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. I actually liked the fact the Michael died…. Very powerful. Way more pathos than if he lived happily ever after. I pretty much liked how every character panned out… Feel bad for Self though. I feel like exonerating tbag could’ve worked too… He seemed to like loving a legit, legal life of Cole. But then again he did some bad things, there is no assurance he won’t revert.

    • Dont you think that “After four years” ending is the best you can get from this TV Series? I was totally in tears when I knew Michael was dead and the way Sucre, Mahone, Linc, Sara and little Michael pay a remembrance to Michael. For me the ending was so great. But I would have like if Michael was alive and lived happily ever after with sara. Thank you Prisson Break team… Love you all

      • And not to forget the wonderful song by Spiritualized – “Lay it down” matched with the end. WOW SO AMAZING

      • i agree 100%

  2. My entire family got addicted to watching Prison Break on Netflix. We have managed to make it through all 4 seasons in a matter of weeks! The show was very enticing and kept us on our toes at all times. One of my most favorites things about the entire show was Michael and Sara’s relationship. I don’t know if it was just because I am a sucker for a good TV romance or the fact that I was just longing for Michael to have a promising future once he accomplished the huge mission he led throughout the entire show. So you can only imagine my disappointment when I got to the last two episodes of the series! I cannot believe they let Michael die at the end of the show! I looked up the writer’s reasonings and I have read many other people’s opinions on the matter, but it still just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would they kill off the main character who deserved the best in life once they were all exonerated? Talk about a disappointment! I seriously regret even watching the entire series because I feel like the series finale is going to be stuck in my head for the next few weeks and its going to continue bothering me! I have got to stop getting so emotional drawn into these shows! UGH! …talk about irritating lol!

    • In total agreement with you, just thinking back to the amount of times we (brother’s & sister) used to race to the Telly every time the show came on, just to find out later it was all for nothing. I mean Michael was everything, you know brains behind the operation, surely there should have been a more well thought of ending. This is just me. But I Loved Prison Break all in all.

    • I absolutely agree. Hard to get it out of the head and I keep asking myself why Michael! All the explanations sound ok but do not help to get it out of my head. Its fiction I know but still…

  3. I love you Michael-Sara…Great actors!!!and also Sucre & T-bag..

  4. i will not watch Season 4… i dont like the ending… :(((((

    • You’ll regret not watching Season 4. It would be cool to watch it Shella.

  5. the show was the best show i ever seen …

  6. Just got finished watching the prison break series & I like many of you, finished it in 10 days . I was hooked from start to finish . I loved how emotionally captivating each character was & how we grew to love the ones we once hated . As far as the ending . .
    I cried like a baby . I hate that Scofield had to sacrifice his life , but in all honesty it was expected because that is the type of person he was throughout this entire ordeal, selfless. I wish he could have at least enjoyed a little more time as a FREE man on earth with his family though. It’s like the guy didnt even get to cool off & drink a sip of lemonade for all of his hard work . . Oh and this is small but I think it’s weird that Mahone ended up in a love affair with Lang . O.O !

    • They were all exonerated, the General got the electric chair and Christina got shot. There’s nobody chasing them anymore. The second half of your post completely contradicts the first haha

      • They Aren’t all free as Sara escaped from Prison with Michaels help and that’s how he died. So she’s technically on the run

  7. Great show. Watched it on Netflix from start to finish. Scofield would have died anyway. He only had little time to live. thats why He took his life to save Sara. It would have been Pointless if He killed himself just to set her free. But I thought they did the same surgery on him that they did on his mom years ago. So the part of him having little time to live did not make sence.

  8. brad bellick died in season 4 episode 9 of prison break series … if i were the writer or the director i would add an important sentence that must be said which is ” after all it seems that he was a good man ” and one of the next three ( lincoln burrows or fernando sucre or theodor ” t-bag” bagwell ) should have to say it and i would prefer to let ” t-bag ” say it … in episode 10 for those who watched it you would know why i chose him for this .

