WonderCon 2017: Reviewing Prison Break’s Premiere “Ogygia”

Credit: Fox

From the moment Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell appeared on screen together as partners in crime first on The Flash and then on Legends of Tomorrow, people have been asking about a Prison Break revival. Fans who had first discovered the actors as brother Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows on the Fox show were sure their DC universe reunion would mean a return for Prison Break as well.

But how to make that happen when the show ended pretty definitively with Michael dead? Bring him back to life, obviously. Or more accurately, reveal he’s faked his death and, for reasons currently unknown, is now residing in yet another prison, this time in Yemen.

Many of the fans who had either watched Prison Break since it’s beginning or discovered it on Netflix after seeing the actors on one or both of their CW shows, packed into the panel at WonderCon 2017. There, they were treated to a screening of new season’s first episode, “Ogygia.”

(Warning: some spoilers ahead!)

Credit: Fox

Picking up seven years after the show ended, all of the main players are back. Slimy T-Bag is released from prison and starts his new life by getting a new prosthetic hand from a mysterious benefactor. Sarah has remarried to a perfectly nice man and is raising Michael’s son with him. Sucre is there too though he’s sidelined for much of the first episode. C-Note has found religion and joined a mosque, which is super helpful for getting into Yemen and finding the right connections to help Lincoln investigate his brother’s supposed imprisonment there.

Of everyone from the original show, it’s Lincoln who isn’t doing so well. As T-Bag so perfectly puts it, “Look at you all back slid.” He’s returned to a life of small-time crime and is 100k in debt, which seems a pretty crappy way of honoring his brother’s memory considering Michael more than once gave up everything to save Lincoln. But it’s the absence of Michael that has caused Lincoln to deteriorate. When he learns his brother is still alive, it’s the kind of purpose defining moment that Lincoln clearly needs to refocus his life.

A good thing too. Prison Break needs Purcell to carry it, especially in the first episode. He’s only as good as the material, though, and it isn’t always there. Dialogue has never been Prison Break’s strong suit and that continues to be the case with the show’s return. Although, C-Note does get the best line of episode 1 when, after he and Lincoln beat down some attackers, he quips, “Greetings from the U.S. prison system, bitches.” The crowd at WonderCon howled with laughter and cheers.

Rather it was the puzzle and the mystery that drew viewers in, especially to the first season. Once the show freed it’s prisoners, however, most of the appeal was lost. The good news is Prison Break seems to have returned to the formula that made it popular in the first place. Michael even has a whole new set of tattoos, which hopefully will be as intricately and cleverly linked to his escape as the first set was.

But unlike season one, Michael doesn’t have any friends or family on the inside with him. They’re all outside trying to get in so it seems reasonable to assume at least one of them will get thrown in a cell beside Michael in order to spring him out. That honor will probably go to Lincoln, as a reversal to season one when Michael did the same when his brother was doomed to death row. And perhaps that is when the new season will really get interesting.

For now, “Ogygia” makes a strong enough case to keep watching. If nothing else, fans of Legends of Tomorrow should tune in to see their favorite partners and curiosity should lead fans of Prison Break’s first run to give the sequel a chance. 

Prison Break officially returns tomorrow, April 4, on Fox at 9/8c.

Stephanie Coats
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