EPISODE 103 “Cell Test”

Airdate: 2005-09-05

Blood covers the yard department floor. Abruzzi smiles as one of his goons holds gardening shears. Michael’s eyes glaze over in pain, fixed on the ceiling. C.O. Mack barges in, demands to know, “What the hell happened?” Abruzzi tells him it was an accident. Two more C.O.s take Michael away as Abruzzi snatches up Michael’s severed toes, concealing them in a blood-soaked sock. Bellick marches in and confronts Abruzzi. “I thought you were going to have a conversation with him.” Abruzzi replies, “Things escalated.”The C.O.s drag Michael to the infirmary, his foot soaked in blood. Dr. Tancredi removes the makeshift bandage while Michael fights back tears of pain. “What happened?” Sara demands. Michael knows he cannot tell her the details of his dealings with Abruzzi, and as he struggles in excruciating pain, he begs her, “Please don’t make me lie to you.”

Sara finds Officer Bellick in the infirmary lobby and urges him to start an Internal Affairs investigation. Bellick tells her that it was only an accident, that Michael stepped on some gardening shears in the shed. Sara tries to press the issue, but Bellick smiles at her with an assurance that he’s taking care of it.

Michael rests in his cell bunk, his injured foot elevated and bandaged. The first signs of doubt and worry begin to creep onto Michael’s face.

The next day on P.I., Michael hobbles around, attempting to rake the grass around Lincoln’s pen. Lincoln rattles the chain link fence and threatens, “I’m gonna kill that scum!” Michael, though clearly in pain, calls Lincoln off. Abruzzi is a necessary player in the escape. Michael explains: Abruzzi owns a small charter flight business that operates from an airstrip ten miles from Fox River. They need Abruzzi to help them disappear. But Abruzzi isn’t the only person that they need to trust. They need to know if Sucre can keep his mouth shut, because Michael needs to break out through their cell. If he can’t get Sucre on board, the whole plan grinds to a halt.

Finally free from the SHU, Sucre immediately calls Maricruz from the yard payphone and starts leaving a suggestive message on her answering machine. Mrs. Delgado, unamused, picks up. A contrite Sucre explains that he can’t seem to reach Maricruz on her cell phone. Mrs. Delgado casually suggests that Maricruz must have turned her phone off while out with Hector. Sucre recoils at the thought of his girlfriend with the opportunistic Hector, but keeps his tone polite as he tells Mrs. Delgado, “I know you don’t like me, but I love your daughter.” Mrs. Delgado is unmoved, and tells Sucre that if he truly loved her, he would let her live her life. Sucre hangs up, angry, hurt and desperate to talk to Maricruz.

Lying in his cell, Sucre gazes at a picture of him and Maricruz. In the bunk below him, Michael lies down. He flashes back to his old apartment where he examines the intricate plans all over his walls. Amidst the drawings and photos, there’s a single post-it which reads “Cell Test.” Back in the present, Michael produces a cell phone from under his covers.

T-Bag walks up to the machine shop, where one of his gang brothers buffs a piece of metal. “I’m looking to do some damage,” T-Bag tells him. T-Bag wants a weapon that will not only kill, but will cause severe suffering to its victim. The gang member reaches below a cabinet and pulls out a jagged knife. “I call it The Gutter,” he tells T-Bag. T-Bag takes the blade, conceals it in a book and walks away.

Michael limps into visitation where Veronica sits at a table. She notices his limp, worries about his welfare, but he cuts her off and asks about the woman she went to see. Veronica tells him that her name is Leticia. “Leticia Barris?” Michael asks. Michael tells her that he tried the same routes to uncovering the truth behind Lincoln’s case that Veronica is now pursuing. He learned, however, that the whole conspiracy against Lincoln is a “bottomless pit.” Veronica tells Michael that Leticia was scared away before she could get more information, but she’s going to visit her today at the Elysian Fields Projects. Michael tells her she should bring somebody, maybe her fiancé. Veronica replies, “That’s the last thing Sebastian would want to do.”

LJ and Lisa sit across from probation officer, Jenae Conlin. Jenae puzzles over how a privileged, exemplary student turns to drug dealing. She mentions that Lisa has told her about Lincoln. Immediately, LJ darkens. Jenae feels that LJ has a lot of misdirected anger and intends to make sure that he doesn’t screw up his life as a result of it. She demands that LJ check in with her on a weekly basis and maintain good grades and attendance at school. LJ is happy to cooperate, but she throws in one more condition. “And to give you a real good idea where that anger of yours will get you if you don’t rein it in, I’m signing you up for the Saturdays Scared Straight program at Fox River. You’ll have a mentor who’ll work with you weekly to give you a little perspective.” LJ gets nervous. A mentor? Jenae replies, “Your father.”

