No one asked for Prison Break‘s return. In 2005, the show premiered with an incredible pilot (which I recently reviewed) and an almost-perfect debut season. However, when the show became a hit, FOX forced the show to continue for four seasons, effectively destroying any narrative integrity or legacy the show might have had. So why bring it back in 2017, eight whole years after it left the airwaves? Why money of course! FOX did the same with The X-Files (which I never watched) and 24 (which was pretty mediocre in its miniseries return). It’s a real pity, and this premiere’s low viewership numbers prove that there’s no reason for it to exist.
The thing about Prison Break is that it worked when it was ridiculous and thrilling. But Ogygia is just plain ridiculous. I’ll leave the spoilers to the bits section below, but this “miniseries” basically follow’s Lincoln’s efforts to prove that his brother is still alive in a Yemeni prison. Yup, Yemen is the show’s new setting, and it’s the perfect excuse for FOX to throw a bunch of muslim stereotypes at the screen and hope something will stick. Oh, we also get some timely ISIL references in case you thought the show wasn’t hip or trendy enough. Groan.
Naturally, the premiere brings back a ton of your favorite characters. Dominic Purcell is definitely better here than he is on Legends of Tomorrow (the superhero show that reunited him with Wentworth Miller and supposedly got this show going), while Sarah Wayne Callies easily slips back into the role of Sarah after becoming one of the most hated characters on TV in The Walking Dead (before landing on Colony). Rockmond Dunbar and Robert Knepper both return as C-Note and T-Bag respectively, but it’s Amaury Nolasco’s Sucre who leaves the most impression. He surprisingly gets the least amount of screen-time, but he’s at least funny in a show that takes it itself way too seriously. The less said about C-Note contrived transformation and T-Bag’s bizarre subplot, the better.
Bits & Bars
– It says a lot that the previously segment only recaps scenes from season one. Even the show itself is admitting that it wants you to forget everything that happened after that.
– The show’s theme music by Ramin Djawadi (who also composed the Game of Thrones theme) is still one of my most favorite pieces of music. It’s been remixed a bit but it still works.
– I love that Sarah said what we were all thinking about that picture: photoshop!
– I was sure the show would kill off Sara’s new husband Jacob so she could reunite with Michael. Why would blonde assassin lady just shoot him in the leg? Stupid.
– Did Michael buy T-Bag his robot arm? Or was it the baddies?
– Semi-exciting moment with Lincoln losing control of his car and flying out the windshield.
– So who are our baddies this year? I do hope it’s not The Company again, although the way they erased Michael’s history is pretty nifty.
– I’m guessing Emirates Airlines sponsored part of the show because that was some seriously jarring product placement.
– None of the guys that captured Lincoln and C-note bothered to buy a gun? Talk about an excuse for a fight scene (at least it was a good one!).
– Hilarious: Sheba (C-Note’s contact) is typically Hollywood gorgeous. Lord.
– I’ve always loved the brotherly dynamic between Lincoln and Michael, so the premiere’s most moving moment was definitely the former giving up his passport for his brother.
– So not only is Michael pretending to be some terrorist called Kaniel Outis, he’s got new tats! Let’s hope they serve a purpose!
– I felt no suspense in the hour’s final moments as Michael pretended not to know who his brother was. Much more effective was Sarah’s somewhat heavy-handed monologue to her son intercut with Michael strutting through the prison. It’s a great example of excellent editing salvaging cheesy dialogue.
Jabs from Jail
Lincoln: Don’t you have a job or something?
Sucre: Yeah, on a tramp. Not great work, but hey, I’m an ex-con, right?
Sucre: Yeah, I’ve been riding her for a while.
Lincoln: What are you, a pimp?
Sucre: What? No. No, no, no. A tramp is a freelance cargo ship.
Sucre: I’m an international hitter now. A raconteur.
Lincoln: I don’t think that means what you think it means.
Sucre: Don’t speak to me like I don’t know French, I know French. And I’m brown, that’s something.
C-Note: Greetings from the U. S. prison system, bitches.
Sarah: Michael Scofield was like a storm. He was beautiful and frightening and mysterious. And he would show up in your life out of the clear blue sky and then he would disappear just as quickly.
Mike: But storms, they can come back. Can’t they?
Sarah: Mm-hmm. Question is, if they come back, is it the same storm, or has something changed?
While the nostalgia factor is fun, this premiere is nowhere near as exhilarating as Prison Break was at its peak.