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Reviewed by John Paulsen
et’s face it, “Prison Break” is a guilty pleasure. The acting is generally over the top and plot twists are incredible (read: not credible), but there’s something that just keeps us coming back for more. Maybe it’s the brainy and crafty Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), who always seems to have a solution for whatever obstacles come up. (He’s sort of a modern-day MacGyver, but without all the paper clips and toothpaste.) Or maybe it’s the lovable but dense Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), who can’t seem to get out of his own way. Then there are the bad guys – Brad Bellick (Wade Williams), T-Bag (Robert Knepper) and Agent Mahone (William Fichtner) – who want to bring down the brothers at any cost, as long as they can save their own skin in the process.
There’s no doubt that Season One was a hit, but Season Two was criticized for getting away from what made Season One so great – watching Michael hatch a plan to break out of prison. The creators got back to the basics in Season Three, sending most of the main characters to the worst prison in Panama. Well, heck, I can’t describe it any better than what’s on the back of the box:
Breaking out of maximum security at Fox River was the easy part. Now Michael Scofield must fight to survive inside Sona, a hellish Panamanian prison where the only rule is brutal violence and the only way out is a body bag. So, with time running out, Lincoln Burrows scrambles desperately to free his brother along with the only man who can deliver Lincoln’s captive son from the sinister clutches of The Company. Packed with intense action and white-knuckle plot twists, Season Three is Prison Break’s most explosive yet, and this time, there’s no way out!
Of course, there is a way out, but I’m not going to ruin the surprise. The season was abbreviated to 13 episodes due to the writers’ strike, and it’s probably a good thing, because the season-long storyline might have been a drag had the season lasted the normal 26 episodes.
If you haven’t heard anything about Season Three, but want to see if Michael and Dr. Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) ever get together, don’t bother. Tancredi was unceremoniously dumped from the show after Callies and the creators got into a dispute over just how much time it would take to film her parts in the show. The Michael/Sara relationship was the heart of the series, and now that it’s kaput, our hero is running on pure revenge. That’s powerful fuel, but it burns quickly, which is another reason that the abbreviated season was a good thing.
Season Three is all about The Company putting the screws to Michael and Lincoln. They need to break a very important man, James Whistler (Chris Vance), out of Sona, and who better to do it than the man who orchestrated the infamous Fox River escape? As collateral, The Company kidnaps Lincoln’s son, LJ, to give the brothers the proper incentive to pull off the escape. In addition to Whistler, several other characters join the show, including Sofia (Danay Garcia), Whistler’s beautiful yet naïve girlfriend, Susan B. Anthony (Jodi Lynn O’Keefe), The Company’s spitfire of a representative, and Lechero (Robert Wisdom), the drug-running kingpin who runs things inside of Sona.
Of course, Bellick, T-Bag, Mahone and even Sucre (Amaury Nolasco) end up in Sona one way or another. This might seem contrived (and it is), but as with anything in the “Prison Break” universe, it’s better to not ask how or why. Just sit back, turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.
Special Features: The set’s special features include a Season Three featurette, where members of the cast talk about how they approach their craft and what its like shooting in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. There is another featurette dedicated solely to the final “breakout” episode that features interviews with the cast as well as the director and the director of photography. There is also a “Director’s Take” for each of the 13 episodes where the individual directors talk about the challenges that came with shooting each episode. Lastly, there are several short interviews with the cast to find out how they pass the time in between takes.