Prison Break: Season 2 â€" DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Created by
Paul Scheuring

Cast
Dominic Purcell ……… Lincoln Burrows
Wentworth Miller ……… Michael Scofield
William Fitchner ……… Alex Mahone
Sarah Wayne Callies ……… Sara Tancredi
Paul Adelstein ……… Paul Kellerman
Robert Knepper ……… T-Bag

The Show

When a show becomes a breakout hit in its first year on the air, the writers are under a lot of pressure to live up to the standard they have set when the second season rolls around. It’s even harder when they are forced, by their own actions, to completely re-invent the show after the first successful season. The writers of Prison Break managed to do that and more.

As we left the brothers and friends at the end of the first season, they just missed the plane that was supposed to take them to freedom. So they had to run in order to escape the Fox River guards, headed by Brad Bellick. From this point forward they are known as “The Fox River Eight” — the most wanted men in America. In the 22 episodes of this season, we followed the eight as they fought to remain free.

Since the whole premise of the season was different from that of the first, the writers had to make some necessary but tough decisions. It made no sense for the eight to stay together on the run, and it would have been very hard to follow all of them. It was obvious that some of the secondary characters had to go, and it was done mostly well. They also made the right choice when deciding who survives and who’s eliminated. We were left with the core group of escapees (The two brothers and Sucre) and the most intriguing character of the eight, T-Bag. As the season progressed, each one had to face the changing circumstances, find new objectives and deal with immediate challenges. It was a lot more diverse from the first season, as the different locations gave the writers more freedom to expand their vision. But they didn’t just focus on the chase, they gave more depths to the characters, old and new.

T-Bag became more instrumental in the second season as he played the lone wolf. Forced to run on his own with his hand cut off, he turned into the basic animal instincts he had in order to survive. He was killing people left and right, but not because he wanted to but because he had to. We also got a look into his psyche and the circumstances that made him what he is. But it wasn’t just the writing. Robert Knepper gave an amazing performance throughout the season, playing T-Bag as one of the creepiest TV characters of the last few years. He could transform from being the elegant charming Theodore Bagwell to the scary and maniacal T-Bag in a matter of seconds. You’re afraid to watch his scenes sometimes, but you can’t look away.

One of the new characters that became pivotal for the plot is that of Alexander Mahone, played by William Fitchner. One of the things that was lacking in the first season was a worthy nemesis for Michael. All the obstacles he faced within the prison seemed to be the result of a fluke on the guards or inmates side. He never had to face a worthy mental adversary, and then came Mahone, an FBI agent that was put on the Fox River Eight case. He’s gifted and is able to keep up with Scofield, step by step. This character added a lot more intrigue and suspense to the show, as Michael wasn’t just playing alone anymore, he was now playing a dangerous chess game against an equal opponent. It reminded me of an episode of Star Trek: TNG where Data asked the hologram computer to create a Moriarty he can’t beat in one of the Sherlock Holmes scenarios, which led to an amazing hologram mental challenge. Likewise, the mind games between Scofield and Mahone were amazing. It became even better as the season continued and we learned more about Mahone’s motives and background and the story shifted from Mahone chasing Scofield to Scofield chasing Mahone, in a manner of speaking.

With the weeding of some characters, others, like Sara, Bellick and Kellerman receive a lot more attention which only helped the show. With the trio of T-Bag, Kellerman and Mahone, Prison Break had the best cadre of bad guys on TV, which is one of the most important drivers for a good drama. Each of them had a different background and motives, each of them was bad in his own way. You could hate them or love to hate them, but you couldn’t not like them.

It’s hard to give a proper review of this season without spoiling some key plotlines and developments. I can only hope that I did not spoil too much. The second season more than lived up to the standards set by its predecessor, which wasn’t an easy task and proved that a show doesn’t have to jump the shark in order to reinvent itself and be fresh again. When it ended it seemed like a new transformation is upon us — one can only hope it will be as good as the first one.

The DVD

The 22 episodes arrive on 6 discs, housed inside 3 slim cases that hold them firmly.

Audio/Video

With current shows and technology you can’t really get bad audio and video, and this release is no exception.

Special Features

The special features are a bit disappointing. There are audio commentaries for half of the episodes but they don’t add a lot of insight. The 6th disc hosts two featurettes. “Reinvention of a Series” is thirty minutes long and focuses on the characters, the way they develop and the new plotlines and scenarios. “Turning Dallas into America” is tem minutes long and is dedicated to the locations and sets that hosted the shooting of the second season. It’s pretty interesting, as all the different locals — Chicago, Utah and even Panama were shot within a one hour radius from Dallas, that was the hub for the shooting.

The last special feature is a music video to a dance remix of the show’s theme song. All in all, the selection of special features is pretty standard and disappointing for such a good show.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Prison Break: Season 2
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

9
THE VIDEO

9
THE AUDIO

9
THE EXTRAS

6
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
The second season was an important one for Prison Break. With the required changes it almost became a whole new show. Scofield was no longer the smartest kid in class which only added more drama. T-Bag was creepier than ever. Mahone was the best new character last year. Everything seemed to click and even when we lost some loved characters, it only helped the show. Season 2 was a hit, and set an interesting stage for season 3.