Prison Break Series Finale: Review & Discussion

Published 6 years ago by , Updated May 17th, 2009 at 9:25 am,

prison break season 4 Prison Break Series Finale: Review & Discussion


The 4th season series finale of Prison Break ended it’s dying ratings existence in its Friday night slot.

This final season trudged along while everybody was chasing Scylla.  The General wanted it, Christina Scofield wanted it.  China wanted it.  India wanted.  Hell, who didn’t want it?  I wanted it so I can find some dirt to write about.

I tried to break this down in a chronological order, but my new novel adaptation of Fox’s Prison Break was getting way too long.  The closing story became too convoluted with twists, turns and the reappearance of old characters that I felt that maybe I just needed to draw on my emotions about the finale and not try to detail out the episode.  We all say it. Right?

There are some SPOILERS included in one way or another, so you have been warned.

pb wentworth 1436trc Prison Break Series Finale: Review & Discussion

The brothers Michael (Wentworth Miller) and Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) went through a lot through the entire show: from Michael allowing himself to be incarcerated to help free his brother Lincoln for a crime he didn’t commit, to the endless manipulations they were put through to achieve their one true goal: freedom.

General Jonathan Krantz (Leon Russom) was the man who was in control until Michael undermined his entire infrastructure by snagging different parts of Scylla from his control.  The General’s only leverage on people was to have his operatives put everyone’s families and friends under the gun.  Literally.  In the end, his electrical reward was the perfect gift for all his deeds.

Christina Scofield (Kathleen Quinlan) was nasty.  The mother of Lincoln Burroughs and Michael Scofield, she was the nasty nail in everything.  She was a true “Company” operative that did what was necessary to get her job or goals done.  She even gave up her kids to affect her end game.  When all was said and done, her demise at the hands of Sara Tanchredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) was perfect.

pb robert k 1376rc Prison Break Series Finale: Review & Discussion

Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (Robert Knepper) was the tragic Shakespearean character in this show.  Evil by impulse, he had gotten a taste of legitimate work and loved it.  An honest job was one of the lures that the General used to manipulate him into doing his bidding.

Yet T-Bag had a keen analytical mind that was wasted on crime.  In the end, the General’s biddings seemed to push T-Bag back to his core mode of murdering and “other” things.  Knepper made T-Bag incredibly believable and I couldn’t decide to like, hate or feel sorry for him.  In the end, his compulsive nature to take the easier path of crime landed him back where this all began, in a prison with some poor fool hanging on to his pocket linen.

Alexander Mahone (William Fichtner) was a catalyst of action when he had sufficient inspiration.  I really enjoyed Fichtner’s portrayal of the character.  In fact I like most of what William Fichtner does.  He proves that men with receding hairlines can get the job done!  Though he was forced to become allies with Scofield, things were worked out in the end for him.

Donald Self (Michael Rapaport) was the fed who promised immunity and gave the escapees blank paper for their work.  Who then found himself manipulated back into the fold to be part of this ragtag team of non-criminals (mostly) committing criminal deeds.  In the end, he was getting what he deserved as he found himself in a hospital.

Rappaport made us believe that Self was there to help, until he turned on the brothers.  Then we didn’t know what to think about his loyalties until I decided that Self was loyal to no one but his own end game.  In the end when he was put in a corner so to speak, his written defiance to the feds showed his loyalties finally cemented in with the gang and I’m mixed on his ending.  In some ways he deserved it for all his manipulations.  Then again, who deserves that kind of vegetative state?

Honorable mention though she wasn’t in the finale:

pb jodi 1244rc Prison Break Series Finale: Review & Discussion

Jodi Lyn O’Keefe as Gretchen Morgan.  I can’t remember a time when a character was done so well.  O’Keefe played Gretchen so well that A:  I hated every scene she was in.  B:  Every scene she wasn’t in, I was hoping the scene was producing some end-game to Gretchen’s demise.  Yea, it was that bad.  A kudos to the actress for scarring me for life.

The Finale Of Twists

Everyone had either been kidnapped or had someone they knew kidnapped or was going to be kidnapped.  The other angle that kept coming at me was that every 30 minutes or so, someone else had a gun to Michael’s head.  And everyone was tricking everyone.  At least Michael had dissected that damn Scylla.

All the on-the-sly maneuverings that went on allowed some old faces and other government entities to show up and finally get the upper hand.

There were a few fresh faces of old in the mix.  Fernando Sucre (Amaury Nolasco) and Benjamin Miles “C-Note” Franklin (Rockmond Dunbar). Sucre and C-Note show up as C-Note has a way for everyone to get himself or herself out of this endless spiral of legal trouble they keep finding themselves in and they work their way toward finding Michael and Lincoln.

