<i>Prison Break</i> Prison Break

Prison Break continues this Friday, but only for a few weeks longer. Yes, after four seasons, it's time for Michael and Linc to finally catch their breath... or perhaps take a final one.

What's coming up as the action resumes with a two-hour return (8 pm/ET, Fox)? For one thing, there's the matter of the brothers' big and seemingly bad mama (played by Kathleen Quinlan).

"She plays a big part in the last few episodes," series cocreator Matt Olmstead shares. "A lot of secrets are revealed, and Michael and Lincoln are certainly shook in terms of who they are, where they came from. At a certain point, they're wondering if this is the truth or are they being divided and conquered, so to speak." 

The maternal meddling is followed by a mother of a twist. "We have a big surprise reveal," says Olmstead, barely able to contain his excitement. "I won't tell you who it is, but a returning character comes in late in the game, when the wheels are coming off, and he or she is either there to save the day or to hijack the whole thing for his or her own benefit."

That unexpected return, says Olmstead, "pays off very nicely."

Of course, Prison Break being Prison Break, a few bodies will drop before Episode 22 fades to black. And one of them is of such significance, the show's bosses had to fight Fox to take the life in question.

"There was kind of a polarized viewpoint over at Fox, in terms of killing or preserving a character," Olmstead tells TVGuide.com. "Once we made our pitch and turned in the script, they saw the merit in it. So they were completely on board."

While Prison Break's final salvo wraps up with a "completely satisfying," double-episode finale airing May 8, the studio also produced a stand-alone, two-hour event that, should Fox not opt to air it, will at the very least appear on DVD. Since the series finale ends with a four-year flash-forward coda, Olmstead says the stand-alone story "plays really well ... because it's kind of a jump back in time and answers some questions."