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TV Review: Prison Break – “The Legend” One Big, Silly Ode to Bellick

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This week’s episode of Prison Break, “The Legend,” was much better in terms of story, thrills, and structure than last week’s offering. This episode sees Scofield (Wentworth Miller) heading off to the hospital with Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) in order to check on his frequent fainting spells. Meanwhile, Sucre (Amaury Nolasco) and Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) find themselves in a little bit of a pickle and they rely on Gretchen (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) to try and help them out of this predicament. Mahone (William Fichtner) finds the person who built Scylla, and gets some valuable information from that meeting.

There were some nice twists that, although not as robust and vibrant as they have been in the past, still managed to put a smile on viewers' faces. “The Legend” built up quite nicely as we got to understand more about Scofield’s health issues, and this also provided Scofield with an emotional stretch this week, which unfortunately Wentworth Miller was not capable of translating onto the screen. Miller, for the most part, delivered his lines with sighs and breathlessness, sans the emotions and nuances expected in someone who had been fainting at the drop of a hat for the past couple of episodes. Miller remained blank-faced throughout as he often does when Scofield is in situations that are not extreme.

Another twist was Mahone getting unexpected help at the last minute, which in turn came in handy un-pickling Lincoln and Sucre from their tough spot. We also saw that Agent Self (Michael Rapaport) has a connection with the Girl Friday that T-Bag usually cavorts with.

This episode moved along at a good enough pace, and it offered a few exciting moments. However, the writers and producers marred this week’s episode by upping the cheese factor too much, as they tried shoving down our throats how much they sorely missed their colleague Wade Williams (who plays Bellick) who left the show last week. This episode was basically a cheap, trashy and constant homage to Bellick throughout!

Almost all of the cast had flashes to show how Bellick touched their lives, and given that the character spent three quarters of the series being the bad mean guy, it all seemed very contrived that they would’ve been this touched by his demise. Despite Scofield reassuring us that nothing was the same since Fox River, we were never given any “wonderful” Bellick moments to feel that he warranted this level of sorrow and attention.

I would say short of violins playing, the never-ending Bellick homage was farcical and comical; however in the scene where T-Bag gives a speech and then chokes up as he recalls Bellick, there were violins playing in the background, over T-Bag’s audience looking mesmerized and taken in by his recollection of the Great Bellick! One would have thought that a main character, one who was honorable and dignified, had died, given the tedious and repetitive nature with which Bellick’s eulogy occupied the show.

Instead, Bellick was a mean ex-guard who was quite a loser in life and never really brought anything joyful to anyone throughout the four years on the program. That entire scene with T-Bag and the violins playing in the background, and everyone looking like they were in nirvana as they witnessed T-Bag’s Ode to Bellick, was shockingly cheesy, and read more like a mockery and satire than anything real. Odes are usually melancholic and deeply emotional, which is perhaps what this scene intended to be, but instead what was delivered was derisory and risible.

I am sure Wade Williams is missed and having been one of the original cast, losing him would’ve been a blow to all cast and crew. Perhaps Wade Williams, the actor, deserves several odes dedicated to him, but Brad Bellick does not deserve even one!

Today’s episode was a clear blurring of the line between character and actor, to the point that it compromised the integrity of the show because the character Wade Williams played was too despicable to be afforded such a grandiose eulogy of this nature. It just didn't make sense within the ideology of Prison Break, and for all its characters either.

Therefore, despite this week’s episode being far more enticing than last week’s, the Ode to Bellick scenes securing such immense time in the program left this episode a complete farce instead. They should have saved the odes and homage episode for Michael Scofield, when or if he should die, because he would be more deserving of such glorification, and it wouldn't be absurd to have such a glowing, eulogy-filled episode then.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.
  • http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/Fichtner_Firsthand/ AJ

    I think you may have missed the point. Belleck had become part of their “team” and had saved the mission by sacrificing himself because he had no one who was dependent on him if he were to die. They were also sympathetic with his relationship with his mother. T-bag’s tears may have been crocodile in nature in accordance with his speech and the awe with which the GATE crew exhibited was what the writers wanted us to think; that T-bag was such a great BSer. Bellick’s “meanness” was abandoned in Sona.

