If you were wondering whether "Prison Break" (8 p.m. ET Monday on FOX) lost a step during its long break, which began in November, don't worry. The three episodes that kick off the series' return are among the best "Prison Break" has done.
They're more emotionally resonant, more surprising, even more knottily plotted. Plus, in the flashback episode that arrives April 3, viewers will get to see Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) in regular clothes, not a drab prison uniform. And in a bar having drinks, no less!
But in the haunting episode that airs Monday, things get very dark indeed. Though Scofield's prison-escape plan progresses in fits and starts, things don't look good for his brother, Lincoln Burrows, who is on Death Row for killing the vice president's brother. Whatever one's stance on the death penalty, seeing the last hours of a man headed for the electric chair puts a knot in the stomach.
And the "Prison Break" cast is more than up to the challenge of portraying Burrows' darkest hours. Given the restrained, tightly wound performance Miller has given to date as Scofield, seeing that character cry is not something to take lightly. And since the series began, Dominic Purcell has given Burrows a weighty sadness mixed with tormented bravery. Miller, Purcell and the rest of the cast make this episode riveting.
As usual, multiple twists await the inmates of Fox River Penitentiary, and, as with "24," the storytelling is so gripping that one forgives the occasional plot hole. There's progress on the outside, too, as Burrows' lawyers fight to keep the prisoner alive.
The April 3 episode is a high point: It shows what the "Break" gang was up to before they got to Fox River. Would you believe that earnest Dr. Sara Tancredi has the most surprising past of all? And that hard-guy inmate C-Note has an even more revelatory back story? Plus the episode gives the series the chance to showcase even more cool Chicago locations.
It almost seems overkill that the great Michelle Forbes has a supporting role in these episodes. "Prison Break" is back all right, and it's got plenty of goodies.
'Prison Break' returns strong after time off for good behavior
Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell on 'Prison Break'
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