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October 4, 2015

Reaper: The Cop

by Brett Love, posted Nov 14th 2007 9:41AM
Sam, Ben, and Sock - Reaper
(S01E08) There are a few cheap and easy ways to buy me off as a viewer, and one of them is fun stunt casting. Bringing in Mitch Pileggi to play a washed up super cop that presents an obstacle for Sam is just such a thing. Really, that part of the episode alone was enough to sell me on this one. The fact that we also got a little something different from the devil, and a nice b-story with Sock and Ben and their quest to uncover Gladys was just a nice bonus. Of course, like my grandma always said, "Beware of writers bearing gifts." We paid for all of those fun things by once again being hit over the head with the Sam/Andi replay of the week.

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 start at the bottom and work our way up. So, Sam gets up the nerve to make his move and let Andi know that he wants her to be more than a friend. But wait, in Andi's crazy world view, that can only end badly, so no. Did we not already see this? How can it be only eight episodes in and we're getting repeats of this story? Rebecca made a great point in the comments for "Love, Bullets, and Blacktop" last week. It's time the show explored Sam's family a little more. We got the setup with the contract. We're all wondering just what is up with Pops and the missing page. Let's spend a little screen time there instead of watching Sam and Andi decide that, yep, we should just be friends because it's so important, all over again. I vote to either let Andi in on the secret or send her to extended management training classes in Omaha.

Ok, with that out of the way, the rest of the episode was just full of good stuff. I really enjoyed Sock and Ben's big adventure. It offered up a nice break from the regular format, and it gave us a little more insight into what the day to day is like for Gladys (Christine Willes). All things considered, she's pretty normal, except for the horns and that whole deal where she can control your dreams. That entire bit was very well done, from the dream itself, to the payoff at the end where she let's Sock know what she did. Gladys, one more thing I like so much more than Sam/Andi!

It was another outstanding week for the devil. I was as leery as Sam when he brought him in for the employee of the month dinner. Clearly, there had to be a catch. The way it all played out with the entire thing being a setup to screw over Detective Stafford was very clever. It also goes a long way to explain just what the devil is up to. There isn't any grand master plan. This is his entertainment, as we see when he explains to Sam that Stafford is simply his toy, and it's ok if he breaks it. The devil did get one thing wrong though, when he said to Sam, "Hey, I'm not Ted. What a dick." The devil most certainly is a dick. A really funny one, but a dick all the same.

As far as our case of the week goes, Curtis Dean Mays (Jim Shield) made for a good escaped soul. I especially liked the tattoo weapon angle. The peeling off of the barb wire and the fireballs were both well done. With the devil handing off an actual case file, there was less leg work to be done. Although, I did enjoy the Murder She Wrote...Book inspired cover for their trip to the courthouse. It was also nice to see Sam get to open up on Mays with the shotgun, even if it wasn't actually effective. We were left with one question hanging out there at the end of the show, in the form of Sam's actual employee of the month prize, the get out of hell free card.

Curtis also called to mind another idea that I don't think we've really seen Sam deal with yet. That being the fact that while they are bumbling through these cases people are actually getting killed. Ultimately, he is doing the best that he can, and doing a good thing in the process. But Sam seems like the kind of guy who would have some guilt over the fact that the killer walked in right behind him, and still got away.

This week might have been the strongest yet for one-liners. Some of my favorites;

Sock: Sam, I am almost certainly going to do something stupid. It's in my blood.

The Devil: It was very classy of you not to go for the crotch.

Ted: I will not have you doing the perp walk while wearing the blue.

Stafford: I'm gonna give you ten seconds to get out of here before I beat your face with a phone book. (with bonus points for Sock's tool kit briefcase)

Gladys: You have a pretty mouth... I'd like to kiss it.

And the line of the night goes to the devil. Having just forced Stafford to kill himself, framed him for murder, and sent him to hell, he turns to Sam and says, "You know what I could go for? Bloomin' onion." He's so random sometimes, it's hilarious.

Overall, this was another really good episode. The whole Sam and Andi thing is endlessly annoying, but Sam, Ben, Sock, and the devil are all good enough together to make up for that one shortcoming. The word on the street is that we have another four to six episodes to go before the strike puts this one on hold. Here's hoping that those four to six episodes will get us a little more info on what's up with Dad and the contract.

Get your guesses in early, what will the actual value of the get out of hell coupon be?
Priceless. It actually is Sam's ticket out of hell!144 (52.9%)
Zip, Nada, Goose Egg. Sam is just another toy.62 (22.8%)
Just like Gladys' Bench coupons, actual value 1/20th of a cent.66 (24.3%)

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sadly, i see sam giving andi the card (perhaps a belated birthday present since she gave hers back?). kill her NOW and be done with the misery she brings to us every week - although i did like the slap fight sam and the "boyfriend" got into.

i call it the "moonlighting" curse - all these funny/dramatic shows seem to HAVE to include some sort of romantic tension. some do it better than others (bones comes to mind), but on "reaper" it feels so forced and shoehorned in and all it does is slow the show down.

November 14 2007 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My thoughts on the get out of hell free card...

What if that's what all of these escaped souls used to get back up on Earth, to only be hunted & brought back. :)

That's a pretty damn good catch if you ask me. I love this show. The male-chemistry on this show is believable and that camaraderie is really shines over the overplay of the Sam/Andi thing. (And I am a chick that's supposed to LOVE that angle - got my fill with Chuck and every other show on TV.)

November 14 2007 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just now realized why I like Sock so much. He is the latest example in the recent trend of chubby, kinda cute funny guys. Seth Rogen is another prime candidate in this trend that I believe started with the great Jack Black a decade or so ago.

Anyway, this episode was hilarious. I've missed more than half this eps. this season, opting to check out House instead (and not belonging to the Tivo Collective). But I fired up the ol' VCR (remember those?) and taped House whilst I viewed Reaper. Good choice, if I do say so myself. While I too was annoyed by the Sam/Andi thing, the rest of the episode more than made up for it.

And I think the Get Out of Hell Free was legit. But I'll bet the Devil gets Sam to use it earlier than expected.

November 14 2007 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the card's legit, but there's going to be a moment when Sam has to use it to either save himself or someone he cares about (Andi, maybe as part of an ep where she finds out his secret).

November 14 2007 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OMG! When Sock and Gladys started making out I was laughing so hard I cried. That's the best laugh I've had in ages. My stomach still hurts.

My guess on the card? Sam will use it on someone else (PLEASE NOT ANDI) and the consequence of using it will be that he is eternally bound to work for the Devil.

November 14 2007 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know this is probably weird, but I have had a massive crush on Mitch Pileggi since the X-Files.

I almost fell off the couch when Sock woke up screaming from his dream make-out session! Best part of the night.

November 14 2007 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh and I think the Get Out of Hell Free card is legit. Of course I'm sure the devil will find a way to make it backfire. I think that's how the Devil works, offering you something real and finding a way to screw you over with it.

Andi & Sam are annoying. I'm bored by their relationship and I have no idea how the creators failed at that basic part of the show. Shows have successfully pulled people through seasons hooked to couples, and like you said...most people just want something to happen already.

November 14 2007 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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