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08 October 2007 @ 11:50 pm
3x04 Prison Break: Ugh  
There was a lot I liked about this episode, but it was heavily overshadowed by the "ugh."


You all know I hate Michael/Sara as a couple. I hate what it did to the characters individually, to the show, and to the fandom incidentally.

But I liked Sara as a character. I liked her better without so many flaws-- the whole "Oh, I'm an addict" revelation followed by "Can't help loving the bad boys" really hacked me off. They took a strong female character who bucked her family's legacy to work in a prison, and then laid this backstory where that was less of a choice than an inevitability. And in that rapid weakening of who she was, Season 1 turned her into this pale princess waiting to be rescued from herself by Michael. Ugh. Season 2 showed her making still worse choices-- though I nearly forgave them for the spectacular escape from Kellerman and that kick-ass scene in the bathroom where she stiches herself up without anaesthetic. That was awesome.

But this ending-- her head in a box delivered to Lincoln-- smacks of real hostility toward either the actress or the character. I wanted Sara off the show last season, before the Michael/Sara got too out of hand and before both characters got too ridiculous for me. No dice. Instead, the producers chose to make the relationship overblown and then to get rid of Sara in a way that shows no respect for the character or the importance they gave her in the show. Again-- they decided to make so much of her, and yet this abrupt and ugly ending is what they chose?

I don't know if SWC wanted to leave the show (I'll never understand that thinking-- it's not like her career was doing that much before), or if they'd planned this all along (though I doubt it). But it sure looks like one of the show's producers/creators is pissed off. :(

Westmoreland got a wonderful farewell-- I wish he'd survived because I loved that character, but his ending had a sense of homage for who he was. Aldo got too much of an ending, in my book-- way to try to redeem the irredeemable. T-Bag defied all medical and scientific odds and amazingly enough is still with us.

And Veronica... oh yeah. In separate parts of a landfill right now. Boy, does that ever sound familiar!

I can't help noticing that both of these characters are women. And that they were kind people who met an undeserved end that was noticeably gory, as opposed to Hale and Gov. Tancredi, whose deaths were at least fairly "clean" in comparison.

I'd love to say I'm reading too much into this. Maybe I am.

But for the second time in this series, we have this situation. I don't mind Sara getting killed off per se. But I really mind the way in which it was presented. The character deserved better.

And frankly, so did the viewers.


/rant


 
 
 
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on October 9th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)
But this ending-- her head in a box delivered to Lincoln-- smacks of real hostility toward either the actress or the character.

Supposedly they planned a long arc for that but she wouldn't budge. That's why she didn't even come back to record the telephone conversation from the previous episode so they had to find a way to kill her off without having a body. (just to explain why this particular ending was chosen, not why she left in the first place; apparently they tried to negotiate around a different ending quite a lot and made her a variety of offers about how many episodes she would come back for and she didn't)

Seems like the whole thing was very messy. There's an interview about it on tvguide.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB  Brothers-- moody eyeshalfshellvenus on October 9th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
Makes more sense when I read the interview-- she clearly was unhelpful in dealing with their ending, and it sounds as if they tried to negotiate it in various ways. Nonetheless... this is still a more gruesome method than it needed to be. Head-in-a-box is justdisgusting in so many ways.

Reading the part about "Michael needed proper motivation for S3" makes me come back to, "You know... a GOOD S2 and a total of 2 seasons would have been SO much better." *sigh*
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on October 10th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
Well, you know me, PB ended in season 1 anyway when Michael grabbed Lincoln's hand and Lincoln pulled him over the wall :)
Jas Masson: broken deanjasmasson on October 9th, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC)
I've had to stop watching, sadly.

I'll have to rely on you to keep me posted on any instances of brotherly love ;-)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB  Brothers-- moody eyeshalfshellvenus on October 9th, 2007 07:56 pm (UTC)
Seems like all the brotherly love is going to occur in fiction from this point out, since even Lincoln's S3 visits to Michael in SONA smack of the same, "Huh. Whatever." response he had to Michael getting beaten up on the nearly fatal visit to Agent Kim in S2. :(
Jas Masson: broken deanjasmasson on October 9th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
*grrr* wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong!!!

