A Game Of Checkers

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A | Grade It Now!
King Me, Asshole!

And just like that, the first season's over. Well, it will be in a number of hours, anyway. Probably a large number of hours. Lucky for y'all, it's still winter weather in England. In case you can't tell, I'm having a hard time getting started here, but I'm going to unscatter my brain now and do this. Right. Now.

I randomly paused the credits to write the above paragraph, and now I see I stopped right on Dean Winters's name. It's a sign, isn't it? ISN'T IT?


Hill tells us that it's not the actions of great men that shape the world. Casting an eye around the political landscape these days, I'm forced to agree. Prisoners march into Gen Pop, among them an eye-patch wearing Schillinger. Don't worry, Vern, I think pirates had plenty of anal sex too. We get the quickest Start-To-Title-Mention I can recall, as Hill tells us that "wars happen over a game of checkers." Ah, yes, the ever-absent metaphor. Schillinger has no reaction to getting a black cellmate as a hack tells him, "Goodnight, turd." It pains me to laugh at such an unsubtle joke, but: Hee. Schillinger looks surprisingly pensive, which is probably as good a time as any to cue his prisoner flashback, and I really do like how they interspersed these flashbacks throughout the entire season. This season was about as tight as Robson's ass during the spoon incident. What? I'm not toning things down for the season finale, people. We see a negative of two boys talking to an adult of color by a schoolyard fence, and then the picture goes normal as we see that the adult is selling them drugs. If you look closely, you can see Foreshadowing winking at Andrew. Vern appears out of nowhere, and as the shot goes back and forth from negative to normal, we see him beat the crap out of the dealer with a tire iron. The kids look a little disturbed at the vehemence of the attack, but Vern hustles them into his pickup (hee!) and drives away. "Prisoner Number 92S110. Vernon Schillinger." Aggravated assault, eight years, parole in five. Hey, 92 and 5 is 97! Is that important? By the way, during Hill's exposition there, we see Vern with no eyepatch, and he's now in the Xander Harris club. Well, Xander, Vern will have no problem gaying you up, if you're still interested.

Schillinger, eyepatch back on, tells Mukada and McManus that his sons, now almost out of their teens, visited him. He explains that the boys are living with his father, "the man who taught me everything I know about hate," and that they were high and ranting. Sounds like a lot of parties I've been to. I can't think of a clever way to fit this in, but I must mention that Mukada has a sign that says "Real men keep their promises" on his desk. Hee. It's just so earnest. I also must note that Sister Pete isn't in this episode at all. Anyway, Schillinger goes on that he yelled at his kids for taking drugs, but they just laughed. He takes responsibility for how fucked up his kids are, and says he wants to pass his parole hearing in three months so he can be there for his kids. Man, J.K. Simmons is good. He's selling a vulnerable Schillinger -- you want to believe the character is completely full of shit here, but you can't, and it's especially poignant knowing what ends up happening to Andrew and Hank. McManus speculates that if Schillinger comes back to Em City, he'll kill Beecher, but Schillinger says that if he wanted that, Beecher would already be rounding out a bridge foursome with Ortolani, Groves, and Keane. Heh. Ortolani playing bridge. "Four hearts? Fuck you!" McManus asks why he should believe him, but Schillinger explains, "You lose an eye, get kicked in the balls, get a face full of shit -- you become a different man." He smiles, and just like that, is back to Eeevil. Brilliant.

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