Oz: Season 4, Episode 8

You Bet Your Life (30 Aug. 2000)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Thriller
8.0
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After Hughes' attack on Devlin, Glynn withdraws from the race. Miguel Alvarez is still on the loose. Supreme Allah receives an unwanted surprise. Hill pays big time when he tells Mobay he ... See full summary »

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Storyline

After Hughes' attack on Devlin, Glynn withdraws from the race. Miguel Alvarez is still on the loose. Supreme Allah receives an unwanted surprise. Hill pays big time when he tells Mobay he knows he's undercover. Meanwhile, Said does the unthinkable. Written by Anonymous

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Crime | Drama | Thriller

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30 August 2000 (USA)  »

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Trivia

After learning that local TV star Miss Sally will visit Oz, Augustus Hill exclaims, "next will have Seinfeld in here." This was an in-joke after Jerry Seinfeld starred in a sketch on SNL where his TV character was transfered to Oz. The sketch was filmed on the Oz set complete with several of the main characters. See more »

Quotes

[after witnessing an argument between Browne, Supreme Allah and Adebisi]
Ryan O'Reily: Ah. Trouble in Paradise.
Chris Keller: Yeah, but not any good to us. You know what we have here, O'Reily? A fan-dan-go. And we need to do something about it soon.
Ryan O'Reily: Hey, I don't like being in the minority, but what the fuck can *we* do? Even the fucking Muslims are kow-towing to Adebisi.
Chris Keller: We could detonate a few well-placed depth charges.
[O'Reily realizes Keller's plan and grins]
Ryan O'Reily: Whatever you need, K-Boy.
[they touch fists]
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References You Bet Your Life (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

Season 4.1: Continues the flawed brutal path of season 3 (spoilers)
2 February 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

For some reason I remember Oz being better than this current re-watching has proved it to be. Maybe it was the impact it had on the 15 year younger me when I first saw it (was it almost 15 years ago? Lord, I'm getting old) when I found this incredibly brutal show late at night. Maybe it is just a simple matter of everything seeming better when looked back at fondly – but I suspect the fault lies with me as the show is no different now than it was then, only I have changed. Re-watching it has surprised me by how weak some of the writing is and how plots don't seem to have much build – things I remember unfolding over weeks and weeks actually happen within 15 minutes in one episode and as a result are not as engaging as I remembered them being. It is still a decent show though and I quickly put nostalgia out of my mind and just focused on watching it now.

The third season got more balance and it must have done well in terms of HBO ratings because the fourth season returns with an extended amount of episodes – albeit shown in two parts, which is how I have watched it this time. As with the third season, this first half of season four focuses on the impact of the material rather than worrying too much about making it really detailed or accurate or spending too much developing characters beyond the level required to make the betrayals and plot twists work. This approach continues to work but it is very much a flawed model as it tends to rush forward like a train hoping that its momentum takes it over a rickety bridge before the weak supports give out. As such we get another brutal series of episodes where characters come and go in violent and frankly unfair ways on the whim of internal politics or petty revenge. The season benefits from having some good threads running through it, so it isn't quite lots of standalone violence, but not too much is well rooted. We see Oz change racially due to some leadership and political changes, we see groups vying for power in the light of this and there are additional threads featuring individual characters – all of which do tend to fit into the overall flow. So in this regard it works reasonably well and I found the stories quite engaging.

It does still have too much speed and too little groundwork for my liking though. For example, this half-season does have some really impacting plots such as Said and Adebisi's relationship coming to a violent head – but this happens far too quickly and while it is still shocking as a device, it doesn't quite as the power it could have had with more patient development. Additionally, this plot line shares a common weakness with many others, that being that logic (even internal Oz logic) doesn't seem to apply. So the scenario that sees Adebisi essentially running Emerald City doesn't ring true and the conflict between O'Reily and Nikolai is also built on the unlikely scenario of a nobody naïvely managing to walk into a prison term with a cell phone the size of a kettle in his pocket; there are other examples of this lack of logic but the season just about manages to surge beyond them, hoping (correctly) that mostly you'll be too focused on current events to spend long thinking about how they came to occur.

The cast fit this rather superficial approach because they manage to give good performances without ever having to reach down too deep. There are good performances and memorable performances but the majority of the cast focus on having a tough presence and delivering the language, nudity and violence, which is as the material demands. Perrineau has the best of the material because his narrated asides are always inventive and interesting (or at least they are when compared to the normal material). Tergesen continues to carry emotional weight with him but isn't totally up to it (or given the space he needs). I like Winters, Walker, Acevedo, Simmons and Akinnuoye-Agbaje though, they do their characters well. This season, more than the previous one, sees a veritable parade of actors who would late feature in The Wire – it is a little distracting to see so many of them, not to mention those from Dexter and other high profile shows appearing in clumps.

The first half of the fourth season served to confirm the weaknesses of Oz to me and overwrite my memory from my first viewing, but it did remind me of how it was enjoyable and impacting on its own terms. There are some good threads here and lots of smaller stuff around these which also work. Mostly it is brutal and impacting for that, but I just wish it had more content and a bit more patience in developing and delivering the various betrayals and twists.


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