Bad show!
PamalaX: Alexmesseduppamalax on October 9th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
While I understand your feeling on the way she went I really don't think they had a lot of choices with Sara or Veronica and it has less to do with them being woman and more to do with them being love interests.

Its another nasty aspect of viewers embracing couples like a dog with a bone that makes a really nasty death
a part of breaking up these rabid OTP's

I've seen people out there even now trying to deny it was her -- its a look a like... a face... blab blah -- last night. Go with something subtle like a far away shot of a body lying in blood... dumped in the ocean and they'll spend 20 - 30 eps denying it was them and demanding a return.

You could take a milder out with all those other characters because no one blicked an eye or demanded a recount.

Take out a beloved lead, worse yet a love interest, they'll dog you for the rest of the run unless it 100% for sure a done deal.

I personally think in these couple stories the writers hand is forced buy diehard fans who must have HARD proof.

The same will be true when and if they try to take out one of the brothers. A long shot will never do if they want the audience to accept it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sarahalfshellvenus on October 9th, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
I do see some of your point here, though I didn't think Veronica had THAT strong a following as Lincoln's love interest (we were somewhat prepared with her fiance, even though they killed him off). Her death seemed abrupt and extreme to me.

I still don't like the flavor of Sara's death. And I realize that the actress made it nearly impossible for them to script that, but I still think it was excessive and grotesque. Although yes, very hard to maintain denial about.
mercurybard on October 9th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
Her death seemed abrupt and extreme to me.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that last season.

...but after that, Sara's death was just sort of a *shrug* event.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on October 9th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, I so hated the way Veronica's death was handled. And there are other PB fans who felt the same way-- it's the primary reason I wrote this story for lissa_bear. That character, after the price she ultimately paid and even knew she might be paying, deserved a much better elegy. :(
happy is as happy does: Sara bad blood - asian soulhappywriter06 on October 9th, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
Interesting take on how the women have died v. the men. I don't know if your are reading too much into it. If the Pres of something over at Warner Bros can declare no more movies with female leads, then it certainly possible sexism has played a part in their deaths.

I wasn't in the meetings between SWC and the powers that be so I have no idea what happened. I've read an account of what happened. I can't help but feel like despite all their 'we did this and we did that' that it didn't have to end like this. I get it. PB is a brutal show. The show breaks your heart. And I'm a shipper so I'll take it harder than someone who didn't like M/S or didn't like Sara or SWC even still if you can feel like it was wrong, then it must be wrong on some level.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on October 9th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
Reading the interviews made it clear why her death came so soon and so abruptly-- SWC gave them very little to work with.

But pushing the M/S in S2 (and keep in mind that I always found it really sudden and ridiculous) and then preemptively deciding that for S3 to work Sara had to die... it smacks of a failure to EVER think long-term in the story and character arc, and they made her death worse by how much they inflated the relationship in S2. Guaranteeing that the M/S fans they catered to and in some cases created are going to be REALLY pissed off at them.

Here would have been a novel idea for S3: have the story arc being Lincoln returns a freakin' favor for a change and he has to break MICHAEL out (because SONA's a deadly place if I ever saw one). That provides motivation for both characters (Michael trying to help Lincoln help him, Lincoln actually deserving some of Michael's devotion for a change) and also balances out the brother relationship more. Not to mention making DP work harder for a paycheck than unbuttoning his shirt a little. ;)

As much as I hate how this ended, I know the M/S fans have got to feel horribly betrayed. And I don't blame them. :(
happy is as happy does: brotherly love - ?happywriter06 on October 11th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
Reading your response makes me think that the writers on some level were like, "If we thought it was kick-ass to 'kill' Sara off at the end of S1, think how much more kick-ass to really do it in S3." While I can't say that I disagree with the logic, it doesn't feel right. And probably for the reasons you said regarding not thinking of a long-term story and character arc. And IMO, so far that evident in regards to a lot of things in S3.

