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Throwback Thursday - Prison Break - Go

Throwback Thursday, a weekly article in which we look back at our favorite TV episodes from over the years.

Even during the latter stages of its run where the quality of the writing was low and plot points were being reused to death, Prison Break always travelled at high-speed with edge-of-your-seat drama and nail-biting moments. That was no more evident than in the penultimate episode of its first season, ‘Go. '

After the antepenultimate episode’s climax of Michael pulling a knife on Warden Pope, ‘Go’ focuses solely on the night of the breakout. Twenty episodes had led to this moment for the convicts, and a feeling of desperation and pressure could be felt in every second of the prison scenes. Sucre’s vomiting early in the episode was an over-exaggerated representation of how stressed I, as a viewer, would be over the course of the hour.

For the most part, the thing I found most exciting on the show was Michael’s tattoos. Sure, most of the time I questioned the ridiculousness of him having all these tattoos for what felt like every possible contingency, but it was always enjoyable to see him and the group get into a tough situation and wait for him to use one of his tattoos to get them out of it. ‘Go’ changed that. The heightened tension made it incredibly difficult to wait for Michael’s next big plan, but that was entirely the point. The episode put you into the prison with the convicts, making it that much harder to watch as the show left you contemplating the idea that not all of the group would make it out.

Of course, that turned out to be the case. Charles Westmoreland bled out from the injury he sustained attempting to subdue Bellick in the previous episode. Westmoreland’s death was probably the most tragic in the series as he was the only one of the convicts not breaking out for himself. He didn’t care about whether or not he was free - he only cared about seeing his daughter one last time before she died; it was simply his denied request that led him to attempt to break out. The other inmate who failed to break out was Sucre’s cousin, Manche. His failure was down to his weight, which forced the cable wire to detach from the prison wall. He, unlike Westmoreland, wasn’t a character I was sorry didn’t get over the wall.

In addition to the tension of waiting for them to get out, ‘Go’ left you wondering at what point Haywire would reveal himself to the group. It was obvious from the first POV shot that Haywire was following them, and so it was just a matter of time before he made his move. All credit to him: despite being insane, he did wait for the perfect moment to expose himself - just as the group were about to climb the cable.

I have to praise Ramin Djawadi for his excellent score throughout the episode, but particularly during the final scene. The track that played while the convicts climbed to their freedom had that over-the-top sense of tension and drama, which worked nicely in parallel to the show itself, capped with a sense of triumph as we see that the group are over the wall. Djawadi did some excellent work over the course of the show, but this was some of his best.

Sara’s storyline throughout this episode is simple, yet it works better than I would have expected. I’m not usually a fan of an addiction storyline, and though it isn’t actually introduced here - rather, just hinted at - the question over whether Sara would return to morphine added an extra layer to the dilemma she already faced. Despite feeling certain that she would leave the door unlocked, there was some good development on show as Sara caved to her feelings for Michael.

Veronica’s storyline was the least interesting thing about the episode, which isn’t even in comparison to the rest of the episode. It just didn’t grasp my attention as much as it has done all season. Veronica’s scenes in ‘Go’ served simply as a bridge between her being held at gunpoint in the previous episode and her finding Terrence Steadman alive in the season finale. Nick revealed to her that he was working for Abruzzi after he got Nick’s father out of prison, and sacrificed himself and his father’s life to protect Veronica. In the end, Abruzzi’s deal amounted to nothing for Nick. Perhaps it would have been better for him had he never gone along with it.

The only gripe I have with this episode is that it isn’t as enjoyable to watch on the second attempt, which is perhaps a flaw with the show itself. The writing on Prison Break was never of a really high quality, but it was mostly good enough that you went along with it (assuming you never attempted to apply logic to the show: that would be a fatal error in a world where an innumerable amount of characters are brought back from the ‘dead’, conspiracies are everywhere and Michael shows off ridiculous new knowledge every single minute, among other things). Instead, the show lived off creating suspense. Once you lose that, knowing for sure what happens to the characters, the quality and rewatchability factor decreases for me. Prison Break was a fun and entertaining show, and ‘Go’ highlighted both why it was, and why it was little more, and did so in superb fashion.

Prison Break fans - what did you think of ‘Go’? What did you think of the series as a whole? Let me know in the comments!

About the Author - Bradley Adams
16 year old based in England, currently Senior Staff at SpoilerTV. Most of his posts are news/spoiler based, though he is currently the reviewer of Person of Interest, as well as being in charge of the yearly 'Favourite Episode Competition'. A big TV fan, his range of shows are almost exclusively dramas, with some of his all-time favourite shows including 24, LOST, Breaking Bad and Friends. Some of his current favourites include Person of Interest, Arrow and The Walking Dead. He also runs an Arrow blog, ArrowFansUK, and aside from TV, is a keen cricketer. Get in touch with him via the links below or via email bradley@spoilertv.com
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