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Prison Break - Wine Dark Sea - Review: "Excruciating" + POLL

Michael may have started out “Wine Dark Sea” with a stab wound and having been poisoned by antifreeze, but he appeared in less pain than it endured to slog through such an appalling excuse for an hour of television. It was, at nearly every turn, rage-inducing, producing twists upon twists that were so bland, so predictable, and so dumb that even the sheer thought of laughing at their idiocy would be to pay Prison Break too high a compliment because it takes itself so seriously. Everything about this hour is punctuated with a sense of impending doom but done with an abundance of self-worth, as if to try and put itself on a pedestal above any and all other dramas. The result? Easily the worst hour of this increasingly pointless revival.

And I say that despite having described two scenes in my notes as “It’s almost worth it for this scene. Almost.”

Namely, those two scenes were the goodbye between Sara and Michael (*), and the reunion between Michael and Sucre. The temporary farewell between husband and wife was essentially the culmination of seven years’ build-up of him being dead and her having moved on and, if nothing else, the show managed to sell the emotion behind it. Sara, despite having remarried, still loves Michael to a fault, and vice versa, and their goodbye packs a particular punch because there is now the potential that having seen each other again, one or both may die before it happens again, given how deep in they are. Sucre, returning for the first time since the premiere, reacted in a very Sucre-like manner to seeing his old friend, and that is always enjoyable.

(*) Their first conversation upon him waking up was also nice but featured far too much unintelligent plot to be especially worthwhile.

But these were the only redeeming moments in an episode otherwise devoid of quality, or sanity, or coherence, or even a hint of a brain. Because everything about the way the story unfolded in “Wine Dark Sea” epitomised everything wrong with Prison Break and its method of unveiling plot.

Take, for instance, the Jacob reveal. Three weeks ago, the show appeared to confirm that he was Poseidon, only for him to quash that idea an episode later, seemingly convincing Sara but not really convincing the audience. The latter aspect of that is fine. However, any sign of her scepticism vanished with his explanation, despite it being flimsy and ridiculous, and the organisation of his alibi unrealistic. Sure, you could try to justify this as her wanting to believe it, but when her suspicions proving true would mean her son is at serious risk, that idea goes out of the window.

By the time she returns to the U.S., armed with the knowledge of her husband’s true identity - and with the show very, very openly acknowledging his status as Poseidon - she has one very simple goal: keep up an act until Mike can be safely taken from Jacob’s grasp. Except Sara is so bad at pretending that it’s impossible to care at all about her desperation to keep Mike safe because it’s clear from the second that she walks back into the house having returned from Crete that something is wrong and that she is troubled by something horrible.

Her justification for not having her grandmother’s ring? She took it off so not to have it stolen, only to lose it. Her plan to get Mike out quickly? Call what appears to be her only friend and ask her to pick him up. Her best course of action upon learning that Mike is safely in Heather’s care? Hold Jacob at gunpoint rather than abscond. It’s utterly, utterly ridiculous, and you can almost physically see the plot fall into line in the most uninspired way possible.

So, of course, Jacob gets the upper hand on her. Of course, Heather makes it home with Mike to find Van Gogh there with a gun. And it’s not even worth a shrug because getting to the Syracuse-based cliffhanger was such a chore.

But where that cliffhanger was dull, the one in the Mediterranean was actively embarrassing. I said last week that ending an hour with Michael seemingly about to die was stupid because although there’s perhaps mystery over how he’ll be saved, that he will be saved was never in doubt. For “Wine Dark Sea”, then, to go from that to an outlandish suggestion of four main characters - including the two outright leads - being killed in a missile blast conducted by the U.S. government marks the lowest of low ebbs for a series that, in its time, has had its fair share of brainlessness.

Pretending to kill a character only works if their faux death can not only be believed by any of the audience but whether anyone can feasibly believe that they survived whatever it was that is meant to have killed them. When Kellerman appeared to die in season two, his surprise survival in the original series finale could be believed because we never saw the bullets enter his body. But creating a scenario where our main characters are jumping off a ship as it is blown to complete smithereens - the white light that flooded the screen is what you’d expect to see when a nuclear bomb goes off, but that obviously didn’t happen here - is so far outside the realm of logic and suspension of disbelief that the only appropriate response is to sit and glare in awe. Not at anything done well; instead, gawk at the abomination and disgrace that this episode has turned Prison Break into.

By the time it ended its run, Prison Break had fallen into narrative traps that didn’t seem possible just five minutes prior. Nothing made sense, and it was as though the writing team had given up trying to make the show anywhere near as intelligent as Michael in the early days, instead milking the franchise for all its worth.

It’s clearer now than ever that this nine-episode revival is exactly that. It is not based on creating an extension of the story. It is rolling the dice on a long-extinguished series that died quite some time before FOX put it out of its misery in 2009. It is, above all else, pathetic to see this try and pass as competent television.

“Wine Dark Sea” was probably looked at by the creative minds and considered to be a turning point in the season, an episode that changed the dimension of the season and set the pace for the final two episodes. If that’s the case, then I may need antifreeze poisoning like Michael. The pain might be less excruciating.


Sucre was in the previously which means obviously he was coming back this week. I’d ask how stupid the show thinks we are for feeling it needs to show us that, but I already know the answer.

Agent Koshida was investigating 21Void for all of about a day before being killed.

Life tip: don’t call Sucre Mexican or he’ll punch you in the face.

Ja stayed behind in Phaeacia and plans to start over. Good for him.

Whip desperately pleaded Michael to not die because “I feel like we’ve been brothers since we met.” I’d like to see more of their dynamic that stretches beyond Michael telling him that he’s his whip hand.

Am I missing something here, or did Mike get kidnapped when his helicopter flew into the bushes and then he appears a few minutes later in the house, completely fine?

Sucre’s selling sex dolls. I don’t know whether to laugh or sigh in disappointment.

What did everyone think of “Wine Dark Sea”? Leave your thoughts in the comments and be sure to vote in our poll below!

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