It’s Panamanian prison, yo! Welcome back, boys and girls, to the third season of Prison Break. When we last left our beloved stars Michael was trying out his Scofield Stare on the unsuspecting population of Sona, Linc was a free man and wearing a shirt that showed off his pecs, Sara had vanished, Sucre was bleeding his love for Maricruz all over a dusty street, Bellick got the ass-kicking he so richly deserved, Mahone got out-smarted, and T-Bag learned that you just can’t trust the Company. What will those wacky kids be up to this season? Let’s find out….
A woman (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) is staring at herself in a mirror, applying makeup. We pan to her left cheek and see three scratch marks on it. As she’s trying to cover them she hears shouts in the near distance and turns her head.
Cut to Michael who’s surrounded by a huge crowd of men who are all yelling. He looks horrified, like he’s so shocked by the kinds of things that happen in prison. Because he’s never been in prison before, you see. Come on, Michael, stop being all innocent. This is Panamanian prison, yo! Michael spies Mahone coming outside and turns his back on him.
What’s going on, you ask? Well, there’s a fight club in the courtyard of Sona. And the first rule of fight club? You don’t talk about fight club. So, I can’t tell you what’s happening, but I can summarize. Some guy dropped what looked like a chicken’s foot in front of another guy and they’re about to fight. We hear Lincoln asking someone to help Michael and we cut to what I assume is the American Embassy. Linc is begging the guy to help out Michael, who Linc pronounces “innocent”. The guy, in typical government employee fashion, tells Linc he’s simply the “night clerk” and Linc should wait until the Consul comes in in the morning to help Michael. Wow, for a night clerk he’s a pretty snazzy dresser, with a nice suit and everything.
Linc gets all pissed off at being brushed off – by his own government….the one that spent the past two seasons trying to get him killed – but the night clerk asks Linc where Michael is being held. When Linc says Sona the consulate employee sighs so dramatically I actually shudder. Apparently Sona is the “worst of the worst”. We learn that there was a really bad riot a year ago, causing the guards to pull out. The man says that “a thousand thieves, rapists, and murderers” are housed at Sona. You know, because thieves, rapists and murderers aren’t in other – more normal – prisons. Or in places like Fox River. Come on, writers! I’m not feeling this whole “it’s Panamanian prison, yo!” vibe. I need to see more brutality. More, I say!
On a side note, when I first watched this episode, Alex (our sitemaster) said to me “So Lincoln just knows where Michael is?” I replied “Yes. Yes, he does”. And you know why? Because the writers are too busy with the whole Panamanian prison thing to worry about silly little exposition tactics like explaining how Lincoln found out where Michael is being held. On the other hand, I suspect that he got the information from the police, after he gave up on trying to find Sara at the end of season 2. I mean, it’s pretty obvious, Alex.
We’re back at fight club where one of the fighters breaks the other guy’s neck. Once the fight has broken up Michael walks towards the dead guy, looking horrified. Poor Michael. Those pretty-boy looks and that little boy naivete is not going to make him any friends in the Panamanian prison (yo!).
The next morning we’re back at the consulate, where the Consul is on the phone, trying to get Michael transferred to another prison. He confirms to Lincoln that he’s been exonerated. Then he brings up LJ, for no apparent reason, and offers to get in touch with him. Hrm….methinks the Consul’s up to no good and wants to get his hands on LJ. Linc basically tells him to mind his own business and focus on Michael. The Consul believes that the crime scene confirms the whole “self-defense theory”. The Consul tells Linc the following: Michael is going to be transferred to another (cleaner, safer) prison tomorrow and they have a court appearance in 45 days where the Counsel thinks that Michael will go free because of self-defense.
We’re back to the Sona courtyard where we see that Michael has spent the night sleeping against a wall. Bellick comes stumbling into the courtyard wearing….a diaper? His underwear? I don’t know. Whatever it is, he looks ridiculous. Bellick begs some passers-by for water and they basically taunt him, trying to force him to drink the muddy water off the ground when Bellick shoots off his mouth. They just end up kicking the water in his face and walk off, laughing. A nicer man comes over to help Bellick up, telling him to “get used to it…I haven’t eaten in days”. Why? It’s Panamanian prison, yo!
Mahone is inside the prison, watching some guys play darts as he starts having flashbacks of season 2, particularly the people he’s killed. He opens up his special pen for his special pills and finds it empty. He doesn’t look too impressed that his stash is gone. He walks over to Michael, who is doing that whole “whisper-talking” thing again. Mahone admires Michael’s cleverness in getting him thrown into Sona and he wants Michael to help him get out of Sona by testifying on his behalf. Michael cares not for this plan, but he wonders why the Company wants him in Panama. Mahone says he doesn’t know and he only followed orders. We see some guy in the corner watching them. Mahone proposes that they join forces and Michael, in very whispery-dramatic fashion, replies “except every time I look at you, all I can see is the man who killed my father”. You see, Mahone? I knew those murders would come back to bite you in the ass. Michael tells Mahone he’s on his own and walks off.
