Prison Break

Season 4 Episode 21

Rate of Exchange

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM May 15, 2009 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
425 votes
  • Part 1 for the End!!!

    After the last ending, seeing Michael saving both Sara and Lincoln was a impossible mission, the writers created a hard complication, that they had no idea how to overcome their own idea, I mean, if you create something complicated, is because you already know what you will do to solve the complication, but in this case, the writers improvised.

    Michael first plan to get his brother back was poor, so poor that a person with a low QI would guess was he pretended to do. Because Sara and Lincoln had to have their dialogues, t-bag and Christina played their role to keep them talking. T-bag talking with Sara was an example, the same goes for Lincoln and Christina dialogues.

    As expected Sucre has his own scenes, and a well known old character is back to help Michael and himself.

    Didn´t care for Self scenes, they could be more faster, instead, they played as a filler, since self could die when he was shoot, but since his character could by more time screen, he survived.

    Mahone extended conversation with Michael was not bad, but hiding details was not necessary, because you could predict what attitude Mahone would take. Michael gained powers, since he Is being since his friend Spiderman, because the way that Michael saved Sara, not only he have skill of a 007 agent, he have Spiderman powers, how he gained these skills, is a mystery from the writer's staff. Also Christina which is very clever, turned to be pretty dump, just because she doesn´t know Mahone, doesn´t mean that she can fully trust him, but ok, we will see how this will end.

    Presentation Phase - » (7/10) good, just filling details and making setups,
    Complication Phase - » (8/10)*2 Save Lincoln and Sara at the same time, seems hard,
    Ending - » (6/10) nothing special,
    Details/Progress (To point A to B) -» (8/10) fair progress,
    Time and Scene Management - » (8/10) some fillers in the way like self and some dialogues,
    Plot Details/Holes- » (7/10) Spiderman powers and dump intelligent, the rest was fine,
    Suspense/Tension - » (7/10) two scenes played a nice tension,
    Drama - » (7/10) light drama, the only thing provided by the dialogues,
    Surprises/Shocks/Twists - » (7/10) an old character is back.
  • Micheal is really really smart!!!

    ooh Benjamin is back . now he want to clear the brothers and everyone's record , but who is behind him !!! mart way from Micheal to help his brother and Sara , i mean he fooled the general and his mother too !! awesome.
    what a way of ending the show by showing again how smart he is, even that the show was getting selly, but in the this episode some of the prison break mojo is back like when T-bag asked Sara to hold his pocket, and how Micheal think and the same for Mahon, good episode, the best one from a while.
  • Time is running out

    This penultimate episode was all about moving the pieces into position for the final showdown over Scylla, and as one would expect from the end of the previous installment, it was focused on Michael's plan to save both Lincoln and Sara in the process.

    There was little doubt that Michael would choose not to choose at all, so to speak, but I wasn't expecting him to fail to rescue Lincoln. His plan wasn't particularly clever, but under the circumstances, that made sense. The point was to demonstrate how Michael's options are quickly running out, and how it puts him at a disadvantage when dealing with his mother.

    I was a bit worried about Mahone coming into the finale, but this episode was one of his shining moments. Not only did he keep pushing Michael, even if it was out of self-interest, but he risked his life to save Lincoln rather than abandon Michael entirely. Sure, it wasn't quite so cut and dry as that, but it was still the kind of moment that Mahone fans had wanted.

    This is especially true in contrast to T-Bag and Don Self. Self in particular was willing to sell out Michael and Lincoln in the name of saving himself, and as such, he gained exactly the kind of reward he deserved. T-Bag, in comparison, got away lucky. Michael had every reason to shoot him in the face and smile while doing it, and it was only Sara that held him back. That shows the kind of regard that Sara has for Michael's psychological well-being. She knows better than to think that killing T-Bag in cold blood would be easy for him to reconcile, after the fact.

    That said, Michael's rescue of Sara was far too easy, especially taking into account the kind of resources available to the Company in past seasons. If the Company is reduced to hiring guards that can't even think to look up, then how did they consolidate so much power going into the whole presidential gambit in earlier seasons? One might argue that the war between the General and Christina has slowly but surely driven the Company into foolish mistakes, since the General clearly cannot adjust to changes in fortune too well, but it's still a major plot convenience. (And I will admit that many others have pointed out the issues with the portrayal of the Company this season.)

    Similarly, while I think that it's a great idea to bring back the surviving members of the original Escape Squad for the final victory over the Company, it comes a bit out of nowhere, which takes away from the point of the exercise. The concept is simple: Michael needed those people to escape in the past, and he'll need them again now. But why not thread their part of the story into previous episodes, so it doesn't seem so convenient?
  • Familiar faces turn up as Michael tries to take down the Company.

