Season 1 Episode 8

A Game of Checkers

Aired Monday 11:00 PM Aug 25, 1997 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • What a way to end the season! "A Game Of Checkers" is truly the climax of season 1...

    In this episode, the situation in Oz boils over and the prisoners take control of Em City. It is interesting to see the prisoners be divided into groups, when Kareem Said forms a council, consisting of Ross, Adebisi, O'Reilly and Alvarez. The inmates take 8 prisoners and make a list of demands. Kareem Said is the only one with a gun, so he is considered a threat by the other inmates. It doesn't take long for Adebisi to run out of heroin and as he starts stirring up trouble whilst looking for drugs, he and his group are tied up, leaving just Ross, Alvarez and O'Reilly to deal with Said. Augustus manages to convince Jackson Vayhue to take the wounded cello player out of Em City. Tim McManus puts his own life in danger, when he trades himself for two wounded prisoners. The already chaotic situation goes from bad to worse, when Governor Devlin orders a SORT Team to take back Oz and basicaly gives them the green light to shoot at anything that moves. If this show were still on TV, the level of curiosity at the end of the episode would be simply unbearable.
  • This episode concerns an allmighty cell block riot that the first season was building up to. It is exactly the kind of spectacular episode it is appropriate to end a season on.

    To review this episode you have to briefly go back a few steps. Both the prisoners and the prison staff have been mentioning a potential riot all through the season. In fact Kareem Said tells McManus and Glynn that he could take the prison any time he wanted. This has built up the expectation to the viewer that something major is going to go down in the season finale. It doesn't dissapoint. The riot kicks off within the first 10 minutes off the epsiode and the way it develops is very believable, starting off as a scuffle over a game of checkers (the game the title refers to), other inmates get involved, the CO's try and break it up and one of them gets hit, from there in all hell breaks loose. The prisoners eventually take control of em city with several CO's as hostages. The way the central characters react is reflective of their demeanour throughout the season. Kareem for example forms a prisoner commitee and suggests a list of demands, Adebesi is just basking in the 'fun' of it all, Ryan O'Reilly surprisingly does not try and use the situation to his advantage and is an effective mediator between the gangs and Augustus Hill attempts to help out an injured man he has befriended. What starts off as joy for the prisoners quickly spirals downhill as first of all their demands are not appearing to be met, then the homeboys start to fiend for some drugs as they haven't been coming in due to the riot. Shortly after this the lights go out and the muslims, who have been effectively overseeing the operation realise the riot team is coming in to take back the prison. They order the CO hostages to be put in a line in front of the gate just as the tear gas rains in and music plays as the team rushes in firing in all directions.

    The epsiode was fast paced with plenty of action, really getting your heart racing as the action unfolds.