Sunday, December 16, 2018

REVIEW: 'Escape at Dannemora' - Matt and Sweat Put Their Plan Into Motion Despite Tilly's Nerves in 'Part 5'

Showtime's Escape at Dannemora - Episode 1.05 "Part 5"

On the day of the escape, Matt and Sweat know the smallest mistake can derail their whole plan. When a stern corrections officer takes over the post in the tailor shop and fellow inmate Murder gets out of the Special Housing Unit, Matt seems attracted to the danger. Tilly and Lyle have a fateful dinner at an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Showtime's Escape at Dannemora.

"Part 5" was written by Brett Johnson & Michael Tolkin and directed by Ben Stiller

After several hours of buildup, the intensity that comes from the actual prison break of this story is on full display throughout this hour. It's so absolutely thrilling to watch as David Sweat makes his way along the route that will allow him and Richard Matt to escape from prison. It's such a fantastic sequence because it is shown as one continuous shot at the top of the hour. Those are becoming more and more common in the medium. But it's still so impressive from a technical standpoint as well. Plus, it's easy for the audience to get wrapped up in the excitement and uncertainty of this mission as the narrative once again points out just how agonizing this entire journey has been on the two inmates. Sweat took the brunt of that burden though. As such, he remains very careful in his behavior during his final day in this facility. He doesn't want to create any problems that will keep him and Matt from making their escape during the night. Of course, Matt has the exact opposite opinion. He suddenly believes that he is untouchable. He has found a way to break out of prison. That's so incredible. It seemed like a daunting task at so many different points of this journey. However, Sweat had the determination to escape. And now, Matt has the ability to do so as well. He is so appreciative of his friend. They celebrate together. However, Matt is also tempting fate by making all of these big plans for the weekend that would have ensured him coming to a lethal confrontation in prison. Now, the show hasn't always done a great job in making the audience intrigued by the other inmates in this facility. The conflict with Murder has mostly just been simmering in the background. But that also put a time table on when Sweat had to complete this project so that they could escape before dealing with the full consequences of their actions. However, Murder is released back into the general population during Matt and Sweat's final day. He is coming for Matt. The only way that Matt avoids that confrontation is by starting a race riot in the yard. That's absolutely insane. It's so risky as well because it could have triggered a full lockdown of the prison. That would have made it even more difficult for the two of them to escape. But again, the show makes a point in saying that these two were incredibly lucky. The system was so inept and broken that it never noticed that these two were digging their way out of these walls. Tilly and Gene both aided in the escape as well by recognizing that something was going on and choosing not to do anything about it. Gene is more oblivious than Tilly though. Tilly has a full understanding of the prison break. She has a vital role in the escape as well. She is suppose to pick the boys up so that they can start driving towards the Mexican border before anyone realizes that they are gone. However, this quick victory turns into immediate panic the moment that it becomes clear to Sweat and Matt that Tilly isn't going to show up. As such, they need to immediately form a new plan of attack in order to avoid getting caught - even when they take a moment to enjoy their new freedom.

It's so intoxicating watching Patricia Arquette's performance throughout this hour as well. She has always been the standout performer amongst this ensemble. She has made the audience see the complications of Tilly. She has endured and suffered so much. That made her willing to see the comfort and appreciation of Matt and Sweat. She had that desire. And now, she feels like such a mess because she doesn't know if she can actually go through with these plans. She sees herself as overly emotional and hormonal too. She can blame it on menopause. However, she also knows the stress that is currently going on work. She has wanted to escape this life as well. This hour makes it clear that things at the prison got just a little bit worse right before the escape. Matt and Sweat were carefully dodging Murder while still making it seem like they were onboard with a conversation. Meanwhile, Tilly had a new officer supervisor in the workplace who is very strict and follows every single order laid out in the rules. She has grown accustomed to a specific way of conducting herself on this job. And now, she and Matt find themselves having to be even more covert than usual. Moreover, Tilly is faced with a severe choice. She will have to kill Lyle in order to ensure that he doesn't compromise their escape. She has complained about him for so much of this narrative. She never felt sorry for cheating on him with both Sweat and Matt. She has zero tolerance for anything about him. He does seem like a relic from some previous time. However, she ultimately can't go through with the plan either. She can't slip the pills into Lyle's drink in order to knock him out. Instead, she has a panic attack because she knows exactly what's going on and she fears about what she has done. She helped Matt and Sweat break out of prison. She is responsible for that. She may not want to be guilty of murder as well. She may still have some sense of compassion for her husband. Of course, he foolishly leaves her at the hospital because he believes that the dogs need to be fed back home. That's not the priority at the moment but it's what he's distracted about. Tilly even enjoys the freedom of this massive burden being lifted off of her shoulders. However, it's still absolutely terrifying because the audience knows that all of this ends horribly for her. The narrative eventually has to catch back up to that sit down between Tilly and the Inspector General. That always warned the audience that all of this was going to go awry somehow. The first step is revealed here with Tilly being too nervous to commit to the actual escape. That doesn't matter in the long run though. It just proves just how fully she was manipulated by these men without having some greater understanding of the consequences until it was too late. That is absolutely devastating and reveals so much more to the complexity of this woman.