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TV Review: Prison Break‘s “Cowboys and Indians” Indicates Show is Whimpering Out

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Prison Break starts off “Cowboys and Indians” where it left off last week — with Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) and Scofield (Wentworth Miller) stuck in the hotel after the Prime Minister’s son was assassinated. With Self (Michael Rapaport) and Mahone (William Fichtner) unable to help much, Scofield devises a plan using an abandoned housekeeping cart full of household supplies. However the plan backfires and the boys are caught by The General’s man and brought to him.

The General kills Self’s wheelchair-bound wife in order to light a fire under the feet of Scofield and gang to get them to acquire Scylla more quickly. Scofield realises that Christina would have to go to a Federal Reserve signatory bank to avoid a waiting period for her funds from the Prime Minister, and that only means one possible bank, in Miami. So Mahone, Lincoln, and Scofield go to that bank and by disguising themselves as bank robbers, they manage to get Scylla from Christina. However, her men open fire and take Lincoln hostage.

Mahone finds Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) and sets her free; however she is soon captured by T-Bag (Robert Knepper) who hands her over to The General to use as leverage against Scofield. Therefore, Scofield is left with both sides threatening someone he loves, and he has to choose to either give Scylla to Christina and save his brother, or to give it to The General and save Sara.

Christina’s (Kathleen Quinlan) plan is revealed further in this episode — she manages to make it look like a Chinese operative wired money into Lincoln and Scofield’s accounts as payment to kill the Indian Prime Minister’s son, in order to start a war between the two nations. This piece of news brings the Indian Prime Minister to Christina asking to buy her Scylla technology in order to avenge the Chinese for his son’s death. However after receiving payment from the Prime Minister, Christina starts to negotiate with the Chinese too for the very same Scylla technology. 

This plot twist has got to be one of the most insane, undeniably absurd and totally farcical turns Prison Break has ever taken in all four seasons! No nation on earth has ever resorted to war in modern times over a Prime Minister’s son being assassinated by a couple of thugs, no matter who paid them to do so! It’s preposterous to suggest that just because his son was killed, the Prime Minister was willing to go into battle with the Chinese to avenge his son’s death. Does a Prime Minister not have governmental structures and people to discuss with and convince before such an irrational, flippant, and illogical decision such as this one is made? Not only is this plot twist outlandish, it also speaks of such immature and juvenile storytelling.

The General tries to add some credibility to this silly and unintelligent plot by talking about the 1962 Sino-India conflict. However, that conflict involved a dispute over borders, and had nothing to do with any Prime Minister or his son being killed! In fact India does have a real history of a Prime Minister’s son being assassinated by members from another nation — Rajiv Gandhi, the son of ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and who was also an ex-Prime Minister himself, was shot by members of the Sri Lankan LTTE group. However, this incident didn’t lead to any war declarations between Sri Lanka and India, and it certainly didn’t come anywhere close to leading every nation on earth to clamor onto this incident, thereby bringing about world apocalypse, as laughably suggested by The General in regards to Christina’s actions. This sort of plot development is truly the most inane and puerile angle ever employed in this series, which already had plenty of nonsensical developments in the past.

Also, another insipid plot device employed by the writers was the constant and heavy use of Scofield’s cell phone. In the middle of being chased, with the police mere metres away, Scofield decides to call Mahone for help, and in another scene as Scofield and Mahone leave Lincoln in a hail of gunfire, Mahone says to Scofield, “Call him”, and Scofield promptly calls him brother. Such over-reliance on one plot device to keep the story moving only shows up the sluggish and weak writing/storytelling in Prison Break.

About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, curent freelance writer and filmmaker.
  • Neilp

    That bullshit…If the Chinese Government paid to have the Prime Minister’s son assassinated. That would be considered an act of war..and of course would trigger at least a conflict.if not a war.. Obviously Sharmila your not a politition so its ok..but its not that ridicules

  • Dr. X

    its shit. Agree… but why are you still watching it?

  • Kozmo

    This show started very strong in S1, and kept You on the edge of your seat in S2. The 3rd season was back to its roots (plotting a prison escape in Panama), but by S4 the storyline started to really get thin. The never-ending twists – just for the sake of a twist – were becoming unbearable as it was clear to any educated viewer that the writers were just reaching for straws! so long Prison Break, the ride was fun, even if it WAS dawn out a year too long!
    P.S. No last sighting of Gretchen… WTF?!?

  • PO’d

    I absolutely DETESTED the end story line of Prison Break. After all this time of watching this show, and trying to follow and make sense of the twists and turns it was continually taking while the writers seemingly tried to make up their minds about the direction to take the show, Michael died in the end!! WHAT?!?!?!? Are you kidding me?? Couldn’t they just let Michael walk off into the sunset with Sarah and FINALLY, FINALLY have the life he’d been fighting endlessly for? The end really, really bugged me. Frankly, in the end, I don’t think the writers cared or even thought about the audience connection to the characters, or the time that they’d devoted to watching the show, patiently waiting for it to make sense. A real bummer of an end. Quite the let down. Lesson learned for THIS watcher.