“Safe and Sound”, which is episode five of this new season of Prison Break, returned to familiar form, much like the structure we found in episode three, “Shut Down”. The usual implausible situations and occurrences aside (the starkest one being Wyatt running after Sara instead of just shooting her with the gun he had in his hand!), Prison Break once again brought the fun and amusement.
After last week’s dismal show, it was refreshing to see that the series was back to entertaining us. Although Michael Scofield’s (Wentworth Miller) antics weren’t as intense or as gripping as his orchestrations were in season one, “Safe and Sound” was gratifying and pleasurable to watch as Scofield effectively used his scheming mind and his engineering skills as his modus operandi once more.
In this episode, we see the gang going after the next Scylla card, one that is situated in a protected safe. With the help of Agent Self (Michael Rapaport), and by employing some semi-sensational shenanigans, the gang tries to acquire the card. Meanwhile Mahone (William Fichtner), with the support of his grieving wife Pam (Callie Thorne), pieces together information and tracks down Wyatt.
Character development in Prison Break has never been one of the the show's strong areas. However, there is some blaring dissonance in the way the character Agent Self is penned. In the first couple of episodes, Self proclaimed that he is the boss to Scofield and gang, and should not and cannot be disobeyed. Michael Rapaport bellowed all of this with the same diction and delivery as when he said his lines playing Phoebe Buffet’s policeman boyfriend in Friends. The audience, though, still believed the resonance of his words, and his character still held some essence of plausibility.
However, in this episode, we saw Self nervously maneuvering around Scofield and gang, and even worriedly spouting to them, “If you get busted, don’t mention my name”, in words and tone reminiscent of a teenager off the show Gossip Girl warning a friend not to rat on him. This seems so out of character for a 30-something year-old verbose government agent. The character seemed at that stage rather paradoxical to what audiences were led to believe about him through the first episode. The fault may also lie with the actor to a certain extent as well, as Rapaport plays Self contrary to the persona that was set up at the start.
The episode ends with us learning more about the Company’s connection to Laos. Apparently the Company wants to create chaos in that country in order to go in and profit from the clean-up afterwards. This storyline of organizations and government sectors profiting from wars has been examined many times before, and honestly has been portrayed much more coherently, too.
Despite a few flaws, it is hoped that Prison Break continues along this line of titillating fun. However as seen from the previous season, perhaps with too many writers penning the different episodes, the quality of writing has never been consistent. Hence it wouldn’t be surprising if next week saw a dreary episode. However this week should be celebrated because Prison Break was fun!