Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Reaper, "I Want My Baby Back": Fathers and sons, sisters and brothers

Quick spoilers for last night's "Reaper" coming up just as soon as I get some Shiitake mushrooms...

Best episode of the season, right? Easily.

Tony the saintly gay demon returns, Sam deals with the non-death of his father (who isn't quite a zombie; just undead but gross), Andi finds out the truth(*) about Sam's parentage from a scamming Morgan, and Sam and the Devil have one of their more dramatic confrontations to date over the fate of little baby Stevie.

(*) Or is it? Again, Sam's dad burned a bunch of pages from the contract, and he said last night that he wasn't allowed to say anything about whether Satan was really the father. Maybe that was part of the deal, too: that if Mr. Oliver ever did have a son, that he'd have to let the Devil claim to be the biological father.

I hope that this will be the end of the "Sam lies to Andi about something and gets in trouble for it" stories, and that maybe they can finally bring Andi into the soul-capturing loop full time. But this was a really solid episode, all-around. I didn't even mind (much) the brief appearance of Ted.

What did everybody else think?


Zack Smith said...

I agree -- the show is getting better. It's at its best when it just lets the human and demon characters bounce off each other. The mythology of the show, though, needs some work -- storylines move very slowly, and the payoffs don't have the impact they could.

Incidentally, watched the new 90210 afterward as a time-killer before CUPID and that was a massive WTF?! of over-the-top crazy. I think that means it's hit its stride.

Jennifer said...

I generally hate The Doorstop Baby Episode of any show, but this one happily skipped the "three men and a baby" and went to a far more interesting drama of what to do with it. I actually thought it was pretty sharp of them to come up with an idea of baptizing the baby.

Though it did occur to me to ask, "Hey, the kid's getting raised by a demon, what are the odds the kid will earn her own way back into hell?"

Anonymous said...

I am glad that they have figured out that sub-plots need to still revolve around the demon world of the A-plots. Admittedly, Sock and his step-sister don't, but that is a mild bemusement and doesn't take up nearly as much time and energy as last seasons "Green Card Marriage" nonsense.

In particular I like the idea of Morgan as more than just a one-off character. It looks like he will be somewhat of a regular and I like the energy he brings to the various dynamics, and they need someone in the group that isn't so moral and righteous.

And how about Gaeta as the priest! Could that have been a less prominent role for a relatively known actor? I'd wager there is a lot of cross-over between Reaper and BSG, so I am surprised he only got a line or two.

David said...

Guess I'm in the minority here. I was both bored and annoyed by this episode. I actually fast forwarded in parts.

jcpdiesel21 said...

I really enjoyed this episode, and laughed a lot. I liked how the show didn't linger too long on the boys having the baby and how Tony was brought back into the mix. Ben continues to be the MVP of the gang, with his giant hair and animal noises to entertain Stevie, and baptism idea.

The only thing I could have done without was the tired Sock and his stepsister storyline, but hopefully the show will be moving past that given what happened in this episode.

Elena said...

I got the feeling that they were hinting that the devil is not Sam's father, from the surprise on Sam's dad's face when Sam said it. And loved having Tony back, he was the perfect answer to the baby conundrum. I rather would have liked it if they had been able to baptize the baby before the Devil got to it, would have loved to see Ray Wise get all angry again.

belinda said...

Kind of unrelated, and I might be thinking of a different show or something, but doesn't Sam have a younger brother (I remember him complaining about how much more lenient the parents were towards Sam's failures and not his...)? I'm just kind of curious as to what he thinks or even knows of his current family situation.

But anyway, yeah, good episode! It's always been kind of a "I'll watch it when I have time/ am bored" kind of show for me, but then once in a while, you get a really good episode that works, and it's nice.

spiderpig said...

I hope that this will be the end of the "Sam lies to Andi about something and gets in trouble for it"

I doubt it since Sam had plenty of opportunity to tell her that his human dad was a zombie during that screaming match, but chose not to. Sigh.

I don't know about this one being the best episode, but it did have some great part. Especially like jcpdiesel21 mentions above about Ben entertaining the baby with his giant hair and coming up with the Baptism idea. Heh.

Definitely keeping my fingers crossed that Sam is not really the Devil's son and it's just another trick the Devil is playing on him to turn him evil.

Please, please, please less Morgan and less of the Sock sexualizing his sister storyline. Boo.

drake lelane said...

