'Reaper': Hell on earth day

Missyperegrym Cain and Abel it wasn't, but tonight's "Reaper" did feature another fraternal breakdown between Sam and his supposed brother Morgan. At stake? A seat at the Devil's right hand and point person for Lucifer's actions on earth. Also at stake? Viewer boredom, as the past few weeks have been fairly yawn-inducing.

At this point, one has to question the Devil's master plan: are these two REALLY his only hopes for Hell on Earth? For an all-powerful being, that's pretty weak sauce. On one hand you have a slacker with little more aspirations than a beer with his best gal, and on the other a castoff from "The Hills." I'm not the most religious man in the world, but I'm liking God's odds in the overall war.

Impatient with the progress of both Morgan and Sam, The Devil stages a winner-take-all event: two sons, two bounty hunters, two vessels, one soul. Bud Brown used to own a chop shop, but now he's set up shop to build a portal to hell. That would totally earn an A in shop class, provided the teacher thought a little outside the box. The Devil tasks his future leaders to stop Bud before successful completion, but Morgan's incessant meddling allows Bud to complete the portal and allowing a whopping two souls through.

Yup, two. I expected a parade of souls to pour through, overwhelming the countryside. But I guess "Reaper" either doesn't have the budget for that or is saving it for sweeps. Oddly enough, the experience did provide Sam and Morgan with a bit of bonding, with each coming to the aid of the other before Sam ultimately pushed Bud through the portal back to hell. Naturally, this meant Sam inadvertently won the contest.

When Sam protested it was by accident, the Devil stuck the knife in Morgan's back further, insisting Sam wanted the title all along. The Devil then stripped Morgan of all worldly possessions save $10 and a bus pass. Somehow I doubt this is the last we've seen of Morgan. And Sam's other preoccupation this week demonstrates that he might not be in the Devil's favor, either.

With help from Andi, seemingly once again OK with Sam's extracurricular activities, Sam tracks down Alan under cover of a funeral procession. They try to extract information by bringing him to a race track, exploiting his gambling weakness. But unable to go through with letting Alan indulge in sinful activity, they concoct another plan: flying him to Vatican City to escape his dreary, graveyard-bound lifestyle. In return, Alan promises to reveal how he got out of his deal with the Devil.

He reveals the first part at the airport: engage the Devil's spirit of competition. Turns out Alan beat the Devil at poker. But that's only the second half of the plan; the first he promises to reveal once on the Vatican's sacred grounds. Too bad The Devil was wise to Alan's whereabouts at all time, posing as a stewardess on Alan's flight and redirecting it directly towards Las Vegas. I guess Sam will have to learn that all-important secondary facet some other way.

Ben and Sock spent the hour with lady problems. Sock tried to exploit the grief of a girl met through the aforementioned funeral in order to get some post-Kristen lovin'. And this part of the episode was so lame and forced that it actually made me wish that karaoke-singing, short shorts-wearing annoyance was back on the small screen. As for Ben, he ended things with Nina after his grandmother's evil eye alarm went off looking at Ben's demonic girlfriend. Hell hath no fury like a fallen angel scorned.

Other odds and ends from tonight's episode:

  1. Loved Sock's promotional video for The Vatican City, even if "Walking on Sunshine" is a clichéd a sound clip as it gets these days. Hope that ends up on YouTube soon.
  2. It seems like fundamentally bad design to construct a portal to hell that will instantly implode upon the builder stepping through it.
  3. Straw-To-Matic? Really?
  4. I'm glad the Devil was onto Sam's attempts to grill Alan for information, but I hope there's a good reason he's letting Sam try over and over again to get out his contract. Perhaps it's the pride mentioned by Alan, but right now it seems like sloppy writing.

With just a handful of episodes, Alan's potentially sinning, Morgan's potentially scheming, and Mr. Oliver's potentially losing an ear as he waits for the show to remember how seemingly vital his resurrection last year supposedly was. Let's hope at least one of these storylines wraps up in a satisfactory manner before season/series end.

Did Morgan's Daddy issues make his character more interesting or simply whinier? Why is Andi suddenly OK with Sam's status? And is anyone seriously worried for Ben's life?


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