EPISODE 115 “By the Skin & the Teeth”

Airdate: 2006-03-27

The clock on the execution room wall reads 11:58 PM. Only minutes before Lincoln Burrows’ execution, Bellick and Pope stand off to the side as two C.O.s strap Lincoln into the chair. Lincoln clenches his hands around the arms of the chair and breathes deeply as the C.O.s attach the final bolts to the headpiece.Warden Pope nods to Bellick to open the curtain to the viewing room, revealing Michael, sitting on the other side of the glass. Lincoln’s jaw tightens. He scans the people in the viewing room. An older man, off in the corner, removes a baseball hat to reveal salt and pepper hair. Lincoln squints at the man, a trace of recognition in his eyes. Lincoln quietly urges his brother to turn around, but the headpiece restraints restrict his speech. Michael can’t figure out what his brother is trying to tell him.

The C.O.s drop a black hood over Lincoln’s face and step away from the chair. The Pope checks the clock while another C.O. mans the switches that activates the electric current into the chair.

A telephone inside the execution chamber rings and the red light on faceplate blinks furiously.

Without warning, the C.O.s close the curtain.

Michael jumps to his feet, “What’s going on?” He looks to Veronica for an answer, but she has none. He steps closer the window and looks into the black, “What the hell is going on in there?”

Michael anxiously waits in the final visitation room with Veronica. Finally, Warden Pope enters, escorted by a guard. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am that you had to go through all this,” he offers. After another tense moment, the jingling of chains and shackles intensifies. Lincoln numbly pads around the corner, guided by a C.O.. Michael asks what happened and Pope tells him that new evidence has surfaced that Judge Kessler felt warranted a delay of the execution. Veronica quickly exits, heading out to get more information from Judge Kessler. Once she’s gone, Lincoln, still in shock, asks Michael if he saw the man in the room. Michael is confused by his brother’s question and says he did not. Lincoln moves forward and grits his teeth, “It was dad…” Michael says that it’s not possible. There were only a few people in the viewing room, Michael contends, and why would their father return now, nearly thirty years after he left them? But Lincoln is sure. He saw their father.

“Why is he still alive?” the Vice President furiously asks Agent Kellerman and Samantha Brinker. Kellerman tells her that new information has been leaked to the Judge. The Vice President and Brinker are quick to point the finger at Kellerman’s deceased partner, Agent Danny Hale. Kellerman counters that if Hale had given Veronica anything of value, she would have brought it to Judge Kessler during the appeal. Kellerman frankly implies that the leak could have come from The Company. The Vice President orders them to find the leak.

Peter Tucci, the Vice President’s council, and Veronica sit before Judge Kessler in his chambers where the Judge explains why he granted the stay. He received a folder with two pieces of paper inside. “One is Terrence Steadman’s autopsy report. In it, his appendix is noted as present and unremarkable. The other paper is an operative report from when Mr. Steadman was twelve years-old. The procedure was an appendectomy.” Tucci is suspicious of the evidence’s authenticity, Veronica wastes no time requesting that Lincoln’s conviction be overturned. The Judge says that he’s delaying the execution for two weeks while he analyzes the reports and exhumes the body of the Vice President’s brother. Tucci shouts that an exhumation is a drastic step, but the Judge defends that it’s the only way to be sure that the body in the ground is actually Steadman.

Michael stands at the phones in the yard. Veronica eagerly fills him in on the events that took place in the Judge’s chambers.

Back in his cell, Michael stands with his arm out the front doors, using a mirror to check the location of the guards. He has filled Sucre in on all the events involving Lincoln, and Michael tells him that he’s not going to wait around hoping that the body is not Terrence Steadman’s. If they have two more weeks, Michael wants to get back to work on their escape plan.

Pope stands in the door of Lincoln’s Ad Seg cell. He’s never seen anything like this before; Lincoln clearly has people you will do anything to get him out of Fox River. As the Warden turns to leave, Lincoln asks Pope who was in the viewing room for his execution. Warden Pope flips through a stack of papers and tells Lincoln, “those present were your brother and attorney, Dr. Tancredi and three reporters. Two women and one man.” Lincoln inquires about the man, Pope tells him, “Reporter from the Headline Press. William Prall. You know him?” Lincoln says no, and hangs his head, sad and confused. Pope calls for a guard, who shuts the Ad Seg door.