    Familiar faces turn up as Michael tries to take down the Company. I thought the first half of the series finale was very good. Seeing Sucre and C-Note again was a welcome surprise as well as everything that went down in the first 42 minutes of the finale. I was surprised that Sarah was rescued so early, but it was good to see Mahone and Michael work together for one last time. I think that the relationship that they have had together could have been a lot better, but overall I think the two of them have the best "chemistry" as far as characters go on the show. The motives and what they want to come out of some situations aren't always the same, but in the end I think the finale was always remain a strong episode for the interaction between the two of them effectivly leading the first part of this finale. I look for Lincoln to get more involved in the second part and for a lot of the big players in the game to die. Sucre and C-Note interest me as well. I'm pretty sure "Paul", if I can remember correctly, is that agent in seasons 1 and 2 that used to chase them around. He supposed to be dead but - guess we will see how he came back to life.
  • Michael must choose who to save

    Whoa believe it or not, where almost there the final 2 hours of Prison Break. Michael must choose who to save when Christina captures Lincoln and The General has Sara both of them obviously wanting Scylla.

    Michael and Mahone make a plan in which Mike deals with The General and Mahone bargains with Christina. When the General goes to the drop-off, with The General leaving Bagwell to do what he likes to Sara. Michael leaves a dummy Scylla case and rescues Sara from the General's loft.

    Self gets questioned by 2 Agent Johnson's, seriously no lie. They want the brothers (Who doesn't) Self bargains with the agents, immunity for the brothers. He doesn't quite get there as one of Christina's men, dressed as a doctor, injects him with something and it fries his brain. It was nice seeing the cast back as Sucre and C-Note made an appearance. C-Note tells him that he's looking for the brothers who have Scylla; he tells that he knows a guy that can give them freedom (We've all heard that before)

    Mahone meets with Christina and gives her a Scylla lookalike that is actually a bomb. When the bomb fail to defuse Mahone needs think of something quick.
  • A perfect way to begin the finale and the smoothest editing ever

    How the hell will Michael do this time to save the day ? That's the question that haunted millions of fans around the world after watching the previous episode. Of course this one began to answer the question and it was really interesting to see our favorite breaker struggling. Moreover as expected he teamed up with Mahone but as usual things didn't go as planned and many twisted events occurred. The decisions they had to make reminded of Batman Foverer when the dark knight got trapped by Riddler, asking him to choose between Robin and Chase. Beside that thrilling story the direction felt really solid and all characters had the scenes they deserved. The true nature of the mother was revealed during a conversation with Lincoln. The actress overall performance is quite good and in this episode she managed to confirm her talent. It's fascinating to see how her profile contrasts with her clothing line, looking as innocent and pure as a white dove. Sara also got the honor of hearing T-Bag's thoughts on life and love. Of course it was both disturbing and funny but the greatest thing was that the writer referenced past events that should appeal to long time fans. Some minutes were also dedicated to covering the Self arc but it was only a minor one compared to the others. Last but not least beside the usual McGyver voodoo, which was really welcome this time and not over the top, there were some major changes in the casting. An other reason for the fans not to miss this great first part of the finale.
  • Prison Break has a mere two hours to go to satisfactorily tie up its disparate loose ends and rescue itself from the brink of disaster.

    Prison Break has a mere two hours to go to satisfactorily tie up its disparate loose ends and rescue itself from the brink of disaster; since its return early last month, the show has struggled to keep itself afloat, passing Scylla around from person to person, forming détentes and breaking them minutes later, and generally sending everyone on wild goose chases, running around the streets of Miami with virtually no rhyme or reason. While last week's instalment saw things improve slightly, it still had its fair share of problems. Unfortunately, these aren't completely ironed out in 'Rate of Exchange', but the upward trend certainly continues. Zack Estrin's script has a distinctly solid structure that grounds it in the sort of intense dramatic tension that made the series successful in the first place. The narrative begins in duality, juxtaposing Sarah's kidnap by Bagwell and the General with Christina's holding of Lincoln, but weaves the two together with Michael as the common thread. This dilemma is an incredibly palatable one, giving the plot considerable weight because it tugs at the heartstrings; after all, we care substantially about these characters. Furthermore, given how irreconcilable it appears that the situation is, and the fact that we are approaching the programme's absolute end-game, a certain level of unpredictability is created. Just about anything can happen now; there are no contractual constraints or ratings considerations to take into account. As Bagwell creeps lasciviously around Sarah, we believe that he might just get his way; when Christina jams her high heel into Lincoln's badly injured stomach (a wonderfully graphic moment, by the way), we buy into the notion that she might get to see her adopted son join the choir invisible.

