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TV Review: Prison Break – “S.O.B.” Writers Missed A History Lesson

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Prison Break’s episode “S.O.B.” starts off where the series ended last week — with Lincoln (Dominic Purcell), Mahone (William Fichtner), T-Bag (Robert Knepper), and Self (Michael Rapaport) interrogating Sandinsky. Scofield (Wentworth Miller) calls to inform his brother that Sandinksky’s cell phone shows emails and calls between him and Christina, establishing the fact that the two were working together.

Before Lincoln can work on that information, the General (Leon Russom) shows up and starts using violence on Sandinsky, thereby retrieving information about Christina (Kathleen Quinlan) being in possession of Scylla and also the location of her home. The General sends Lincoln, Mahone, and Self to examine the house, while he enlists T-Bag as a company operative.

At Christina’s home, Lincoln, Mahone, and Self find a receipt for a car rental and account information of a bank that she uses. At the bank, Lincoln is recorded by the bank’s video cameras, but the boys are told that Christina’s henchman has left with the valuable suitcase that was kept at the bank previously. A chase after the henchman ensues that brings the boys to the vicinity where Naveen Banerjee (the Indian diplomat from last week) is set to address a conference. Strangely, Self and Mahone find passports with their photos in a rented car outside which makes Mahone suspicious that all of this might be a setup.

Meanwhile, Scofield and Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) are tracked down by Christina; however Scofield manages to use his smarts to come up with some deadly powder that renders Christina and her men unconscious. He and Sara then secure Christina, while they try and get answers from her. Christina though plays mind games with both her son and Sara, informing Scofield that Lincoln was adopted by their father, and explains how she never could connect with young Lincoln as a boy. Christina also guesses by Sara’s body language that she’s pregnant with Scofield’s baby.

While Scofield leaves Sara alone with Christina in order to go after his brother, Christina – through some lackluster manipulation and second rate antics – manages to overpower Sara, but leaves her unharmed and proceeds to Naveen’s (Anthony Azizi) conference instead.

As Naveen starts to talk at the conference, one of Christina’s people shoots at him and wounds him, just as Lincoln and Scofield find their way to the same room. The brothers realise that their mother has set them up again, this time for Naveen’s murder.

This episode had a lot more plot development and twists than the previous episodes since the return of Prison Break a few weeks ago, and it was a relief to see the storyline finally move ahead with some flow. However, in an attempt to portray Christina as being on the same level of smarts as her son Scofield, the writers failed miserably. Christina’s ease at guessing that Sara was pregnant, and her warning her son that she can’t be manipulated fell short of showing us that she is anywhere near as brilliant as her son. Also, her little strategy of using Sara to slam the door in order to break off the doorstop so that she could use it to set herself free was amateurish and contrived. Couldn’t Christina just have slammed the door herself, from the inside? And is dental floss really that sturdy to withstand such force? Scofield has come up with far better schemes, in far less time, in the past! So clearly these scenes didn’t work in portraying Christina being as brainy as her son.

Also, this entire episode seemed to hinge on chance, and the coincidence of things happening the way they were supposed to. How did Christina know that Sara would slam the door? How would she have known that Lincoln would open the right drawer and handle the bullets, thus leaving his prints all over them, conveniently allowing Christina’s men to shoot Naveen with those very bullets that Lincoln touched, and to leave one the touched bullets behind as evidence? How could Christina have known that Lincoln would’ve found the bank account number, inconspicuously scribbled no less on a used bank envelope, and would trace the bank’s name with the help of Sandinsky, and thereby manage to get himself captured by the surveillance cameras? It just didn’t make sense that anyone with high intelligence would hatch a plan that was so dependent on coincidence and chance, to this degree!

While it was good to see Kathleen Quinlan deviate somewhat from her usual portrayal of Christina as one-dimensional and wooden, this episode left Christina’s motives unclear. She apparently came up with a hare-brained plan to start a global war in order for these battling countries to realise that their modern defence systems needed to be revamped, so that she could profit from using Scylla to create environmentally friendly weapons and systems for these countries in return. According to the General, Christina’s plans were for defensive solar weaponry and water desalination, which is hardly an area of major concern for warring nations! Why would a country at war think about the best environmentally friendly weapons to use? So, these countries supposedly would be eager to kill their enemies, but have some kind of conscience about hurting the earth in that pursuit? Why would countries at war even care about the environment? And why would Christina have to start more wars when we already have half the world embroiled in some type of conflict or other?

Wouldn’t it have been easier for Christina to just meet with world leaders and introduce her environmentally friendly weapons and systems during peacetime? Wouldn’t she get a more affirmative response if the countries of these leaders were not at war? Christina is either terribly foolish and dim-witted, in which case it is pointless trying to portray her as another “Scofield”, or she is a mentally deranged psychopath! Either way, the writers have fuzzed up her motivation and her intentions with a lot of insensibilities and nonsense.

And of all the nations in the world that would bring a lot of financial rewards should they go into battle, Laos, one of the poorest nations on the face of the earth, was thought to be a good choice? It was thought to be a choice? Perhaps The General and Christina should forget about world domination and return to high school, because it’s perfectly clear they missed a few lessons on history and logic! Or rather, the writers did.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.