Sunday, December 30, 2018

REVIEW: 'Escape at Dannemora' - Matt and Sweat Clash as They Try to Evade Capture After Escaping in 'Part 7'

Showtime's Escape at Dannemora - Episode 1.07 "Part 7"

Matt and Sweat run for their lives as the tension between them is pushed to the extreme. Tilly gets out of the hospital and does her best to evade the authorities. But as the law closes in, all three are confronted with hard truths about who they really are.

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

These characters were never going to achieve their dreams of escaping to some wonderful life in Mexico. Sure, the audience probably already knew that going in because this is a real-life story that gained a lot of notoriety and attention a few years ago. But the show aspired to depict a deeper understanding to these people. In that regard, it's clear that their adherence to their fundamental characteristics doomed them despite just how far they got. This was a successful prison break. Both the Governor and the Inspector General marvel at how Matt and Sweat were able to get out of their cells to freedom in the nearby woods. They too see the determination it took to mount this escape. Catherine even commends Sweat for the various systems he created to ensure that everything continued to work out in his favor. She can see his strength even when he's laying in a hospital bed after getting captured once more. The media and law know that these escaped convicts are dangerous. They do represent a lot of tension and danger over the course of this extended finale as well. But it's also fascinating to dissect how they were also doomed because of their connections with one another. Tilly had a panic attack because she couldn't subdue Lyle in order to be the getaway driver for the boys. That didn't just subside after she was released from the hospital. In fact, it only intensified over a longer period of time. Sure, it's only just alluded to but she made multiple statements to the police. Every time, she offered up more and more details about her role in all of this. It led to her getting arrested. That news broke when Matt and Sweat were still on the run together. All of this concludes after three short weeks. Of course, it's also a massive manhunt that ultimately cost so much money for the state of New York. However, it also exposed some serious failings in the prison system that needed immediate reform. That became a priority for this area even if there is still the uncertainty of things having not changed all that much. There is the sense that justice prevails in how all of this concludes. And yet, the characters all believe that they are unfairly punished for their roles in all of this. Tilly is terrified by the prospect of being arrested and convicted herself. She doesn't want to be that person to her family. But it's also so fascinating to see Lyle and Kenny stand by her. They visit her in prison. They refuse to believe all of the stories shared about the relationships she had with Matt and Sweat. That may further play into the ambiguity of the situation. It took all of this for Tilly to realize that she still loved Lyle. It just took her being arrested to see that he is still a good guy who will stand by her no matter what. That's a quality that she really appreciates since she is facing multiple years in jail. That's the fate assigned to her because she had awareness of the escape plan. Gene got off easy because he could still plead ignorance. Sure, he is still just as culpable for helping get the saws to the inmates. But he's ultimately just an afterthought for this overall investigation as well.

The focus is primarily on Sweat and Matt as they go on the run during this concluding chapter. Their relationship almost immediately starts to deteriorate. Sweat continues to prove his worth by knowing just how careful they have to be in order to avoid getting caught. Things haven't been going according to plan. Matt just wants to keep blaming Tilly for bailing out. He wishes to see her as the reason why he isn't enjoying Mexico once more. And yet, he continues to hold Sweat back as well. When he has his freedom, he mostly uses it to enjoy life as a drunk. He may have the understanding that this freedom won't last forever. He will eventually get caught because the journey to Canada has proven to be extremely arduous. He gets stuck on a mountainside at the top of this hour almost getting caught by the helicopter flying overheard. He is also so reckless by drinking from a stream not caring about the quality of the water. Throughout all of this though, Sweat stands by him. He never once thought about abandoning his friend. Catherine notes that Sweat covered more ground more quickly as soon as he parted ways with Matt. He had the opportunity to leave the night before all of the chaos broke out. He could have left Matt behind in prison. Sweat takes ownership over the prison break as well. He's the one who did all of the hard work. In his version of the story, Matt was just along for the ride. He just happened to pay the ultimate price because of it. When he is eventually cornered, he is shot and killed. There is no hesitation by the state troopers either. All it takes is one shot to immediately eliminate the threat. He is only caught because of his recklessness too. Sweat and Matt are both intrigued by the promise of guns they find in an empty cabin. They understand the power that that gives them on this journey. Matt sees it as an opportunity to rob someone on the highway to gain access to a car. That would make this journey so much easier. However, Sweat still wants to see himself as a good guy who would never kill someone. He insists that he was wrongfully convicted of murder. That's the belief he holds even though he was very guilty of the actions he took back in 2002. That fuels the divide between them. Sweat runs as soon as Matt reveals his true colors. Killing is something he is more than comfortable doing. He isn't given that opportunity though. He is caught because he is too drunk to function in a way that allows him to survive. Sweat is caught because of the massive manhunt and a local officer being one excellent shot. It means he survives this entire ordeal. He just does so with two new bullet wounds and constant surveillance by the state. This ensured that he will die in prison. That's a fate that Matt wanted them to avoid. And now, it all comes to fruition simply because things went so awry as soon as the state realizes these two high-profile prisoners had managed to find a way out. Immediate reform is necessary to change the system as it has been laid out across the series.