The number 13 is often considered unlucky. But I felt lucky to have watched this, the 13th overall episode of Reaper. For all intents and purposes, the show actually started tonight, in the final five minutes, with something I’ve craved all along: an actual overarching plot. If everything before was setup, everything after will be payoff. (Assuming, of course, that the plot set in motion in those five minutes has a chance to reach fruition before the show’s cancellation. OK, now I’m a bit depressed. Onto a bubble-filled recap!)
The demon of the week, the titular "Acid Queen," was in many ways merely a MacGuffin: a plot device that simply served to advance the story. The story in question? Sam’s first steps towards beating the devil. The device? Putting Andi in direct harm’s way as a result of his status as Reaper.
Until now, Andi’s existed on the periphery, there as a sidebar to the main action of the show (Sam’s soul-catching adventures). There was some initial intrigue concerning the history between Andi’s mom and Sam’s father (hinting at a sordid past potentially resulting in Sam’s current occupation), but other than that, she’s remained oblivious and, most importantly, untouched by Sam’s newfound responsibilities.
That all changed with the car crash and subsequent hospitalization. To watch Sam’s demeanor as he walked away from the Devil in the hospital was to watch a man who had fundamentally turned a corner in his life. I’ve complained over the last two weeks about the static nature in the relationship between the Devil and Sam: clearly, the show wasn’t too fond of it either. And only through Andi’s injuries could the show give Sam a compelling reason to change the status quo.
Color me also chastened with Steve and Tony, characters whose introduction gave me pause last week. As a gay demon couple next door who produce tons of awkward "demon homophobia" jokes? Horrible. As a conduit to a large network of demons looking to Sam to help them overthrown the devil? Fantastic. I’ll drink a mango-tini to that plot, thank you very much.
After all, you can only go so far with "Demon of the Week" episodes, both from a narrative perspective and, in the case of Reaper, budgetary perspective. (This show doesn’t even have enough money to cut new "Previously on…" clips at the beginning of each episode, for crying out loud.) It doesn’t have a lot of money, but it does possess a lot of really interesting mythology: the story of Sam’s contract, the relationship between Andi’s Mom and Sam’s Dad, the Devil’s peculiar interest in Sam (highlighted by Steve), and the tension between fallen angels and Devil that could erupt into a hellish coup. That’s really, really good stuff. Infinitely better than awful CGI acid corroding my television.
Five more thoughts about tonight’s episode:
- Looks like tonight’s accident will temporarily put a kibosh on the Andi/Sam romance, which is fine: they can’t live happily every after at this point in the show. The accident should put things in focus for Sam, which means romance is pushed to the side for the time being.
- Sock’s Line of the Night: "Uncles are creepy by definition, have you not been watching your SVU?"
- The Devil, like Sir Mix-a-Lot, likes him some booty. Reaper felt we needed to know this.
- Watching Ben unsuccessfully pick up models was like watching me pick up, um, let’s see, everyone ever except my wife, whose taste should probably come under question.
- I would love, just once, for Sam to have the vessel easily accessible during a demon stakeout. He’s consistently surprised when the demon shows up, even though the only reason he’s in that place at that time is because he HAS TO CAPTURE THE DEMON WITH THE VESSEL, and inevitably botches the first attempt at capture. Bad Reaper, no dessert for you.
All in all, the last five minutes elevated this episode from "average" to "outstanding." Perhaps I’m projecting too much good will based upon a mere portion of the episode, but the possibilities for the show are incredible right now. Let’s just hope we all get to see the story resolved satisfactorily.
What did you make of tonight’s episode? Does the new plot excite you or seem overly ambitious? And what type of wood does one use to Devil-proof a tea room?
Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude.