Season 3 in Sona, Panama is Season 1 all over again except this time it is Bellick, Mahone, T-Bag, and Michael who are in prison. The show’s opening montage reflects this change with shots of the Panamanian guard tower, religious motifs, and new characters.
The season premiere opens with Susan B. Anthony, a Company operative, putting on makeup and then shows Michael, Mahone, and Bellick in Sona witnessing a deathmatch between two inmates. Next we see Lincoln going to the US Consulate in Panama City to get help that would get his brother out of Sona while at the same time looking for Sara. We learn that there is evidence proving that Michael killed Agent Kim in self-defence from the gun found by the local police but all the money is missing, which makes the subplot about the millions anticlimactic.
Michael continues to adapt to life in Sona in the meantime while noticing how Bellick is reduced to a prison bitch. There are scenes where Bellick is shown walking around bloodied and bruised and wearing only his underwear begging for food with another American inmate. We later learn that he and the other inmate are reduced to doing menial tasks by the prisoners such as cleaning out latrines and warming the prison. The other American prison bitch is later killed by the prison guards when he tries to run towards the prison fences.
While adjusting to life in Sona, Mahone starts feeling withdrawal effects after realising he no longer has any pills to suppress his guilt over past actions. Mahone later confronts Michael about the irony of their situation and tells Michael that he was clever in planting drugs all over the boat. He also wants Scofield to help them break out of prison and claims he will confess all his crimes to the American court if they get out alive, but Michael reminds him they are enemies because he killed his father.
Michael later gets a visit from Lincoln who tells him he will eventually be transferred to a better prison and face his charges in America instead of staying in Sona. Later Michael gets a visit from a Company operative acting a lawyer who offers Scofield tools to break out, but he is refused.
Lincoln continues contacting the local police and authorities to find out what happened to Sara. He later gets a call from the police saying they found a corpse that matches Sara’s description, but it turns out to be another woman. In Sona, Michael, and Mahone along with other new inmates are sent to meet Lechero, the head of the prison. Lechero explains that Sona is currently chaotic prison that they see because the prison guards pulled out of the entire prison after one vicious riot and only watch the prison from the perimeter, which leaves all prisoners to their own devices. As a result of this chaos, Lechero was able to gain power and maintains order by having disputes settled in deathmatches around the prison courtyard.
After meeting with Michael, Lechero becomes worried that someone as brave and appealing as Scofield would be a threat to his current rule. Therefore, he stages a dispute with him with one of his henchmen by planting drugs in Michael’s cell and then having that henchman provoke a deathmatch to get Scofield killed. Around this time, T-Bag is sent to Sona and tries to talk to Michael telling him that he also was an unwitting pawn for the Company. T-Bag eventually tries to curry favour with Lechero to survive in Sona.
Michael is eventually pressured to fight and Mahone gives him advice to win, which involves fighting dirty. He later points out that Michael is the only way for him to get out of prison. As this is happening, Bellick gets into contact with a James Whistler, who gives him food in return for placing pieces of paper in Michael and the henchman’s pockets before their fight. The rules for the deathmatch are outlined by Lechero: no weapons, just bare hands and only one person comes out alive.
Michael begins the fight by knocking down the henchman but is kept in the ring when he tries to walk away. After knocking down the henchman again he still tries to walk away while a few inmates give the henchman a knife to kill Michael. However, Mahone stops him in time and breaks his neck, pointing out the fight is over because the “no weapons” rule was broken.
In Panama City, Lincoln gets a call from LJ, who mysteriously tells him to meet him in the Garfield building. Arriving at the Garfield building, he meets Susan B. Anthony, the operative seen in the beginning getting dressed. They chat and then she tells him to take a call from his son LJ.
We later learn that Sona is resupplied by the government with periodic exchanges of food and petrol in return for prisoners bringing out corpses of dead inmates. Throughout this episode, a girl, Sofia, had been constantly begging for the prison to bring out the dead inmates so she can claim them as a family member. The bodies are brought out by the guards land she examines each of their pockets finding a coded message from Whistler in the dead henchman’s pockets, which was also placed in Michael’s pockets before the fight.
The episode ends with Lincoln making another visit to Scofield telling Michael that he must break a James Whistler out of Sona in one week because the Company is holding both LJ and Sara hostage with a video clip proving the Company has them.
Next week’s previews showing Sucre asking Bellick about Maricruz, fights in the prison, Michael meeting Whistler, and Lincoln begging the Company for more time.