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TV Review: Prison Break‘s “Versus” Collapses Under Its Schizophrenic Tone

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Prison Break’s 18th episode, “Versus”, sadly collapsed under its trite, clichéd, and tired plot. Its schizophrenic tone suggests that the writers were throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, into the last few episodes before the series wraps up for good, without realizing that this level of weak storytelling makes a mockery of this entire series.

"Versus" starts off with Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) being targeted by his mother’s henchman. However, he and Mahone (William Fichtner) overpower the man and steal his cell phone, which they use to trace his calls to the Indian embassy. At the embassy they see Christina (Kathleen Quinlan) arrive in an attempt to sell Scylla to an Indian diplomat. After a scuffle with Christina’s henchmen, Mahone, Lincoln, and Self (Michael Rapaport) pick up a note that Christina accidentally leaves behind informing them that a Vincent Sandinsky is due to arrive that afternoon.

Meanwhile, Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) borrows an apartment from a friend whom she apparently has not seen and has not had contact with for the last ten years (being the only explanation as to why she had no idea her friend was married with two kids), but who dubiously was nice enough to give Sara the keys to her vacant place after losing touch for that many years! Sara is then mesmerized by her friend’s family photos in a scene that was a mere excuse to signpost in a very large way the extremely bromidic story development that Sara is now pregnant with Scofield’s baby — a feat that either would have had to involve some very powerful sperm from the guy or would have to mean that Sara took the time during her season three absence to find another lover, considering their lack of chemistry and seeing that they hardly even kissed during their cold and distant relationship.

From the piece of paper Scofield (Wentworth Miller) retrieved from his assassin last week, he and Sara work out the coordinates and find a car with a map to an airport. At the airport, the duo tries to kidnap Vincent Sandinsky, only to lose him to Lincoln, Mahone, and Self, who also arrive on the tarmac. However, Sara manages to nab Vincent’s phone before she loses him, and through his phone records, she and Scofield realize that Vincent is working with Christina.

Meanwhile T-Bag (Robert Knepper) secretly informs The General that Christina has Scylla.

This episode suffers in tone primarily because of the over-indulgent story line between Sara and Scofield. Aside from the over-extended scenes between the lovers sticking out like a sore thumb, Sara’s pregnancy pushes this series from an action-packed one that had romance as a secondary facet into one that seems to be headed into uneasy melodrama.

In the first scene in which Sara sees the photos of her friend’s family on the wall and Scofield starts talking about creating their own family, Callies’ chipper expressions seemed misplaced and contrary to the tone of the show. One wonders if the actress forgot the type of show she was on for that moment, or the characterization she was supposed to personify!

Also, Sara’s continuous bathroom breaks, Scofield’s concerns about that, and the couple talking about playing house one day all seemed out of place, banal, and shoddy within the scope of the seriousness of this series. These saccharin moments between Scofield and Sara just didn’t fit in with the original tone of the show.

In addition, this particular plot development between Sara and Scofield involving their pregnancy was cheap, corny, stale, and uninspired to say the least. It’s bewildering as to why the writers manufactured such an uninteresting, unimaginative, and unoriginal storyline. Surely they could’ve moved the story along without resorting to such commonplace dramatics.

Not only does a pregnancy not have its place in a series that has thrived on adrenalin and excitement, it also doesn’t seem plausible that Sara would think she was pregnant and resort to taking a pregnancy test seeing that Prison Break is on a protracted timeline, meaning that Scofield and Sara only hooked up probably two weeks ago in Prison Break time.

Another puzzling aspect to this episode is Christina revealing that Scylla has to do with healing the environment and solving all our current environmental problems. Why then did The General talk about the falling Kip in Laos in previous episodes? Did he mean Kip as in a measurement of a unit of force? What context would this all have with solving the environmental issues?

