So here I am. The sixth, and hopefully last, person to recap Oz. I'd like to give props to all that went before me (or after me, depending on how you look at it), especially Aaron, who was a very good sport about all the dick, despite not enjoying that sort of thing near as much as the rest of us. I'm so psyched to do this, even though, karmically speaking, getting classic Buffy and classic Oz probably means I'll next have to recap Judged By America, hosted by Greta van Susteren, in which online poll results determine people's guilt and innocence. But for now, let's get to it!
Opening credits. Shackled prisoners. Guy getting the Oz tattoo. (Yes, I know it's Fontana. God, how could I not?) Headline stars: Glynn, McManus, Hill, and Said. Interesting to see who's billed as "also starring": Alvarez, Diane, Keane, Sister Pete, Schibetta (Nino), Schillinger, Beecher, Groves, and O'Reily (Ryan). Not, however, Gloria, Adebisi, or Rebadow. Jon Seda gets an "and" credit for playing Ortolani. Several shots from this episode are in there.
Oh, one more thing: I'm not going to describe any of the main characters -- it's too much effort for the one of you out there who doesn't already know them. Sorry, Mom. Kidding. I wouldn't let her read my Buffy recaps, much less these. But seriously, if you want to see pictures or descriptions of the characters, go here.
We open with several quick shots of the barbed wire surrounding the prison, and we meet Hill, the narrator who gave new meaning to the term "diminishing returns" over the years, as well as the term "GOD, SHUT UP!" He intones, "Oz," and we get a close-up of his smiling mouth. He's got some crooked front teeth. They're called braces, Hill. Look into them. Just don't insult the orthodontist, or you might end up like Robson. The camera pans back as Hill, whose dreads are much shorter than in later seasons, explains that that's the street name for the Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary. Two sets of bars open before us, and we zoom in on a group of prisoners, shackled to each other and straddling a bench. We see Groves's face behind the lead man, who's got his head between his hands. The lead man looks up, revealing that he's a bespectacled Beecher. As Hill goes on that Oz is about retribution, at the end of the line, an unidentified prisoner draws a shank from his boot and stabs a bandanna-wearing Alvarez. I'd like to say that many of the show's consistent themes pop up in this episode, and Alvarez being the first to take a shank is certainly one of them. Hell, we don't even know his name at this point, and he's already bleeding all over the floor. Alvarez grabs Beecher's leg as the hacks swarm and lockdown ensues. Beecher slams his handcuffs against the closing door.