Sucre holds a mirror while Michael, shirtless, scans the tattoo on his upper right shoulder blade, looking for another way out. Sucre wonders why Michael didn’t just have “Route 66” hidden in the tattoos, and Michael tells him that he had to plan for contingencies. Michael thinks he’s found a new way out, but it’s going to be very dangerous.

Michael, T-Bag, C-Note, Sucre and Westmoreland, decked out in winter P.I. gear, spread salt over the sally port road and clean up the snow around it. After some small talk, Michael gets down to business. As they work, Michael tells them they’re still going out through the infirmary and starting in the guards’ room. Michael tells them the only way to get to the infirmary now is to go through the Psychiatric Ward. Unfortunately, Route 66 will only take them halfway there underground. The rest of the way, they have to cover on foot, above ground. C-Note eyes the three towers surrounding the yard. If they show their faces, they’ll be like ducks in a shooting gallery. But there’s no other way.

Back in their cell, Michael tells Sucre that he has to go back into the walls. He needs to find a way to the psych ward and see the pipes and sewers beneath. Sucre shares C-Note’s concerns about the towers, and Michael agrees. Across the block, Sucre’s cousin, Manche Sanchez, pushes a laundry bin across the catwalks. Sucre tells Michael he might have an idea.

The Vice President speaks at a press conference, she tells the press, “My family and I are more than dismayed by Judge Kessler’s decision to allow the exhumation of my brother.” As she speaks, Nick and Veronica stand by as a small crane lifts a very badly rotted coffin from the snow covered ground. The Vice President continues her passionate speech, saying it’s a stunt by Lincoln’s defense council to put a negative spin on the memory of a good man.

Veronica and Nick comment how convenient it is that Steadman asked for a “green burial.” It is very environmentally friendly, but also a great scheme for someone who wanted to conceal a corpse’s identity.

Sucre and Manche walk through the laundry room. Manche denies Sucre’s mysterious request. Manche wants nothing to do with it and fears what might happen if either of their mothers find out they got in trouble in Fox River. Sucre reminds Manche that he owes Sucre a favor. The two bicker back and forth, reminding each other of old favors, until Sucre pulls his trump card. “The donkey,” he says sternly. Manche is shocked that Sucre would stoop to that level and reminds Sucre that they took an oath to never tell anyone about that incident. Sucre threatens, “Don’t make me break it.”

Lincoln, asleep in his cell, dreams of the past. He is a small boy, walking with his father towards the grand entrances of Wrigley Field in Chicago. Young Lincoln and his father sit close to the field, his father tells Lincoln to watch a nearby pitcher who warms up before the game.

Manche does his best to slide into Sucre and Michael’s cell. Sucre sits up quickly and asks Manche, “You got it?” Manche gives a look to Michael to make sure he’s cool, Sucre says it’s alright. Manche slides a suit wrapped in plastic out from underneath the front of his prison blues. Sucre hands the package to Michael as Manche informs them that he’ll need it back by morning, otherwise the guards will know something is up.

The cons continue their slow rebuild of the guards’ room. Michael paces with a crowbar over his shoulder. C-Note and Westmoreland haul in some more lumber and along the way, C-Note drops something. Westmoreland picks it up and examines it. It’s a postcard to Iraq. C-Note snatches the card away.

Bellick marches around the corner of the guards’ room, en route to the front door. T-Bag, on lookout, snakes back into the room to warn the cons that trouble is coming.

