Prison Break: Rate of Exchange / Killing Your Number (series finale)
(S04E21/S04E22) "I don't want to run anymore." - Michael
I'm happy that Prison Break is over. I've been a fan since the beginning, and even though it tested your threshold for absurd and ridiculous TV moments on more than one occasion, Prison Break was still one helluva ride. While part of me wishes that it had gone out on a creative high after maybe a season or two, I still appreciate what Paul Scheuring, Matt Olmstead, and Co. tried to do in season three and on some level, I even respect what went down here in the final season - arguably the drama's worst. That being said, tonight's two-hour finale offered some solid closure while wrapping up most everyone's story in ways that actually felt believable.
With Scylla still on the line, both Cristina and Krantz took hostages at the end of last week's episode - Sara and Lincoln. It divided Michael's attention, but ended up being nothing more than a brief diversion until he figured out a way to save them both. Mahone handled Cristina and her goon with a fake Scylla rigged with a bomb, while Michael lured Krantz and his men away so that he could raid the loft apartment and get Sara from T-Bag's clutches. Speaking of T-Bag, I'm glad we finally got a little back-story speaking to his sadistic motivations - childhood sexual abuse leading to neurological impotence. If anything, it confirms what most of us probably assumed anyway.
While all that was going down, some familiar faces showed up - Sucre and C-Note. Sucre was still on the run from the law and it turned out C-Note was too, after the case he was testifying in (against Mahone) fell through and he lost his government protection. With clean slates as motivations, the two of them were approached by someone we all thought was dead but always wondered about anyway because his "suicide" was so ambiguous: Paul Kellerman. Turns out he now works for the same anti-Company group that Aldo Burrows worked for. If Kellerman can get Scylla to the UN (who will use it for good), anyone with ties to Lincoln, Michael, and Fox River will be free and clear. Surprisingly enough, it all made sense.
One minor gripe? We found out that Lincoln was indeed adopted and that his parents were company operatives who had died. So how could Aldo Burrows have been either Lincoln or Michael's father? The last names don't add up and even if they did, he should have died years earlier. Michael's father should be a Scofield. Anyway, season four was obviously never even considered when Aldo was introduced in season two, and I can look past that. There are even bigger inconsistencies that I won't even bother getting into.
One other thing I've had a hard time connecting is the overarching conspiracy as it relates all the way back to season one. Why? Because it doesn't. At this point, I think the easiest way to justify all of it is that following Terrence Steadman's murder and the Fox River escape, this is just what they got involved in - period. It doesn't have to make sense, unfortunately.
OK, back to the finale. I didn't really see much point in introducing Agent Franco. The only purpose it served was to put one more person in their way and not believe their story. At this point, we've seen enough of that and I'm glad the interrogation scenes with Franco, Mahone, and Sucre didn't get too deep. However, I loved the scenes with Franco and Self in the hospital. After Cristina's goon turned him into a vegetable with that injection, I wanted to feel bad for him, but I just couldn't. Considering what Self did to his wife and what he subsequently did to try and remedy it, he got what was coming to him - a lifetime of having some nurse wipe drool off his chin.
As for the final confrontation between Michael and Cristina, I was honestly disappointed that his gun was empty. Having Sara put the bullet in Cristina's back was far less exciting. I guess at that point, though, it didn't really matter who killed who because it was all over. Kellerman got Scylla and everyone got deals. Still, I would have liked to have seen Michael finally let his rage take over - we never really got to see that side of Michael. His anger was always so well controlled.
Four years later, Mahone was dating Agent Lang (there was a romantic connection there?), Lincoln and Sofia owned a surf shop while LJ went to college, Sucre got his family back (where was Mari Cruz?), C-Note works for UPS (not sure that's really a happy ending...), Krantz got the chair (he cried!), and T-Bag ended up back in jail after everyone voted against giving him a deal too. I did like how they acknowledged that the past wasn't completely erased when now Congressman Kellerman was confronted by the widow of some guy he killed while employed by The Company. Makes you wonder how he even got elected.
As for Michael and Sara... well, Michael Jr. was doing just fine. His dad? Six feet under. It didn't come as much of a surprise. Michael was sick and you knew he would die young some day - but is that how he died? Apparently, his death will be addressed in the still unscheduled two-hour telepic, Prison Break: The Final Break. Guess we'll just have to wait for the DVD release on July 21st.
One thing to note? Michael's date of death was 11/4/2005. Prison Break premiered on 8/29/05 and if we assume that it took place in real time over that span, then the whole series (save for the four year jump) only encompassed a little over two months. I'm not sure that time-line fits completely, but I can accept that.
It was nice that the anniversary of Michael's death apparently spawned a yearly reunion amongst those still around, and I appreciated the little nods to season one, like the paper crane or even T-Bag making his new prison bitch hold on to his pants pocket as they entered the yard. Like I said earlier, though, Prison Break's creators and EPs should have taken some advice from the book they created (GATE: Greatness Achieved Through Excellence) and pushed for quality over quantity. Had Prison Break ended a few seasons ago with an ending that tied in more closely to the original plot, this show might have actually been remembered for being excellent rather than just being over.