And suddenly there’s Paul Kellerman, (Paul Adelstein) offering a legal way out of this whole debacle, as it seems he’s backed by the United Nations.  Man, everyone was in on this.

In the end, Kellerman had the power to exonerate everyone.  Sucre keeps the pen he used to sign his freedom.  Everyone bids farewell.  Everyone’s loved ones are safe.

The End Let A Steam Out Of My Bag

As everyone is settling into normalcy, Michael’s nose starts to bleed again.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  Then we jump to four years later and Michael is dead.

pb sarah 1 0858rca Prison Break Series Finale: Review & Discussion

It’s four years later and we watch Sara and Michael Jr. gather together with Sucre, Mahone and Lincoln to pay a remembrance visit to Michael’s grave.  Lincoln leaves the ever-iconic origami crane on top of the tombstone.

My Quick Take

This finale had to pack a lot into two hours.

Quick nit:  Did you notice the Verizon commercial showing off their streaming video in the first hour?  They were showing scenes that weren’t going to happen for another 45 minutes?  Just brilliant.

I think the show took a ton of extra turns and twists and steps to get where they were in the finale.

It felt like the writers never had an end game, but they let the writing take them wherever it did.  That works for some, but then in the end, it feels like writers are scrambling to account for things they hadn’t fully explored or finalized.

Even though I enjoyed watching the finale, there were so many different twists and turns in it that it got old for me.  At one point, we were just waiting for the close. It felt like an over-hyped James Bond action flick.  Sometimes there’s so much action that it is no longer exciting to see yet one more explosion.  Whoopee.

Michael’s death almost seemed to suck the emotion out of me.  It distracted from the entire journey of these four years.  It disappointed me that after all that work and effort, his only real reward was his own death.  Does that mean he’s truly escaped and is free now?  I don’t know.

I was hanging out on Twitter before and during the show and Twitter was aflame with frustration and anger toward the ending.  It seemed anti-climatic after all was said and done.

pb dom 8x10flat Prison Break Series Finale: Review & Discussion

For me, the image I can’t get out of my head, when all is said and done, is Lincoln putting the origami crane on Michael’s tombstone.  For me, that sad and touching scene will probably be my memory of this whole series.

At least my emotions were invoked one last time and they managed to engage my imaginative depression one last time before closing credits.

I thought the first two years were fantastic.

After that, I know that Fox wanted to keep a ratings winner in their pocket, but the stretching of the feasibility started after the gang got manipulated into helping Self and then everyone else and their mother (literally) after that.  If I stick to the first two years, I say fantastic.  The third year, well, yea, OK, it was still good.  But then this last season I was on-board solely out of sheer loyalty.  Loyalty and the hope for a great end game kept me watching.  I could not abandon Michael.  I needed to see how he came out of all this.

How did you feel about the finale of Prison Break, the season as a whole or the entire 4-year run?  Let us know.

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  1. Why the hell did “Michael Scolfield” had to die in the End ?? He was so Innovative, Smart, Brainy, Philanthropic, Caring, Hardworking… a true Gentleman.
    Paul Scheuring (author), I will always hate you for this !!!!
    I spend so much efforts in watching 80 episodes in 4 seasons of Prison Break in last 5 months… Only to be left HeartBroken in the end ! Is this Fair ?

    • I agree. Also Sarah Tancredi is a criminal still so technically they aren’t free. Hated hated HATED THE FINAL 2 EPISODES

  2. Well, I just finished watching all four seasons on Netflix. In one week, might I add. I just had to get to the end. Let’t just say I haven’t stopped crying. I felt so attached to the show, and now I feel like my heart has been ripped out. Funny how tv shows can do that to you.

  3. I love this series and would like to watch it again. Excellent plot and fantastic actors, love them so much..

  4. i dont think ive ever been this attatched to a set of characters before! this was literally the worst ending to a series i have ever watched in my life. how did the writers possibly thinking killing off michael was a good ending? after everything they went through, they thought it’d be a good idea for him to just die? not see his kid? i am so angry an disappointed.

