Sunday, December 9, 2018

REVIEW: 'Escape at Dannemora' - Sweat Sees the Light at the End of the Escape Route in 'Part 4'

Showtime's Escape at Dannemora - Episode 1.04 "Part 4"

Excited by the possibility of a new life, Tilly tries her best to avoid Lyle, who is planning something special for their anniversary. Sweat makes progress on the escape route, but feels like he's doing all the work. Matt likes the arrangement just fine.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of Showtime's Escape at Dannemora.

"Part 4" was written by Brett Johnson & Michael Tolkin and directed by Ben Stiller

Throughout four hours, the audience has essentially been watching Richard Matt and David Sweat dig a hole. Of course, the situation is much more complicated than that. However, there is a strong sense of catharsis at the conclusion of this hour because Sweat has finally finished the tunnel. He manages to escape. They now have a path out of the prison. Plus, they have a time table as well. Matt is emboldened because he knows that it won't be taking years until he can escape to Mexico. It's just a matter of weeks. And yet, the majority of this hour is still devoted to Sweat digging his way to freedom. In that regard, the show has been very much about the process of this escape. It took a lot of dedication. It's absolutely terrifying in the moment when Sweat is confined to a tight space and trying to navigate just how far he has to crawl before reaching another place to start digging. That is a well-directed moment by Ben Stiller that makes the audience just as claustrophobic as Sweat. It's also easy for the audience to understand Sweat's frustrations with Matt because it seems like he is doing all of the hard work. He is the one suffering from sleep deprivation because he is spending every night sneaking out of his cell and digging his way out of the prison. Matt still sees value in the role that he is playing. He is essentially working Tilly. He understands that he has to keep her happy in order to continue her cooperation in this endeavor. He doesn't think it's likely that they would escape without her help. However, he's kept her involvement a secret from Sweat. He has told the entire plan to Tilly. That takes Sweat by surprise when he has a passing moment with her in the courtyard that proves that she is operating as a part of this plan as well. He always saw this as a two-man operation. They are the ones yearning for their freedom from this cage. They are the ones escaping to Mexico for a potentially better life. However, Tilly views herself as trapped in her life as well. She isn't happy with Lyle in the slightest. Neither him nor their son are aware of just how much she hates him. Everything he does is annoying to her though. She no longer sees any value to him whatsoever. As such, she's perfectly fine cheating on him with Matt and Sweat. They keep her happy. That's what she has to look forward to in her life. And yet, she is personally motivated to escape to Mexico because she views her entire life as being confining to her and her dreams. She believes that she isn't appreciated in any aspect of the world. Her judgment is being questioned at work with everyone making her feel like she is no longer needed or desirable. Of course, her judgment should be questioned because she's sleeping with inmates and helping them escape. She is compromised because she is willing to do all of this to escape to a better life. She sees it as a form of personal improvement. It's only because of this mission that she feels motivated to start exercising and changing her outward appearance. She is doing so in order to seem even sexier to her male partners in this plot. That's what she feels she has to do. And yet, she believes she doesn't have to do anything to keep Lyle believing in the lie of their marriage. Matt and Sweat know that he could become a problem that has to be dealt with. But that also puts an even more dire choice in Tilly's hands. This escape is becoming a reality. It will occur in less than a week. The inmates are counting on Tilly to serve as their getaway driver. They plan on ditching her in West Virginia. All of this goes awry somehow. It just means the remaining hours of the season are probably going to be more intense and dramatic than the hours that spent their running time showing the arduous process of digging the escape route.