Prison Break Season 2
Recurring character(s): Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), Fernando Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell (Robert Knepper), Dr. Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies), Brad Bellick (Wade Williams), L. J. Burrows (Marshall Allman), Benjamin Miles "C-Note" Franklin (Rockmond Dunbar), Alex Mahone (William Fichtner), Paul Kellerman (Paul Adelstein), Bill Kim (Reggie Lee)
Original air date(s): 08/21/2006 to 04/02/2007
DVD Date: 09/04/2007
Running Time: 961 minutes
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Review: The second season of Prison Break picks up (chronologically) several hours after the first season ends. (My review of Prison Break: Season One was posted a few weeks ago.). Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) has successfully escaped from Fox River Penitentiary, together with his brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) and six others. Known as the "Fox River Eight", they are pursued by local police, former employees of the prison, and an FBI task force, led by Alex Mahone (William Fichtner). Separately, and covertly, the eight escapees are also being hunted by a secret agency within the US Government, notably Paul Kellerman (Paul Adelstein) and his handler Bill Kim (Reggie Lee). The entire second season of 22 episodes consists of this manhunt.
If you haven't seen the first season, much of what happens -- and why -- during the second season will not make much sense. And even having watched the first season, there seem to be more than an average number of "Huh?" moments. Part of the problem here is that soon after the escape, most of the men separate and hence have their own plotlines ... which I think go on far too long, spanning too many episodes. It seems clear early on that several characters will have a season-long story arc, and I would have preferred that those that didn't would have been written out much sooner. The addition of new characters is welcome, but they too, of course, have their own subplots.
As with the first season, the casting and character development is spot on. Of particular note is FBI Special Agent Alex Mahone, who is just as smart as Michael Scofield, leading to a very credible, very watchable cat-and-mouse game being played out through the entire season.
There are, not surprisingly, problems with logistics, timing, and certain plot points. To enjoy this series, you have to allow for these and not try to over-analyze them. I suspect that the writers weren't too far ahead of filming, and while they may have had an end game in mind, they weren't quite sure how they were going to get there on a week-to-week basis. What is different is that, while the first season seemed to be more "intellectual", this second season is more "emotional". That is, the characters tend to do things more from the heart than the mind. Some viewers may appreciate this softer aspect, but I found that it often led to the "smart people doing dumb things" syndrome, which is evident in many episodes.
I haven't started Season Three, but from how this season ends -- yes, it does end with something of a cliffhanger -- I'm guessing (hoping?) it will move forward more along the lines of the first season. Still, even with some of the shortcomings of this second season, I strongly recommend this exciting, suspenseful, and thrilling series.
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