  5. Okay honestly I never thought I would be this attached to a tv show. I love every single one of the characters from prison break. My dad used to watch it whenever it was popular so I though id try it out. Seasons 1 2 & 3 were phenomenal. 4 was a little exasperating, I was getting tired of the company plot and I just wanted them to finally be free. They really over used the company. It would’ve been better if they had a tad bit, a freaking inkling, of sexuality between michael and Sarah. I was waiting for it for four seasons and all I got was, was steamy kiss in a train bathroom!!! They’re relationship was not that well expressed, but it was good enough for you to keep hoping you’d get some action. I loved michael and Lincoln’s brother bond more than anything. No matter what, you could always see they’d choose each other over anything. It’s crazy how you can see how far characters such as Sucre have come, he was just michael’s reluctant cell mate at the beginning and then ended up being his best friend who was always there. I have to say I was very disappointed when Sucre left towards the end of season 4, but satisfied when he came back. I am so glad they didn’t decide to have Mahone actually betray michael that would’ve ruined everything. This is an amazing series and I am very happy to have watched it. I just wish I didn’t watch the finale. I mean I can’t think of what the hell would make the writers of this show kill off michael? These whole 80+ episodes have been about michael getting everyone he cares about into safety and saving everyone and being one step ahead of everyone and then when everyone is safe and free you kill him!?!?!?! I just don’t understand. He was my favorite character and I loved him almost as a real person. It’s weird how tv characters can grow on you like that. I wish I could erase my memory because that ending has messed me up big time. Another thing, I found out Wentworth miller was gay before watching this which was kind of a game changer with the him and Sarah thing. I kind of could see the lack of chemistry, he wasn’t feminine or anything I just could tell he wasn’t IN to it. Even though he’s gay I still find him man crush material. I mean who wouldn’t? He had me at fox river penetentary ;)

  6. Were Michael and Sara legally married?

    The writers established that the entire run of the show (seasons 1-4) took place over a period of approximately 7 months. Michael entered Fox River on April 11, 2005 and died on November 4,2005.

    Given the info supplied season 4 started around August and ended around September/October. At some point in the middle of that season Sara remarked that Michael was still married to Nika (the Russian dancer who stole Sara’s keys back in season 1). Michael purportedly married Nika to give her citizenship, better life in America, etc. He wanted to help her so he would not later “throw her under the bus” by admitting the marriage was a sham/fake as she would probably be deported.

    The law gives a specific amount of time for filing for annulment. In Michael’s and Nika’s case this time had elapsed, they would have had to get a divorce instead. During the whole Scylla mess there wasn’t exactly time to have attorney’s draft paperwork, have documents served, filed, etc. There is no way they got that divorce in two weeks!So that likely means that Sara and Michael’s ceremony was not legal.

    One of my issues with the show is that towards the end so much time was wasted with the constant betrayals and there were no quiet moments/conversation like earlier seasons. C-Note and Sucre got their quiet moments with their partners while on the run but Michael and Sara were cursed.

    When they met up after the first break, Mahone was on their tails within like 10 minutes. When she met up with the brothers in Panama, agent Kim appeared a few minutes later. When they met up in season 4, Wyatt was looking to kill them after they got out of bed. The rest of the season there was always someone else around, shooting and running for their lives. When it finally seemed like they were getting their moment walking on the beach it was overshadowed by his bleeding nose and its implications for his health etc. Then she was arrested on their “wedding” day. The writers really didn’t want those two to catch a break for even a day!

    • Yeah I think you might be looking into the whole nikka thing a little to much buddy.

  7. Where the heck is LJ??? Why isn’t he with his dad. I think the producers forgot about him. Terrible ending. So upset.

  8. Whaaat? Why did Michael die??? The worst End ever.. i liked him :’(

  9. Please bring prison break back there’s so much more they can do!!!!! Please please please please

  10. I lost my time, I didn’t watched all season in 2009 because I went through a lot with my disease, just now I find it in my Netflix and watching all season and I think I will go through another brain tumor. The end kill me,bother me, make me frustrated. Michael is death, so many came from the resurrection, I want to buy one scylla for my childrens, I want to call DCF department to Michael’s mom, no wonder this series started with 10 millions peoples watch and end with 3 millions

  11. I’m really disappointing for the ending of the Prison Break cause Michel’s dead. He is so smart, brilliant, brainy mind, innovation, thinking & super. Bud at the end of this, He dies. I can’t believe, why he dies because he had brilliant mind. This is not fair. He did all the things for his brother & more lovely people have to die cause of Michel’s brother. Therefore, at least Michel’s family should be kept alive. Herewith, I’m requesting, Please make another Episode & make it easy for all. Because of this is my first TV Series & I’m really love it. I’m Srilankan guy.


  12. I completely agree with your assessment of the show. First two seasons were SO entertaining to watch. IMO the show should have ended then, with Linc and Michael getting away with the money. Another complaint I have is that they never showed Sucre’s homecoming to Maricruz and his daughter. His entire story focused on getting back to her and then the baby once she was born and it wasn’t shown. He simply leaves for them and we don’t see him again until C-note comes back into the picture. After all he went through Michael deserved to live in the end!!