Where to begin? Well, it all started in 2014 when I watched all four seasons of Prison Break back to back. Prison shows and movies were a little new to me, but I think at that point I already saw Orange is the New Black Season 1, so I kind of knew what to expect. Prison gangs, rapings and sexual assault by other inmates and/or guards, guards abusing their power, and also the show’s own agenda of trying to make criminals sympathetic or at least likable/watchable. Prison Break has all of the prison cliches and more. Not only do they have gangs, rapings by inmates/guards, guards abusing their power, and a lot of violence, but they also manage to make everyone likable, even the really hard core criminal that should be locked away (T-Bag), are some people’s favorite character?! But of course, he’s not our focus. Our focus is on the people wrongfully imprisoned - Lincoln Burrows - framed for murder of a high ranking politician, and his brother - Michael Scofield - who pretended to rob a bank to get into prison to get him and his brother out. Michael, unlike Lincoln who is all brawn and little brains, is all brains and even brawn. In Season 1 he is a mastermind. He planned out everything to a T to get his brother out and it works, him and some folks they meet along the way, all escape prison in Season 1. Season 2, is about all of them running from the law, whether that be rogue prison guards, FBI agents, or “the company” (basically an evil secret world government), they’re running from all of them. In Season 3 Michael ends up in Prison in Panama and Lincoln has to get him out, and of course he does with a little help from his friends. Lastly, Season 4 is when Lincoln and Michael finally take on “the company” and it ends “happily ever after,” sort of. Michael is dead, but besides that everyone seems to be happy. UNTIL Season 5.
I really like conspiracy theories so I didn’t mind the company. I thought it was an interesting villain even though things did seem kind of unbelievable at times. The characters and the mystery were all enough to suspend my disbelief. Things never crossed the line into “bullshit” territory, like oh the company is actually controlled by a group of middle eastern terrorists and it’s REAL. No, it was always a fictional threat. In addition, Michael was a great leader and always ahead of the game. He was a true hero, and not an anti-hero like Walter White, whose hard to root for sometimes. With Michael, we’re always on his side. It’s rare to find a “not brooding” hero so that was a plus. Overall seasons 1-4 were enough, of course more would be nice, but it was always just a dream, but then they made it a reality.
Season 5 of Prison Break, also known as Prison Break Resurrection, is where shit hits the fan. It’s important to note that there’s a made for TV movie between the last episode of Season 4, which shows how Michael dies and sort of sets up Resurrection. Basically the movie is a prequel to the Season 4 finale. It centers around Sara - Michael’s pregnant wife - getting thrown in prison and Michael and the gang need to break HER out, while being chased by the FBI and some members who are still left from “the company” of course. Michael manages to get her out, but in order to do so he sacrifices himself. That’s why he died. I remember crying at the end of Prison Break Season 4 (when I saw the Season 4 finale, I hadn’t seen the Prison Break movie. I didn’t see the movie until I watched Resurrection this past week.) because it was so sad, but also showed how loving Michael was. But then, it turns out in Season 5 that death doesn’t mean anything. Michael is actually alive. The agreement was that if he faked his own death, no harm would come to his family at the hands of Poseidon, a rogue CIA agent who wants to free terrorists around the world in order to cause mayhem. We really don’t know why he wants to break these people out of jail, he just does. And therefore, he needs Michael’s help. Then Michael goes around the world under the fake name of Kaniel Outis, breaking people out of prison, while Sara has his child and remarries to, guess who, POSEIDON. We later learn that Poseidon got kicked out of the CIA for killing his boss, but he framed Michael for the killing in order to re-imprison him and have leverage on him. Michael ends up in Yemen where he has to free ISIS leader Abu Ramal. This is where Season 5 begins, in a prison in Yemen where Michael needs to be freed by his brother Lincoln, and some characters from the previous 4 seasons. Lincoln and company go to Yemen to free Michael and meet his new accomplices. They break out of prison and find refuge, but not without killing Abu Ramal, meeting an Islamic version of T-Bag (he doesn’t have an eye and T-Bag doesn’t have a hand), workers for Poseidon figuring out Michael is coming back to the U.S. and is going back on the deal, and Sara coming all the way from the U.S. to help save Michael from antifreeze poisoning in Israel, and then going back to the U.S. in a matter of 20 minutes. Michael makes it back to the U.S. mid season (around episode 4 or 5 considering the season only got 9 episodes of 45 minutes each), beats Poseidon at his own game, gets him thrown in jail only to be continually abused by T-Bag (who’s also in jail), reunites with his family and now, finally, we get the happily ever after which is highly unlikely considering the amount of trauma they have been through. Mainly Sara, who realizes she was married to a complete stranger and evil doer - Poseidon, and their child, Michael Jr., who will definitely have some psychological issues growing up after seeing people be shot dead right in front of him.
Clearly, Season 5 of Prison Break only exists because FOX wants to bank off of our nostalgia for Prison Break. Which I find ironic considering Prison Break started in 2005 and it’s only been a decade since it debuted. It was a much beloved show, but did we really want Michael to be alive? It only makes the stakes lower and less real. Did we really believe that Michael was going to die of antifreeze poisoning in the middle of this season? NO. All of the slow points that were supposed to bring about emotion for the characters fell flat because we know the TV show would never kill off a major character. The only people who die in the show are minor characters that add nothing to the plot, or the villains.
Next, let’s address the elephant in the room, ISIS/ISIL. Yes, they really attempt to fight ISIS in Prison Break. They bring real world villains in to this fictional world of prison breaks and “evil world governments” and “rogue CIA agents.” They don’t actually say ISIS in the show, they say ISIL, and at first I didn’t know that was another name for ISIS, so I thought they were a fictional terror group, but no, they’re supposed to be real even though I’m pretty sure Abu Ramal isn’t a real ISIL leader. Anyway, the problems that come from this are huge. I think the intention was to just throw the audience's attention to ISIL and make them believe that’s the real villain, so then Poseidon comes in later as a “twist” villain. But this was a huge mistake. One, they’re making light of real world terrorists that commit heinous crimes. Two, they’re showing that Islam is terrorism, but in their defense C-Note is muslim and one of our main good guys. In addition, Lincoln’s love interest is a muslim woman and they do rescue a bunch of refugee children and bring them to the U.S. from Yemen. Three, how are a group of 5 people supposed to combat ISIS?! That makes ZERO sense. The company was okay because it was a fictional threat. Yes it was huge and really hard to take down, but it was spread over 4 seasons. You can’t end ISIS in half of a season. And though they never attempt to end ISIS, just flee them, it makes you know from the onset, ISIS isn’t going to be the main villain, it’s going to be someone back in the U.S., probably a character you think is good. The twist villain being Sara’s husband is as predictable as the twist villain in Zootopia. Why make it a twist then?! Why not make him the villain from the onset? I guess it’s was because he was too boring. It’s not like the Company which was sprawling, no, in this case it’s one man and his hench people who are so non threatening it’s sad.
Lastly, there’s Michael Jr. aka Michael and Sara’s son. He apparently has Michael’s gift of drawing, finding patterns, and creating them. They claim that it’s in his DNA, considering he never met Michael and his stepfather, Poseidon, never taught him how to draw in code. This is a huge slap in the face of science. Drawing, okay, that is a skill some people are better at than others at birth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take lessons and learn how to draw. Creating hidden patterns is a LEARNED SKILL. Just because Lincoln has huge muscles doesn’t mean his kid is going to inherit his huge muscles. Just like Michael Jr. can’t inherit encryption skills.
The whole season was just a big fail. It’s not unwatchable, but it is most definitely unenjoyable.
21 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.