Original Airdate: April 4, 2017
“I died seven years ago.”
And for all we knew, Michael Scofield did die seven years ago, in the final moments of season four. In an attempt to break his beloved wife Sara out of prison for killing his mother (I know, but I promise it makes total sense if you’ve watched the show), he sacrifices himself to free her, getting electrocuted while causing a power surge to open a locked door. We learn later that his brain tumor had returned, this time terminal, and he wouldn’t have had much time anyway. But that doesn’t make his death any less heartbreaking or shocking.
So when Fox announced they were creating a fifth season of Prison Break, and that Wentworth Miller would return to play his iconic role of Michael, my head was left spinning. So he didn’t die? How? Why hasn’t he reached out to his brother or Sara for seven years? Even if his electrocution was not fatal, how did he survive the brain tumor? While the first episode leaves us in the dark regarding how Michael actually survived, I suppose all of these questions will be answered in time.
“FATE HAS GOT US JOINED AT THE HIP SOMEHOW.”
Cut to Lincoln Burrows, the show’s other protagonist. He is Michael’s half-brother, and the catalyst for why there was a prison break in the first place. Currently, Lincoln is running from some guys to whom he owes money. When he finally makes it back to his house, he is greeted by T-Bag, who is waiting patiently on the porch. T-Bag shows Lincoln the envelope’s contents, and Lincoln is shocked to find a grainy photo of his thought-to-be-dead half-brother, captioned with one of Michael’s famous word puzzles.
Hoping Sara can decipher the puzzle, as she always could in the past, Lincoln hops a flight to New York. Unfortunately, Sara is unsure what Michael’s note means, and is skeptical that he’s still alive (considering the information came from T-bag, a known liar and master manipulator who has been known to betray the gang).
Lincoln visits Michael’s grave. He laments that he’s fallen back into his old ways, suggesting it was because Michael wasn’t there to guide him. “I got good in me,” he says. “It’d just be nice if you were here with me to help me find it.” He re-examines Michael’s note, and discovers that some letters are written in pencil. Erasing the pencil marks away reveals the letters “OGYGIA,” which Lincoln learns is a prison in Yemen.
Making the (slightly disturbing) decision to dig up Michael’s grave, Lincoln confirms his suspicions when he finds no body inside the coffin, just some clothes. He takes the suit jacket. As he’s driving home, he gets stuck at a red light. The man in the car next to him looks strangely suspicious, and Lincoln realizes he is being followed. As soon as the light turns green, we see that the person in the car next to him has somehow hacked Lincoln’s car and has full control of the gas and brake pedals. Lincoln accelerates, and the mysterious attacker leads Lincoln’s car straight for a lake, but Lincoln is thrown from the car and manages to escape with the suit jacket.
He quickly calls Sara to inform her of the attack, and pretty soon a woman with a gun appears at Sara’s house. She manages to hide herself and her son (that she had with Michael), Mike, and call the police. The woman is able to shoot Sara’s husband, Jacob, in the leg before she hears the police sirens and escapes.
“SOMEONE SEEMS TO HAVE PLANS FOR BOTH OF US.”
Dr. Whitcombe says he received a large grant from an anonymous donor named “Outis” for his research, under the condition that “Theodore Bagwell” would be the first recipient of this robotic hand. T-Bag has suspicions about undergoing the surgery, distrusting the doctor and not wanting to be put under anesthesia, but eventually goes through with the procedure.
Lincoln decides to go to Yemen, and tracks down Benjamin Miles Franklin, or C-Note, another member of the Fox River Eight (the eight men who originally escaped from Fox River in season one). C-Note has converted to Islam, and Lincoln believes he will be a beneficial travel partner, considering he knows Arabic and may be able to navigate through the war-ridden area of Yemen.
C-Note is familiar with Ogygia and explains it’s a jail for political prisoners. Unable to believe Michael would do something to warrant ending up in that kind of place, they call Ogygia and learn there is no prisoner there named “Michael Scofield.” Lincoln and C-Note Google Michael’s name and find that it has been attached to a completely new face. Someone has completely erased his existence — but who? C-Note encourages Lincoln to look at the situation from all angles: Michael has the brainpower and capability of pulling off a stunt as crazy and complex as faking his own death.
