By: Yonalis Fabian
When fans all over heard that Prison Break (2005-2017) was coming back about after 8 years of being off the air and the episodes themselves would be written by the same man, Paul Scheuring who wrote seasons one and two there was a lot of excitement. Many of us fans believe that nothing compares to season one, one would think that if one of the same writers is going to return that the essence of the show would too but this seems to not be the case. One of the things the show does well is anticipate some action by having the stakes high with either the characters running from the authorities or in a life or death situation. Every time the action happens it is in a way that is slow yet as something big is occurring like the infamous breaking out prison which seems to feel like it takes forever is exactly what leaves you a feeling of high anxiety. Viewers just want to know what is going to happen and hope for the best, but Prison Break makes sure to keep viewers on their toes, just when they think something is going to happen the opposite occurs. Season one takes on multiple attempts when trying to break out of the famous Fox River Penitentiary yet it is not until the second to last episode that it actually happens all while incorporating family drama and exploring different relationships.
Nothing beats the first version of the big plan to escape prison. Although season 3 and season 5 also take place in a prison and the plan is to break out, the first season’s plan seems perfectly executed with a few bumps here and there but still, it allowed for the characters to have room for error and improvement in between several episodes. While the other seasons did not have enough episodes to explore different possibilities or for the characters to even take a moment to reflect, the stakes are high, this must affect them personally. There is always action occurring which is obviously entertaining to watch but us viewers need some more moments where we can get what we got in season one, a look and exploration of where the characters are, how they are feeling and or reacting to what is happening. But the shorter seasons like season 3 and especially season 5 seem to be lacking this as we are left with even more questions than we had when you first started the new season. Is this what happens when seasons are cut short of their regular episodes? Haque from IGN.com explained that the reason season 3 was shorter was because there was a writers strike right before the show was to be produced. But season 5 ended up being much shorter because of some actors having different schedules and the writers even wanting to keep it short. It is understandable that with time constraints writers are not given the ability to leave more time to focus more on the stories of each character and explore and really give them the attention they once had in previous seasons. But this element which so important is missing, especially after 8 years.
Season five is the most important one in terms of needing to answer the most questions and giving fans what they’ve been waiting for, yet it never quite does for viewers. Some of the integral characters we meet in prior seasons are not even mentioned, not once! The show has always claimed to have a family element, I mean the main character himself “Michael” cannot bear the thought of losing his brother “Lincoln” so far to the extent that he believes the only way to save him is to break him out of a federal prison. And even though season’s five’s storyline does revolve around family we do not see the much of the family together, we need this after the last series finale. Some important family members are not shown at all, like they did not even exist or are not as important as they seemed to be in earlier seasons like one of the main characters son, “LJ”. Yet in the new seasons, it is like he was not even part of the show. This leads us to the question of where is “LJ”? The actor who plays “LJ” was said to be busy filming another show but even a mention could have done some good. We spent so much of the earlier seasons getting to know “LJ” and see how his relationship with his father “Lincoln” is affected by him being imprisoned, we really got to see and connect with this father-son relationship that was coming to the end with his father’s execution getting closer and closer. But when you watch season five, it’s like “Lincoln” didn’t even have a son.
Another important aspect of Prison Break is this unexpected love story that develops between one of the main characters, “Michael”, and the doctor on the show, “Sara”. Although there is a reunion as he was presumed to be dead since the last season, the reunion fell short. The show itself has been known to be more focused on action and that being its main theme. It has always had its drama element as second, which many fans can agree that this is quite frustrating as there is always action going on and it being resolved and moving onto the next set of action but the drama is always between characters is delayed. We see it with the start of “Michael” and “Sara” finally getting together but not until season four. Talk about delayed gratification as in other seasons it seems like it was going to happen only for them to be quickly separated. We seem to never get enough of this relationship in the past but season five was so brief that we are left unsatisfied more than ever. There should have been more time with these characters when they met up once again, as one could imagine they would have had a lot to say and question, yet it seems like they just haven’t seen each other in a while and everything is back to normal. If someone metaphorically comes back from the dead, loved ones would want to spend more time with the person but this whole scene between “Michael” and “Sara” seemed to be about a whole 10 minutes much of which he was unconscious for.
One of the best things about the show is how the storylines and plots are clear at one point and then all of sudden they shift a whole 360. Just when you think everything is fine something else comes along and disrupts everything. Obviously, this is what makes good television and keeps viewers tuned in every week, but after many years fans deserved more time spent on some of this delayed gratification we have been waiting for. When us viewers have been watching for years and we only get these short 9 episodes we are left unsettled and unsated with season 5. The things we thought we would be getting are somewhat there but are hardly explored or even given more importance to like the anticipated reunion and the first meeting of “Michael” and the son he has never met before “Mike”. We are left without closure after many years of feeling heartbroken from the finale with the main character’s death and we are conflicted about whether or not this season lived up to previous ones. Some even ask if the new season should have even been made at all because it feels like it is all over the place. According to TheWrap.com, there are rumors circulating of a possible season six which is the only thing that brings me comfort. I hope that they will incorporate more of the family element that was heavily missing from season five.