  9. 1st season stretched realism a bit, but was sufficiently grounded that it was still believable enough to be enjoyed. By the start of the 2nd season, I liked the characters enough that I didn’t always mind when the plot steered toward the ridiculous. Before the end of the 3rd season my mind was numb from all the inane plot twists and wild leaps of “what if”. As the finale (in the 4th season) approached, I was ready for the series to be over and mainly stuck around just to see how it would end. The last show (not Final Break) was rushed and left me deflated. Final Break merely took the plot to extremes and left an even worse taste in my mouth. They ultimately started by creating what would become my favorite show and twisted it into nothing I care to see ever again.

  10. Ok so here’s my opinion:

    Honestly I enjoyed all 4 seasons of the show. I loved the plot twists9even when they bordered on the ridiculous) and i loved seeing the progression an the change of each of the characters, in my mind it is joint 1st in my favourite shows of all time.

    Now for the part everybody is arguing about, the final episode. Just to be clear im not talking about The Final break, my feelings are mixed on that as it wasnt necessary and they only did it to explain why Sara wasnt punished for killing Christina.

    The last episode of season 4 was a rollercoaster i think we can all agree, but for me it still had some of the thrills that i fell in love with in the 1st season. Granted it did go on for a bit too long and toward the end of the episode there were a few too many twists and turns, but i still loved it. Micheals death however i did not love, the first time i watched it i remember hating it and it was very emotional for a lot of people. But as i watched it again i realised why the writers had done it. Micheal had never been free from episode 1 an the writers kept it that way until the very end, in fact the only way that Micheal earned his freedom was with his death, with no more running from anyone. Honestly though, of the final episode that was the best twist of all as i dont think anybody expected it. The only thing that ruined that final scene for me was that it played the usual noisy unemotional credits right after it and it kinda ruins the moment, not sure if people agree with that but ah well.

    Just saying that i have only recently posted this because i have just finished watching the series for another time and i felt like saying something.

    • Just finished watching the whole four seasons and as much as I loved michael and didnt want him to die, i kinda get where the writers were coming from. Death was truly the only way to free michael, He cares about people too much that he is willing to do anything to save them. He carries everyones problems on his head and as long as he’s alive he would continue to do that putting everyone above him. Everyone was free and he is too. I cried my eyes out cuz thats pretty much the first show ive watched that the main character dies in the end. So sad :(

  11. Well, i just finished the whole 4 seasons and the final break, and theres one thing i cant get out off my mind, and that is that we never saw Michale being electrocuted and dying…it kinda gives me hope for a PB revival in the future but then i remember this actually ended in 2009! Damn!

    Great show anyway…

    PS: Bring PB back dammit!

  12. I loved Prison Break but the ending left me crying and utterly sad. Michael and Sara were the perfect couple and to have him die was very depressing. Michael was an a amazing character and it really sucks to have him die and not be able to meet his son and spend the rest of his life with Sara. I will still always love this show though.

  13. So does Michael actually die because I’ve seen an extended version showing him watching them at his grave :s did he fake his own death to save his loved ones lives so they were truely safe or was it that indeed Michaels only way to ever be free was to have his life ended???

  14. Didn’t watch the series when it aired, but just finished watching it online. I hate the ending! I hate that Michael died! You follow his journey hoping that he makes it. He is truly the only good guy throughout the whole show. And how is he repaid? Death. Never sees his son. Doesn’t spend his life with Sara. No dive shop with Lincoln. Loved the series, though season 3 was my least favorite. HATED THE END! And the final break addition with Sara getting arrested was just odd. Though it gave Michael a chance to say good-bye,

  15. I loved the program I liked the ending in a way but I think he could have had to fake his death until the general was dead then they lived happily ever after I think they should make a film or a mini series about it I really wish there was something I could do like a poll I could vote on

  16. Just finished it on Netflix. Felt a little robbed to be honest and like I had wasted many hours watching scofield bust his ass just to finally end up dead. They tried to go for bitter sweet but it just felt bitter. They should not have killed the person we were all routing for. Felt like a cheat on the character.

