Prison Break Season 3
Recurring character(s): Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), Fernando Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell (Robert Knepper), Brad Bellick (Wade Williams), L. J. Burrows (Marshall Allman), Alex Mahone (William Fichtner), James Whistler (Chris Vance), Lechero (Robert Wisdom), Sofia Lugo (Danay Garcia), Gretchen Morgan (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe)
Original air date(s): 09/17/2007 to 02/18/2008
DVD Date: 08/12/2008
Running Time: 568 minutes
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Review: I greatly enjoyed the first season of Prison Break, but was somewhat ambivalent about the second season. However, the manner in which this second season ended suggested that the third season would return to its roots, as it were, a premise I found appealing.
Well, it didn't quite work out that way. The third season of Prison Break was both saved by, and ruined by, the writers' strike of 2007/2008. It was ruined by the writers' attention clearly being more on their contract negotiations than on creating credible, understandable -- and watchable -- scripts. It was saved by limiting the number of episodes to only 13 (of 22 planned), mercifully cutting this dreadful season short.
As Season 2 ends, Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) is sent to a maximum security prison in Panama called Sona, an institution operated by the inmates. Everyone else with whom he escaped at the end of the first season is either free (legally or on the run) or dead. Sona is authoritatively run by an inmate named Lechero (Robert Wisdom), who quickly recognizes that Michael is no ordinary criminal, and has probably been incarcerated for some other purpose. That purpose, made known to Michael after he is inside, is to engineer the escape of one James Whistler (Chris Vance), a charter boat fisherman. In order to force Michael to cooperate, an operative of The Company, Gretchen Morgan (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), has kidnapped both Michael's romantic interest in the series, Sarah (previously played by Sarah Wayne Callies, but who does not appear in this season), and Michael's nephew LJ (Marshall Allman), his brother Lincoln's son, and threatens to kill them both.
That's the premise, and as far as it goes, it's a fine one. But after a few episodes it quickly becomes clear this season is directionless, with only scant attention paid to continuity and the logical progression of the plot. For instance, it's never really explained why Whistler is so important to The Company (something to do with geographic coordinates encoded into a nature guide), the very reason Michael was embedded into the prison population in the first place, and presumably a pivotal plot point. Michael's brother Lincoln (the "star" of the series, I guess; his name comes first in the credits) becomes a pawn in this charade, his character reduced to little more than a go-between ... and a pretty inept one at that. Other characters from the previous seasons have obligatory supporting roles, but they're really not important to the plot and are largely forgettable. In truth, no one is really important because there is no overarching plot to keep one's interest.
OK, so the third season of Prison Break is a throwaway -- that's a given. Does it get any better? I have to say I've watched the first few episodes of the fourth season already, and it's as if the producers and writers have completely written off the third season as a loss, starting over (almost) from a blank page. Good for them; admit when you've made a mistake and learn from it. So yes, it does seem to get better. I'll know more when I reach the end ... and review what turns out to be the final season of the series.
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