During P.I. duty in the laundry room, Michael walks past Sucre and opens a small electrical box. Sucre watches as Michael pulls the cell phone from his pocket, wraps it in a towel and stuffs it in the box. “Tell me that ain’t what I think it is,” pleads Sucre. Sucre tells Michael that if a C.O. catches him with a cell phone, two years can be added to his sentence automatically. But as his thoughts turn to Maricruz, Sucre’s fear quickly turns into interest. “But, that means you can make calls whenever you want, right?” he asks Michael. Michael slowly walks over to Sucre. “I don’t like that look in your eye.” Michael tells Sucre to forget what he saw.

In Lincoln’s cell, Pope glances at a blank form. “Why didn’t you include any names?” Pope asks. Lincoln scoffs back, “Why would I want anyone to watch me die?” Pope implores him to think it over, but Lincoln says he’ll go it alone. Pope takes a step towards Lincoln. As warden, he’s seen people go all ways. But those who went alone, “deeply regretted it in their final minutes.”

Veronica enters Leticia’s apartment complex. She treads up the stairs and finds Leticia’s apartment slightly ajar. “Hello?” she calls. No answer. She pushes the door open, but Leticia swings around the door and trains a pistol at Veronica. “Don’t you move a muscle!” she threatens. Paranoia has completely overwhelmed Leticia since Veronica’s last meeting with her. Leticia accuses Veronica of working with the government, the same people who killed Crab. Veronica pleads for Leticia to drop the gun and just hear her out. She notices that Leticia is packing her bags; she’s clearly about to run. Veronica tries to persuade her to come to her office and to give her statement. Leticia is terrified. She’s not as strong as Crab was, she says. She can’t take these people on. Veronica vows to protect her and reminds her that she may be the only one who can save Lincoln’s life and avenge Crab’s murder. All Leticia has to do is make a statement, sign it and then Veroncia swears she’ll drive her to the airport herself. She can disappear forever.

Sucre walks through the laundry room and pauses. He looks up at the electric box where Michael hid the cell phone.

In his pen, Lincoln walks along the fence and sees Sucre in the yard. He’s talking to some other inmates in Spanish. It appears he’s talking about the cell phone.

On the way back to his cell, Lincoln kneels, allowing a C.O. to unshackle him. Lincoln sees Bellick down the hall and calls him over. “I want some extra time outside the next couple weeks.” Bellick sneers at him, wondering if the paint fumes from P.I. are getting to him. Lincoln is prepared to horse trade. He hints that he knows about a con who has a cell phone. That gets Bellick’s attention. Bellick agrees to give Lincoln an extra half hour a week outside. Lincoln rises from his knees, heads into his cell, and as Bellick prepares to lock him down, says “You know a con named Sucre?”

In visitation, Abruzzi sits across from Falzone who wants to know if Abruzzi has broken Michael yet. Abruzzi tells him that Michael just won’t crack and slides a small cardboard box across the table. Falzone opens it, grimacing slightly. “Are these his?” Falzone sighs, now seeing that Abruzzi has a challenge ahead of him. He needs to find “other ways” to get to Michael. Abruzzi tells Falzone not to worry. He’ll get the job done. Then the gate opens, and Abruzzi’s kids run to the table, “Daddy, Daddy! Did you hear the news? We’re going to stay with Uncle Philly at the lake for a few weeks!” Falzone stares at Abruzzi and tells him that he has the utmost confidence that John will, in fact, come through. Abruzzi looks at Falzone, disgusted.

“How are those bone yard visits going with that girlfriend of yours?” Bellick asks as he approaches Sucre in a holding cell. Bellick informs Sucre that conjugal visits are only for married couples, to which Sucre defensively replies that he and Maricruz are engaged. Sucre begs to keep his conjugal visits. Bellick assures Sucrre that he won’t take them away. “But in exchange, you have to tell me where the cell phone is.” Sucre plays dumb. Bellick gives him another chance to save his conjugals before they’re gone forever. Sucre bites his lip.

Michael and Lincoln are painting a pillar in the laundry room when Bellick and several officers escort Sucre in. They all steadily march towards Michael. Michael’s face tenses. Bellick stops. “Turner! Your transfer came in. They want you down in administration.” The two brothers exchange a look of relief as Bellick turns to leave. When the coast is clear, Sucre angrily approaches Michael. “All I gotta say is that I better get to make all the calls I want.” Michael replies, “Gonna be kind of hard.” Michael pulls out the phone and hands it to Sucre. Sucre looks puzzled, and then snaps the phone in half. It was a sculpted and painted bar of soap. “Soap? I lost my conjugals over soap?” Sucre flicks the pieces at Michael. Michael tells Sucre that they’re planning to break out and that he had to test Sucre to see if they could trust him. Sucre is out of his mind with anger. Not only does he want no part of an escape plan, but Sucre threatens that if Michael continues to dig in their cell, he will split Michael’s wig.

