Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prison Break III: Beyond Thunderdome

"Two men enter. One man leaves."
- Tagline for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

The third season premiere of the Fox network's action-drama Prison Break is somewhat of a non-sequitur. True, it does follow what happened during the second season finale: Michael Scofield, T-Bag, that FBI guy, and the ex-prison guard all wind up in the same Panamanian prison, thus promising to bring the show back to its own name Prison Break. It's a new prison, to presumably break free from.

Here's the strange curve ball: This new prison, called Sona, is apparently some sort of post-apocalyptic hell in a pre-apocalyptic world. There are no guards within the prison, other than a military tower on the outside with a soldier to shoot any would-be escapees. There is an order maintained by a sole alpha male prisoner, who evidently feels threatened by Michael's charisma and smarts - something that could destroy the alpha male's utopia.

Anyhow, the episode culminates in the prison's only form of justice system: Michael must fight a large drug addict in a death match - THUNDERDOME (sort of)!

The themes of loyalty and sacrifice are a couple of reasons why I liked the first and second seasons of Prison Break. Out of loyalty for his brother Lincoln Burrows, Michael descends to the hottest fires of Tartarus to rescue his brother from an unjust execution. That's the stuff right out of Greek mythology and Christian symbolism and several places elsewhere. It's the story that's been told several times before and is just as timeless with every new telling of it.

While we are only one episode into the new season, we learn that Michael has to free a man also imprisoned within the new prison. Unfortunately, there's only a secondary, almost indirect motivation for Michael to do so - not from any direct loyalty to save a doomed brother, but as some form of blackmail to save Lincoln's son and Michael's love interest from certain doom (outside of the prison).

At the same time, there's an inkling that Lincoln needs to return the favor to his brother. We're in for another season of complicated plans, with the tattoos rendered useless. Otherwise, Lincoln can go the easy way:

Lincoln and Michael's late father has a small army, presumably still loyal to the memory and kin of their fallen leader. Lincoln can call them up on his cell phone, and do two things in any order:

1. Track down the kidnappers of Lincoln's son and Michael's woman, engage in a gun battle, and rescue them.
2. Go to the Sona prison, engage the guard tower in a gun battle, and rescue Michael.

Then again, that's as much fun as flying on the backs of giant eagles all the way to Mordor and casting the One Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom without any fatalities, battles, and heartache.

Well, that seems like fun to me!

Wentworth Miller photo credit: Jannah Hair.

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