Reaper: The Sweet Science
by Debra McDuffee, posted Mar 17th 2009 10:24PM
(S02E03) "No, I'm not growing a douche tag!" - Sam to Ben when he suggests Sam grow a soul patch
The only way I can begin this review is... yay Reaper! The first two episodes this season were enjoyable and got me back into the Reaper spirit. Tonight's episode raised the game; the writers went beyond hitting their stride and hit it out of the park.
You think that's too strong a stance for this episode? Come, explore with me, if you will, the finer points of tonight's episode....
Nina the demon
This character addition is a stroke of brilliance. World's above Ben's green card marriage from last season, Nina the demon girlfriend -- delightfully reminiscent of Buffy's Anya -- is making for some great lines, and some great storylines. First, the lines:
- Ben kisses Nina and says, "Tastes like pennies." She replies with, "That's just blood, silly." Ewwwww.
- Nina's delight in eating "torched cow" for the first time.
- "Wow, you are a horrible judge of character when it comes to women." -- Nina, to Ben when she heard the story about green card marriage
- "Don't worry; it's perfectly safe. Don't ever sleep next to it because it will give you nightmares. And don't ever make wishes upon it or get it next to a nuclear reactor. And then, just use a regular damp cloth to clean it." -- Nina, on caring for the hell geode gift she gave Ben
The Andi / Sock / Les Nessman dance
OK, first of all, Les Nessman was the news guy in WKRP in Cincinnati -- ha! So Sock's "evil genius" extended beyond creating a fictional employee so that he could get two paychecks. The best part about this whole storyline, though, is when Andi decides to play with Sock, and sink to his level, as Sam suggests.
Yeah, I suppose you could say Sock came out on top because he got money from Andi at the fake wake, but I say killing off Les in a toilet accident and calling in grief counselors from corporate showed that Andi is a bit of an evil genius herself. I think the manager gig may work out for her -- this is sure better than having her mad at Sam for some imagined slight each week.
He never gets old. From tempting the AA support group (and awarding the "cured" man with a bottle of booze!), to preparing the blow up doll for the Sexaholics group, The Devil put a whole new spin on recovery. My favorite Devil line of the night? "Punishing souls is like raising children. They need consistency and you can't reward bad behavior. They step out of line, you just have to give them a time out in the closet of abysmal agony."
This is where it gets really good. All along, I've sort of been longing for the soul storyline to take a front seat and tie into the characters' arc a little better, much like the spirit of the week stories do on Supernatural. That just says "tight writing" to me. Well, we got it this week.
When the soul throws the fight with Sam at the end, we get three important things for our characters. First, Sam realizes that not all escaped souls are evil. He can then apply this information to Ben trusting Nina, because he's "seen good in strange places lately." Finally, when Sam tells the Devil that the soul threw the fight, we get a pissed off Devil ("So in a way, you did something good. Weird, huh?") and that's always good for Reaper.
And at first, I was a little annoyed with Sam's bumbling. I mean, he's been capturing these souls for a while now, so when is he going to catch on and get smart? But if he had, we never would have gotten the growth out of this storyline, and that was important. I think it's going to be expected that Sam's an idiot about capturing the souls, and hopefully we'll get funny and meaningful out of it, like we did this week.
What do you think -- did this week's Reaper live up to my review?