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September 2, 2014

Reaper: Unseen

by Brett Love, posted Mar 21st 2008 8:01AM

Tyler Labine, Bret Harrison, and Jessica Stroup - Reaper
(S01E12) These are very interesting times for our pals down at the 'Bench. Reaper was noticeably absent from the list of renewals their CW overlords sent around a couple weeks ago. The Hollywood Reporter article that Anna posted about last week, talking about bubble shows, didn't do a lot to instill confidence either. It looks like it's going to take some solid ratings in the Winchester slot to bring the show back for round two. We'll get to that, and what was another very good episode, after the jump.

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

OK, first up, ratings talk. Last week the show managed 2.8 million viewers. To put that in perspective, the last new episode of Supernatural, airing in that slot, against similar competition, pulled in 3.2 million. I don't think that bodes well for Reaper. I'm remaining optimistic though, hoping that there is a measurable percentage of audience that just dropped the ball and didn't realize new episodes were back. If we are going to see a boost in ratings, it should be with this episode. Otherwise, 2.8 might be the show's level on Thursdays. And that is too bad, because it really is firing on all cylinders.

There was a lot to like about "Unseen." I'll start with my favorite part of the show, the continually evolving relationship between Jerry and Sam. They've done a good job building that underlying tension between the two of them throughout the season, and last week was definitely a high water mark. With that tension escalated, it makes their conversations so much more interesting to watch. You're just waiting for Jerry to snap and knock Sam back down a peg or two. The pair of them are just great together. Also, there is just something I find funny about the devil playing the Wii.

Along with that, Sam's new relationship with Cady is paying dividends. I was on board already, just because it knocked us out of the Sam and Andi rut that was threatening to trap the show. How it's all playing out though, is very fun. As soon as Jerry brought out the glasses, my first thought was, "Let's get a look at Cady through those specs." The veiled threats to Andi, the creepy snoring, going all Earl Anthony at bowling night, the breaking glass, it's all very weird. And none of it seems to point to happily ever after for our two lovebirds.

For her part, Andi was ok this week. Sure, she's jealous, and we all saw that coming. But I did like the little conversation she had with Sam where she warned him about Cady. She's doing the right thing, at the risk of alienating Sam. Fortunately for her, he was already headed down that path. I suspect that means we'll see a return to the Sam/Andy thing, but that's OK. By the time that gets set into motion we'll be kicking off a second season, and I'd make that trade. I put up with a hokey soap-opera murder story to get my second season of Friday Night Lights, so I'll work with more Sam/Andy if it means more Reaper.

Cady (Jessica Stroup) wasn't the only guest getting some play this week. In what I thought was a brilliant bit of casting we also got to meet the new neighbors, Steve (Michael Ian Black) and Tony (Ken Marino). I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. Phil Stubbs and Vinnie Van Lowe as gay demons? I'll get on board that train every time. That bit of the story worked on two levels. There was something off about the pair of them from the start, and I really liked the reveal. Little electric sanders. Like the kinder, gentler, Hellboy. Tony and Steve also served as a nice setup for Sock to be Sock. His insecurities bubbling to the surface, but then being overcome by their shared love of the Naked Chef and the Food Network.

Of course, those neighbors come along due to the new diggs for the boys. That's good timing. They needed a bat cave. The 'Bench does have a plethora of supplies, but they were spending entirely too much time there. This frees them up and offers options. Sock forcing the apartment on Ben and Sam fit in perfectly with everything we know about him. He clearly operates under the better to ask forgiveness than permission philosophy. I especially liked the details of things like the Leia poster, and the Ted dart board.

And in the spirit of Sock's beloved Magic Bullet, I have to toss out my own infomercial line, "But wait, there's more." All of that and we haven't even made it to the big bad of the week, one Herbert Scrim. With so much else going on, Herbert didn't get the same kind of focus that some of his fellow escapees have warranted. I'm giving the Reaper team extra points for this one anyway though. An invisible monster can be a tough sell, but I thought it was handled very well. The paint ball scene really sold it, and I loved the effect of their various paint colors swirling inside the Bullet.

So, where does all of that leave us? Crossing our fingers and hoping for a reprieve I think. I really don't want this DVD set to end up on my "Complete Series" shelf next to Keen Eddie, Firefly, Wonderfalls, The Lone Gunmen, Cleopatra 2525, Clerks, and The Dresden Files. As far as the show goes, no complaints about "Unseen" here. The only negative I have is the nagging voice in the back of my melon that keeps saying, "What about that page of the contract?" Whichever way the series goes, I do hope that there is time to get back to that part of the story before the show heads off into the sunset.