“Let’s look busy,” Michael orders. C-note notices a small tear in the drywall, and picks at it. And that is just enough to worsen the problem. The cement hidden in the walls from digging up the floor begins to slowly pour through the tear. C-Note scrambles to fix the problem, but before he can, Bellick enters. He’s angry that the job has taken them so long to complete and tosses insults at the bunch. C-Note presses his foot against the tear, hoping to slow the problem, but Bellick singles him out and orders him back to work. C-Note does his best to hold his spot, claiming his leg is asleep. But Bellick insists that he move. Westmoreland shoves C-Note out to of the way and pretends to lay into him, “My problem is young con punks who don’t know how things work around here. Screw things up for those of us who do. Construction’s a sweet gig. You wanna clean toilets, be my guest. Otherwise, grab a hammer.” Bellick smiles, seeing his old friend Westmoreland light a fire under C-Note. Westmoreland’s foot conceals the slow flow of concrete, as Bellick leaves the room. “Close one, huh?” he notes to the group. But when he moves his foot away, the weight of the concrete forces the hole to expand and the concrete flows out.

C.O.s Stolte and Patterson pass Bellick on their rounds, debating about where an old football player attended college. When the two can’t make a decision, they move towards T-Bag, who is outside keeping watch. T-Bag quickly bangs his clipboard on the front door to alert the P.I. team, who frantically sweep the concrete into the hole in the floor below. Stolte asks T-Bag where he thinks the player went to school, but T-Bag can only muster a nervous “Not exactly sure there, boss.” The cons continue to shovel the concrete into the hole. T-Bag’s answer doesn’t help Stolte and he decides to ask the crew in the guards’ room. Just as he cracks the door and the cons freeze, T-Bag blurts “Ohio State.” Stolte pauses. “That’s right! He was a Buckeye!” Stolte closes the door and continues on his way with Patterson.

Sara removes a blood pressure cuff from Lincoln’s arm. She asks him about his stomach, and he says he’s a little nauseous. Sara notes that it’s understandable considering his situation. As Sara packs up Lincoln asks her. “With all that was going on yesterday. Heart racing. Head pounding. Could that all cause me to see something that wasn’t there?” Sara says yes, he may have seen spots or bright lights, but that’s not what Lincoln meant. He says he saw a person, someone who couldn’t have been there. Sara tells him that his hallucinations may be caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he’s a prime candidate for it. When Sara asks who it was that Lincoln thought he saw, he just thanks her for coming.

In the guards’ room, it’s business as usual. Westmoreland patches drywall next to C-Note, and quietly offers, “I’ve seen a lot of rackets in my time, but if you’re doing what I think you’re doing with those postcards…yours definitely takes the cake.” C-Note tries to brush the Old Head off, but Westmoreland is persistent. “What do you do? Write ‘em here, send ‘em to a pal in Iraq, have him mail ‘em your wife’s way?” C-Note grows increasingly frustrated with Westmoreland’s questioning. C-Note steps up to Westmoreland after he asks who “Dee Dee” is, he wants Charles to stay quiet. Westmoreland finishes by saying he know it’s C-Note’s daughter and family is the first place the guards are going to look once they break out…because that’s exactly where he’s going to go.

Night falls on the prison. Lincoln sleeps, again dreaming of the day at Wrigley Field with his father. Young Lincoln watches the pitcher closely, like his father asks. Lincoln zeroes in on his father’s favorite player, and the name on the back of the jersey: “Prall.” Lincoln’s eyes snap open, and he flashes back to what Pope told him that morning. “William Prall, you know him?”

Michael and Sucre sit in their cell. Michael explains that while the psych ward is their way out, it will be real easy to get lost. “When they built this place in 1858, the pipes were lead. A century later, they discovered lead was a health risk, so they went to copper. They never removed the lead pipes. Cost too much. There are thousands of yards of the stuff still down there. Then a few years ago, they switched to industrial plastic. Again, it was cheaper just to lay it over the old stuff.” Michael tells Sucre that if he makes a wrong turn, he won’t make it back by count.

Michael squats low and moves through the bowels of the prison until he sees his exit to the surface. Michael finally opens the package that was delivered by Manche.

Above ground, the sewer grate slides up and off the manhole. Slowly, Michael climbs up from the hole and replaces the grate. He is dressed from head to toe in a guard’s. Before Michael can get his bearings, a spotlight opens up and points directly at him. Michael quickly waves his hand to the tower, feigning a casual guard’s stance. The spotlight shuts off, and Michael moves towards the Psychiatric Ward.