Here would have been a novel idea for S3: have the story arc being Lincoln returns a freakin' favor for a change and he has to break MICHAEL out (because SONA's a deadly place if I ever saw one). That provides motivation for both characters (Michael trying to help Lincoln help him, Lincoln actually deserving some of Michael's devotion for a change) and also balances out the brother relationship more. Not to mention making DP work harder for a paycheck than unbuttoning his shirt a little. ;)
Even as a shipper, I found Sara being kidnapped along with LJ ridiculous. Why not just LJ? Not enough motivation although this show is supposed to be about family? I mean they knew SWC was going maternity leave at some point so they could have reworked the story so that she is back in Chicago dealing with her legal issues while Linc breaks Michael out jail b/c Michael took the fall for killing Kim to protect his brother. Or something like that.

And I keep reading Sara's death will be the motivation that Michael needs and I'm like as if what The Company has done so far hasn't been horrible enough. And as for her death being a jolt to the series, good writing would've been a good jolt to the series especially after S2. And finally, haven't we already had at at least two deaths on this show be for dramatic purposes (Vee and Aldo)?
mooyoo: Lincoln - SadFacemooyoo on October 18th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
Here would have been a novel idea for S3: have the story arc being Lincoln returns a freakin' favor for a change and he has to break MICHAEL out

Funnily enough, I thought that was going to be the plot for this season. I could've sworn I'd read or saw an interview with DP or someone else about how in S3 Michael was going to land back in jail and Lincoln was going to have to break him out. Which would've been so much more interesting, if only for the fact that it would put more pressure on Lincoln this time to get Michael out, rather than a retread of S1.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on October 19th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)
Which would've been so much more interesting, if only for the fact that it would put more pressure on Lincoln this time to get Michael out, rather than a retread of S1.
Yes-- it would have been balance, both in the story and also in their relationship (which has been awfully one-sided from what we an see). Plus, what must they be smoking to think repeating Season 1 is the answer?

I tell you, if you haven't read my S3 CrackFic, you should. Because at this point, the show really deserves that kind of lampooning. :0
Deadbeat Nymph: michael eyesdeadbeat_nymph on October 9th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
I agree with you completely. You are not reading too much into this, particularly with consideration to the fact that it's the female characters who die such gruesome deaths. Your points are all extremely valid and spot-on.

They really backed themselves into a corner on this one, though, by bringing her back at all for S2. I mean, she died at the end of S1. She did. And I'm pretty sure that was the original plan. But then they brought her back via a miraculous recovery, and that was a huge mistake in my opinion. I didn't actually hate Sara in S1, although I agree with you about the addiction thing; clearly that was a cheap twist to give her some sort of depth that completely backfired. But by the middle of S2, I was so sick of her and her whole storyline.

However, re. the reasons she left the show, you should read Ausiello's interview.

Having said all that, though, I'm just glad she's finally gone, even though I don't like how it happened and am generally pissed off about her whole story arc post-S1. :P
Deadbeat Nymph: lincoln scrapedeadbeat_nymph on October 9th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot that your LJ doesn't embolden or otherwise indicate links. There's a link to the Ausiello interview where it says 'Ausiello interview'. :P
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sarahalfshellvenus on October 9th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
I read it, and though it shed some light on the "what" the producers had to do, I still think the "how" could have been handled a lot better. Yuck. :(
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on October 9th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
mean, she died at the end of S1. She did. And I'm pretty sure that was the original plan. But then they brought her back via a miraculous recovery, and that was a huge mistake in my opinion.
Mine too. They should have let her go at the end of S1. She would have been a brutal and constaint reminder of the horrible cost of Michael's choices-- and of his willingness to use people, never thinking about what he's really asking them to do-- and we would never have gone deep into the ridiculous M/S territory. Which ends like a nuclear explosion with this plot twist, and that's more ugliness to the M/S fans than anyone needs or deserves.

