This was one of those episodes that really feels like it's just there to set up subsequent plot payoffs in future episodes. In other words, it's sort of the TV equivalent of a cram session the night before finals -- a little scattershot, somewhat tedious, and yet, it requires you to pay attention or else you'll be sorry later. So let's treat this episode like a study session.
Essay topic #1: What are they teaching people at "the academy" these days? Trisha the dish spends the entire episode not-so-subtly spying on T-Bag so's she can report his every move to the equally obvious Don Self. Since T-Bag has some weird reptilian instinct for knowing when he's in trouble, he susses out the surveillance. He and Gretchen then have a phone conversation that serves to draw Don Self and Trisha to an empty house, where the two agents are promptly captured by Fang and his friends. If Don Self and Trisha are at all representative of the kind of thinking keeping our borders safe, I can only say … "I, for one, welcome our new Canadian overlords! Can I please have doughnuts and nationalized healthcare?"
Essay topic #2: Has the One World Conspiracy prevented the Bureau of Weights and Measures from coming up with the scale for measuring how gross it is when Gretchen dresses like a schoolgirl for General Von Baldy? Because I'm thinking the metric system needs to move beyond scales of magnitude like "gigayuck" or "tera-ick" or "peta-yeaggh" in a scene like that. What made the whole naughty-schoolgirl scene especially awful? It was all for naught, as the whole point to the seduction was for Gretchen to get card #6, and Von Baldy left it behind at Lisa's request.
Essay topic #3: Is Team Scylla really a team or just a collection of characters thrown together for plot expendiency? Working silently per Michael's direction, Mahone, Linc and Sucre manage to create a man-sized hole in the concrete, then set down a catwalk that will presumably allow Michael to prance on over to the Scylla monolith and get whatever he needs. There is a close call when Sucre almost falls off the catwalk, but he soon recovers, and Michael goes in to finish the job.
Essay topic #4: Is it medically ethical to treat your boyfriend when he's being a dramatic martyr? So, as we've established in previous episodes, Michael's got a rare tumor that might make his brain explode without warning at any time. The good doctor at the hospital is like, "Come on in! I promise to treat you without turning you in!" yet Michael's sense of duty compels his to accompany the rest of Team Scylla to the drill-and-break-in site. So, Dr. Sara gives him a shot that will presumably quell any seizures, then sends him off. Michael manages to make it into Scylla's chamber, has only a few dramatic reeling moments … and gets detected by General Von Baldy's security system in the very last scene. We'll find out what the repercussions of that are next week.
Now, pencils down! We'll see how the series did on mid-sweeps exams next week.
The episode begins at the big concrete wall standing between Team Scylla and their holy grail. Working in near-silence, their tools muffled, Sucre and Mahone drill a hole in the wall, then use a shopvac to clear out the bore. They use a magnet to confirm that indeed, there's steel mesh embedded in the concrete. Sucre then threads a camera in.
We cut to T-Bag and Gretchen bonding with a little girl talk about Michael Scofield. Gretchen's kvetching through a door about how Michael doesn't deserve any Scylla payout on account of making her life so difficult in Panama. If you ask me, that blame's a little misplaced, what with her electing to sit on the blow-the-place-up plan until the very last minute, instead of making that her Plan A. T-Bag tells Gretchen, "What we must do is make sure that cosmic justice rains down upon him! But once we obtain the general's card, there ain't hardly nothing standing between us and Mr. Fang's $125 million dollars --" Then he is struck dumb, because Gretchen has opened the doors to her room. Horror of horrors, she's going to dress up like a naughty schoolgirl to bend the General to her will. Don't do it, Gretchen! The last woman to gain disproportionate power with a naughty schoolgirl routine later ended up marrying Kevin Federline, and it broke her brain! Learn from that example. Gretchen baits the general trap by sending him a camera pic of her posed in her little outfit.
Back at Team Scylla HQ, Dr. Sara comes in to tell Michael that he's got a hot date with a still-licensed medical doctor at 3 p.m. Michael poutily says no, and Linc plows right over him with, "You're going." "We need to finish what we started," Michael protests. Linc leans in to tell him that the rest of Team Scylla's got this one; it only serves to agitate Michael more. Then he dramatically seizes his head. Dr. Sara decides to press her advantage by repeating that Dr. Malden can see Michael today, and it's much better to be seen by a doctor who won't alert the cops than it would be to get into a medical jam and get treated by one who'd happily hop on line one to his friends at the precinct. Michael sighs that there's still a lot to do, but Dr. Sara and Linc make a united, implacable front against that plea. So Michael sighs and accedes.
Meanwhile, Sucre and Mahone have moved on to male bonding. That Sucre! He can get along with anyone. It's like a superpower, except that Sucre's Kryptonite comes in the form of his evil cousin Hector. Anyway, Sucre shares that the last time he was drilling something, it was with an eggbeater in Fox River. I remember! It's one of my favorite scenes of the whole series, where Sucre explains the "Hooker Principle" to a drooling Abruzzi. Sucre ads forlornly, "I just can't believe it's all coming to an end, and he's not here." Mahone absently assures Sucre everything will work out; he's busy using the tiny camera they blew into the wall to see what the Scylla Chamber looks like. Sucre asks how Mahone knows everything will work out. Mahone replies, "I don't. I'm just trying to keep us focused. Hey -- he's sick. I guarantee one thing that'll make him worse: going back to jail. And if we don't get in [to the Scylla Chamber], that's where we're all going." In case we've failed to appreciate this caper's degree of difficulty, we get a long, lingering shot of Scylla, encased in what is undoubtedly bulletproof glass, surrounded by laser beams and, you know, just generally difficult to sneak up on.