Prison Break – Ogygia
The gang is back together, in the premiere episode of the season
When we last saw Prison Break, our hearts were broken. Michael (Wentworth Miller) had died, Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) was living in Panama, Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) was raising her child she had with Michael alone, life was moving along.
Fast forward eight years and that brings us to Prison Break – Ogygia.
Smartly opening with a handy summary of the story up to this point, the first episode nevertheless appears to suggest that this season will be a largely self-contained affair. Yes, new viewers won’t appreciate the character dynamics or various callbacks to prior seasons, but on the basis of Ogygia, it functions relatively well on its own.
After Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) died at the end of the show’s main run, the dubious – if somewhat understandable – decision has been made to resurrect him, with the current nature of that revival obscured. It’s totally, reminiscent of Sara’s death and backpedaling resurrection many seasons ago. If you’re going to commit yourself to this nine-episode run, you really need to just roll with Michael being back.
The boys are back
The other key players are re-introduced; T-Bag (Robert Knepper) is implausibly let out of prison and, for reasons unknown, receives a grainy photo of Michael which he then delivers to Lincoln (Dominic Purcell). That’s to say nothing of T-Bag’s peripheral plot this episode.
Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) has meanwhile moved on from Michael and married a wet blanket of a man named Jacob (Mark Feuerstein) whose days are probably already numbered, and it’s not long before she has to deal with gun-totting assassins knocking at her door.
The most eyebrow-raising introductions are however reserved for C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar) and Sucre (Amaury Nolasco); the former has converted to Islam (which can only be for story reasons) – Lincoln needs a pal to help him navigate a Yemen jail where Michael is being imprisoned – and the latter shows up for a brief moment, so brief if you blink you’d have missed him. Neither characters’ actions feel consistent with their prior characterization, C-Note having what basically amounts to a personality transplant and Sucre so willingly backing away when Lincoln tells him not to join them in Yemen.
So yes, the writing is as wonky and bizarrely compelling as it always has been. There are lots of scenes of characters talking to themselves for our benefit, there are convoluted clues indicating a wider mystery, and a wealth of unintentional comedy as absurd dialogue.
It’s impossible not to chuckle at lines like, “Greetings from the U.S. prison system, bitches!” There’s also a terrifically over-the-top sequence where Linc’s car is remotely hijacked and crashes off the road, catapulting him through the windscreen with the force of a rocket, before he emerges with as little as a scratch seconds later.
It also moves relatively fast – which, with just nine episodes, it basically has to – and the actors largely haven’t missed a step. Particular credit should go to Purcell, who has to carry most of its 42 minutes and does so admirably enough.
The season premiere is effective. The riotously over-the-top cliffhanger feels very much like a classic Prison Break “gotcha!” moment.
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