Those of you who selected the "Seth's doomed" option in the poll from the last recap, congratulate yourself on your prescience: T-Bag's little pocket jockey manages to hang himself mere moments after Michael rejects his pleas for help. The incident provides a perfect jumping-off point (as it were) for two other plot developments. Dr. Tancredi goes poking around Michael's medical history and discovers that prior to his current stint in the pokey, he was quite the bleeding-heart humanitarian. Oh, and he's also apparently a genius. As for plot development No. 2: a busload of new inmates arrives. T-Bag's taken with Tweener, an annoying young man who's failed to grasp the identity politics inherent in prison lingo. T-Bag harasses the kid for a while until Michael calls him on his bluff to tell the bulls about the escape plan, then whacks him in the shin with a crowbar. This may alter Team Escarpara's power dynamic in the future.
As for the actual break-out plan, there's good news and there's bad news: the good news is, nobody's fallen in the giant hole that the boys have dug. The bad news is, Abruzzi's just been demoted by the Mafia, so he's broke. This means he can't continue to pay off Bellick, so Team Escarpara is off PI by the end of the episode -- and therefore unable to finish the dig.
Meanwhile, Nick the legal beagle gives Veronica some tough love (not like that) and the two of them grow enough of a brain between them to deliver LJ from Agents Kellerman and Hale.
Previously on Prison Break: Team Escarpara got their kicks on Route 66; T-Bag's kicks were located somewhere higher on the numeric scale, much to the dismay of pocket-pet Seth.
We open this episode with yet another set-up that makes me suspect the writers are also founding members of the First Church of Wentworth Miller. It's a shot of Michael's arm, and the tattooed image on it is a pensive-looking angel. The arm happens to be wet, because Michael's taking a shower. Before we can see the Full Michael, Seth pops into view and beseeches him: "Help me. Please."
Michael flips off the water and looks at Seth. It's not a friendly look. Before Michael can switch out of staring mode, T-Bag glides into the room and drapes himself over a strategically-positioned partition, coughing delicately. I do hope the Cotillion King hasn't caught hisself a touch of the consumption. T-Bag then sidles up to Michael and confides, "You'll have to forgive my boy. He has the, ah, propensity to be a bit gregarious when he shouldn't be. Fraternizing in the prison shower -- come on." Look at all the fifty-cent words T-Bag's tossing around! I suppose when you're buggering someone who took their SATs just last year, some of their verbal section skills are bound to rub off on you.
Michael turns, and we get a nice shot of the tattoo. He suggests that perhaps T-Bag might want to lay off on young Seth, and T-Bag's face instantly sharpens into the anticipatory, predatory look we've come to know and dread. He asks, "You wouldn't happen to be meddling in my affairs, would you, Scofield? You can't be that stupid. Not when I'm so fully invested in your affairs." Michael stares at him. But while he is very good at staring, he has not yet mastered the black art of giving looks that can actually kill. Michael finally says, "What's between you and him is between you and him." T-Bag smiles and purrs, "That's what I thought you said." Michael wanders off. Robert Knepper stands there thinking, "Damn, I'm good." If he's not, he should be.
Michael wanders off in a sequence that's sure to tax the rewind, pause and slow-motion buttons on DVRs nationwide. Seth reappears, floating wraithlike behind him. "You've got to help me," he says. Michael meanders away without even acknowledging him. Seth snaps back into the same numb, resigned stare he wears the rest of the time.
We then hear Linc's gravelly voice: "You gotta help me." Pope's all, "I don't gotta do anything." The upshot of this scene: Lincoln begs to be released on some limited, supervised leave so he can go find LJ. Pope's reply can be summarized thusly: "Are you out of your mind? Have you forgotten that you're a convicted killer? You don't get time off for child-care crises." What he does not add: "Also, if your son's being set up by a conspiracy that's trying to kill you, don't you think that your finding him only jeopardizes him more?" Linc is handy if you'd like to delay your inevitable beating at the hands of prison inmates by ten minutes, but he's not so much your man for strategery, is he?
And then we jump on over to Team Escarpara, working in St. Louis. Sucre is doing the worst lookout job ever: Bellick sneaks up right behind him and hollers, "What do you think this is, a siesta?" Sweet fancy Moses, is there no loathsome trait the writers will not give Bellick? He's a bully, he's corrupt, he's sexist, he's crude, he hates pets, and he's a racist. Are we in for future treats like watching him drive his Ford Esplanade through a field of endangered plant species? Maybe eating a Happy Meal in front of hungry children? Dressing up like Santa Claus and making his dog Max haul all his stolen Christmas booty? I realize we're supposed to see the big situational irony that the guard is more amoral than the inmates, but…ease off the throttle, you know?