Stay Tuned
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Friday, August 18, 2006

Join the Manhunt!

After seeing the final two episodes of “Invasion,” I was bummed that it was cancelled. But after seeing the season premiere of “Prison Break,” I am thrilled that ABC pulled the plug.

Because if they hadn’t, William Fichtner would have never joined the “Break” cast and that would have been a crime worthy of time in Fox River.

Fichtner is FBI agent Alexander Mahone, who we meet in the opening moments of the premiere. He immediately clashes with Captain Bellick, Warden Pope, and everyone else at the prison who believe it is their responsibility to bring the escapees back. But Mahone quickly establishes that he has the inside track as he starts to get inside Michael Scofield’s head and put the pieces of the escape plan together.

Meanwhile there’s friction among the escapees as Michael is forced to implement his back-up plans while he tries to stay ahead of both the authorities and the rest of the gang. Plus, T-Bag tries to deal with his Abruzzi-induced handicap on his own.

The fate of Dr. Tancredi is also revealed as her story takes a new, kind of unexpected direction. And we get some answers and some more questions about Terrence Steadman and the conspiracy that framed Lincoln.

If it feels like I’m being a little vague with my description, it’s because I don’t want to say anything that will give away the episode’s big twist. Taking a page straight from the “24” playbook, we get an ending that you won’t see coming and that will completely change the direction of the show.

What I can say is that within the first ten minutes of the episode, the entire tone of the show is changed—and that’s not a bad thing. Though the show was solid last season, it tended to drag as it looked for ways to postpone the inevitable escape. It’s clear that this season won’t know the meaning of the word drag as it gets off to a running start—literally.

I can also tell you that an arch nemesis for Michael is exactly what the show needed to take it to the next level and Fichtner is brilliant as he manages to majorly improve a cast that is already one of the best on television. I love the slightly sinister edge that he gives Mahone, which gives you some pause to question his real intentions.

The whole feel of the episode is good as well as they pepper quick flashback bursts throughout the hour. The direction, lighting and locations are all perfect and help add to the show’s new tone.

I enjoyed “Prison Break” last season, but this episode is better than anything they did last year, so I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

If you’re looking for a little excitement in your viewing schedule—or you’re just having serious “24” withdrawal—join the manhunt from the beginning. You won’t be sorry.

“Prison Break” premieres Monday, August 21st at 8 p.m. on FOX.