Previously on Prison Break, Lincoln Burrows awaits his fate on death row; his brother, a structural engineer convinced of Lincoln's innocence, gets himself incarcerated as well hoping to free his brother from the inside. Michael seeks help of his fellow prison inhabitants to execute his escape plans.
The pilot starts with Michael Scofield, structural engineer extraordinaire, getting a tattoo. We don't see the tattoo, but it'll be important later.
Michael then does some re-decorating in his apartment--he tears down a bunch of various newspaper clippings then proceeds to throw his CPU into the water below (I guess it was giving him trouble). I guess I should mention a little about the clippings. There's info on various people including: a mob boss named Abruzzi, the legendary D.B. Cooper, Lincoln Burrows whose final appeal was denied which means he's headed to the chair, a pretty woman doctor, plus info on diabetes.
After this redecorating Michael decides to stick up a bank and he doesn't do a very good job. So Michael pleads "no contest" which doesn't sit well with his attorney, Veronica or his nephew, L.J. He's sentenced to five years at Fox River State Penitentiary which doesn't seem to upset Michael too much, in fact he looks relieved.
Michael immediately gets off on the wrong foot with prison guard Bellick (this will be important later) and meets his cellie, Sucre, who seems like a nice enough guy, you know, for a convicted felon. Sucre must have been a tour guide or something on the outside, because he's happy to show Michael around. He lets Michael know that Abruzzi runs PI (prison industry) duty and then shows him where Linc is when Michael asks. Seems the two men are brothers!
We then learn that law-breaking runs in the family as L.J. is picked up for marijuana possession-2 pounds, in fact.
Then we're back to Fox River and Michael approaches Abruzzi, seems Michael wants to make himself useful and join PI (or maybe he just wants to be with his brother, Sucre told him Linc was also on PI). Abruzzi tells Michael to get lost and isn't impressed by Michael's skills at origami (important!)
Then we see some mob guys in a butcher shop receive photos of Fibonacci, the guy who put Abruzzi away.
And we're back inside the prison, specifically the infirmary where Michael is introducing himself to the nice lady doctor, Dr. Tancredi (from the clippings). The good doctor is the daughter of the governor (no idea if it'll be important later). Seems Michael has type I diabetes. When she leaves the room Michael departs with one of his origami birds-he tosses it into the floor drain.
Michael then gets to meet the Pope (at first I thought it was just a nickname for the warden, but nope-that's his name). Michael's meeting all sorts of people! Anyway the Pope aka Mike Hammer aka Stacy Keach needs some help with a mini Taj Mahal he's building for his wife. Since Michael's a structural engineer, the Pope figures he could help out. Michael turns down the offer-he doesn't say why, but I'm guessing he doesn't want to take time away from his origami, or his escape plans.
Then we meet two secret service agents: Kellerman and Hale. Hale is the nervous sort, he's worried about things falling apart for the Burrows execution and Kellerman suggests they meet with the bishop who just happens to be a childhood friend of the governor's. Long story short: the bishop is against the death penalty and won't back away from his beliefs, even though Kellerman resorts to blackmail.
Abruzzi learns about the Fibonacci photos, but the person who sent them didn't leave his name, but he did leave an origami bird(!). Michael's friendly conversation with Westmoreland (who might be D.B. Cooper and who might have 1.5 million hidden on the outside) is interrupted by Abruzzi and his thugs. Westmoreland beats it outta there as Abruzzi demands Fib's whereabouts. Michael wants something first, and the beating Abruzzi's thugs give him, isn't it.
So Michael is sent to the Pope, who wants to throw him in the SHU (no idea what it stands for-solitary something), but Michael bargains his way out by promising to help with the mini Taj.
And it's visiting day for the Burrows family. Not much here except L.J. really dislikes his father.
Then the bishop is shot in his bed. Next!
Dr. Tancredi is worried about Michael's blood glucose level. His body is reacting to the insulin as if he's not a diabetic-hmmm. She wants to run some tests.