Cut to the fence outside of Sona, where a woman is screaming in Spanish for someone to bring her husband’s dead body out to her. Linc walks past her to the guard’s station where we see a nun entering the prison. Despite the fact that there are no guards in Sona, Michael somehow knows that Linc is there to visit and meets him out in the yard, behind a fence. The two exchange banter and Linc explains that Michael is going to be transferred and may get off. Michael asks about Sara and says that she’s really important to him, that Linc has to find her. He’s doing the whispery thing again. I’m amazed that Linc isn’t saying “What’s that?! SPEAK UP!” Lincoln walks away, looking sad.
Michael is back in the court when a young guy comes over to talk basketball with him. We see him wearing a baseball jersey with the name McGrady on the back. Michael’s his usual friendly, outgoing self and tells the kid to back off. A posse approaches Michael and tells him they gotta go somewhere for orientation. Michael isn’t interested, but the guy shows him a shank he has tucked into his pants and Michael follows.
We see a yoga video playing on a television, with a man following along. A woman is dressing, saying the guards want her out in 15 minutes. A group of men enter the room, Michael and Mahone among them. The yoga man, known as the Head Cheese of Sona until I get official confirmation of his name (which I suspect is Luchero) starts blabbering about Sona and Panama. The Head Cheese addresses Michael by name. Apparently, the story of Michael and Linc’s breakout made it into the news in Panama. How on earth would the Head Cheese know about that? Does he get CNN in Sona? Who pays that cable bill? Head Cheese also says he heard about Michael and Mahone’s little argument in the hallway and says that either of them can call the other out for a fight by using the chicken foot. Mahone’s drug-withdrawal hand shakiness is evident and Head Cheese intimidates another man into peeing his pants. When Head Cheese gets all pissed off, Michael has to open his mouth to defend the guy, making himself yet another enemy. Head Cheese sends them all out. He turns back to the woman, who admires Michael and admits that he’s “handsome”. Oh-ho! The woman is the nun! Nun McHoochie. Naughty, naughty. Head cheese watches Michael as he makes his way back into the courtyard.
Guys are playing cards, cooking food and basically hanging out in the courtyard of Sona. Michael has flashbacks of himself with Sara, which establishes that she’s obviously part of Season 3, but does nothing to conclusively prove whether or not the character will return. Meanwhile, Lincoln is inquiring about Sara’s whereabouts with the police, who know nothing. Back in Sona, the guy who previously helped out Bellick (what is that guy’s name?) is now sporting a pair of sandals (courtesy of the man who died in the fight last night). He and Bellick are recruited, extremely reluctantly, to clean toilets. God, men are such pigs in the bathroom.
Head Cheese surveys the courtyard and Michael from a balcony when we learn that a new prisoner has arrived in Sona. Lo and behold! It’s T-Bag. Michael and Mahone both spy him. Michael looks like he wants to pee himself. Or he looks homicidal. I don’t know. The subtle nuances of the Scofield Stare are hard to distinguish sometimes. We finally get the answer to my question as to how the prisoners know when they have visitors: Michael’s name is called over a loudspeaker, announcing a visitor. Well, I should have known that. I’m an idiot.
An unknown man (Elliot Pike) is visiting Michael: offering his services. No, not like that. Wow, those of you who think Wentworth is gay probably jumped to the whole male prostitute thing first, right? Shame on you. Anyways, the man identifies himself as a “lawyer of sorts”. We learn that the court already appointed Michael a lawyer. Wow, that’s impressive. I don’t even think the judicial system in North America appoints someone a lawyer that quickly. Mr. Pike suggests the possibility that Michael may want to break out of Sona, and offers assistance should Michael get out. He suggests that his skill set is what got Michael put in prison. Can you imagine writing down “Skill set: breaking out of prison” on your resume? That would be awesome. Michael, overly suspicious after two seasons, walks away.
The Panamanian version of Stomp is playing in the courtyard. Meanwhile, Michael finds an empty cell and goes to settle in. A very large man attacks him, claiming Michael stole his stash. Almost immediately, the Head Cheese and his goons break up the fight. Head Cheese has his goon search the cell and he immediately finds drugs under the mattress. Michael, his genius brain quickly realizing that he’s being set up, declares the situation “bull”. Head Cheese walks out and the big guy threatens Michael again. It’s worth mentioning that T-Bag was watching this scene from nearby.
Linc’s still searching for Sara when he gets a call from the police, informing him that a woman matching Sara’s description is at the morgue. Linc looks unhappy.
Bellick, and the only friend he has in the world, are trying to score some food. They are completely unsuccessful. Bellick’s friend isn’t handling the news well and he starts to freak out. The guy finds a window with some broken wire that’s close to the outside fences. He starts to execute the anti-Scofield escape plan (ie. the least-well-thought-out escape plan in the history of mankind).