The Kellerman/Sara stuff in S2 (which I loved, mainly the Kellerman side and also seeing a whole different type of behavior for Sara) and the kickass!Sara besting Kellerman were fabulous, but not worth bringing her back for in S2 and definitely not worth this horrible end. The S1 OD was a tragic end. This one was just brutal and gruesome. :(
mooyoo: PB - SaraScreammooyoo on October 18th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
The more I think about it (and the more I read about it too), the more I think you may be onto something about hostility towards the actress. There's something just really bizarre about this whole thing, and yet again they send a female character off in the worst, most gruesome way possible. The male characters on this show have been beaten down quite a bit as well, but none has suffered a death in any way similar to the females. A lot of characters went down last season, but even Abruzzi got a somewhat glorious sendoff. Veronica, on the other hand, ended up cut into pieces.

Just read the Ausiello interview, which doesn't make me feel any better about TPTB and the writers - in fact, it makes me think that these guys are extremely lame and uncreative if all they could come up with as a motivation for Michael was to kill Sara. so her simply being held hostage wouldn't be good motivation for him? He's more likely to get fired up to break out of prison now that she's dead than when she was alive and he had a chance of rescuing her? That makes no sense. I would think, in the real world (which obviously Prison Break is not even remotely close to, but still) the death of yet another person you care about would be more liked to break you and force you to give up.

Not to mention, there's LJ. LJ, Michael's freaking nephew, is being held, and that holds no motivation for him? Plus, they killed Veronica and the brothers grieved for all of two minutes, then completely forgot about her. I do feel like TPTB have invested way more in Sara's character and her relationship with Michael than they ever did with Veronica and I think we'll see that continue for the rest of the season even despite her death, but this was a woman who was supposed to be a childhood friend of Michael's and great long lost love of Lincoln's, and yet there was absolutely no fallout from her death.

Frankly, I don't accept the explanation that SWC wouldn't come back to film a "proper goodbye" or whatever as a reason for the head in the box. First of all, if I were her I'd be pretty ticked off about them killing off the character after how much they focused on her last season and after claims that she would come back for S3. I doubt I'd be that excited about filming my big death scenes either (that said, this is her job and refusing to come back for it is also pretty unprofessional. I can't imagine too many people are going to being rushing to cast her in anything anytime soon after this debacle).

Second of all, how ridiculously uncreative are these writers that they couldn't think of any other way to kill her off? She's not the first actor who has left a show before the opportunity to write the character out, and if the writers had any care for the characters they've created they wouldn't have so callously and gruesomely axed her. Body double? Give Lincoln photos of her dead body? Blow her up? Even that would've been less creepy and awful than chopping off her head.

Head in a box aside, the decision to kill her off just shows such carelessness towards the audience, especially after spending so much time on this character and the Michael/Sara relationship last season, and a real lack of creativity by the writers. Why should I care about these characters, invest myself in them and the show, if they're going to suffer this kind of treatment? It seems like death and murder are the only ideas they have for good drama.

Lame.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on October 19th, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
so her simply being held hostage wouldn't be good motivation for him? He's more likely to get fired up to break out of prison now that she's dead than when she was alive and he had a chance of rescuing her? That makes no sense.
Word to the power of BrainSharing Word. :(

Even that would've been less creepy and awful than chopping off her head.
See, that's my exact thought too. There are a lot of ways to do this that are less gruesome and hostile than the route they chose. And with the way Veronica died, I just can't help noticing the ugly similarity!

especially after spending so much time on this character and the Michael/Sara relationship last season
Yes-- I really feel like they pandered to the Michael/Sara audience (and "pandering" is exactly what it felt like to me), and now they've jerklashed them into oblivion. Why do that? If the didn't want the pairing, they should have skipped it or touched on it much more lightly as a "what if?" But they invested into it in a way that makes a tacit promise to that target audience, and then they detonate it. If nothing else, it's just enormously stupid.

And nothing spells great ratings like pissing off your fans. On the one hand is the angry M/S crowd, and on the other is the crowd that liked the S1 show and hated where it went after that. Neither is happy right now. How smart is THAT?