Having successfully coaxed Leticia to her office, Veronica sits at her computer, poised to record Leticia’s testimony. She describes a man in a white cap who came to Crab’s door to do “big business.” White Cap, Leticia remembers, was not the kind of low-life Crab usually dealt with. Something about him was different. She recalls watching them go outside to meet with two other associates who in flashback are revealed to be Kellerman and Hale. She describes Kellerman and Hale as acting as though they were untouchable, “like they owned the place. Like they were government.” Veronica struggles with what government officials would want with a felonious drug dealer like Crab and how it would translate to Lincoln. All Leticia knows is that men who seemed to be government affiliated paid Lincoln’s ninety thousand dollar debt to Crab and the next thing she knew, Lincoln was arrested for murder and Crab was dead from a supposed “overdose.” Veronica types up the story, struggling to connect the dots in her mind. Still jittery and paranoid, Leticia heads to a nearby lounge to smoke a cigarette.

Dr. Tancredi examines Michael’s foot. She finds no redness or swelling; he’s healing well. But she’s still concerned for his well-being. “Michael, you understand by law I’m obligated to file a report if I feel there’s been prisoner misconduct.” Michael tells her that if she files that report, things could get worse for him. Sara asks him if he’s afraid. Michael recounts a story from his childhood, about how his brother helped him face his fear of monsters in the closet. His brother told him that you face your fear by opening the closet door and seeing that nothing’s there. Fear doesn’t exist. It’s not even air. Michael tells her that in prison, when you face your fear, when you open the closet, there are a 100 more doors, and the monsters are very real. Sara offers to send him to protective custody for his safety, but Michael refuses.

Veronica looks up from her typing with a start as someone walks into her office. It’s Kellerman, who introduces himself with a smile. He knows she’s looking into Lincoln’s case, and while he is sure they got the right man, he tells her that if she “comes across anything that could shed some light on his innocence, I’m offering my help.” Veronica thanks him guardedly and as soon as he’s gone, her thoughts turn to Leticia. She searches the lounge, but finds only a coil of smoke rising from a cigarette still burning in the ashtray. Veronica races out of the office and into the Chicago streets, but she doesn’t find her. All she sees is a man in a trench coat step into a car which proceeds to speed away. Just then, her cell phone rings. It’s her fiancé, Sebastian. He’s at the reception hall with the vendors. They scheduled meetings with the wedding planner today. Veronica cannot think about that now. She hangs up, her thoughts on Leticia who may have just disappeared for good.

Abruzzi and his cellmate, Gus, look down at Michael limping back to his cell. Abruzzi mutters, “We could cut off all his limbs, he still wouldn’t talk. Pain’s not the answer here. Maybe the Beatles were right. Maybe all you need is love.”

Michael returns to the cell to find Sucre packing his things for a cell transfer. Still angry, Sucre tells him that he’s going somewhere with a normal cellmate and not someone whose crazy plans threaten to ruin his chances of getting out. Michael begs Sucre to stay, but Sucre is resolute. “Fish, listen to me. I got 16 months. I got a fiancée to think about. I get caught with a hole in my wall, I don’t see the real world for another 5 years. I can’t do that.” Sucre grabs his belongings and pushes past Michael.

Reverend Mailor sits on Lincoln’s bed while Lincoln squats on the floor. Echoing Pope’s sentiments, Mailor questions Lincoln’s desire to exclude his family from his last days. Lincoln doesn’t want to cause anyone any more pain and wonders why he should ask anyone to be with him in his final hours. Mailor tells him, “It’s about how you want to leave this world. What is the last image you want to take with you? A stranger?”

In the mess hall, T-Bag glowers, concealing the jagged-edged “Gutter” beneath the table as Michael clears his food tray. T-Bag stands to make a move but is stopped by Abruzzi. “Got an issue with our little friend there?” Abruzzi asks. T-Bag blows off Abruzzi. He doesn’t need Abruzzi’s okay to settle the score with Michael. Abruzzi corrects him. “Everything runs through me in here.” T-Bag snarls that he wants Michael. Abruzzi replies, “Seems you and I have something in common.”