He rings the buzzer at the front door, which pulls Psych Ward Orderly Sklar away from his reading. Sklar pushes another button which unlocks the door, allowing Michael to enter. Sklar comments, “I don’t believe my eyes. One of the blues, actually coming into psych ward.” Michael tells him that he needs to use the bathroom and didn’t want to walk all the way back to A-Wing to relieve himself. As Michael walks by, Sklar tells him that he’d rather deal with the “crazies” than the “killers” because it’s far easier to control the “crazies.” Michael replies by asking how to get to the bathroom. Sklar seems disappointed that Michael doesn’t want to chat. “Down the hall, through the door, make a right,” Sklar tells him. Michael moves down the hall.

Sucre watches the guards as they begin their rounds for count. He nervously checks his watch.

Michael slowly moves down a flight of psych ward stairs, clearly deviating from Sklar’s directions. He finds himself in the basement, which is packed with antiquated instruments and equipment. He creeps through the clutter, making note of his surroundings. He opens another door, enters, and closes it behind him. He stands in the old coal room. On the ground, he clears the rubble away from a panel that reads, “UTILITY SYSTEM ACCESS.” Michael grabs a handle with both hands, opens it fully, and looks down the hole. Suddenly, he hears the access buzzer from above. Sklar is moving closer.

Sklar finds Michael, making his retreat to the main floor. Sklar asks what Michael is doing in the basement, and Michael covers by saying, “You said, down the hall, through the door and to the left.” Sklar corrects him, and Michael quickly moves out of the old basement. Sklar then asks Michael, “Blue! Hold up!” Michael freezes, and Sklar continues, “Don’tcha still have to take a leak?” Michael smiles, and says yes.

A very decayed body is laid out on an examination table. Dr. Wasserman, the county’s forensic expert, informs Nick and Veronica of his findings. “With decomposition this extensive, the most accurate identification tool is dental records. We took an imprint of the deceased’s teeth and compared them with the dental records of Terrence Steadman.” As unlikely as it seems, Wasserman says that the dental records are a match. Peter Tucci stands nearby and thanks Dr. Wasserman for his time and smugly smiles. Veronica opens the door to the medical lab, where the Vice President is waiting. She coldly states to Veronica, “I hope you’re proud of this. You’ve gotten your pound of flesh. Are you done now? Or would you like to hurt my family some more.”

Michael moves quickly out of psych ward and slides back into the manhole.

Meanwhile, Sucre paces in their cell, knowing that the guards are getting closer.

Michael moves through the boiler room. Steam pours out from exhausts around him, and scalding hot pipes make the area a maze. A door opens close enough for Michael to hear and he does his best to duck for cover. C.O. Mack moves into the room, looking around. His walkie talkie hisses, a voice at the other end asks for his location. Mack tells the voice that he’s stopping by maintenance, but he’ll be back in a minute. Behind him, within arm’s length, is Michael. Mack takes a step back, and so must Michael, which forces him to press his right shoulder blade against one of the burning steam pipes. His face contorts in pain as he does all he can to not scream and give away his location. Mack pounds a couple of shots from a flask, and Michael covers his mouth to keep from screaming. Finally, Mack leaves and Michael pulls away from the pipes.

A C.O. turns his flashlight into Sucre and Michael’s cell. Sucre lays on the top bunk, faking sleep. The C.O. shines the light on Sucre, then on Michael’s bunk, now filled with pillows to give the illusion that Michael is there. The C.O., satisfied, moves on. Seconds later, Michael bangs his signal on the pipes inside the walls. Sucre jumps from the bunk, pulls the toilet away and helps the ailing Michael back into the cell. Michael, sweating and burned, tells Sucre that he has to take the guard uniform off of him. Sucre pauses, “It’s burned to your skin, bro!” Michael demands that he take it off, no matter what. If the guards catch him with that uniform on, the burn will be the least of Michael’s worries. Sucre slowly takes Michael’s arms out of the sleeves, then asks Michael if he’s ready. Michael nods, Sucre counts to the three, then rips the burned shirt off the wound. Michael releases a blood-curdling scream, and falls forward.