T-Bag approaches Michael, asking why the Company was interested in getting Michael down to Panama and Sona. I’ll tell you why, T-Bag. Because the show is called “Prison Break.” After a season of running, the producers needed another prison. But not just any prison. A Panamanian prison (yo!) The boys hear that a man has escaped and Michael, T-Bag and Bellick all see that Bellick’s friend has made it over the wall. Alas, before he makes it to safety, he gets gunned down by the guards. Bellick is sad at the loss of his friend. Even T-Bag looks a little sorry the guy got shot. The best is Michael’s reaction. You just know he’s thinking “Note to self: Plan A (climbing over wall) likely to fail. Better come up with Plans B through R”. Michael goes back to his cell to find the chicken’s foot, signaling a challenge against him. He looks freaked out.
Linc’s at the morgue, where we learn the woman was fished out of a pond, near the last place Linc spotted Sara. Linc announces the woman’s not Sara. Nice misdirection there, writers.
Head Cheese confronts Michael about the challenge that’s been issued against him, saying this is way things are dealt with in Sona. Michael says there ain’t gonna be a fight, because he’s leaving tomorrow. The camera pans down a grate and some crawl spaces, showing us a man hiding below, listening. Michael accuses Head Cheese of setting up the fight.
We pan down again to the hidden man. Bellick is down there, burning his cleaning materials. Ah, these must be the sewers. Gross. The man whistles softly and Bellick starts to follow the sound. The man promises Bellick food if he can help him out with an errand. The man hands Bellick a piece of paper.
The return of LJ! He calls Lincoln and announces that he’s in Panama. He says that he’s met up with Sara. Has LJ even ever met Sara? I don’t think he would know who she is. Wait….did he meet her back in Season 1 when she spoke with Veronica about Lincoln’s innocence? Anyways, he tells Linc to met him at a restaurant at 8:30. Linc and his pecs look out into the distance.
The inmates are gearing up for another round of fight club. Michael’s looking very nervous. T-Bag is lurking and quickly latches onto the powerhouse of Head Cheese.
Mahone offers Michael some fight club advice: to go for his opponent’s kneecap. Evidently, Mahone wants to keep Michael alive so he can help him get out of Sona. Bellick resurfaces with the mystery man’s note. Michael walks outside to meet his fate. I bet he’s thinking “I wish I had spent more time at the gym with Linc and his pecs while we were growing up”. Bellick wishes him good luck and slips the note into Michael’s pocket. Michael notices that T-Bag is Head Cheese’s new best friend. What’s this? Bellick also wishes Michael’s opponent good luck and slips a note in his pocket too.
The boys eye each other and Michael announces he’s not going to fight. When his opponent turns back to look at Head Cheese, Michael slams his foot into the back of the guy’s kneecap. I actually winced and screamed out “ohhhh!” Michael’s learning to fight dirty. I guess he knows he’s in Panamanian prison, yo! He starts wailing on the guy and the opponent goes down. Michael tries to leave, but is blocked by the spectators. Head Cheese announces it’s a fight to the death.
The opponent gets back up and the fight continues. Michael manages to put the guy (who outweighs him by about 80 pounds) down again. We spot a knife on the floor, close to his opponent. As Michael keeps trying to escape the courtyard, his opponent moves to stab him in the back…..only to be stopped by MAHONE! Dude! This is awesome! Mahone performs some FBI-fu and kills the man. Head Cheese looks disappointed by the outcome.
Linc’s at the restaurant. A girl (Jodi O’Keefe) starts chatting him up. He asks about the scratches on her face and she addresses him by name. She passes him a cell phone.
Back at Sona, the woman is still outside, screaming for her husband’s body. We see the prisoners, surrounded by guards, exchanging empty and full bottles of fuel and bringing out the dead bodies. The guards put bullets in the head of the fight club casualties. I wonder why. The woman searches through the pockets of the dead men and finds the note Bellick stashed in the pocket of Michael’s opponent. It reads “Versailles 1989 V. Madrid”. Curious. Michael pulls out the note he got. We see it says the same thing.
Linc approaches. Michael asks about the transfer, but Linc says there are people who need Michael’s help to break someone out of Sona. Michael doesn’t want to, but Lincoln insists. He says that he needs to break out James Whistler and shows Michael a video of LJ and Sara (a body-double), who have been captured. Apparently Michael only has a week to get Whistler out, or Sara and LJ will be killed.
I have to say, I’m impressed by the season premiere. Some people didn’t think Prison Break could return to its roots successfully, but I think this episode proved them wrong. Wrong, I say! I’m dying to know what clever plan Michael will hatch this time to escape, and which of the Sona prisoners he’ll be taking with him.
Written by: Clarissa