First things first: Sona apparently burned down off-screen. You think of all that time Michael spent crafting escape plans when all he had to do was stick a handful of silverware in a microwave for ten minutes and he'd have been able to waltz out the door…
ANYWAY. Three weeks have elapsed since the season three finale, and Michael has managed to get himself another big board of planning. He's tracked Whistler, Gretchen (AKA Susan B. Anthony) and Mahone to Los Angeles, and he's planning to deliver unto them a world of pain. However, his crafty scheme is derailed when Gretchen claims that Dr. Sara escaped. Michael lets them go, mostly because Gretchen claims she knows where Dr. Sara is.
Too bad for Michael that Gretchen gets killed in the next scene for bungling the deal that Whistler was supposed to make for the company. (Or at least we think she was killed. With this show, unless you see the body being carted out by One World Conspiracy stooges, ain't nobody dead. I'm still holding out hope for my long-lost lamb Kellerman.)
Anyway, it's but a hop, skip and a jump to the first of Michael's projects this season: breaking into a secured data facility to download the One World Conspiracy's entire database of evil contacts, all of which are on a little data card that Whistler happens to have stolen. You see, he was apparently doing a little double-agent type thing, where he was playing Gretchen with the idea of undoing the One World Conspiracy from within, and he had recruited Mahone to the cause. Whistler's all gung-ho about doing this -- and then he is gunned down, mid-sales pitch to Michael. In the ensuing scramble to make sure they're not next, both Mahone and Michael run off before grabbing the data card. So … the good news is for Michael, he now has free time to try and track down the possibly-still-alive Dr. Sara.
Except that the minute Michael returns to Chicago, he is promptly captured by the police. They turn him over to Homeland Security agent Don Self. A few scenes later, and all the regulars, save T-Bag, are back behind bars for one reason or another, and Don's crafted a proposal for Michael: work with his pals, get the card and break into the One World Conspiracy headquarters in L.A., or else … well, they know Michael seems to like being thrown into prisons.
But then the boys' substantial bail is posted by old Tancredi friend Bruce and then -- oh, I squealed like an eighth grader at a Jonas Brothers concert when Michael and Dr. Sara reunited. She doesn't even have to keep her head on her neck with safety pins like Clancy Brown in Highlander! When the One World Conspiracy manages to track him and Dr. Sara down again, Michael eventually agrees to Don Self's deal.
The episode ends with the team coming together: Michael, Linc, Mahone, Bellick, Sucre and Dr. Sara. And we say goodbye to a very special character: Michael's tattoos, which Michael lasers off in the name of expediency for the job. Of all the deaths on this episode -- Gretchen, Whistler, Mahone's wife and kid -- this may well be the one that really signals the writers' intention to send things in a new direction this season.
Previously on Prison Break ... well, why don't I let Michael tell you? We see the glowering, shirt-and-tie wearing guy giving some hapless target the Blue Steel, and then we go to his voice-over monologue. Here it is, almost verbatim:
My name is Michael Scofield, and I'm a fugitive. Three weeks ago, I was in a Panamanian prison. While I was there, I was approached by the [One World Conspiracy]. The [One World Conspiracy] is a corrupt organization involved in all levels of industry and government. They gave me two options: break one of their men, James Whistler, out of that prison, or else they would kill the only woman I ever loved. [Note: here is when I paused the TiFaux and said, "So, Sucre's still got a shot?"] Dr. Sara Tancredi. I held up my end of the deal, and I broke Whistler out. But the [One World Conspiracy] killed Sara anyway. I don't know why the [One World Conspiracy] wanted James Whistler out of prison, but I've tracked him here, to Los Angeles. He's with another [One World Conspiracy stooge] I know only as Gretchen. The same agent who murdered Sara. This ends today. I came here seeking justice. The justice I now know the system cannot provide. So if you're reading this letter, you'll know I died avenging Sara's death.
Michael picks up the little origami rose he made for Dr. Sara three seasons ago and heads off. Based on the elaborate collage he's got on his wall -- always a sign that someone's up to no good -- and the camera's long, lingering shot on an invitation from Stampede Industries, I'm thinking Michael's off to crash the reception and quite possibly cause something that'll cause the speakers (scheduled from 9 to 10 p.m.) to be delayed.
We then cut to a shot of the Roosevelt Hotel in downtown L.A. Our favorite One World Conspiracy stooges are pulling up to it -- Mahone's playing driver, while Whistler and Gretchen (aka "Susan B. Anthony") are in the back. Gretchen's changed her hair. I'm not sure I dig it -- it looks a tad soccer-mom on her, and I'm not sure that's a look that works when you're merrily executing people in cold blood. Anyway, we establish that Whistler's job is to get a data card, drop off it off via a racing form, then get the heck out of the hotel. Mahone fishes for the name of the contact, and Gretchen smacks him down with "The One World Conspiracy wants the card back, period." Before I can get too distracted by Gretchen's new makeup job, I realize that Whistler's also altered his appearance by shaving. It's a good look on him. Gretchen thinks so too: she leans in and says, "You pull this off, you can come up to my room later and the word 'no' won't be in my vocabulary." Instead of thinking of all the requests he could make -- "Will you buy me a Saab?" "May I have a pony?" "Can you reconcile my ex-girlfriend to me?" -- Whistler dully replies, "Just make sure we get paid." Whistler is not that creative a thinker, is he?