Ohhhhh, this has been a long time coming. OK, since my last PSA (two months ago?!), I quit my job, got another one, moved to Maryland, got my own apartment, and watched my life and career do a complete 180. It’s been a little hectic, and I’m admittedly not drowning myself in pop culture news as much as I used to, nor have I recently binge-watched anything (besides Stranger Things, which I’ll write about soon). I’m not watching much of anything actually. I did christen my new apartment with a brief re-watch of the later seasons of Boy Meets World in my first week (I didn’t have cable yet), but I’m trying to read more lately and have happily taken myself on a trip back to Hogwarts, something I haven’t done since 2011.
I’m also working on a new blog! I am now The Jaded Journo and you can read all about my career experiences as I tackle this new chapter of my life.
So, that’s what’s new with me. But I do want to show PSA some love and get back to discussing all things entertainment, particularly as fall sweeps draws ever closer and pretty soon, alllllll the shows will back on the air and I’ll be hardly able to contain myself as I’m reminded of oh-how-very-much I love television.
Anyway, as I mentioned in my last PSA, I knew I’d be wanting to gush over Wentworth Miller/Michael Scofield’s pretty face after I devoured Prison Break in about a month, because, I mean, come on. I loved the show, even though it didn’t always make sense and parts of it dragged (UGH, SONA). Imagine my surprise when I didn’t totally hate Sarah Wayne Callies as Sara Tancredi—even though in the pilot, I had a moment of “LORI‘s in this? Oh, crap.” I actually really grew to love her relationship with Michael and romances are the easiest target for lists like this, so here we go. (Stay tuned for seasons 2-4 and I’ll also probably talk more about the show itself as the upcoming reboot sequel gets closer.)
1. Episode 4 | Cute Poison
“I’ll make you a bet—when I get out of here, alive, I’ll take you to dinner.”
They had little moments leading up to this, but this is the one they both refer back to in later episodes, once the boys break out and they’re all on the run. It proves they were both in that moment together, that it wasn’t something simply said in passing, just another joke, another quip, to distract Sara from Michael’s sleuthing around the infirmary. Instead of being offended at the doc’s insinuation that he can’t possibly survive Fox River, Michael basically says, OK, just for that, you have to go out with me when I get out of here (knowing it’s going be a heck of a lot sooner than his slotted five years). Sara, too concerned for his safety to laugh, warns him that this “charm act” is probably what’s getting him into trouble with the other inmates. Michael doesn’t seem fazed. Wonder why.
2. Episode 7 | Riots, Drills and the Devil, Part 2
“You needed help and uh, I came to find you.”
First off, I loved this two-part sequence of the prison basically going up in smoke. It was incredibly tense and action-packed and when the brothers finally find each other and embrace at the end: 💔 (It also featured a cameo from a pre-Walking Dead Abraham!) Michael had this whole thing planned out and, of course, it blew up in his face. All he wanted was a bit of a distraction, but everything escalates rather quickly. He ends up having to abandon the drilling site to rescue Sara who’s been targeted for gang rape, let’s be honest. He throws a hand down and becomes her lifeline, dragging her up into the ceiling to hide and tries to distract her with the prospect of 25 cent beers (which also comes into play later). He sets her free from the chaos (but not before giving her DAT LOOK) and she almost doesn’t want to leave him, knowing there’s a possibility he’s about to be taken out by a sharpshooter. You’re startin’ to fall, kids.
3. Episode 10 | Sleight of Hand
I love this one. Michael discovers birthdays are a sore subject for Sara due to her father’s absences over the years and does what he can to make her smile in spite of herself. It’s so stupidly sweet and adorable and then he leaves her the paper flower because it won’t die on her and DAMMIT, SCOFIELD. There’s also some sliiight wordplay from Sara with some brief eye contact and “I don’t like getting attached to things if I know they won’t last.” I was always sort of impressed with Sara’s refusal to linger too long on thinking of Michael as anything other than a prisoner. Because I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to resist that face.
4. Episode 11 | And Then There Were 7
“I thought you were a nice girl.”
The post-birthday scene where she acknowledges that she kept the flower because she’s a packrat, implying it doesn’t mean anything. He should see her apartment, after all. Then the ol’ “nice girls finish last” conversation. Then there’s DAT LOOK again. Just more subtle flirting, but Michael’s so cheeky, it makes me smile. The most important part of the episode actually comes later, after Sara discovers that he’s married and she confronts him about it, asking him to man up and put all his cards on the table. She acknowledges that she’s been enjoying the flirtation and that makes her nervous, because she’s usually careful and around him, she’s not. He assures her that all her questions about him have answers, but her guard is officially back up and his disappointment is pretty obvious.
5. Episode 19 | The Key
“Wait for me.”
After a brief pondering of “What if?” and an even briefer hand-holding, Michael’s plot thickens and most of their interactions are strictly doctor-inmate. She has to be present during Lincoln’s would-be execution, she treats his burn, she tries to gently bring him back from the brink when he puts himself in psych. But she’s still thinking about him. She’s admitted to Katie that she finds him attractive, that something about him just doesn’t “fit the profile.” She wants to help him. She thinks he may be the one guy in there she can actually get to and make a difference with. Her heart is in the right place, she just has no idea how badly she’s the one he needs to get to. He’s got a plan, he just needs one final piece: her keys.
You can see him struggling to figure out what to do in those moments. Does he try to steal them? Does he kiss her solely as a distraction and snake them from her pocket? He’s got this look of steely resolve on his face as he leans in and you know he’s just kissing her because he wants to. And then:
“What do you want from me, Michael?” It’s the one question he actually has an answer to. “I need you to do something for me.” But the truth would send her running directly to the people with the power to completely unravel everything he’s been working toward. What comes next can be interpreted as a desperate attempt to soften her up or an honest admission of something he’s been thinking since the start. Maybe both.
“It won’t always be like this. In this room. In this place.”
But she can’t. “We can’t.” And he watches the keys slip away.
Of course, Michael is never without a back-up plan and all goes smoothly until Sara figures him out and feels completely used, ordering the locks to be changed right in front of him. He has no choice but to come clean in the following episode and the look on her face as she finds out she was a part of his plan all along looks like it pains him. She asks if it was *all* an act. He insists he never wanted to involve her at all, but yes, at first he had to be there. Then, he wanted to be. With her. “And it’s killing me to know that you’ll never believe that.” He begs her not to make Lincoln pay for his mistakes, and then that’s the last they see each other before the season’s explosive finale. She battles with the decision, ultimately leaves the door unlocked and the path clear, the brothers and a hodge-podge of Fox River inmates escape, Sara overdoses, and we’re left wondering what the hell’s gonna come next in season 2.
Season 1 sets some amazing groundwork for their relationship though. Everything they have in the future was built solely on the chemistry they felt within the walls of the penitentiary, with Michael struggling to keep her safe from the crazy plan he was hatching while also wanting to spend time with her however he could and Sara grappling with the fact that she had to remain professional while all the while being thoroughly attracted to an inmate with a backstory she knew she really didn’t know much about at all. Nooooow it starts getting interesting.
Season 2 will be posted soon!