(S01E06) Since Reaper made its debut, there has been a nagging question. It's great and all, but how is it going to hold up over time? The random soul to catch each week is fun, and they have done a good job with that so far, but it's not enough to sustain the show over the long term. The writers made some good strides last week introducing the subplot with Pa Oliver and the contract. And then they took a step backwards this week by resetting the Sam and Andi relationship.
That's not to say that this was a bad episode by any stretch. There was a lot to like this week. As we move through the season though, the bigger picture story is going to become more and more important. We're better than a quarter of the way through the season now, so it's worth bringing up some of those questions. The characters are introduced and we have a good feel for all the major players. It's time to make with some revelations.
Let's get Sam and Andi out of the way right off the top. Really, now that they had their little makeup, are we not in exactly the same spot we were in five episodes ago? Complete with a guy to make Sam jealous. Sam still has a big dumb crush on Andi. He's still Hell's bounty hunter. And he's still lying to her about that. So, in the coming weeks I suppose we can expect to see his bounty hunting gig getting in the way of their relationship, causing a problem, rinse, repeat. I'm now firmly in the "just tell her" camp. Luckily, that minor annoyance was the only thing not to like about this episode.
With the bad part of the story out of the way, let's jump right to the best part. Patton Oswalt as Leon. This was great casting. Aside from the fact that Oswalt is a great fit for the role of Leon, the therapy obsessed killer trying to change his ways, I think his fan base has a pretty good overlap with the viewership of the show. And even though he spent a good third of the episode as a voice emanating from a snow globe, he was still able to steal scenes. I loved the incessant return to analyzing everyone. "You ever thought about some anti-anxiety medication Sam? Or maybe yoga? Or journaling..."
Leon also highlights what was a rather refreshing script. Halloween as a holiday that puts all of Hell's employees on vacation, except Sam of course, opened up a lot of avenues. First, it gave an excuse for having Leon around for the whole episode. That was a nice departure from the formula of the earlier episodes. It also gave us a look at another side of the Devil. His little melancholy routine about the commercialization of evil, the Devil becoming a party gag, and Hell getting backed up was very amusing. I also like how he continues to play mind games on Sam, playing on all of his insecurities. As in the speech about betrayal being the defining trait of humanity. "Your friends will let you down, and the girl will always leave." Sam's new confidence at the end of the show, where he told the Devil he was wrong, could be an interesting development. However, I suspect that the Devil will quell that rebellion sooner, rather than later.
The big bad of the week, The Butcher of Ballard, got a bit of the short shrift with all of the Leon games going on. I was ok with that. Although, I did take minor offense at them perpetuating the stereotype of Seattle as a breeding ground for serial killers. That's as big a myth as the rain. It is nice to see that the boys are finally embracing the internet and not running to Josie's super crime computer when they need intel. The best part of the Butcher story was the interaction of Sam and Sock. Their little tiff as they chauffeured Leon around town to the strip club and the rub-n-tug was really interesting. Even as they bitched about each other, it was pretty clear that it was all going to be forgotten anyway. Something that was highlighted by the fact that Sock took the most offense at Sam getting the number of gumballs he could fit into his mouth wrong. And just how together the two of them are was shown when Sock joined Sam in the hole with the Butcher.
So, all things considered, another good episode. That being said, while I still think it's far too early to start jumping ship, six weeks in is far enough into our story to start asking some more meaningful questions. Kev compared the show to Scooby Doo last week. I can't really make a comparison to Supernatural, but I would point to that one as an example of how that balance of weekly stories and big picture plotting should work. Kripke and his team manage to juggle those balls as well as anyone.
|Just tell her, the sooner the better.||178 (65.7%)|
|I'm patient, but they need to get to it eventually.||68 (25.1%)|
|Never. Sam/Diane, Dave/Maddie, etc.||25 (9.2%)|