Don Self begins his slide down the short and slippery slope toward caper-pulling criminal tonight as Michael and the rest of Team Scylla use his Federal-job connections to get close to cardholder #3, a treasury secretary. The government employee has the good sense to keep his card in a safe that can only be opened through a combination of animal sacrifice and necromancy (or the technological equivalent thereof), so Michael decides that it's easier to open up the back of the safe rather than the front. Unsurprisingly, the plan barely gets pulled off, what with the usual last-minute complications like innocent people asking dressed-as-janitors Sucre and Bellick where toilet paper is, the unbearable slowness of Scylla, and General Von Baldy showing up in his government stooge's office and demanding to see the card right this minute. But our team pulls through. Yay, they're halfway through step one!
When Bellick and Sucre aren't helping the Brothers McSullen pull off their latest caper, they're trying to hunt down T-Bag. They get close, offering Tricia the stacked receptionist a $10,000 finders' fee if she's seen T-Bag, but she lies about it, then coolly turns around and blackmails T-Bag for a cut of his commission. T-Bag obliquely lets her know he'd have no problem killing her, but the menace gets stuck somewhere around her décolletage, thereby bypassing any survival instincts that may be rattling around her head.
Gretchen, however, has proven that her survival instincts are nearly as impressive as Dr. Sara's, as she endures ordure and manages to overpower her captors using only her ankles and a single nail. She's now on the lam; I look forward to seeing where she ends up. General Von Baldy's betting she'll come back to the One World Conspiracy. Start placing your bets now.
Finally, Dr. Sara's narrow escape from Agent Blots Out the Sun provides fuel for the most affecting subplot of the night. When she returns to the Scylla HQ, she confirms for Mahone that indeed, his son's murderer is nearby. Mahone meets up with Pam, who passes him a gun and makes a wrenching little speech that boils down to "The only reason I'm not killing myself from the grief is because I'm counting on you to kill this depraved monster," and Mahone spends the rest of the episode drawing ever closer to the latest monster he must slay.
This episode begins right where the other one left off, with Dr. Sara slouching toward the Team Scylla warehouse. She goes to pull back her hair, and as she digs in her capacious handbag for a hair tie -- and do not get me started this early in the season on her Magical Bag of Holding and its incredible disarray -- and notices her missing credit card. Then she looks up and notices Agent Blots Out the Sun attempting to hide behind a car. He has made the mistake of attempting to use a sedan for cover; what he needs is a Lincoln Navigator. At least.
Back at Scylla HQ, Michael is asking Don Self for a little federal help in sharpening the images on the other four keyholders. No, make that three -- Don Self recognizes one of the guys as Treasury Dept. bureau head Griffin Oren. Michael reasons, "If you know of him, you can get close to him." Don Self's all, "Let's not get too crazy here ..." but Michael's all, "Hey, sweetcheeks, you said you liked my style. My style is to stare at you until I've burrowed my way into your cerebral cortex, then compel you to do what I want." Or maybe he just tells Don to make something up about Al Qaeda using stolen bearer bonds to finance operations, and the rest of that is all subtextual.
And then we go to a diner. Mahone is in a corner booth, waiting for someone. Pam comes in the door; she looks completely empty. Mahone stands up as she comes by, and she gives him a pain-filled look as she passes him, careful not to touch him. This obviously stings. She sits down, and Mahone starts with, "Thanks for meeting me. I would have come up to see you, but I can't travel that far --" "I'm sorry. But you said that you had some pictures to show me," Pam says firmly and flatly. Mahone swallows back his desperate desire to connect to Pam and commences showing her pictures of assorted African-American guys. Pam silently nods no to each one until she sees Agent Blots Out the Sun; then, she reels back, choking back both her retching and her sobs. Well, they've got their guy. Pam is trying not to cry too loudly now. Mahone can't even look at her as he attempts to say levelly, "I'll get in touch with you, as soon as ... as soon as ..." He can't even finish; he's writhing as if trying to escape his very self. Pam looks at him, and says, "You didn't do this." As Mahone curls into himself in grief, she leans forward and says with composure, "In your heart, you are a really good man. That's why I married you. That's why I started a family with you." Now Mahone's sobbing, Pam's composure is gone, and I'm getting a little leaky. Pam gets up and slides over to sit next to Mahone, wrapping her arms around him as she continues, "When you used to bring your files home and I would beg you to leave that stuff at work ... but when you have a monster in your sights, you can't focus until you get him. I used to hate that about you, but now it's the only thing that lets me sleep because I know that you're going to get him." She then slides over her purse and hands him a brown paper package. Mahone touches it, then brings up his hand to grab desperately at Pam's. The two sit in the diner, connected for a moment. And I curse the Emmy gods for recognizing only series writing and acting, because honestly, this show may be a live-action comic book, but both Callie Thorne and William Fichtner have brought their A-plus game to this scene and it gilds the whole season with a gravitas it otherwise doesn't deserve.