Where are we headed with Tony & Steve?
Sam is going to have to package them up for Gladys.20 (9.3%)
They'll be 'good' demons, and the boys will continue to be friendly with them.159 (73.6%)
Finding out who Sam is, they skip town.7 (3.2%)
It turns out that one of them is actually Cady's father.30 (13.9%)

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Nhex

Problem is this show went up against Lost, which has been doing great this season. Now that Lost is back in repeats, I'll be watching these first-run again... of course, since I'm not a Neilsen viewer, it won't matter.

March 27 2008 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nattyff

i really enjoy these episode, specially the introduction of the gay demons (great casting indeed!!!), hope they stick around for good!!!

March 24 2008 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Love

Ahhhh... Argus. You don't share my love for Cleopatra 2525? You weren't a fan of "Back 2 Back Action" featuring Cleopatra 2525 and Jack Of All Trades? Really? :D

March 22 2008 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

Really? Cleopatra 2525? Really?

March 22 2008 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ras Thavas

I really enjoy this show. The interaction between the devil and Sam is fantastic, especially now that Sam is getting more confident and pushing the devil a little.

If they cancel this show I suggest we "Jericho" the CW network. Everyone mail a sock to the CW network.

March 22 2008 at 9:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ras Thavas's comment
kickit

"Everyone mail a sock to the CW network."

HAHA NICE IDEA :)

March 22 2008 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kickit

Yeah, I think you're right Jayr2345 .. pretty sure Sam did have a brother.

I loved this episode.. but one thing about it that kind of bugged me during it.. was that if all these dead bodies were being found in that one park, WHY OH WHY DID PEOPLE KEEP RUNNING THERE? lol. I mean... if numerous bodies were found in a park near me, you could be damn sure I wouldn't be visiting that park anytime soon.

March 22 2008 at 1:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jayr2345

great episode in my opinion. I thought it was really different how the soul of the week was the lesser subplot this week. At first I thought that the new couple next door had some sort of connection to the escaped soul, judging by the fact that sam pointed out that they did a lot of charity work and then there was a charity run right in the middle of the souls hunting ground. Coincedence, maybe or maybe not. A strange thought hit me while watching the episode, didn't Sam have a brother during the pilot episode. Have they just made the brother vanish a la Family Matters. I wouldn't peg Reaper as the type of show to do that, but maybe he'll show up later and they will make some joke about Sam forgetting he had a brother or something.

March 21 2008 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jayr2345's comment
nattyff

if i recall correctly the brother was going to colleage in the begining (and i was a good one, but i can´t remember wich), so that's the reason why he isn't in the house...

March 24 2008 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kickit

I've really been enjoying this show since its first airing. Sometimes you just need a show that is fun all around.. and that is what Reaper does for me.

One thing that I've kind of been curious about, and kind of bummed about, has been that Sam hasn't really gained any "powers". The "Pilot" episode made it seem like Sam was going to get some powers, which would help him fight the escaped souls. But since that first episode, the only powers Sam has gotten have been the ones he gets in the beginning of the episodes as clues to the next soul he needs to capture. I was really hoping the devil would give him some powers of his own, and not ones that just come and go to give him clues.

I'm also kind of hoping for Sam to realize and/or have a conversation about how since he is working for the devil.. I would think maybe he doesn't have much to fear when fighting the escaped souls.. because even if they kill him, the devil would just send him back to do his work (unless you have to be mortal to be a bounty hunter, which is also a possibility). Either way, I'm kind of just looking for some clarity on that issue.

Great show, and nice recap :)

March 21 2008 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xnifex

Did anyone else notice that Sock was going to hold the Wiimote in his left hand when the power went out? Who holds the Wiimote/Nunchuk that way?

March 21 2008 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to xnifex's comment
Pop Culture Curmudgeon

Left-handed people?

March 25 2008 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Franklin

I'm not sure how I feel about this show. I really want to like it and after some episodes I think I really love it, but after others...meh. Fortunately for me, this episode was one from the former category, which makes me wish for a renewal, but I have to be honest and say that if "Reaper" gets the axe I probably won't lose much sleep. Don't get me wrong, I want it to be renewed, but I also want it to be better. It just feels uneven in terms of being entertaining.

March 21 2008 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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