Monday, August 21, 2006

Prison Break: Locked up

Anyone who was expecting Bill Fichtner to enter "Prison Break" with a monologue about how he wants a hard target search of every dog house, hen house and outhouse, raise your hands. Just me? Why is it always just me? Spoilers after the jump, with the biggest one first...

VERONICA'S DEAD? I'm both shocked and excited. Rarely have I seen a character with more show-ruining potential than Veronica, whose naivete and involvement with the show's lame-ass conspiracy storyline were a drag on every single episode last year. I almost don't care whether this was a course correction in response to the fans' hatred of her, an attempt to deal with the loss of two of the conspiracy's main actors (a very happy accident, far as I'm concerned), or just an attempt to jolt the audience by getting rid of a peripheral character. I'm just glad to see her gone. (And Dominic Purcell played the hell out of Linc's end of that phone call.)

Rest of the episode was more promising than I was expecting when I pretty much dismissed the show's future last spring. Fichtner's a good addition, an actor I always like (especially when he's selling Confederated Products) and a more challenging nemesis than Bellick, who would never have figured out about the tattoos in a million years. Scheuring and Olmstead insist that the tats are still a crucial part of this season; maybe Michael's just so damn smart that he had some red herrings designed in for just this eventuality.

While some of the details of the escape were lame (a train happens to come by at the exact moment that all the search copters are refueling?), putting the guys out in the open has created some good new dynamics. Exchange of the show:
Abruzzi: "Trousers are too short."
Linc: "Chop your feet off. You're good at that."
And speaking of the choppee, T-Bag remains a very, very bad boy. I'm a little disappointed they went for reattachment right away, as I was hoping they would go in either Buster Bluth territory or, even better, Carl Hiaasen territory and have him attach a weed-wacker or something to the stump. This makes life easier on the makeup people and on Rob Knepper, but they better not show T-Bag touch-typing anytime soon.

Not much else to say. With Veronica dead, the conspiracy back-burnered and no other network show in the timeslot for a month, I'm back, at least temporarily. It's not a great show (never has been), but the premiere was significantly better than I was expecting. What did everybody else think?


BF said...

I like how Michael rented out the storage facility as a ruse to throw off the cops. But why do it in Oswego? He should have sent the cops towards Wilmington or Braidwood (thank you Google!) so as to keep the cops as far off the trail as possible.

One down (Veronica), one to go (LJ).

Anonymous said...

I was really suprised that Vernonica was killed and I was unaware of any fan hatred towards her. With the addition of Bill Fichtner, he brings a legimate weight to the show. And I think the show will be better for it. All in all, I thought it was a good start for the new season.

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad Fichtner's anywhere on TV after losing "Invasion"! Go get those prison escapees, Sheriff Underlay! But, um, please don't turn Michael into a glowing alien.

Did Patricia Wettig and whoever it was who played the Veep's bro not know the show was being renewed when they got their new roles, or were they never on contract to begin with? I'm curious as to why they didn't come back; OTOH, I won't miss the conspiracy plot. OTOH, I did like Agent Kellerman--is he gone for goode, too? ;-)

If T-Bag regains full use of his hand, that vet needs to switch from animals to humans because it means he's a medical genius.

Back to the conspiracy plot: OMG, they killed Veronica! You magnificent bastards! Good riddance to a lame character. Although you gotta feel for Robin Tunney--not only did the fans hate her, and not only does her character get shot to death, but then they go and chop up Veronica's body for easier disposal. Yuck! Anyway, they don't have to jettison the conspiracy plot entirely, as they can bring it back when the series ends in order to exonerate Linc, Michael, and LJ for good. Wouldn't mind seeing Sucre and C-Note go free, either, or Tweener for that matter. The others need to go back behind bars stat because they're very, very bad men :-)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dez, Wettig, Billingsley and the actress who plays Sucre's girlfriend were never under contract; they were recurring guest stars. They were offered guaranteed full-time employment on other shows, and they took it.

Scheuring and Olmstead have basically adopted a wait-and-see policy on Wettig and the other actress (who, like Billingsley, is on The Nine). Maybe their shows make it, maybe they don't. At this time last year, Rockmond Dunbar was in the pilots of both Prison Break and Head Cases, but Head Cases had first contractual position. The PB guys thought about recasting, but they really liked Dunbar, and sure enough, a few weeks into the season he was available again.

As for exoneration, while Linc and LJ might be able to get off of the murder charges, Michael committed two actual crimes: "robbing" that bank and engineering an escape. And I'm not sure the slate gets wiped clean on Linc and LJ for escaping, even if they're proven innocent of the original charge.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was good, or at least as good as this show ever gets. Fitchner rules, T-Bag is hilarious, and I didn't even mind the Silence of the Lambs-type fakeout with the storage place and the cemetery. Oh, and Veronica's murder was an act of good faith on the part of the producers.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't wishing Veronica dead, but I'm not going to miss her. My first thought was that they'd shot Terrence, or that they weren't going to tell us who got shot.

Yes, Fichtner is great, let's hope the writers can keep his character smart. (Random sidetrack: Why change from William to Bill? Look at the guy, he's just not a Bill.)

Overall, it looks like they're going OK so far, but we have to see if they can fill enough time without the conspiracy padding.

Anonymous said...

William Fichtner sometimes gets credited as Bill Fichtner. I didn't notice which it was in the credits last night, and he's not listed as being in PB on or on the official Fox PB page, either, so I can't confirm which billing (heh) he's using right now.

Alan said: "As for exoneration, while Linc and LJ might be able to get off of the murder charges, Michael committed two actual crimes: "robbing" that bank and engineering an escape. And I'm not sure the slate gets wiped clean on Linc and LJ for escaping, even if they're proven innocent of the original charge."

I can't believe I'm saying this to you, but: Dude, it's TV! And a show that's already far-fetched to begin with! Of course they can get exonerated, or at the very least, get presidential pardons after the Evil Ex-Veep/now-Prez gets her comeuppance :-D At the very least, they'll all wind up in a country with no extradition policy, where Dr. Tancredi will join them. OTOH, Michael does say he has a plan to make everything "right," so we'll see what the tattoo reveals to us about that.

Anonymous said...

Fichtner is credited as "Bill" on PB. That was the first thing I noticed on the premiere. I had always known him as "William."

Anonymous said...

That's kinda weird because he was credited as William Fichtner on "Invasion." I wonder why the change?

Heather K said...

It is possible he was William for SAG and the other unions because there already was a Bill Fichtner (when PB Fichtner joined them) who may now have passed or something allowing him (PB Fichtner) to return to the name.

Anonymous said...

Nice Go reference. I love that movie.

I was so happy (and surprised) they killed Veronica, I actually screamed with joy. At the end of last season I swore I wouldn't watch again, but this episode pulled me back in. I'm very interested to see the push/pull between William Fichtner's character and Michael.