So Michael approaches C-Note, the inmate in charge of pharmaceuticals and asks for Pugnac (which was mentioned among the clippings). C-Note asks for clarification (not a very good pharmaceutical salesman, is he?) and Michael explains it's an insulin blocker and hands C-Note some money.
Abruzzi lets Michael on PI and he and Linc catch up. Michael says he'll have money (shifty look over at Westmoreland) and people to help the two of them to disappear (another look, this time at Abruzzi) when they break out. He tells Linc he helped retrofit the place in '99-an under-the-table deal, so I don't think his name would be on the contract 'cuz that would mess everything up. Welcome to Fox River-run by Warden Pope-designed by Michael Scofield! Anyway, Linc guesses that Michael's seen the blueprints and Michael shows off his tattoo-he's got the blueprints on himself. From bottom of the neck to waist, including arms, he's covered. How much did that thing cost?
Now I gotta say this: I don't mind tattoos, but when they cover nearly everything (hello Tommy Lee!), I'm not too crazy for them. As much as I like seeing Wentworth Miller sans shirt, I'd enjoy it so much more if he wasn't painted all over. Just saying.
Michael kind of lays the groundwork for getting Westmoreland on board--the guys 60 years old and still has 60 years left to serve on his sentence. Westmoreland points out the racial tension simmering in the inmates and says a race riot is coming on.
Back in the cells, a shakedown is going on. Sucre tosses his drugs and tells Michael to get rid of the shank, but Michael's caught by Bellick (d'oh!). He hands the shank over and Bellick asks which side of the riot Michael's gonna be on (did they send out a memo about the riot?). Pope shows up, asks Michael if the shank is his, Michael doesn't answer, Pope decides he's a bad liar and sends Sucre to the SHU. Sucre doesn't seem to pleased about this, but if a race riot was coming, I'd think solitary would be the safest place. Maybe Sucre didn't get the memo. Pope is all, "move along" which ticks Bellick off; he figures Michael's "in the old man's pocket," which he kinda is. Bellick warns Michael that although Pope runs the place during the day, Bellick runs it at night. Doesn't he sleep?
Cut to Linc and Michael having a chat during chapel-boys, it's rude to talk during church. Michael tells Linc the infirmary is "the weak link in the security chain" (ahh-so he's just pretending to be diabetic) and he needs Pugnac to keep up the charade. He points out C-Note and Linc warns Michael about trusting a black inmate at a time like this. See, even Linc got the memo.
Michael's in the yard and trying to find a numbered bolt. It's in a set of bleachers, so he goes to work on getting it out. He's interrupted by a group led by T-Bag, a child-killing, hillbilly pedophile. T-Bag's not on death row because none of the kids he raped and killed were related to anyone important. That last sentence is merely speculation on my part. T-Bag mentions the upcoming riot (again!) and tells Michael he'll protect him, if Michael agrees to be his prison bitch. T-Bag's current Prison Bitch doesn't look too thrilled about this development, which Michael points out. T-Bag thinks he's got enough love in him for two girlfriends. Michael declines, so T-Bag tells him to get and to stay away from the bleachers.
Outside Veronica (remember her?--Michael's lawyer and Linc's ex-girlfriend) meets up with Linc's lawyer and asks about Crab Simmons, an ex-con who apparently could've given Linc an alibi.
Michael tries again to get the bolt and is caught by T-Bag just as he manages to extract it. T-Bag forces him to hand it over.
Bellick snoops through Michael's cell and finds a notepad with the words "Schweitzer Allen 11121147"-the number is the number of the bolt. Bellick checks to see if there's an inmate by that name, but there isn't.
Abruzzi then gets a visit from a couple of mob cronies. They're not too happy that he's done nothing to find out where Fib is. Seems Fib's gonna testify in a month and he could finger these lovely gentleman. The one guy (Philly) threatens Abruzzi's kids if he doesn't hop to.
