Prison Break returns to the small screen this month, with a revival series set years after the original Prison Break finished. The show reunites the original cast, with Lincoln (Dominic Purcell), Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies), T-Bag (Robert Knepper), C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar) and Sucre (Amaury Nolasco) teaming up together for yet another breakout scheme. The star of the show, Wentworth Miller, is also back as Michael Scofield – which could be a little confusing, considering that Scofield died in the original series.

The premiere even starts with Miller’s distinctive voice, saying “I died seven years ago”, followed by a speech on freedom, before the episode gets going with Lincoln’s discovery that his brother may still be alive and stuck in a Yemen prison. So how is this possible? The Prison Break universe isn’t one with magic or supernatural powers, so how does a dead man come to be alive in a middle eastern jail?

Michael’s Illness

michael scofield collapsing with lincoln burrows Prison Break: Michael Scofield’s Death Explained

Michael Scofield spent the first three seasons of Prison Break in seemingly perfect health – his perfect health was even an issue in season 1, when he had to trick Sara into believing that he was diabetic to gain regular access to the infirmary. In season 4, however, it was discovered that Michael was dying. He started to get nosebleeds and severe headaches, even passing out from the pain. At first, Michael hid his deteriorating health from his brother and Sara, but eventually, they found out, and Lincoln was appalled. He mentioned Michael’s teen years, and their mother’s health issues, revealing that their mother had had similar problems before dying at 31 from an aneurysm.

Michael, now at the same age that his mother was when she died, is taken to a hospital and diagnosed with hypothalamic hamartoma; a brain tumor requiring immediate surgery. However, he refuses to get the surgery, as he is too busy dealing with The Company, and the conspiracy that he, Lincoln, and Sara are attempting to uncover.

Remission

michael scofield operation Prison Break: Michael Scofield’s Death Explained

For a while, Michael gets Sara to treat him, just enough for him to continue their work. However, he collapses while attempting to take Scylla (the information that everyone wants), and The Company kidnaps him and takes him to their facility. There, they explain to Lincoln and Sara that they can treat him, and their medical research is far more advanced than that available to the general public. They promise to operate and save Michael, but only if Lincoln retrieves Scylla for them.

The Company operates on Michael, using an experimental procedure that has worked in the past, but that is still largely untested. As Sara watches, he starts to flatline, before a mysterious serum is injected into his brain, allowing him to recover. The procedure actually helps Michael, as it allowed him to understand elements of the conspiracy that he didn’t before, and after he recovers enough to escape, he and Sara flee the company, believing Michael to be cured.

A Final Sacrifice

micheal scofield tombstone Prison Break: Michael Scofield’s Death Explained

It is only in The Final Break, a TV movie special that wrapped up the show, that Michael finally meets his (alleged) end. In this series, it is Sara who ends up in prison, arrested on her wedding day for a murder she committed to save Michael. Once again, Michael has to come up with a plan to break someone he loves out of prison.

The plan involved Michael first sneaking into the prison, and then leading Sara out through underground tunnels to freedom. At the end of the tunnel, however, there is a locked door, trapping them both inside. He reveals that he knew this was a possibility, and that he can open the door by creating a power surge to override the mechanism. It’s not a perfect solution though, as the surge will electrocute and kill him. In an emotional goodbye, Michael tells Sara that he will always be with her in their child, and brings two wires together, opening the door and going down in a shower of sparks.

Sara escaped, but Michael sacrificed himself to save her and his son. At the end of the final episode, Sara is given a letter and DVD from Michael, who wanted her to have it in case he didn’t make it. The message tells Sara and Lincoln that Michael would have died anyway, as The Company didn’t actually cure him, just delayed his death for a little while longer. He said that he has no regrets, and that now they are all, finally, ‘free’.

How Did He Survive?

sara watching michaels tape prison break Prison Break: Michael Scofield’s Death Explained

Although Scofield didn’t technically die on screen, that still seems like a pretty unquestionable death. Not only was he dying from a brain tumor, but he electrocuted himself – leaving him dead twice over, with a memorial stone in place and a touching farewell message left for his loved ones. However, he’s evidently not dead – so how could that happen?

The most likely scenario is that the power of the electrical surge wasn’t enough to kill him, just to stun him or knock him out. When he is then discovered underneath the prison, the government, or The Company, (or both) decide that he cannot be dealt with above board. Instead, they trade his freedom for the lives of Sara and Lincoln, promising to leave them alone in return for his co-operation. He may have been in Yemen ever since, or he may have been forced to work for The Company, and his internment in Ogygia is either the result of his work, or part of a larger Company plan. This would explain why he refuses to acknowledge his brother – he is still convinced that The Company could hurt them if he reveals himself.

Michael Scofield: Sequel

Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell in Prison Break Prison Break: Michael Scofield’s Death Explained

Of course, all of this is just speculation – we don’t yet know how Michael survived, or what he’s doing in Ogygia. All we know from the first episode of the revival is that Michael is, indeed, alive, and that Lincoln is willing to do anything to get him out of prison. Even if he succeeds, however, Michael’s reappearance leaves us with a lot of questions.

For one thing, how is it that Michael, a man who masterminded no less than three ‘impossible’ escapes in less than one year, has been unable to worm his way out of whatever situation he has been kept in for the past seven? Could his survival be down to an operation that also damaged his memory? If Lincoln succeeds in getting him free, what does that mean for Sara, their child, and Sara’s new husband? It’s all sure to be revealed over the next two months.

NEXT: Prison Break: 15 Questions The Revival Must Answer

Prison Break continues next Tuesday with ‘Kaniel Outis’ @8pm on FOX.

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