In a show that has turned schizophrenic in tone and has resorted to lazy, hackneyed, and uncreative plot development, in all probability we will never get the essential questions answered at all.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

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

    This show is horrible.First they shouldn’t have brought the Sara character back it’s useless now it’s the Sara saga inatead of PB.It doesn’t feel it’s about the brothers anymore.Even the producer of the show said they didn’t know what to do with that sara character that’s why the entire season stinks and is screwed up!Season 1 of PB was good season 2 had potential now it’ll go down as a joke of a show that’s not even entertaining anymore.That’s why after a few episodes I had to stop watching, it’s too all over the place with stupidity!

  • Gillian

    Sam you are so right!

    And so is Sharmila!

    Sarah Wayne Callies has absolutely NO chemistry with Wentworth, and their characters had no place in this show! Bringing Sarah back was stupid, they didn’t know what to do with her, this show went from being about brothers to being about lovers! Beh! Season 1 was good, but the other seasons were CRAP, including THIs one!

  • RealKeeper

    You and your 2 fans can go ahead and stop watching now, go back to your CSI’s and Law & Orders and all the other unimaginative, lazy and god-awfully boring shows that seem to suit you and leave Prison Break and it’s brilliance alone.

  • Sue

    RealKeeper, you took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you for saying that.

  • joeb

    I agree with Realkeeper and Sue. Ever heard of the word “entertainment?” Talk about over analyzing a show. The writer always seems to pick on Sarah Wayne Callies. The show isn’t perfect for sure. Season 1-2 were brilliant. I’d agree season four hasn’t been great. Me thinks somebody has a crush on Wentworth Miller maybe..? It’s always been a rush to watch.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/benjamincristofher marisela

    First off all i agree with Realkeeper and Sue,and second off all they bring Sarah back because the fans requested it,not because the writers wanted to.And third off all get off your high hors and start too enjoy live instead off analyzing everything.

  • Mandy

    You do know that this is a CRITIQUE on the episode don’t you??????

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    Yes, the fans wanted SWC back, but fans are stupid aren’t they? They don’t know anything about how to make/write a show or what is good for a show, and bringing her back has shown it was a ridiculous move because they don’t know what to do with her now!

  • Leigh

    This show is so far from brilliant, it’d need a plane ride to see “brilliant”! You say other shows are “unimaginative, boring and god-awfully boring” – THAT is exactly what Prison Break is!

    Since when is making a character preggers IMAGINATIVE?? That is the most corniest, most unimaginative, most boring, most over-used, cheesiest plot device ever!

    Mandy, I couldn’t agree more — this here is an analysis, a critique of the show. If you have your head in the sand, have no idea what constitutes “good television”, and are too immature to hear anything negative about the show, then go off somewhere else to some PB fansite where they idolize this stupid show, and stop reading the reviews at blogcritics!

    This show is crap, EVERY television-critic says so! (Me thinks the defenders of this crappy show either have a crush on Wentworth or SWC! HA!)

  • joeb

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] I understand what a critique is. And yes; the episode was over analyzed. Me thinks Mandy and Leigh have some anger issues. Or wait; maybe you’re two of the five members of Sharmilla’s fan club?

  • joeb

    I also meant to add that if you don’t enjoy a show; don’t watch it. Where do you people come from with your nasty comments. Find an outlet. You’ll live much longer. I know you guys have more upstairs then your comments reveal. Won’t be checking back-so peace.

  • Mandy

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    If YOU don’t enjoy reading a review, then DON’T READ it! That’s all! You just want to read good things then go to some other site! You are mature enough to hear bad things about your favorite show, aren’t you? [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • joeb

    Ok Mandy; I decided to check back after all. I overeacted a bit. I’ll take the lumps for that one. There are enough problems in the world.. I was just making a comment. I don’t think everyone has to agree with a review do they? You’ll notice I said season 4 isn’t so good . Thanks, joe

  • Mandy

    Yes of course you don’t have to agree with a review, Of course you can have your own view. But you don’t have to be rude about it, right? Let’s just call it truce the way Michael said to Sara okay!

  • mike b

    If they had to bring anyone back, it should have been kellerman. they didnt show him die and swc sucks.

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