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April 16, 2014

Reaper: Leon

by Brett Love, posted Oct 31st 2007 12:30AM

Bret Harrison - Reaper(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.

Gallery: Reaper

Reaper - Ray Wise & Bret HarrisonReaper - Bret HarrisonReaper - Bret HarrisonReaper - Valarie Rae MillerReaper - Rick GonzalezReaper - Ray WiseReaper - Missy PeregrymReaper - Missy PeregrymReaper - Ray Wise and Bret HarrisonReaper - Tyler LabineReaper - CastReaper - Ray WiseReaper - Missy PeregrymReaper - Tyler LabineReaper - Valarie Rae Miller

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.

Which Sam/Andi camp do you find yourself in?
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%)

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Sean

Am I the only one who picked up on this? I think you guys are missed the last lines of the episode. "I can tell when you're lying to me!" Sam has figured it out and will be telling Andi in the next couple of episodes. She I think is not going to believe it until the end of the season when she gets in the middle of it becuase the Devil is going to put her there. I do hear you about how long she and Sam have been at it, but the end shows that she really does like him more than she lets on...I mean having an upset stomach because you're not talking to someone?! That is love people!

October 31 2007 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

I don't think that they are stereotyping our fine city here as much as the fact that the show supposedly takes place here in Seattle. Unless Sam is going to drive/fly out of town to catch the souls, they are all going to have to be associated with Seattle and surroundings.

As for it not looking like Ballard ... well of course not. It is filmed in Vancouver, BC ... where I swear there are more Seattle Police cars and American Flags than in Seattle herself.

October 31 2007 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dtrain

I loved this show when it started. But I'm giving up. It's exactly the same show every week - with a different bad guy. Sam has to find an escaped soul, he doenst know how, The devil shows up and is vague, his friends help him briainstorm, Sock makes some jack black-esque joke, Sam likes Andy, the vessel doesn't work, Sam Catches bad guy. The end. EVERY WEEK.

October 31 2007 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
George

Andi will find out about Sam's "Hell's bounty hunter" gig when her dead dad escapes from Hell and Sam has to take him back. Unless, of course, she turns out to be Satan's daughter. The only question is whether they'll use it as a sweeps hook or wait 'til the (not assured) season finale.

October 31 2007 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
George

Andi will find out about Sam's "Hell's bounty hunter" gig when her dead dad escapes from Hell and Sam has to take him back. Unless, of course, she turns out to be Satan's daughter. The only question is whether they'll use it as a sweeps hook or wait 'til the (not assured) season finale.

October 31 2007 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
derek

This show has become way too formulaic for me. The same exact get vessel, try to capture soul first time and fail and then try to capture soul second time after learning from first time's mistake story gets old. Why not stretch the episode so they don't have a first time failure and they capture the soul the very first time they try at the end of the episode? It's literally the same exact story structure every episode and my patience is getting thin.

October 31 2007 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dan

I'm equally tired of the Andi storyline--it just doesn't go anywhere.

I most look forward to Sock and Satan's opportunities to steal whatever scene they are in.

October 31 2007 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Will

I'm kind of suprised and don't quite get the people who are dissappointed and giving up on this show. I think it has been pretty good and I really liked this episode not only because I, too, an a Patton Oswalt fan (I really miss seeing him now that King of Queens is over), but also really enjoyed Ray Wises' Devil being depressed by halloween. I'm not sure what they could do to make the Sam/Andi storyline all that original, how many ways could it go? Besides, no matter how they play it, some people will dislike it. In the tv world in which "dancing with the stars" dominates the ratings every week, I appreciate shows like this. I agree that Supernatural has better writing and character development, but I'm going to stick with Reaper and let the season play out. Besides, none of the other 9PM shows interest me.

October 31 2007 at 4:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drake

It's sort of funny how they could care less if the surroundings looked at all like Seattle. Reminds me of Dead Like Me which was shot in Vancouver, complete with landmarks (Stanley Park) and streets (Denman and Robson) that are uniquely Vancouver.

The Ballard I live in looks nothing like the surroundings of the Butcher of Ballard's old slaughterhouse shown here (so comically obvious a studio backlot). Minor quibbles, I know... especially compared to the avoidance of any over-arching plot. At least Leon appears to be a demon that we'll see again (if the show's back nine is ever picked up).

October 31 2007 at 2:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BillS

Sam getting pissed at Sock's antics continued the trend of Chuck and Reaper being disturbingly similar (following this week's Chuck were Chuck gets pissed at Morgan's immaturity).

Still, best episode of the season. I'm a big Patton Oswalt fan, so I'm biased, I guess, but I thought it was hilarious. How do you pronounce Czolgosz, anyway?

October 31 2007 at 2:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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