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 am an 18 years old dude that have seen around 70% of all movies in the world and about 60% of all series in the world from weeds to game of thrones from o.c to 30 to rock and etc..I have to admit people that this series as a whole was a true masterpiece….the plot was very smart emotional sometimes funny and the actors were playing very good. I have to say the chemistry between michael and sara wasnt so good but at the end of the day the series was never about a love story but about loyalty honour and ethics if you think about it.

  2. I’ve been trailing Prison Break since it started until it ends. And I say Season 1 is the best.
    However, the ending of the last season really saddened me. It captures emotions. And I hate the ending. I just hate tragic endings. But I still give two thumbs up for Prison Break. I really like the show.

  3. This is the best show I have ever seen. Season 4 was the weakest and I hated that MS died. I liked your review.

    • Yeah, I agree with you KW. I hated to what happen to MS.

      • this is the gretest show i ever seen,,as wel as the wrost end i ever seen

        • i totally agree

  4. I hated the end! I agree….the end of this show just sucked all the good out of the rest of the show for me. The entire time, I was waiting for the end when Michael, the leader and sole cause of bringing down this evil empire while also freeing his brother, could finally attain peace and happiness. Instead he dies! WTF kind of ending is that? Worst ending ever!

  5. “WTF kind of ending is that?” –> LOL :D

  6. The ending of the series is well chosn I think. According to the decreasing viewing rate this made the show keeping its face and made a realistic full stop which showed again love and devotion in the extremest dimension.

  7. the ending is BS!

  8. Everyones getting mad about him dieting but think about it he did it to save his love and his child he dident have long anyways I think what he did was beautiful anyways the ending made me cry more then when I broke my leg

    • i just finished watching the series…the ending was so depressing, when they led up to them walking to the grave i couldn’t believe it

  9. I watched practically the whole season on netflix. Our whole family was hooked after the first episode. Then in season 4 it started kind of getting on my nerves and so here I am peeking ahead, to see how it all ends, because I just can’t keep watching….I mean how much more can they do??? So I read ahead and find out that after all this, Michael dies????? Makes me mad. It would be nice if they would make a comeback movie to just show that he went away on some covert mission to break someone else out of prison, and then returns to Sara and the baby. Sara of course would know that he went on the mission and would have been waiting for him. And then….they would ride off into the sunset. So I think I won’t watch it anymore, and I’ll go with my ending. I mean afterall, if they could bring back Kellerman, certainly they could bring back the good guy.

  10. veryy sad and tragic ending… i really wish they would have let michael live….sad.. :(

  11. It was the best tv series ever… but i just wish the ending wasn’t the way it was! MS deserved to live!!!! :(

  12. I have never cried the way I did on the ending of this film, why should michael die, does that mean death will always come ur way when u try saving ur people. My own ending or conclusion on the series is that michael and sara lived happily. That’s the ending I. Have created for my self.

  13. Terrible, first off, I’m angry at the writers for deciding to kill Michael off at the end, why?! What convinced them to think that was the direction to go, “yeah lets kill the main character who has done nothing but try to help people and has a baby on the way.” I’ve never been so ticked at a TV show in my life, everyone loved Michael and it doesn’t sit well with me at all that he couldn’t be with his son and brother who he worked so hard to get out of prison. Another thing that was just wrong was the scene where Michael told Sara he was going to sacrifice himself for her and she looked like a deer staring at headlights! If that were my husband I would’ve held onto him for dear life, not just a little peck of a kiss and walk out the door, that was sickening. Very dissapointing ending, I’m ignoring that it even happened and according to me, Michael is still alive.

  14. I watched all 80 episodes on Netflix, and on Episode 79 when we find out Michael dies, my mouth literally dropped. I couldn’t believe I wasted all that time just to end up staring at Michael’s grave. I still believe it was a great show seasons 1-4 except SONA was a little boring at times.

  15. dude i was hooked on this show it was one heck of a twisty turny rller coaster all the way up until the thirdt to last episode. What kind of crack where the writers smoking? LETS KILL THE ONE GUY THAT EVERYONE ROOTS FOR AND WATCHES THE SHOW TO SEE HOW HE GETS EVERYONE (including himself) out of this mess. He had the same surgery as his mom she had. some 20 years in the future advanced technology, They can write kellerman back into the story exactly Well why the heck would you kill THE BEST PART OF THE SHOW. I’m going to make sure nobody i know ever starts watching this show buys the box set, or finishes it. MAJOR 2 thumbs way down and up fox’s butt for doing this I HATE YOU FOX rot in hell

  16. Well it’s like if you kill Michael (the reason why a lot of people love the show)then the love for the show dies too. That’s how I feel at least, I don’t like to watch it very much now because I know the ending is going to depress me :(

  17. I just finished watching the whole series…. and i am literally so upset. i CANNOT BELIEVE HE DIES..I was thinking while watching season 4 how much would it suck if micheal dies after all of this and that the writers couldn’t do that especially to the fans. Micheal was such a well written intriguing character and the fact they killed him is depressing, it makes the show seem realistic in a way that we all don’t get our happy endings but seriously its the series finale at least throw us a bone and leave us with a sense of happy satisfaction…i love the series either way, but honestly if this was real i would seriously be so depressed!

