Top 10 Episodes: Prison Break Season 1

Top 10 Episodes: Prison Break Season 1


Prison Break Season 1 is my favorite season of television ever.  Period.  I was absolutely captivated by the constant twists and turns each episode provided.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the series premiered.  Since then, I’m averaging one complete viewing every couple years.  Even now, it still holds up.

I’m the first to admit the subsequent 3 seasons weren’t the greatest follow ups. (Sona!? Scylla!?)  Furthermore, the…  movie…  You know what, let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist.  Season One stands alone.

Or does it?  Fox has officially confirmed a sequel ‘event’ series is in development.  What shape will this reboot take?  It may be a while before more details surface.  Until then, I revisited the incredible first season and counted down my favorite episodes!

10. Brother’s Keeper (April 3, 2006)

At first, Brother’s Keeper was a bit of a disappointment set 3 years before Michael is sentenced to Fox River Penitentiary.  Especially after an episodes that saw Lincoln narrowly escape death in the electric chair one episode prior.

However, the episode proved to be incredibly unique by giving us some much needed back story on each of the series’ main characters.  In addition to an all new perspective on Lincoln’s framing, we get to see more of Michael’s life before vowing to save his brother.

We also get to see tense scenes featuring T-Bag and girlfriend?  C-Note’s military history is revealed as is the beginnings of Sucre’s relationship with Maricruz.  Finally, we are introduced to Sara the drug addict.

This episode could have easily been labelled as ‘filler’ but it set the stakes for the remaining six action packed episodes.  A well executed calm before the storm.

9. Allen (August 29, 2005)

I often recommend Prison Break season 1 to people looking for a new show to consume.  My pitch is always the same.  If you aren’t hooked by the end of the first two episodes, this show may not be for you.

While the pilot did a phenomenal job establishing the obstacles Michael faces, ‘Allen’ does an amazing job personifying those obstacles.  C-Note, Abruzzi and T-Bag all shine as villains Michael couldn’t possibly predict or anticipate.

The final scene of the episode was directly responsible for igniting my obsession with this series.

8. Tonight (May 1, 2006)

How the hell can they possibly escape now? That’s a question you ask yourself during every commercial break of season one. And then…  Bellick found the damn hole!  If you invested in this series emotionally, that single event was horrifying.  With that, plans must accelerate for the Fox River 8 and the time to escape had arrived.  This episode was an effective setup for the escape fans waited an entire season to see.

We are also shown just how far Michael Scofield is willing to go to save his brother.

7. English, Fitz or Percy (September 19, 2005)

This episode was extremely tense as agents discovered that Scofield and Burrows are brothers.  With a looming transfer weighing on him, Michael stages a fake escape to figure out the safest route for the real thing.

The moment Michael got on that roof and calmly surveyed authorities response times was truly bad ass.

6. Riots, Drills & The Devil Part 1 & 2 (Sep 26 – Oct 3, 2005)

In danger of falling behind, Scofield turns off the heat and ignites a full scale prison riot.  This gives his team plenty of time to catch up to Michael’s timeline.  However, Sara’s trapped and a rookie corrections officer is being held hostage inside their cell block.

The resulting tension spans two action packed episodes that includes Burrows narrowly escaping an assassination attempt.  Easily one of the best episodes of the series because of how many plot threads they had to juggle.

5. Pilot (August 29, 2005)

The one that started it all.  What do you do when your innocent brother is about to die in the electric chair?  You come up with an escape plan, tattoo it on your body and rob a bank at gun point!

The concept behind this series was brilliant.  However, everything depended on creating a brilliant main character.  Michael Scofield is a problem solving genius who takes on a stacked deck with virtually no hope of success.  Unless you designed the place!

4. Flight (May 15, 2006)

The final episode of the season was bitter sweet.  The entire season centered on the escape plan and then suddenly, they were out.  The writer’s did an amazing job creating a believable escape while setting the stage for a second season.

There was never going to be a happy ending for this group but that cliffhanger was tough to endure.  As a result, I consider the first 4-5 episodes of Season 2 an extension of season 1.  Many loose ends are tied up before the main plot of season 2 gets going.

3. End of the Tunnel (November 28, 2005)

The winter finale.  I was in my final year of college when this show premiered.  My roommates and I watched every episode together and this ending blew our minds.  What do you mean you aren’t getting out!?

I remember questioning their escape attempt so early in the season.  Something has to go wrong right?  How about a lead pipe?

I was already hooked and then they made us wait 4 months to find out what happened!  Jerks.

Let me tell you what happened…  I graduated, moved to the big city and got myself an apartment with no cable!  I had to wait until the season released on DVD the following summer!

2. The Rat (March 27, 2006)

When the writer’s were planning this season, this HAD to be one of the ‘must have’ moments.  Lincoln HAD to be strapped into that chair at some point.

While the episode was extremely tense and exciting, it also reminded viewers that this was a story about brothers and family.  This episode combined with ‘End of the Tunnel’ provided one of the best 1-2 story punches in the entire 22 episode run.

1. Go (May 8, 2006)

Michael Scofield’s plan wasn’t perfect and he had to improvise but slowly he overcame enormous challenges and things fell into place.  It was time to escape.

Fans waited a long time to find out who would make it over that wall and the escape itself was thrilling to say the least.

I’ve watched Prison Break Season 1 from the beginning 5 or 6 times now and it’s still amazing.  To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series, I watched it again on Netlfix this summer.  One episode on every lunch break for 22 straight shifts.


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