Thursday, April 13, 2017

Christianity on the Small Screen: Prison Break - Part 1

Christianity on the Small Screen: Prison Break - Part 1
Christianity on the Small Screen: Prison Break - Part 2


In light of Fox airing a fifth season of Prison Break years after the show went off the air, I thought I would repost my summary of the the show. Here is part 1.


Sometimes exploring the spiritual and moral meaning of a television franchise is as easy of reading the shows title. ABC's LOST, for example, is about more than dozens of survivors marooned on a mysterious island. As the flashbacks, flashforwards, flash-sideways, and the return to the island reveal, the characters themselves are personally lost.

The same is true for the FOX's hit Prison Break which first aired from 2005 to 2009 running four seasons. A fifth season, featuring the original cast, returned in 2017. Like LOST, which aired at roughly the same time, the real meaning of the show is found in its title and explores the theme of liberation both in and out of jail.


The Show

The premise of the show is simple. In season one, Michael Scoffield, an architect by trade, arranges to have  arrested and placed into a particular prison, Fox River, where his brother, Lincoln Burrows, is awaiting execution for the murder of the vice-president's brother. Immediately, the two brothers begin to carry out their complicated escape plan which comes to fruition in the season finale.

In season 2, the brothers and the other escape convicts are on the run (remember the title of the show is about more than physical prison), trying to escape capture. The ultimate plan is to escape to Panama where they believe the local government will not extradite them. As the story unfolds we discover that Lincoln's "crime" is much bigger than a murder-gone-wrong but part of a larger plot involving the highest office of the American government who is being controlled by the mysterious "Company." The two brothers find freedom in Panama only for Michael to be arrested again and sent to "Sona" - a foreboding prison run by the Company.

By season three everything is the polar opposite of season 1. Instead of Burrows in prison for a crime he did not commit, Scoffield is. Once again, Scoffield (the brain) and Burrow's (the brawn) managed to pull off another unlikely escape and are free men.

Season four is a return to some of the same themes of season 2. Though free, they are not. They seek to finally take down the Company which requires the brothers and the other characters to apply their skills. Instead of breaking out, as they have done repeatedly in the show, they must break in.

The show ends with Michael Scoffield's sacrificial death (an event we will return to) and his return is a major theme of season 5.






For more:
Christianity on the Small Screen: Prison Break - Part 1
Christianity on the Small Screen: Prison Break - Part 2
Christianity and the Small Screen: The West Wing
Christianity on the Small Screen: The Office
Christianity and the Small Screen: "Smallville"
Christianity and the Small Screen: Fox's "House, M. D."
Christianity and the Small Screen: NBC's "Crisis"
Christianity and the Small Screen: FBI Files    
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