Michael tosses T-Bag's cell, but he's not as sneaky as Bellick so he's caught. He covers by telling T-Bag he wants in and agrees to fight in exchange for the bolt. T-Bag lets him go and says Michael can have the bolt after he proves himself. C-Note watches this from the second floor.
Back to Veronica receiving a surveillance tape from Linc's lawyer. It's from the night of Steadman's (the VP's brother) murder. The tape shows Linc walking up to a car and firing into the front seat. Needless to say, Veronica isn't thrilled with this piece of evidence.
Bellick approaches Michael and asks if he knows a guy by the name of Allen Schweitzer. Michael says no.
After a shower (gotta get all clean for that riot), C-Note shows Michael a bottle of pills and nods him over-where C-Note's pals (everyone's got a gang in here, even Westmoreland has a cat!) grab him and pin him against some bars. C-Note's not too happy with Michael playing nice with the "Hitler Youth." He empties the pills into his hand and then tosses the bottle onto the floor.
Visiting day! Veronica is just as happy to see Linc as L.J. was. She tells him she saw the tape, but Linc insists he was set up. He tells her he owed Crab 90,000 and Crab was willing to erase the debt if Linc killed some dealer. Linc says Steadman was already dead when Linc got to the parking garage. He begs Veronica to believe him. So he didn't kill the Vice-President's brother, but he was planning on committing premeditated murder--just trying to keep things straight.
It's time for the bedtime count so the inmates step in front of their cell doors. Michael is looking pretty nervous, by the way. And here we go! The Riot! Michael is tossed over the second floor railing (ouch!) while people all around him are beating the crap out of one another. He's charged by Prison Bitch, they tussle and Michael gets the bolt from PB. But PB is not backing down! He doesn't want some pretty boy taking his place! Before he can rush Michael another inmate steps between them and stabs PB several times in the upper chest. Michael looks on in horror as PB stumbles over to him and collapses in his arms, begging for help. This is where T-Bag spots them and he ain't too happy. Guards toss cans of gas (upon further viewings I see the cans say "CS" which is the same crap they used on us in Basic Training) and the inmates disperse. Michael makes it back to his cell, coughing and sputtering the whole way (hey, buddy-I know how you feel). After some freaking out, followed by some calming down, Michael gets to work on his bolt.
And we're back to Veronica, who's meeting with Crab's old girlfriend, Leticia Barris. Leticia is rather nervous as she says people are watching them, the same people who set up Linc and killed Crab. Veronica says Crab OD'd. Leticia refutes this by saying Crab had a bad heart and didn't use the stuff, he just sold it. Convenient he died just a week after Steadman's murder, huh? Leticia flips out and scurries away. Seems Hale and Kellerman were checking out the ladies.
Kellerman then makes a call to Patricia Wettig (currently residing in Montana), or maybe she's just a woman auditioning for her own show on the Food Network. As she goes to town on some defenseless vegies (and as a couple of kids scamper in the background) she chastises Kellerman for letting Veronica get in the way. Everyone's expendable!
Michael's succeeded in turning the bolt into an allen wrench which fits into the bolts on the back part of the toilet and sink (courtesy of the Schweitzer plumbing co.). Afterwards C-Note gives him the Pugnac and not a moment too soon, 'cuz Michael's due for tests in the infirmary. The tests show he's diabetic, so score one for C-Note!
As he's heading back to the yard, Bellick walks him to the garden shed where he's got a date with Abruzzi (Michael, not Bellick). Bellick makes himself scarce as Abruzzi asks where Fib is. Michael refuses to change his tune and tells Abruzzi he can't give him that info yet. So Abruzzi Thug #1 and #2 grab Michael and take off his boot and sock. (Left foot.) Thug #3 puts some gardening shears around Michael's toes and Michael doesn't look thrilled at this development. Abruzzi starts counting to three, but Michael refuses to budge. Abruzzi gets to "Three" and Michael braces himself.