Bellick breaks my heart in the first nine minutes of this episode: he asks Michael if it's true Dr. Sara is dead, and when Michael confirms that she is, he says brokenly, "She was a good person." Ah, Bellick...this is why I can't write you off as a shaven ape -- and why I sometimes suspect this series is really telling the story of your very, very gradual rehabilitation.
So it turns out that the reason Michael challenged Whistler to a fight was not that he was out of his head with grief. It was that he's so cognitively superior, he's crafting improvisational escape strategies even as he learns his reason for escaping won't be there to greet him. He figured all of the inmates would be all distracted by the coming fight and would therefore leave him and Whistler alone in the prison to pop a window out of a corner cell, hoist out their ladder, and climb out.
The plan is working...until a cloud drifts overhead and eliminates the glare the two men were counting on as shielding from the guard tower. They have to bail on the escape. Lechero's goons force them into the fight, and the two of them are left to figure out how to get out of it. (My suggestion: "Stun the crowd by making out!" apparently failed to penetrate the television, zip backward across the airwaves, and hurtle backwards through space and time to reach the scriptwriters' ears. Damn you, physics! Damn your laws!) Eventually, they realize they have to fight. Whistler kicks Michael's ass so hard, his head nearly falls off. When Whistler grabs a rock, Michael groans, "End it." This is, in my opinion, the most poignant depiction of his heartbreak, far better than the nonsense montage of the prior episode.
Whistler is saved from having to kill Michael by the all-too-convenient discovery of the drugged guard and the rope ladder dangling from the window. Within minutes, the guards have descended. They quickly peg the cell with the ladder as belonging to Lechero's crew, and shoot its occupant. Then the commander verbally shoots out Lechero's kneecaps. Someone just developed the motivation to escape.
Meanwhile, on the outside...Whistler gets cleaned up (and welcome back -- roowwr!) but he is now crazier than a jailhouse rat. Lang tries to keep him from completely unspooling. I try not to think of how much more awesome this show would be if we had Lang on it full time.
Also, Linc continues to be dumb, lying to Susan B. about how he's got Whistler. When she confirms that this isn't so, Sucre throws himself in the way of her getaway van. And then that foolhardy move is in vain because Linc still fails to get L.J. back.
Finally, the shocker of the night: Whistler and Susan B. -- AKA "Gretchen" -- know each other! And Michael now knows that they know each other, even though he doesn't know who Susan B. is. Oooh, I cannot wait until the episode where all these different plots collide!
We open the episode right where the previous one ended: with Michael and Whistler facing one another as the excited prisoners ring them. We get a brief shot of Bellick looking really panicky. Lechero speaks for a lot of viewers when he's like, "Explain something to me, Blanco. One minute you're pleading to spare your friend's life. In the next you want to take it?" Michael shouts (rrrrowr!), "This man is no friend of mine!"
Whistler says, "What happened to your girlfriend..." "Her name was Sara!" Michael shouts (rrrowr!). In a voice choked with sorrow, Michael continues, "And she was a good person. And she'd still be alive, if it wasn't for you." It is not clear whether T-Bag heard Michael from his preening perch on the second floor balcony, but Lechero did. He confirms this is a revenge killing and warns, "Once you make such a declaration, there's no going back." Michael says, "There's nothing to go back to." Whistler looks at him with a mixture of confusion and pity. Lechero announces that they have a fight, and all the prisoners cheer. We get some crowd reaction shots: Bellick looks concerned, while T-Bag has a frankly appraising stare. Lechero gives the would-be combatants fifteen minutes to get their affairs in order.
On a completely fatuous note: one of the cons in the background is this absolutely enormous man who is like a 400-pound pile of muscle covered in rich, creamy adipose tissue. He is also bald, sporting a huge mustache, and wearing a red striped tank top with manpris. Every time I see him, I half expect a ringmaster to invite me to step right up and marvel at the world's strongest man. Who knew Sona had their own in-house carnival?
And now, back to the episode... Sucre is busy sending cash and prizes (i.e. pictures of himself) to the mother of his unborn kid. I personally suspect Maricruz is not With Child anymore, but that's only because she looked so svelte in the last shot we had of her. Anyway, Linc comes in and tosses Sucre a roll of cash as a thank-you for all he's done so far. Rather than take it and run off to his next job, Sucre surprises me by deciding that Linc could use his help with whatever he's about to pull off with the escape and subsequent prison exchange. Good for him!
We then flash to the Mahone plot. He's in a van, trying hard not to look like he's withdrawing too badly, when Lang interrupts his reverie long enough to tell him they'll be at the courthouse soon, the hearing will be right after that, and then the ball will be rolling on Project Park Alex In The U.S. Pen. Mahone looks down at his manacles, then says with false cheer, "Good. That sounds good."