Anon1 - There have been quite a few BSG alums on the show thus far, and most have had even less screen time. Besides Alessandro Juliani (Gaeta,) there's been Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol) as a delivery demon, and Jill Teed (Sergeant Hadrian) as Andi's mother. The other one, Kandyse McClure (Dualla,) got a lot more screen time as Cassidy.

Besides being on both BSG and Reaper, all these actors either live or are from British Columbia, Canada, which is the shooting locale for both series, making it an easy day's paycheck.

Belinda: Sam's younger brother got Chuck Cunningham syndrome.

Brian said...

Maybe you've talked about this before, Alan, but is there any specific reason why you hate Ted so much? I think he's a hilarious character. Always makes me laugh, especially now that he's in a subservient role.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they were hinting that Satan wasn't the Son of Sam -- no wait, Father of Sam. Rather they were hitting us with the point that it's more important who raises you. Your real father is the one who spends all those years with you, who makes you the man that you are today -- or woman you are today in the case of little cutie wutie Stevie who will be raised by a good man who just happens to be a fallen angel.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Brian, I just don't find Ted funny, when the writers of the show clearly do. To me, he's the character who suffers worst in a direct comparison to his equivalent on "Chuck," whether you're talking Big Mike or Jeffster or even Millbarge.

Edward Copeland said...

Am I hallucinating or in one of the early first season episodes, didn't Sam have a younger brother who was a genius who hated him? Also, at the end of last year, didn't Sock get back together with his ex who worked in the D.A.'s office? What happened to her? Finally, I've asked this before but is Sam EVER going to ask the devil why it's so easy to escape Hell.

maura said...

I hope that this will be the end of the "Sam lies to Andi about something and gets in trouble for it"

I'll pray to every deity I can think of for that to happen, but I'm afraid it won't.

So Sam is not only dumb as hell (he's dumber than he was last year. He's getting the Joan of Arcadia treatment), but he's mean too. Yeah, I know his father is responsible for everything that's occurred, but I hated how Sam kept brushing him off. I felt awful for Undead Dad.

I too usually hate the Baby on the Doorstep story, but I like where they took it. And it provided a reason to bring Tony back. Yay. But wouldn't it have made more sense for them to tell Tony what was going on? Why does Sam believe anything the Devil tell him? Oh right. He's dumb.

Ben, as always, was hilarious. Sometimes I think he holds the entire show together.

Sock and his step-sister: Ick. Stop it.

I think this episode got better as it went along. Just like the show in general. It's really hitting its stride.

Spiral Jacobs said...

I don't see how Sam's anger towards his father was in any way misplaced. His father was selfish enough to sign away the soul of his unborn child, then lie about it repeatedly, even sabotaging Sam's chances of finding an answer by vandalizing the contract. I think Sam is being very forgiving and open-minded for even talking to his so-called Dad.

But I agree with Alan: the "Andi gets mad at Sam for keeping her in the dark" plotline is sooo past its prime. I think Andi would add some brains to the soul procurement operation. I'd love to see her face off with Gladys.

Tracey said...

@jcpdiesel21 and spiderpig and maura: THANK YOU! I was beginning to think I was the only one who was disgusted by that stepsister-lust storyline.

@Spiral: Yeah, I loved the little bit they had with Andi and Gladys last year, right after she found out about Sam. Something along the lines of:
Gladys: She's pretty. Why are you hanging out with these losers? Do you have some kind of deformity?
Andi: You mean like horns coming out of my forehead? No.
Gladys: I like her.

It shows that Gladys can dish it out and take it, which is part of what makes her such a great character. I could definitely go for more of that Gladys/Andi interaction.

I don't mind the Ted character so much in very small, very chastened doses. For example, I loved the bit last season when Andi put an anonymous note on Ted's car apologizing for hitting it, even though nothing was wrong with it, and he flipped out trying to find the dent. He's the sort of jerk that you don't mind seeing subjected to that indignity. But keep him as much to the side as possible. The episode where he was hitting on Josie... or anyone else for that matter... I can do without.

Chareth Cutestory said...

"Belinda: Sam's younger brother got Chuck Cunningham syndrome."

I always called that the Bobby Martin Syndrome after a character in "All My Children." He went to the attic to get some skis and was never seen again. Opal Gardner paid her respects when she was lurking up there, bumped into a skeleton, and said "Oh, excuse me, Bobby."

Yes, that subplot between Sock and his "sister" is very creepy and I hope it ends soon!