'Prison Break' plays Calvinball

Wentworthmiller_prisonbreak_s4_240 Remember Calvinball from Calvin & Hobbes? That great game insisted that the rules keep changing, and you never know quite what's coming next. Apparently, Self, The Breakouts, The Company and the Feds are fans. That's the only way I can explain all the ups and downs and reversals this week on Prison Break. Plus, Michael is fine with fanaticism, T-Bag gets religion, and then religion gets T-Bag -- right where it hurts.

This spoiler knows its Psalms.

Don Self has a problem -- he's got most of Scylla, but Michael and the Breakouts kept one vital piece. So Self mounts an assault on Breakouts HQ, firing gas canisters into the warehouse in the hopes of smoking everyone out. Fortunately, Michael sent Lincoln outside to watch out for just this situation, so Linc puts a stop to that. But Self is also prepared: He's got Gretchen, who has a very large gun. No score for either side.

The Breakouts have a cunning plan -- they secrete Sucre in Self's car behind a false back in his car trunk. Apparently, Self and Gretchen don't notice the sudden loss of trunk space. However, Self has his own tricks -- one of the gas canisters he fired into the warehouse is actually a mini ultrasound-type camera, so he can track the Breakouts movements. We're tied at one all.

Sucre calls in from Self's hideout, a grotty downtown hotel that rents by the hour. Michael MacGyvers some gas-canister launchers out of discarded plastic pipes, then rigs the fire escape. Sucre gets the skeezy desk guy to call up and tell Self that folks are looking for him. When Gretchen does recon, Sucre jumps her. Self escapes out the fire escape, but Michael's trickery means that Self falls to the ground. Michael steals Scylla and scampers. Breakouts: 2, Self: 1.

But wait! Michael gets woozy and collapses -- that pesky brain tumor is acting up again! Self shows up and snags Scylla back, and Gretchen, driving a car she's stolen from Company goons who came to nab them, takes him to safety. The Company scoops up Michael.  Breakouts: 2, Self: 2, Company: 1.

Meanwhile, Mahone is trying to get the Feds to help out. He goes to Felicia, his old partner, for help, and she brings on Wheeler, the sanctimonious little schmuck who was an ass to Mahone back when he was still at the Bureau. Wheeler agrees to take Mahone to the Attorney General -- IF he can deliver evidence. When Mahone gets the call that Scylla is gone, he despairs, but Felicia tells him that he can still have a meeting with the A.G. Lies! Wheeler is taking Mahone into custody!  Breakouts: 2, Self: 2, Company: 1, Feds: 1.

Robertknepper_prisonbreak_s4_240 T-Bag is left at home to guard Rita and Emily, Gretchen's sister and daughter. Emily is kind of an idiot -- "Are you a friend of Auntie Gretchen?" -- and T-Bag is becoming more and more unhinged about losing his Cole Pfeiffer gig. Things get tense when Self tells T-Bag to waste the two if he doesn't hear from him in two hours. Then a bible salesman shows up at the door, and T-Bag gets suspicious because he's wearing a military academy ring. He beats the guy up, drags him inside, ties him up and prepares to kill him, on Self's instructions. Rita reminds him that if he kills this man, he's turning his back on Cole Pfeiffer for good. When the bible salesman is able to win at Name That Psalm, T-Bag tells Rita to take Emily and run, then unties the bible guy. Oops. Apparently it's possible to hold both Company directives and Scripture in your head at the same time -- he's Company after all! The bible salesman knocks T-Bag out and brings him back for The General.  Breakouts: 2, Self: 2, Company: 2, Feds: 1.

Self prepares to meet the buyer, and Gretchen's conduit, Vikan, condescends mightily. When Self learns that the buyer is on his way, he shoots Vikan and his minion. Gretchen is aghast, but Self just wanted to eliminate (literally) the middleman. I'm going to call that a flag on the play. No score.

Linc decides he's got to do anything it takes to get Michael back, so he walks into Company HQ. The General shows him Michael prepared for surgery, then tells Linc that he can help Michael -- IF Linc gets Scylla back for him. Linc has to work for the Company now, just like his dad did. The General hands over a dossier: Tombstone II. What does it mean?  Breakouts: 2, Self: 2, Company: 3, Feds: 1.

Dammit -- the Company wins again!

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Self is unapologetic about screwing with the Breakouts lives. Just business! He says. I'd shoot him for that alone.
  • T-Bag is really, really hung up on the whole Cole Pfeiffer persona that he had to give up. It was a legitimate scam, and he was good at it. I almost feel sorry for the poor, murdering psychopath.
  • Michael and Sarah debate is motives for remaining fixated on The Company. I have to destroy them -- that's where this whole thing started! Michael says. Sarah quite reasonably brings up that for Linc, it just started when Michael broke him out of prison. All this Company stuff? It's too much!
  • Emily tells Gretchen "There's this mean man here." Gretchen brings up the heartwarming story of a mean man who used to date Rita, and who disappeared on his way to the store. I'm guessing Gretchen had something to do with his disappearance.
  • When Michael MacGyvers the canister launcher, he sends Sucre out to buy hairspray and a lighter. Why send one of the men with no hair to buy hairspray? Wouldn't it make more sense to send Sarah?
  • Lisa, The General's daughter, tenders her resignation -- she doesn't like what she's discovered about her dad. "I wanted a son," The General replies. Nice.
  • I'm bummed that Self killed Vikan -- he amused me, if only because he had such contempt for Self. "Listen to me you mook! You're in the deep end of the pool now, at least act like you can swim!"
  • Why oh why didn't Gretchen kill Self when she had the chance! I really hop Rita calls Gretchen and lets her know they're safe, so she can commence the ass-kicking.
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