While it's true each season of this show has been its own discrete story, it seemed to me from the previews that this season was going to be a bit more of a reset; still a lot of the same characters (although Natalie Zea, who played Winona, is gone from the opening credits; if it's of interest, she'll still be under the Fox umbrella on The Following), but not much attempt to tie up any of the stuff we saw last season. It's early to say, but this episode certainly seems to bear that impression out -- for example, in this episode, there's no Limehouse, no Dickie, and, sadly, no one from the Marshals Office other than, very briefly, Rachel. But without further ado:
As a hard electric guitar and the strains of AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" play, we open on a street so suburban it makes the musical choice rocket past light irony. A chyron helpfully informs us that it's January 21, 1983, and we see a deliveryman, with a practiced arm, toss a newspaper onto the steps of a porch still lousy with the sort of gaudy oversized Christmas decorations you'd sadly probably expect. The paper's masthead lets us know that we're in Corbin, KY (about an hour and a half from Harlan, according to Google Maps), and then a middle-aged man in a robe and pajamas opens the door in medias nags, as his wife is apparently up his ass for not having taken the Christmas lights down yet, and their practiced bitchery suggests their breakfast routine consists of too much coffee or not enough. The man returns inside and closes the door, but before we get to hear any further advertisements for the wonders of marriage, we see, reflected in the door's glass, a man plummet to the ground, followed by a parachute that apparently is not going to get a bonus this year. The man comes back out to find a grisly tableau -- the parachutist is lying on the ground, limbs twisted every which way and surrounded by not just his own blood and guts but, spilled out from a bag the hapless man was carrying, several large, well, bricks of some white powder. I don't know exactly what it may be, but if the guy was going to meet his end like this, I hope he at least dipped into the stash beforehand. And not to be all CSI: Cul-De-Sac about it, but if you notice, the guy is only wearing one shoe -- it may not be significant, but it does strike me as out of the ordinary. Unlike everything else about this, obvs. "Sherman" calls to his wife to phone the police, and when she asks what it is lying in the street, he replies, "Well, it sure as shit ain't Santa Claus!" Got a lot of the colors right, though. Also, you get new writers at the beginning of every season, so I'm just wondering if anyone on the current staff ever worked for Six Feet Under?