    • I agree! he should have been allowed to spend at least some time with his son!

  17. I just watched every episodes. and i feel sad that Michael died but i think they did it because they knew that the viewers were getting bored and they wanted to make a spark. but i still feel that they should have ended it with every one tegether Michael, lincoln, sucre, mohone, AND L.J. im mean cmon we dont get to see LJ?

    • Just finished watch all four seasons of Prison Break, and did not like the ending. It was anti-climatic, and felt like it left the door open for Michael to come back. I actually created a Facebook page, called Possible Stories for Prison Break Season 5, which has stories for 22 episodes of Season 5, which I think they should make. Check out the page! Fox should definitely produce at least one more season of Prison Break! The show was too good, and has such a large and dedicated fan base that it would be worth it!

  18. I thought Prison Break was an excellent Series. I watched the whole thing in a matter of 2 weeks as I got hooked and I think it’s the only series that has had this effect on me. The loyalty, friendships, relationships, revenge, violence, desperation and intelligence displayed in the series was inspiring, gripping and emotional.

    The season finale was a bombshell of emotion at the end and although I wanted Michael to be the one his don ran too at the end, all free and happy walking into the sunset, as Wentworth Miller said the body counts, guilt etc mounted up and let’s face it – it was a more realistic ending – how many ppl do you know that can suffer brain tumours and walk away with a long happy life.

    I think the point was that he got to have freedom, he achieved the main goal of freedom for his family and peers and got to spend a few yrs happy! Wentworths character Michael Schofield will be missed on screen.

  19. I hated the ending,but it is just like Micheal to give his life for Sara and his child.
    I have problems with the fact Sara would have run to him after the lightening and fire and held him in her arms. Also if Sara is on the run how did they get Micheals body and now won’t they be looking for Sara to visit his grave. Just sayin…

    • you are right! there were many loopholes in the story!

  20. just finished to watch all seasons< i watched since i was in too far where i came from(east AFRICA) just finish today i was crying because Michael worked so hard to get everybody free but he did not have a chance to have a time with sara and his son( je pleure beaucaup)j"aime Michael il est beau gars( to cute)

  21. I thought the weak link was the Lincoln Burroughs character. In an otherwise great set of characters that fitted their actors, the Burroughs character seemed two-dimensional and unlike say Sucre, Purcell doesn’t have a face you want to look at for too long. Robert Knepper was terrific in the range of faces and emotions he could draw on. Maybe they could have worked on his comic touches a bit more. Wentworth underacted, which sort of suited the character, a bit Eastwoodish. Credit too to the writers. Imagine having to come up with all those twists. The ending was what I expected – there had to be a price to pay somewhere – there always is.

  22. The season finale of Prison Break was one that left me crying and very sad. The whole Prison Break series is one of my favorite TV shows, but the way they ended the show left me very depressed. I loved the Michael-Sara relationship and having Michael die at the end was heartbreaking. Even though it would have been a bit cheesy I wanted Michael and Sara walking off into the sunset with their son. I mean Michael didn’t even get to meet his son, which was sad. Overall I love the series and will still watch it over and over again. I just wish Michael hadn’t died and that it was a happy ending.

  23. I just finished watching in a week. And I’m really really mad at the finale. All that things that they went thru for him to end dead. Please! I’m going to try to forget those last 10 horrible min of the show and think that he did survive and he got to enjoy his kid.

  24. Ive just finished watching the boxset of prison break again and now I know why I left it nearly 4 years to re-watch. I am gutted that michael died. Because I watched the whole thing in the matter of a week too it felt a lot more emotional! I do think that michael should of had a bit of time with sara and his child before he died.. he deserved the break after all he had done for other people. Michael was the good guy! There should definitely be a season 5 where michael eventually comes back and has his happy ever after just like everyone else! I cried so much when I knew michael had died, although I still absolutely love prison break and recommend it to everyone I still feel a bit ripped off that michael got killed off. He needed his slice of happiness just like what he made possible for everyone else. So sad. Please bring it back for one more shocker episode!