'Prison Break' fall finale raises important jurisdictional concerns

Williamfichtner2_prisonbreak_s2_240 So you're Prison Break, a serialized drama on the verge of taking a hiatus for nearly two months and you need to find a way to keep viewers pinned to their seats for your crucial "fall finale," give them something that will haunt them and keep them guessing until late January. Under those circumstances, do you dedicate an entire episode to issues of post-9/11 law enforcement jurisdiction?

Monday (Nov. 27) night's episode of Prison Break decided not to concentrate on car chases, doomed romance or carefully devised codes. Instead, viewers were treated to an hour of pulse-pounding debate about whether federal agents trump border patrol, local officers trump federal agents and department of corrections officials trump shadow conspiracy henchman. And how are those jurisdictional issues impacted by 9/11 or by it being an election year? I understand that killing Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield to protect the integrity of our unseen (except for Sunday nights at 10 on ABC) president is a complicated process, but maybe if the episode had dedicated less time to transportation logistics, we might have been able to spend a couple seconds with the absent C-Note and Haywire.

During the course of the episode, presumably taking place on a single timeline, the following things were able to occur: Lincoln and Michael sat in a holding cell having periodic flashbacks while several people plotted their murder. Bellick was arraigned, accepted a plea, was sentence and was transported back to Fox River Penitentiary. T-Bag killed a military vet for his hand, romanced a "plain" postal employee to get a forwarding address for his ex-flame and made his way to her new house. And Sucre jumped out of a plane and parachuted to the ground. I'm not sure how those things all happen simultaneously.

Pauladelstein2_prisonbreak_s2_240_1 The episode did end with a couple cliffhangers, I guess. Who could have foreseen Agent Kellerman (Paul Adelstein) popping a cap in Agent Mahone and offering Lincoln and Michael the chance to take down the president? Oh. You could have? Me too, actually. And T-Bag showing up to torment the woman who got him sent up the river? That's a little freaky.

But seriously, where's Haywire?

I've said it before and I'll say it again... As long as I'm entertained, I don't question this show's logic. The minute they bore me with an episode devoted to people being ushered from one holding cell to another and expect me to be enthralled, I get annoyed.

Some thoughts and questions about where the series might go starting in January:

  • If you're transferring prisoners and you already know that you may be called upon to take part in a gunfight, you wear a vest. That means that that Mahone will be back, even if Bill Fichtner was nowhere to be seen in the scenes from upcoming episodes.
  • If you were responsible for putting away a psychotic killer/pedophile and he vowed to show up at your doorstep and kill you and then he escaped from prison, you'd either have a guard watching your house or a handy gun, right? At the very least you'd have a peephole in your door, right?
  • Did Dr. Tancredi use that ominous razor blade to trim two inches off of her hair? Is she trying to look like a different person, or just to look homeless?
  • Favorite line of the episode: Michael telling Lincoln to "Just pray there's another way out of here" as they're running through a dark tunnel. The guy's an architect. You think he'd be confident that it's rare that a system of tunnels that contains a only single exit.
  • Second favorite line (a bit more genuinely): Michael's response to Lincoln's query about whether he'd do it again being the vague "I don't regret the act, just how it turned out."
  • Who's the bald-guy who frightens Secret Asian Man (Reggie Lee)?
  • Where's Haywire? And the dog?
  • Does anybody honestly care what happens to Bellick at this point? Are we supposed to root for him to break out? Or for him to get a taste of his own medicine? And how long will that be entertaining for?

    What did you think of the fall finale?

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