'Reaper': The Devil is hot for teacher

Raywise A major step up from the recent missteps, tonight's episode of " Reaper" gave both Sam and his father a sense of purpose lacking throughout most of the season. The former is mad as hell, and the latter decides to go there.

Not only is every girl crazy about a sharp dressed man, but apparently the Devil is as well. He teleports Sam early on for "What Not To Wear" type intervention in which he dresses him up in garb fit for a man set to hasten the apocalypse on earth. But Satan's not content to simply change Sam on the outside, but seeks to provide inner change as well through a little tutoring on the finer points of hell.

Enter Sally, object of the Devil's lustful attention, an escaped soul freed by Satan himself and placed in a "gilded cage" of a mansion on Earth. Sam's purpose is twofold: learn Evil 101 while also playing Cyrano to the Devil's Christian. Sam, meanwhile, is full of Twisted Sister and ain't gonna take it anymore. His big plan? To seduce Sally and learn the secrets lost when Alan went on a gambling bender thanks to the Devil's rerouting of his flight last week. Apparently, what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there.

Sam's attempts to seduce her ultimately fail thanks to the Devil's constant intervention, but when Sam learns she's an escaped soul he's meant to send back (via a super sweet revolver vessel), he tries another tact: let her escape in exchange for information. However, even this is a trap, as the Devil sent Sam in only to be able to swoop in as her savior. Or, more accurately, "The Dark Lord of asses." Which is way cooler looking on a business card.

With the Devil yet again thwarting any attempts by Sam to free himself from his contract, he gets help from an unlikely place: his father. Mr. Oliver is perhaps Season 2's biggest missed opportunity, a man central to the show's mythology yet treated as a C-story sideshow freak for much of this year. So I am sure many of you share in my delight that he's back in the thick of things after volunteering to go to Hell and find Alan there. Not only is that storyline approximately 864 times more interesting than him sitting around sifting through online personals, but also offers a potential redemption arc for the man who put his innocent son in the situation he now faces.

Speaking of refreshing, tonight marked an episode full of that rarest of things: Sam and Andi being perpetually truthful with one another. Usually Sam hides Awful Thing A, or Andi represses Awful Feeling B, but tonight both chose Sane Thing C: continual and honest dialogue with each other. Doing so provided the two of their more believable moments in the show's history. Stripped of the usual histrionics and hellbeasts, what was left were two people simply trying to make a relationship work under trying circumstances. And that worked for me.

Other odds and sods...
  1. I know I'm supposed to care about Ben and Nina, but I just can't. Sorry, show. Why a demon wants to snog with a man who plays mix tapes from his mom is beyond me. I want Sock and Ben playing badminton in all sorts of wrong ways; I don't need either of them to have a love interest as a central narrative part of this show.
  2. A motorcycle is cool and all, but the fact that the Devil got Sam a pony damn near killed me with laughter.
  3. I don't know what Carrot Dippers are, and this French Fry lover wants it to stay that way.
  4. Sally lived on Belial Street, a name which has particular significance within the world of the show.
  5. What cellphone plan does Ted use? Because I'm pretty sure the Verizon guy isn't going, "Can you hear me now?" and getting an answer in hell.
  6. Why does the new Work Bench employee creep me out more than any demon to date?
  7. Quotes from this week: Satan: "I wanna see those thighs vibrating with pure aggression!" Sock: "Not weirdly close. How about awesomely committed?" Mr. Oliver: "I was your father once; let me be that again."
"Reaper" excelled in its final weeks of its initial season; let's hope tonight's a sign that they are ready to rev things up once again as it heads towards its finish.

What did you think of tonight's episode: improvement or more of the same? Were you happy to see Mr. Oliver involved again? Is there anyone who wants MORE Ben/Nina? Leave your thoughts below!
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