Prison Break: Season 5 Finale – Opinion

The revival of Prison Break aired its last episode May 30, 2017, on FOX.

Hardcore Prison Break fans waited nine years for the return of the popular Scofield-centric escape show. They spent those nine years mourning Michael’s apparent death and equally bemoaning the drop-off in quality from the stellar first two seasons to the convoluted, underwhelming final two.

Prison Break season five, and particularly the finale, provided well-deserved closure for fans of Michael Scofield and his family. The series gets the happily-ever-after ending that season four and Michael’s apparent death didn’t provide the first time around. And, as a bonus, the final scene returns to Fox River where it all started.

Episode eight of the nine-episode final season concluded in graphic fashion, implying that both Lincoln and Michael might be dead. Lincoln ends up wounded, and Michael narrowly avoids a bullet. Episode nine starts to provide the first real plot twists of the season.

Season five essentially proved to be a nostalgic return to a show that had been a trailblazer when it first debuted. However, the season wasn’t particularly well-developed and lacked the complexity of season one. Poseidon and his agenda is cliché and simplistic (rogue CIA agent tries to fix the government his way and enlists some loyal, unquestioning minions). Michael’s initial prison break in season five involves minimal finesse other than a blackout and a convenient air duct. Much of the rest of the season involves outrunning explosions and bands of marauding ISIS terrorists with Lincoln and his friends by his side.

Perhaps most interestingly, Michael’s tattoos seemed irrelevant as anything other than a nostalgia-forced plot requirement until the season finale. Michael’s tattoos seem mostly worthless (unlike season one where the complexity of the prison architecture and the profundity of his plan actually warranted them), and as Poseidon scrambles to decode the eyes on his tattoo, the audience wonders why Michael bothered broadcasting his seemingly straightforward schemes.

The plot twists remarkably in the last 10 minutes as Michael’s brilliance manifests itself. The tattoos were a gambit, meant to ensnare Poseidon by making Poseidon believe he had cracked the code and would capture Michael. Instead, through some impressive plotting and advanced photoshopping, Michael defeats Poseidon and eliminates his leverage all in one fell swoop. T-Bag provides the final righteous justice back in Fox River.

The fifth season also provided intriguing updates to several other beloved characters and their futures. T-Bag isn’t the enemy anymore and he has a son who aids Michael in his latest escape (although “Whip” pays the ultimate price for his loyalty). C-Note finds god and Sucre is still doing Sucre things. Almost everyone looks the same, although Michael’s hair has grayed a bit.

This likely wouldn’t work as a standalone show. But as a tribute to a beloved past show? Die-hard fans should have a blast reminiscing about the original show and enjoying the joyous return and victory of the beloved Scofield-Burrows clan. Michael is finally free and reunited with his family and hopefully this narrow escape proves to be his last.

While some fans may be yearning for a sixth season, logic suggests this is the end of the line for Michael. Let him and his family live a nice, prison-free life. Anyways, the premises required to land him back in jail were becoming more and more of a stretch in each subsequent season after the superb run at Fox River. The only way the writers could continue the series without suspending the disbelief beyond rationality would be if the CIA employs Schofield to bust someone ELSE out of prison. Fingers crossed for THAT intriguing spin-off…

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