Last season recap: People yell and punch and kick and scream and make threats; Cloutier gets buried behind a wall, all Poe-style; Beecher doesn't get parole; Oz blows up.
Kick-ass to see Peter Criss in the credits; I was once a major KISS fanatic and he was always my favorite member (while others worshipped Gene Simmons's tongue or Paul Stanley's overly hirsute chest and collected tinfoil at lunch to create their own dragon boots, I was way into "Beth" and tried to do the cat make-up by myself one Halloween, which of course failed miserably and left me looking like that woman in Airplane). I think there's more naked flesh in the credits this season -- a slice of ass here, an expanse of abdomen there -- which I fully support, and say a silent thanks that, even if Oz may suck here and there, I've got one of the few shows on television that revels in -- nay, overindulges -- male nudity. It's nice to the see the cock getting some exposure.
As befits a season opener, there's a bit of explaining to do for the newbies; wheelchair-bound Hill begins his weekly voice-over by explaining that "Oz" is street for the Oswald State Correctional Facility, Level Four, and that here we can find a panoply of low-lifes, from murderers and rapists to drug dealers and racists -- the most common of criminals. But, asks our sibyl, what makes a man common? Or unique? Not winning wars, or awards (lovely enunciation here, I'd like to point out), but who he loves and who loves him (Hill here rolls behind a bunch of family photos, including one of an older woman who's dressed like the Gorton's fisherman in mourning).
End of monologue, beginning of badness. A bluish tint fills the screen, signaling flashback; a semi swerves across a double yellow line, signaling doom. Sure enough, a doughy guy behind the wheel struggles to stay awake, certainly under the influence of a potent pharmaceutical cocktail and exhausted after driving for 427 straight hours, as that's what truckers do. There's a school bus, of course, stuffed to the gills with gifted children on their way to a nursing home where they'll be singing songs and handing out freshly-baked cookies to wet-eyed seniors. The semi has two massive, gleaming oil tanks hitched to the back, of course, filled with highly flammable materials, or perhaps an experimental chemical that makes people age decades overnight…oh, wait a second, wrong preposterous yet delicate and subtle plot thread.