convict comically named "Skittlez."
The General offers $100,000 to anyone in the prison/jail who will kill Sara, which of course meant that Michael and Linc's team had to reassemble to break Sara out of Miami-Dade before she could be killed. Gretchen decides to tag along with the jailbreak instead of killing Sara for the money, and she even saves Sara's life. Sadly, Gretchen would have been de trop in the final breakout scene, so she gets caught, leaving behind a wooden necklace she made for her daughter, a little bit of implied redemption.
Some of the episode is unintentionally funny, like T-Bag referring to Michael and Sara as "Pretty and Mrs. Pretty." The parachute scene is improbable but hilarious. There are several nice callbacks to previous seasons, especially Michael's letter to Sara that includes a coded message.
But most of this episode is poorly written and sadly predictable. Sara is seriously victimized in prison: poisoned, beaten up and actually branded, and let's remember that she was pregnant at the time, which made me more uncomfortable than sympathetic. There is supposed to be tension regarding whether or not Mahone will betray Michael to get his FBI badge back, but by this time, we all know Mahone better than that.
The final breakout scene is infuriatingly ambiguous. There was an electronically locked door under the chapel that led outside, specifically intended for employees during a fire or emergency. Michael had to turn off the power and then connect two broken power lines in order to open that door for Sara, electrocuting himself in the process. There were a lot of impressive sparks, but we didn't actually see Michael die, and we never see the body. Remember Josie's Law? If you don't see the body, don't believe anyone is dead.
Michael left a goodbye video for Sara and Linc, and I'll admit Wentworth Miller made me choke up. Michael had known his illness was terminal, and apparently had also guessed that the only way to break Sara out would cost him his life. Except that, obviously, they are now filming a revival miniseries and Wentworth Miller is indeed in it. Well, of course. How could they revive Prison Break without him?
I'm not completely sure what I'd like to see in the revival, other than a Michael/Sara reunion and much better writing. And an ending to Prison Break as a series that is a lot better than this.
Verdict: Sadly, one out of four origami cranes,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.