Dear Prison Break: When my adrenal gland breaks, I am blaming YOU. Also, I would like my quadriceps to return to normal, as they are currently cramped from sitting on the edge of my seat for fifty-odd straight minutes. Please send handsome masseurs to me, pronto.
So! What could have caused my grievous physical state? Only the most awesome season opener, that's what. We pick up with 62.5% of Team Escarpara hauling ass through the woods. They've missed the plane, so they use a train to put some distance between themselves and Bellick, and wrangle an automobile out of a hunter whose daughter is unlucky enough to stumble on them. Bellick sweats and snorts and snots and screams, "Scofield!" You know -- the usual.
What is new: the FBI agent played by William Fichtner, who actually has half a brain and therefore will be a worthy adversary for our little fugitive mastermind. Fichtner takes about five seconds to figure out that the entire escape plan is hidden in the tattoo, and announces the plot conceit that may make Season Two incredibly tense: he will decode the tattoo and beat Michael to wherever he's headed next. He didn't swing it this episode -- Team Escapara made it to the grave site where Michael had buried his carry-on luggage about ten minutes before Fichtner did -- but it's coming. Oh, yes, it is.
As for everyone else we know and/or love from Season One: Dr. Sara lives. A guilt-wracked Nurse Gossipson helpfully advances the plot by coming to visit, dropping off Sara's purse, and revealing the note Michael tucked in the bag. T-Bag is currently pushing the boundaries of cross-species medical knowledge. We have no idea what is going on with either Haywire or Tweener. And Veronica -- holy cow! The conspiracy dudes killed Veronica! And carried her body out in multiple Hefty bags, so you know there's no chance of this whole thing being some sort of pre-sweeps fake-out. RIP, Veronica. You died as you lived -- stupidly.
Previously on Prison Break: What, y'all can't read the recaps?
No, seriously, here's what happened: Linc got framed for a crime he didn't commit -- whacking the vice president's brother, Steadman. Linc's brother Michael was eventually convinced of Lincoln's innocence, contrived to get himself thrown into prison, then commenced with executing a breakout plan that was suitably complex enough to carry several sweeps episodes, yet effective enough to place the brothers (plus a motley crew of assorted felons) on the outside as of the season one finale. Now that we're all caught up...
We get a shot of Fox River. The miracle of time-lapse photography shows us clouds rushing by a steadily-lightening sky. Then we pull into a tight shot of someone doing the brainteasers in a newspaper -- word scramble, crossword puzzle, etc. Clearly, this is meant to show us his keen and active intellect; I personally have always suspected the brainy smart among us are too smart to waste their time on those little amusements. He asks, "The escapees -- who were they?" His underling replies, "I've got a list. Would you like me to read it to you? My reading is so evocative, it causes expository flashbacks for anyone within earshot." With an offer like that, who is the other, silhouetted dude to say no?
The guy begins: "Michael Scofield. Structural engineer. Five years, armed robbery. Benjamin Miles Franklin --" whom we all know and/or love as C-Note "-- former U.S. Army, eight years for possession of stolen goods. John Abruzzi. Don of the crime family of the same name --" and here is where I have to pause and wonder why on earth someone didn't elect to write the more elegant and equally accurate phrase "Don of an eponymous crime family'? Because, really, how many good excuses are there to use that word on TV? Not enough. And this one just got squandered. Anyway, let's carry on: "Life without parole for conspiracy to commit murder. Charles 'Haywire' Patoshik. Sixty years for second degree murder. Fernando Sucre. Five years for aggravated robbery. David 'Tweener' Apolskis. Five years for grand larceny. Theodore 'T-Bag' Bagwell. Life for six counts of kidnapping, rape and first degree murder. And Lincoln Burrows. Scheduled to die next week for the murder of President Reynolds' brother." Ladies and gentlemen, your Team Escarpara line-up!
The puzzle-doing dude picks up the exposition fairy's bag of plot-moving dust and sprinkles some over the dialogue, noting that Team Escarpara went over the wall at 8:00 PM last night, reminding us that Linc and Michael are brothers, and concluding that Michael was the mastermind behind the plan. He says, "I want everything they've got on him." Across the nation, thousands of women (and men) snarl, "Take a number. There's a line."