    • Me too!! I just finished watching the whole series…and I cried at the end..I can’t believe he died.. but I have to say..any movies or shows that leaves me in tears or laughter’s its a great show…nothing in this world is perfect.

  18. I absolutely hated the end, it had me in tears! I kept on thinking that maybe Michael would arrive any second and they would be visiting Brad’s grave but when I saw the grave stone showing Michael I was SO upset, after everything… Not cool, not cool at all, redo the ending please!

  19. It doesn’t make sense to me that he died even after being treated with surgery by the company.How can he suddenly get his nose bleeds back when he was already treated….his mother was treated and she remained alive till that age……………..its a messy end with no logic

  20. A very very sad ending. I cried when they were in the cemetery to visit Michael. I am still wondering what ever happened to the 5 million dollars that was in a big backpack?

  21. I think there should be one more episode where the old gang gets back together and hunts down the writers to finish them off for killing Michael. BAM!!! (Seriously….what were they thinking? What a waste.)

  22. I just finished watching this entire series on Netflix. I am so disappointed with the ending, I just had to look on the internet to see how other fans felt. It seems there were a lot of unhappy viewers. At the end of episode 79, which was evidently the actual finale, I thought they must be going through the motions to make it look like Michael was dead. So I was expecting episode 80 to show where he really was. I demand a re-write! Bring on the final “Final Prison Break”. I was so upset when Sara’s head ended up in a box – I almost stopped watching. If they could bring her back, why can’t they bring Michael back. Come on!!!!

  23. this was a great ending to a great series…he ends up saving sara when she gets sent to jail.

    im a dude and i cried…this was a good cry…

    quit being pansies

  24. So i have just finished the 80th episode of prison break and i will give it this:

    It had an intriguing storyline to be sure. It grabs you tight and holds on right from the first episode(almost)to the last. And the character development was incredible for most of the cast.

    But after watching the 79th episode now i don’t even know what to think. i was and still am extremely bothered by the way they chose to end this series. so it says it’s 4 years later and sarah and the baby went to “Go see Daddy” i thought nothing other than, finally michaels life is calm and hes raising a child and is finally happy and “free”….WRONG! when they reach what i thought was a park and sucre, linc, sara, the baby, and mahone i see the child sprint toward at first who i thought was michael and turned out to be linc. which i thought, oh they just haven’t showed michael yet…okay. and then all of a sudden they show a grave and i could not believe my eyes. I was dumbstuck and immediatly, severly depressed for a moment. i just cant believe they would put us through this much with michael and then kill him off. i get it that he was selfless and he wanted sarah and the baby to be free. i get the fact that he was gonna die anyways. but come the F%$# on. not only was i sad but i was angry that sarah just let him do it. and angry that the writers had just took a giant steaming pile of S&%* on me and my 80 hours of time i took with this show. I have been trying to make it play out differently in my mind but its impossible. michael is suicidal genius. THE END

  25. I am a huge fan of Wentworth Miller and Prison Break, so I watch the series over and over because I love the way the show works. I love the loyalties between brothers and friends, and the idea of truth that lies beneath.

    I have to say that after watching episode 79 of prison break I was very shocked to see that Michael had died but I thought this ending was beautiful!

    Michael Schofield may not have had the life we would have liked for him, but he is now free flying in the skies at peace. There is no need for him to help anyone else like he had done for so long throughout his life. Instead he can watch over what he has achieved, and Sara will always have the comfort of knowing that Michael is watching over her.

    The one thing I would say is to avoid watching the final break! I felt this was a rather unnecessary addition to the story, and makes Michaels death far too complicated no matter how dignified it may be. At least with episode 79 you are still able to think that he met his child before his death.

  26. Was ducking happining

  27. Y in the world would u take Miche out of tha seriesl he is the main character and the main character should not hAv 2 die if u thought the series was gettin to long then u should hAv ended it like this u let the cops find lincoln and micheal and put them in jail then wait the next episode a lawyer comes an proves them inocent then they walk away free men w lj an sara

  28. the show was awesome, but was disappointed with the ending. after all that Michael did, he doesn’t even get to be with the people he has been trying to keep alive. did not make sense that Michael had the same surgery that Christina Scofield had and it didn’t work for him. the general assured Sara that the other person that had the same procedure done is alive and living a happy life, so Michael should have been fine after the surgery. it also doesn’t make sense that Michael died in Miami and somehow his body is buried in south America( i think that where they were in ep 79)how could they have moved his body across country. they need to bring Michael back like they brought Sara back and do another season or a movie with a better ending for Michael and his family.

  29. My guess is the general never actually gave him the correct surgery as he wanted him dead anyway. Just long to enough to get him what he wanted. Probably not correct but that’s what I first thought. Bit dissapointing he died though, but I think in a way a clever ending.