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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Prison Break": Why did I ever watch that show?

The girls at the salon where I get my hair cut love to talk about “Prison Break.” I try not to laugh as they excitedly discuss every ridiculous twist and turn like it was the most brilliant thing they’ve ever seen…

But I’ve got to believe that even they will be disappointed with what happened last night…

Because instead of one wild twist after another, we got an hour-long disappointment as each story was wrapped up quicker than the next with no regard for what came before it.

In other words, the writers were so busy trying to set the scene for next season that they forgot to wrap up this one…

Warning: The remainder of this post contains details about last night’s season finale of “Prison Break.”

I had always joked that season three would find everyone back in prison. I wish now I had kept my mouth shut. Personally, I think it would have made more sense to kill them all. At least we would have had some sense of closure.

Instead, the season ended with Michael in a scary Panamanian prison along with Bellick, and presumably T-Bag and Mahone. How did he get there? By taking the wrap for Mr. Kim’s murder—a murder Sarah committed. I find it interesting, though, that the Panamanian police arrested Michael for a crime they didn’t even know had been committed, since Mr. Kim’s body was in the water. And apparently there are no CSIs in Panama since Sarah would have the GSR on her hands…

And speaking of Sarah, because of the real-life pregnancy of her portrayer, Sarah Wayne Callies, she was forced to just disappear without explanation and without even trying to help the man she loved.

But as improbable as the entire Michael going to jail storyline was, it wasn’t even the worst part of the show. That award would go to the first five minutes…

There’s an expression I like to use called a “Quantum Leap” ending (It comes from the show “Quantum Leap,” when Sam would suddenly save the day in the last five minutes.) I use it to describe when a show spends entirely too much time building things up, only to give us a super quick happy ending that doesn’t always make sense.

But usually, that quick ending is given to a story that just began an hour ago. “Prison” gave us a “Quantum Leap” ending to a story we had followed for two years that had driven much of the story.

Instead of allowing Kellerman to spill all of his secrets on the stand at Sarah’s trial, we only got a handful of them. We know that he is the one that framed Lincoln, on the orders of then Vice-President Reynolds, but we have no idea why since we didn’t hear that part. We’re told that Kellerman had documentation, but what was it? We don’t know because we didn’t see it. Basically all we saw was a judge freeing Sarah (even though she helped the murderous T-Bag escape) and then a reporter telling us that Lincoln would be exonerated.

So why didn’t we hear the whole story of the conspiracy we tried to follow for two years? Honestly, I don’t think the writers knew what it was either…

But even with that, I could have been happy if the show had just ended with Lincoln, Michael and Sarah sailing off into the sunset. But with few non-“Idol” hits to speak of, FOX couldn’t let that happen. And I’m willing to bet that will cost them in the long-run…

Because there’s just nothing for the fans to stick around for. We’ve already seen Michael escape from jail once. What now? Lincoln will commit a crime to get in and bust him out? And why should we follow a new conspiracy when we didn’t get any answers to the first one?

I don’t think I’ll ever have to ask myself the question again of why am I still watching this show. After last night, the question will be, why did I ever watch that show?…

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