  • Marina

    I disagree with you AJ, I think you missed the point, I agree with the author (and I don’t think she missed the point) – Bellick sacrificed himself, and his mother would feel the loss, but he was too small a character to have this kind of extended mourning. Also, he was a big meanie for so many episodes, that one episode of him sacrificing means nothing. What about the other characters who died and were never given this kind of mourning?

    Tbag is a bster, but him having flashbacks of bellick and then tearing up was meant to be genuine, and that was ludicrous that this heartless rapist murderer would feel sorry Bellick was gone. It was nonsense.

    Lastly, Bellick’s meanness didn’t stop at sona, in season 4, he was trying to get sucre to run away with him, he was always selfish.

  • Kaahu2008

    I disagree with you though I understand your opinion. Bellick was horrible, no doubt about that. However, I feel in the end his sacrifice was him finally being unselfish by giving up his life to save all the others. In addition, he also saved Sucre’s life in Sona, as conveyed by Sucre to Linc in this episode.

    Thus, their tribute was respectful and thoughtful because that’s who they are; Michael, Sucre, Linc and Sarah. They were appreciative and over the last few seasons, they have all grown, including Bellick. Even when he knew he was dying, he requested that they contact his mother. She is really all he had. Subsequently, a loser perhaps in life, but not in death?

    In addition, I don’t feel Michael can truly show his emotions given all the other variables on his mind – SCYLLA, Sarah, Linc, Sucre and a multitude of other things. He can’t be emotionally involved about his illness right now, no matter how devastating. He has to stay focused and has always been more concerned for the next guy since the series began. And not all people react the same to an illness; different strokes for different folks. Been there, done that myself. So I think criticism of Wentworth’s acting, or lack of emotion, is unwarranted. He’s doing exactly what the director wants him to, or so I believe.

    I agree that the situational challenge Linc and Sucre found themselves in was cleverly incorporated into what Mahone finds via David Becker and they moved the storyline along with excitement via the ever-evil Company.

    Prison Break, obviously, is my favorite show as is Wentworth Miller my favorite actor. Thank you for your synopsis. However, I think the writing and performances continue to intrigue his dedicated viewers. I think it’s brilliant.

  • Suz

    Wentworth did a great job. Don’t mistake his subtle expressions as an inability to portray his character. He did an awesome job.

    The show is getting better and better.

  • Vanessa

    The tribute went too long as far as screening it for US (THE VIEWERS) is concerned. The characters might have had a vested interest in Bellick, but they needn’t have shown us the full length of it, right? That’s what editing is for.

    I’m getting quite sick and tired of people excusing Wentworth’s horrible acting by saying that the character is not emotional. Then, where is the ACTING, if the actor can remain blank and emotionless? It’s up to the actor to interpret that emotion-lessness that Mike has and convey to us that he is feeling SOMETHING! At the moment, Wentworth can’t do that.

    There is a difference between someone playing an emotionally lacking person, and an actor just not acting at all. Wentworth doesn’t have subtle expressions, he has NO expressions. That is what the writer is trying to say i think, and that is my opinion of Wentworth too. There is NOTHING on his gorgeous face, no expressions, nothing!

  • Amanda

    Voila! Well said Vanessa.

    There is a difference between subtle emotions, and no emotions. Wentworth Miller has no emotions.

    There is a difference between portraying someone emotionally unconnected WITH nuances, and portraying that same emotionally unconnected person with one layer expressions. Wentworth has only one layer expressions.

    Don’t mistake one for the other.

    If you don’t get what I mean, watch the other actors, like Kellerman (Adelstein) or Mahone (Fichttner), and you will see what I mean.

    Wentworth is just an average actor, bordering on below average at times.