As the inmates march out of the mess hall, one of Abruzzi’s goons shoulders Michael and forces him through an open door leading to a vacant kitchen annex where Abruzzi waits. Michael steels himself, but Abruzzi warns, “Easy now, fish. Don’t make this any harder than it needs to be. It’s time we came to an arrangement, don’t you think?” On cue, T-Bag walks out from behind Abruzzi. T-Bag approaches Michael, “Gutter” in hand, preaching his twisted thoughts. “You know, I was thinking I was gonna gut you bow to stern soon as I laid eyes on you. But alackaday you look so pretty when you’re scared, don’t you? Maybe we ought to get the love out of the way before we get on to the hate. What do you say to that, Pretty? Maybe it’s time I lit up that leather once and for all.” T-Bag takes one more step forward, and out of nowhere, Abruzzi elbows him in the face. The goons grab T-Bag and beat him down. Abruzzi escorts Michael out of the backroom before the C.O.s arrive. “That back there’s my way of saying I know I’ve gone about this whole thing the wrong way. I’m trying to make amends here,” Abruzzi extends a hand to Michael, who pieces together the unexpected events with a quizzical look at the mercurial John Abruzzi.

As the inmates file out to the yard in their daily processional, Abruzzi asks what Michael needs from him. “A trade. You get me a plane, I’ll give you Fibonacci.” Abruzzi presses Michael further about the specific date and time of the escape. Michael holds the information back; he doesn’t trust Abruzzi that much yet.

Lincoln walks into the visitation cage, escorted by a guard, Louis. Lincoln asks Louis to take off the shackles and Louis says no, but Lincoln begs. “Ten minutes, please! It’s my kid.” Lincoln sits before LJ, the conversation is awkward. Lincoln tells LJ that he has to decide who should attend his execution. LJ squirms as Lincoln tells him how important he is to him. Lincoln presses his hand to the cage and asks that LJ do the same. Their fingers meet and Lincoln asks that LJ be there the day before he dies so Lincoln can see him, hug him one more time before his death. “I love you,” Lincoln mumbles. Tears well up in LJ’s eyes. “I’ve always loved you.” LJ blurts out that he doesn’t know if he can handle this. Lincoln replies, “Neither do I. But I don’t really have a choice. But you do.”

Veronica is late for a dinner out with Sebastian, who unsuccessfully tries to mask his frustration. Veronica rattles off her discoveries about Lincoln’s case, but Sebastian cuts her off and asks pointedly, “Do you want to get married or not?” Veronica says that she’s unsure and maybe they should postpone it for now. Sebastian counters with an ultimatum; if Veronica wants to postpone, then they should cancel it. Veronica sighs, then simply tells Sebastian, “I’m sorry.” “I’ll come get my stuff tomorrow,” he says as he walks away from the table.

In his cell, Michael flips open a hollowed-out book that stores his homemade allen wrench. Before he can dismantle the toilet, Bellick yells out, “Open on Forty!” Michael quickly conceals the bolt into his front pocket as Bellick swaggers in. “Scofield. Found you a new cellie. As luck would have it, I found him in Psych Ward. You were the only guy with an open tray, so…” Bellick is enjoying the moment and brings in a man introduced simply as “Haywire.” Haywire lurks at the cell door, clutching his possessions. “Oh, and Scofield. Just a heads up. Don’t make eye contact with him.”

In the yard, Michael walks along the fence near Lincoln. Michael tells Lincoln about Haywire. There’s no way they can bring Haywire into the plan. Michael will just have to work at night. “How far behind are we?” Lincoln asks. “Three days,” Michael says flatly. “I thought you said the margin of error was zero days,” Lincoln asks. “I did,” Michael says as he walks away.

Hale and Kellerman’s sedan creeps into a secluded clearing. Kellerman maintains a cool demeanor even as they open the trunk to reveal a bound and gagged Leticia. Kellerman instructs Hale to take her into the woods to dispose of her. Hale protests, but Kellerman is firm. Hale drags Leticia into the woods and forces her to the ground. Hale apologizes to Leticia for what he’s about to do. But before he can pull the trigger, a train whistle startles him. Leticia uses the distraction to get up and start running. Hale fires, striking her in the leg. As Hale approaches, Leticia begs for her life. Hale looks in her eyes, gun trained, but he just can’t squeeze the trigger. A gunshot rings out. Kellerman stands over Leticia’s dead body. He coldly tells Hale, “Pick up the casings.”

Michael waits until Haywire is quiet before he begins working again. He inserts the wrench into the bolt, but stops when he feels Haywire’s eyes on him. He slowly turns and, indeed, Haywire is watching him from the top bunk. Unnerved, Michael asks what Haywire’s problem is. “I have a neuroanatomic lesion affecting my reticular activating system,” Haywire replies. Michael asks, “What’s that mean?”

Haywire replies, “It means I don’t sleep. At all.”

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