Oz
Dead Man Talking

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Aaron: B- | Grade It Now!
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Do you shiv or swallow?

I guess I always knew I'd end up here someday. I mean, it was bound to happen eventually, right? It's my night, it's my network, and God knows I'm guilty of whatever crime they sent me here for. But it's also my first day, and I'm still a little scared. So be gentle, okay?

Um…why are you heating that paperclip?

Prisoner number 03A-722: Aaron "The Recapper." Convicted January 5, 2003. Sentence: Eight episodes. Up for parole only if Sars decides to fire me.

We open with the obligatory Augustus Interlude, made no less annoying by the fact that he's now speaking from beyond the grave. In fact, he's actually even more annoying (if such a thing is possible), because the only time I ever really liked the guy was when he was interacting with the other inmates. My sole consolation is the tiny giggle I manage from picturing his omnipresent blue-screen background box being offered as an option on the Fisher family coffin wall. Despite the fact that I'm still less than a single page into the recap, I've decided to take a break and nip out to Blockbuster so I can rent The Edge and watch that scene where he gets eaten by the bear a few times. Now THAT'S entertainment. When I return, Hill is reminding us all once again that Oz is "the name on the street for the Oswald State Correctional Facility, Level Four." He then goes on to set up the new season's main thematic departure, which is that we'll also be hearing narration from various other deceased inmates. This week it's Jefferson Keane, played by Leon, who ranks somewhere between Iman and Ronaldo on my list of least favorite single name celebrities. Oh, well. At least it's not Doug E. Doug.

Once the pretentiousness is out of the way, we fade immediately to the toolishness, as Officer Murphy meanders down the first of many improbably darkened hallways to find McManus painting some sort of giant blue crop circle on the gymnasium floor. One would assume this might soon lead to the arrival of various aliens and over-hyped suspense film directors who would then quickly cart Timbo off to a galaxy far, far away and serve him as an hors d'oeuvre, but alas, 'twas not meant to be. Timmy describes his masterpiece as a "meditative maze," but if you ask me it looks a lot more like a giant bull's-eye, presumably intended to making aiming easier when attempting to defecate into the mouth of an abusive pod-mate. Murphy mocks McManus much more gently than he deserves, and Timmy responds by blaming the whole idea on the grief he's suffered since the death of Augustus Hill. Murphy affords this revelation the derisive snort it warrants, and then proceeds to over-earnestly opine (complete with a zinger from the show's trusty Wa-Wa Pedal Of Irony) that without actual walls in the maze, "these dinks are just gonna step over the line." Oy. Two minutes in and I already miss Edie Falco almost as much as Tony does.

Next we go to McManus's office, where he reveals that Augustus has left behind a mysterious shoebox with instructions that it not be opened until six months after his death. Joining him for the unveiling are Said and Redding, and Redding and I engage in a quick but valiantly fought battle to see who can appear to be enjoying all this the least. It was close, but Redding pulled it out in the end. I'll get him next time. You know what I like about this guy, by the way? He looks exactly like what would happen if Bill Cosby were ever to get hooked on crack. Sometimes when I watch the show, I like to mentally substitute the words "pudding pop" every time he says "tits." It's fun. You should try it. Timmy opens the box to find a cover letter (complete with voice-over) which explains that Augustus had a premonition about his own death, and decided to set down his memoirs and collected musings on a stack of legal pads that looks to be at least three inches thick. Heh. Leave it to McManus to have worse luck than Pandora. And can you really consider it a "premonition" when anyone with an IQ higher than Cyril's should have noticed that pretty much every single inmate in the entire history of Oz has already died in Em City? The most shocking thing about Hill is that he lasted as long as he did. Anyway, the letter also requests that Said and Redding read the manuscript and do whatever they think best with it. Which, if we're lucky, will involve them using it to wipe their asses. This particular subplot goes unmentioned for the remainder of the episode, so all you really need to know is that Redding refuses to participate, and Said cranks his Glare-O-Meter down to about a four and a half as he accepts his half of the stack.

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