    Estrin builds upon this already palpable level of suspense with the inclusion of several two-hander character scenes that address certain psychological considerations. Michael's confrontation of Mahone, in particular, works exceptionally well, calling out Alex's tendency to 'play the field', and his subsequent redressing of the balance by agreeing to assist Scofield, while a little transparent (c'mon... who didn't see right through that double cross for the triple cross that it really is?), gives the issue a satisfying pay off. T-Bag's perverted 'foreplay' with Tencredi is also superbly written, becoming progressively eerier and more troublesome with every word, although it is rather difficult to believe that he would spend such a lengthy amount of time talking about what he's going to do to her rather than actually doing it; a plot decision that ultimately allows for Michael to rescue his girlfriend. Um, convenient, much? And then there's C-Note and Sucre, whose miraculous inclusion in the story just as things are coming to an end actually manages to work. There's a logic to the events that C-Note describes and when we hear that the name of their benefactor is Paul, and catch a glimpse of 'the ring', it seems to confirm that old favourite Kellerman is responsible for the reunion... but we'll reserve judgement on that until it's confirmed. Anyway, this looks set to only intensify an already substantial level of tension in the impending finale and, at the end of the day, it means we all get to salivate over Amaury Nolasco's hot ass a few more times before the end. Yum yum yum.

    (Let's pause for a second to briefly consider that butt, huh?


    The episode's remaining two/three-handers don't work quite so well, however. The inclusion of Don Self just seems like an exercise in futility, as if the episode under-ran and so the writers plugged the gaps with whatever pointless gumf they could find. Oh sure, Michael Rapaport is excellent as usual, perfectly conveying the character's smarmy self-centeredness, but his scenes serve no essential purpose other than to let the outstanding William Mapother, of Lost fame, in on the fun for a little while. The Homeland Security agents get nothing out of the guy, so any pursuit of Linc and Michael by the long arm of the law is not advanced by this strand of the plot, and ultimately, Christina's lackey shows up and kills him. Well, colour me indignant but would it not have been far easier, and more believable, to have him die from the injuries that would be sustained by jumping out of a really rather tall building? And then, of course, we have Christina, who just becomes more and more laughable with every passing line of dialogue. If she isn't mawkishly beating Lincoln's self-esteem into the ground with lame lines like, "the dumb one got caught, the smart one got away, I'm beginning to see a pattern", she's completely abandoning her strong, collected nature and gesticulating all over the place, pulling the kind of face that a six year old would respond with if you asked them to 'look angry'.

    Kathleen Quinlan seems to have let all semblance of credibility fall by the wayside, choosing instead to portray this most sinister and duplicitous of women as a sort of comic book villain, complete with every cliché in the depressingly well-worn book. She spits her dummy out when things aren't going her way, knocking everything off her desk and screaming "you just cost me 3/4 of a billion dollars!" at Linc in the most ridiculously over-the-top manner possible. It's hard to invest in the legitimacy of her threat to the survival of our heroes when you just want to laugh at her. And as if Quinlan's portrayal wasn't problematic enough, certain elements of her story also cause the eyes to roll, particularly the fact that she has people everywhere who can fix things at the drop of a hat (yes, I know she has significant Company connections but come on, finding Self, 'securing Pam'... this is all just too easy), and that, in the pre-credits sequence, when she's engaged in the stand off with Michael, she walks right up to the tripwire but doesn't make the additional step into it, despite being clueless as to its presence, which is just about the most cliched thing I've seen all year.

    While it certainly has its problems, 'Rate of Exchange' is, nevertheless, a decidedly enjoyable episode. As Prison Break's penultimate hour, it succeeds in ramping up the tension, taking the stakes about as high as they can go, and keeping the viewer engaged in Michael's very palpable plight for the duration of its forty five minutes. There are some wonderfully written exchanges between characters, several decidedly intense moments and even the reintroduction of a few familiar faces to boot. It's far from perfect - Kathleen Quinlan's ludicrously hammy portrayal of Christina makes certain of that - but hell, at least it isn't 'The Mother Lode'.
  • a good ending to a good series

    it was very surprising to see alex with his bes friend but they were really close to each other so that would make sense. also for t-bag to be back in fox river, stupid, because he knows who unless they have high security in that place now that he is back. but he belongs there
    man i have seen all the episodes of this show, and i have not miss it one bit. After everything that had happened, i expected some happy ending. even though they did give a good ending i still wished that they would let micheal live longer. it was a great series after all, but sad for it to end, but what i learned from this show there arent always good endings. oh well. so cheers to the best show ever i will miss it