'Escape at Dannemora': David Sweat proves to be the man with the plan as Richard Matt panics after prison break
For the first time ever, Stiller has left viewers wanting more, with the episode featuring the actual escape turning out to be less exciting than anticipated
The most recent and fifth episode of Ben Stiller's riveting, prison break drama, 'Escape at Dannemora', was perhaps the one episode that left a lot to the imagination. And not in terms of illicit, yet gritty prison room sex. For the first time ever, Stiller has left viewers wanting more, with the episode featuring the actual escape turning out to be less exciting than anticipated.
This was, perhaps, Stiller's way of keeping the sensationalized events of the Clinton Correctional Facility escape of Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) in 2015, real. Matt turns out a tantrum thrower, and Sweat, the unsuspecting leader taking charge of the situation.
It would be technically wrong to say Stiller didn't give viewers a warning about Matt turning out to be a total flop show once their plan started to not work out exactly the way they had planned it. For starters, there was a neat montage of Sweat doing a trial escape run and successfully managing to peep out of the original manhole that the duo had used in real life, and get a glimpse of the outside world.
In the process, Sweat comes off as a lone-wolf burrowing out of the tunnel the duo had dug for their escape. He does pretty much everything a meticulous criminal who has calculated their risks, would - all complete with timing himself and taking the necessary precautions of keeping his arms really tight to help him slither out of the manhole easier.
Even after he has successfully attempted the task, all he does is peep out of the manhole before quickly sneaking back in - a scene that could leave viewers on the edge of their seats, rooting for him, and practically begging him to not go back.
But sadly, our version of celebrating the brilliant (even though illegal) escape that could have been Sweat's is not realized; in the true manner of a leader, he goes back for his comrade, and all he does to celebrate is smoke the victory cigar that Matt got for him. Even though Matt agrees with him about that very night being the night to actually escape, all with a triumphant grunt of approval, by now Stiller's viewers are already hooked on Sweat to see what he opts for.
And, that's it; there's no other excitement and no thrill of a run and chase as the two burrow out of prison, except that one part where Matt gets briefly stuck in the pipe. Soon they find their accomplice, Joyce 'Tilly' Mitchell (Patricia Arquette) - aka the woman who supplied them tools to dig out of the prison, not there to pick them up as initially planned.
In the background, viewers see Tilly has had a panic attack and is resting on a hospital bed while the escape was happening. Now, if you've made it this far on the show, you'd know that it has always been Matt making the calls, crafting the elaborate plan, manipulating the gullible and pretty much setting up their path to freedom; but not anymore.
Once the duo is out of the prison and in the free landscape, it becomes clear Richard Matt is just a dollop of panic and a master of the gab. He is pretty much all talk and no action because when faced with adversity, it is Sweat who mans up and starts taking calls and offering suggestions.
Throwing on a full-fledged panic struck tantrum, Matt frets about a lot of things, especially about why Tilly isn't there, and whether they should steal a car or not. This is where Sweat rises to the occasion; he is the one suggesting they go back inside and wait for a little time until things have died down - or even go to the mountains and hide there until faced with more favorable circumstances.
The fact that Matt is being quite unexpectedly and uncharacteristically childish is highlighted further by Sweat's reaction to his actions. Sweat is driven by their motive and just wants to go without wasting time, ranting and cribbing about how things aren't the way they were supposed to be. So, once again, in a classic leader's tone, he just informs Matt he is going for a walk, and the latter is welcome to join him if he likes.
As the two set off on the road, lighting a cigarette and smoking it with the prison in the background, it gives viewers hope, perhaps a more exciting turn of events is in store after the simplistic escape scene. Maybe their life in the open, the ensuing $23 million manhunt and investigation, and the eventual downfall of them both - with Matt getting shot to death and Sweat getting shot and arrested - would be more exciting to witness in Stiller's version of the true story. As of now, it is clear why the two escaped inmates decided to separate after a few days of breaking out of prison.
Matt's unnecessary temper tantrums and lack of trust in Sweat went on even as the two were out in the open, trying to figure their way out. "He kept bringin' sh*t up, like, 'Oh, I'd rather die out here free' and this. I said, 'Why do you keep talkin' about dyin' and violent sh*t?" David Sweat revealed during his interrogation with law enforcement, adding that he said "we shouldn't be doin' anything other than what we have to survive." Yet, Matt "just started talking stupid," shared Sweat, also noting, "he would drink every time he'd find sh*t. What are you doin', dude?"
These revelations shed a lot of light on why Richard Matt is acting the way he currently is in 'Escape at Dannemora.' What is definitely crystal clear is that out in the open, the heinous criminal who was in for murder and practically ran the prison, was quite frankly an irrational baby about situations and circumstances, while Sweat was being the adult in the situation and actually being the one acting upon his brains instead of whims.