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April 18, 2014

Reaper: The Sweet Science

by Debra McDuffee, posted Mar 17th 2009 10:24PM
Sock and a grief counselor in Reaper's
(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
Now, the storylines. What fun we are going to have trying to decide if Nina really is trying to kill Sam or not. Lunging across the table at him with a knife, hitting him with her car -- really? Just accidents? And seeing a dead cow fall from the ceiling was just awesome. Jenny Wade, who plays Nina, is credited with 11 episodes of season two of Reaper, so we're happily stuck with her.

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.

The Devil
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."

The soul
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?

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Avi

No mention that the soul was Erik Palladino?!? He used to be on ER and it doesn't seem like he'll be in any of the final episodes. It was cool to see him in a show I watch again.

March 19 2009 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bruce

Definitely agree, best episode of season 2 so far! Lots of different stories, everything with Nina was great and the Andi as manager vs Soc story was even better! Here's hoping the writers can keep this up

March 19 2009 at 4:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
WhatI

Even though Reaper's tweaks for this season made it a different show - I agree these first three eps have been great - it's just too bad we're getting another short season with no guarantee of another. The demon-babe storyline is ridiculous, but I see where they might be going with this - which is cool. I also like that they opened up the storylines so that Sam is on a mission now - to save himself - however, if Reaper is to be renewed for another season or more, they're going to have to figure out a good way to keep up the fight without getting repetitive or giving it up. Good job Reaper! Now go get yourself renewed!!

March 18 2009 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
iannel

i laughed soo much last night that my boyfriend thought i was nuts. i got him to watch it though and it was just awesome! i loved sock's idea of training sam by shooting baseballs at him. and when he was hit from the side...there was ben. OMG! i love this show. it was funny as hell, but it also gives us a great moral story.

speaking of moral, i think the way to beat the devil is by doing good things. it's probably why allen keeps reminding himself of the 10 commandments/7 deadly sins to avoid being tempted. even steve (gay demon from last season) became an angel by doing good. so maybe sam is starting to figure out that to fight evil, he will have to do good things. sam might be an idiotic slacker and so are the other 2 stooges. but they truly care about each other (what attracted nina to ben) and also care about the people around them. except for sock. LMAO

March 18 2009 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brad

Showing not all souls are evil is a great way to advance the story. I predicted during the first episode that at some point, Andi's late father will escape from hell and Sam will have to capture him, destroying their relationship. I just can't wait to figure out how long we have to wait for that...

The only two beefs I have are A) where in HELL is Sam's dad?? And B) I know he got fired, but PLEASE DON'T LET TED THE HEAD BE GONE!!

March 18 2009 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jables

Sock makes the show IMO. Without him, Reaper would be meh at best.

March 18 2009 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
malren

This show is just a flat-out good time. I like the new season and look forward to it every week. Not much else to say for me other than Yes, please. More of this Reaper. I enjoy it.

March 18 2009 at 5:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MERVE-THE-PERVE

I kept looking to see if Sock was going to wear any band-aids like Les always did.

March 18 2009 at 3:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
catko

Loved it. Totally agree that the Soul had nice depth, and I hope they keep with that theme.

March 18 2009 at 2:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Papps

I really thought the writers have stepped up their game plan this season. These new episodes are injecting the series with new storylines, and taking a show that was just about capturing a soul of the week and taking it in all different directions.

March 17 2009 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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