Michael regains consciousness in the infirmary. Sara is sitting at her desk, filling out paper work. She notices him waking up and asks him how he feels. The anesthesia made him groggy. Michael wants to know why he had anesthesia and Sara tells him, “We had to perform a procedure.”

In the Warden’s office, Bellick bends over and gets in Sucre’s face, “So you got so sick of Scofield’s smart mouth that you decided to deep fry him, is that it?” Sucre swears he didn’t touch Michael. But Bellick goes over the facts, and it looks clear that Sucre assaulted Michael. Warden Pope isn’t sure what to believe, and Sucre defends himself, “He was acting weird when we lined up for final count. He was sweating, you know? But he’s not a big talker anyway, so I didn’t think much of it. Middle of the night, I get up to you know, shake hands with the president, and there he is, face down on the floor.” Bellick still doesn’t believe him.

Sara gives Michael pain killers, but Michael’s only concern is seeing the wound. Sara asks Michael who assaulted him. When she suggests that Sucre did it, Michael smiles and simply says, “Sucre? No.” Michael then stands firm and refuses to answer Sara’s question about who did it. Sara sends Michael back to his cell, but then calls Katie, her nurse, up to the infirmary to show her something.

Manche panics as he looks through the scorched hole of the guard uniform. “What am I going to do now!?” Sucre offers apology, but it’s not enough. C.O. Geary marches in, “Hey slim,” he says, addressing the hefty Manche, “You got my uniform ready?” Manche begins to shift, getting ready for the worst. He tells Geary that he left the iron on the uniform for too long, and Geary angrily tells Manche that the cost of the shirt is coming out of his savings. Once Geary leaves, Manche throws the shirt into Sucre’s chest and demands to know what’s going on. Sucre tells his cousin, “Trust me, the less you know, the better.” But Manche assures him, “Now you owe me.”

In the Attorney-Client Room, Veronica finds an exhausted Lincoln. He asks Veronica if there’s any more news, and Veronica lie, “No. Not yet. The testing takes a few days.” Then Lincoln opens up about seeing his father in the viewing room. He tells Veronica that he used the name, “Willie Prall” and that he’s been having dreams about it. Veronica reminds him of how poorly Lincoln’s mother spoke of his dad, but Lincoln stands by what he saw.

Several monitors play back video from the courthouse during the night Judge Kessler received the mysterious paper work about Terrence Steadman. Samantha Brinker, Kellerman, and a technician watch the video closely. Brinker notes that the guy making his way through the halls is very skilled. He seems to know exactly where all the video cameras in the courthouse are, and he deftly turns his hat to conceal his face as he passes each one. Brinker points to one monitor, where the mysterious man slides a folder under the Judge’s door. “Can you blow that up?” she asks the technician. After a few moments, the monitor reveals the face of a man in the reflection of the Judge’s door. Brinker moves in for a closer look, “Son of a bitch…I know that guy.”

Sara removes a small, dark blue piece of cloth from a pile of bloodied cotton swabs with a pair of tweezers. Katie, the nurse, scrunches her face and asks, “What is it?” Sara explains that it’s a piece of fabric that she removed from Michael’s skin during the procedure. She tells Katie that it is certainly not the fabric that makes up the standard prison uniforms; it’s the fabric used to make guard’s uniforms.

“Open on forty!” C.O. Stolte barks out as he escorts Michael back to his cell. Michael enters and Sucre asks how he’s feeling. Michael peels off his sweatshirt to reveal the gauze covering the wound on his back. Michael holds up the small mirror, so he can see the reflection of his back in the cell mirror above the sink. Panic quickly takes over. Sucre asks what’s wrong, Michael gravely answers, “The blueprints, the ones we need to get from the psych ward to the infirmary. Our map outta here. They’re gone.”

Posted in Season 1.

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