After arriving in Yemen, C-Note and Lincoln notice they’re the only people coming into the country; everyone else wants out. A man who claims he will take them to Sheba, C-Note’s contact, meets them at the airport. Lincoln and C-Note follow the man to a car. As they’re getting into the car, we see a different man arrive at the airport holding a sign with their names on it. Eventually, C-Note realizes they’ve been set up, and he and Lincoln fight their assailants until Sheba shows up and rescues them.
Sheba has a friend with connections to Ogygia. He can arrange a visit — but Lincoln must surrender his passport to the prison, who can then sell it on the black market for a large amount of money. Ignoring C-Note’s pleas to not give up his passport, Lincoln agrees and hands it over, effectively trapping himself in Yemen.
“[MICHAEL] WAS LIKE A STORM. HE WOULD SHOW UP IN YOUR LIFE OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY AND HE WOULD DISAPPEAR JUST AS QUICKLY.”
The guards retrieve Michael from his cell, as C-Note takes a video to provide Sara evidence that Michael is still alive. Michael claims he does not know who Lincoln and C-Note are, and repeats that his name is not Michael. He finally asks to be taken back to his cell. As he walks away from his brother and friend, he looks absolutely pained and exhausted.
Prison Break was such a good show because of the suspense. Every episode had you sitting on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, heart beating out of your chest. You never knew who was telling the truth, who was going to double-cross whom, or what new character would randomly show up and completely overhaul the plot (Michael’s mom, anyone?). Prison Break was also one of those rare plot-heavy shows that also prioritized character growth (Remember Brad Bellick? Yeah, still crying about that, by the way).
This season has that same potential. The gripping storytelling of just this first episode had me on the edge of my seat. I walked away from my television with more questions than answers, a very Prison Break-esque feeling of uncertainty and confusion washing over me. It was so good to see Sara, Michael, Lincoln, C-Note, and even Sucre for a brief second. I’ve really missed them.
That being said, I do have some qualms about this upcoming season. This episode in particular relied heavily on nostalgia; someone watching this show without having seen all the other episodes, would probably, in all honesty, not like it. The characters are skeletal compared to what we saw in the previous seasons, and the plot is moving fairly slowly at this point.
Additionally, there were some inconsistencies regarding character relations, mostly in the fact that C-Note was never great friends with Lincoln and Michael in the first place. Why would he agree to go on such a risky venture to save someone with whom he never had a relationship? It would make way more sense for Sucre to have gone with Lincoln to Yemen, as he was Michael’s best friend. I’m also surprised Lincoln and T-Bag were able to be in the same room together without bloodshed.
And I have a few logistical questions. Are we just ignoring the fact that Lincoln has a son? And C-Note has a family — wouldn’t that deter him from wanting to go to a place as dangerous as Yemen? How did Michael (assuming that he is the “Outis” who donated a large sum of money to Dr. Whitcombe) wire that amount from prison? Does he even have that much money if he’s been “dead” for seven years?
I’m stoked for the remaining episodes, and I can’t wait to learn if Michael is really behind all this “Kaniel Outis” stuff. He definitely has the potential to pull a stunt as crazy as this one, but how did he end up here in the first place? My curiosity has been piqued, and I’m excited to see how this season pans out. I know a lot of Prison Break fans would have preferred the show ended when it did, but I’m thankful for this reboot.
Honorable Events Worth Mentioning:
- Fun fact: “Outis” is Greek for “nobody.”
- Michael has new tattoos — those who watched the original series know what a huge role tattoos play in the show. In season one, Michael tattoos Fox River’s blueprint onto his body, later lasering off each one of those tattoos to hide his identity. One of Michael’s new tattoos features an eye on the palm of his hand, and I have a feeling this will be important in coming episodes.
- Sara is not in Yemen (at least, not yet), so it appears she’ll reprise her role as a main character from U.S. soil.
- Sucre. Is. Back! My favorite member of the Fox River Eight (besides Michael, of course) made a quick appearance. He wanted to accompany Lincoln to Yemen, but finally acquiesced to Lincoln and C-Note’s pleads not to go out of fear for his safety. I sincerely hope this isn’t the last time we see him, because Sucre is such a great character.
- The label on the suit jacket Lincoln found in Michael’s grave says “Kaniel Outis.”