Prison Break was a Fox drama that ran for a total of four seasons in the 2000s. As its name states, it was centered on prison breaks. To be exact, its two main characters were a pair of brothers named Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield, one of whom was expecting to be executed for a crime that he didn’t commit while the other was planning to save his brother’s life by breaking him out of prison. However, the core premise of Prison Break was very limited in nature, so much so that the succession of seasons resulted in more and more convoluted storylines that resulted in a bigger and bigger mess. Even worse, Prison Break managed to receive a revival in 2017, which actually undid the ending of the series. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that it managed to bring in no more than a part of the viewership that its predecessors had managed to build up, thus making it even clearer that the whole thing was a serious mistake.
What Happened in Season 5 of Prison Break Anyways?
For those who are curious, what happened in Season 5 of Prison Break can’t really be said to be something that came out of nowhere. Instead, it is an outgrowth of existing issues with the preceding seasons. One excellent example of this can be seen in one of the biggest retcons that made the whole season possible. In short, the end of the series made it very, very clear that Michael had died. One, he carried out a prison break for his love interest Sara Tancredi in which he was forced to cause a huge power surge that killed him. Two, he made a tape revealing that he had a terminal case of brain cancer, meaning that he would have died even if he hadn’t been killed by the power surge. Unsurprisingly, when Season 5 made the choice to bring back Michael anyways, it failed to provide a satisfying answer for either one of these two issues.
However, it should be mentioned that this isn’t even the first time that this kind of thing has happened on Prison Break. After all, Season 3 saw the mysterious organization called the Company kidnapping both Lincoln’s son LJ and Michael’s love interest Sara in order to gain leverage over the two brothers. Eventually, this resulted in a Company operative killing Sara, which came complete with Lincoln being shown her severed head in a box. Out of setting, this was caused by the fact that Sara’s actress Sarah Wayne Callies was involved in a contract dispute, meaning that a choice was made to have her exit the show. However, when that contract dispute cleared up, the people behind the show brought her back for the next season, claiming that what Lincoln had seen was nothing more than an elaborate ruse carried out by the Company. Something that raised serious questions such as exactly what the Company was capable of. Even worse, the whole incident pretty much destroyed the sense of tension that was one of the main reasons to watch Prison Break, seeing as how the people behind the show were perfectly willing to use whatever excuse that came to mind to handwave their previous storytelling whenever that proved to be inconvenient for them.
On top of that, pre-revival Prison Break was already loaded with other examples of silliness that robbed the show of the impact that it once had. For example, the show needed more and more convoluted reasons for the characters to wind up in prisons so that they could carry out prison breaks, which eventually culminated in a mysterious organization that was so powerful that it could control the head of the American government. Moreover, that kind of silly storytelling spread throughout Prison Break over time, as shown by another twist in which it turned out that Michael’s mother Christina was actually alive as well as an agent of the Company. Under these circumstances, it was perhaps inevitable that Season 5 of Prison Break would turn into the narrative mess that it did.
However, to add insult to injury, it has been confirmed that Prison Break won’t be coming to a conclusion with Season 5. Instead, there is a Season 6 that is being developed at this point in time, which presumably means that there will be another convenient excuse for the characters to get involved in carrying out another prison break. Time will tell exactly how this prison break will be explained and excused, but considering the previous cases, interested individuals might not want to get their hopes for a sensible narrative up.
Was Season 5 of Prison Break a Mistake?
Summed up, Season 5 of Prison Break is a mistake. The show was already showing some serious issues by the time that it came to its initial conclusion in the 2000s. However, it nonetheless managed to have a decent ending in which Michael affirmed his love for his family the first time that it came to a conclusion. Unfortunately, the basic premise of Season 5 robbed the show of much of that emotional impact. Even worse, it did so with very little finesse, thus making the whole thing that much more disappointing. As such, a good argument can be made that the show would’ve been better off if Season 5 had never been made, particularly since that would’ve spared us from whatever new horrors the upcoming Season 6 is set to unleash.
With that said, if people are still finding Prison Break to be enjoyable, then all the more power to them. Certainly, if nothing else, it is fun to complain about all of the issues that have popped up in Prison Break. Due to this, one can’t help but hope that the people behind the show will use Wentworth Miller’s joking idea of Lincoln and Michael being locked up by a previously unmentioned third brother, which would ensure some laughs at the very least.
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