Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reaper, "Rebellion": The phone number of the Beast

Spoilers for "Reaper" coming up just as soon as I choose between the tacos and the mail...

Farewell, "State" alums. I'll miss you and your fussy bickering and the way you actually gave "Reaper" direction for a few weeks.

I don't know whether the Demons Next Door storyline was always planned to be this length, or if Ken Marino and Michael Ian Black were only available for a few episodes, or if the strike changed the initial plan, but I think we could have gotten more mileage out of the whole deal. Black's plan for the demons to conquer Satan by being nice was really funny (as was the demon-guilt over their backsliding with the human sacrifice), and the storyline allowed the writers to backburner the Soul of the Week.

But if the storyline ended before I would have liked, at least it went out with a really strong episode. It gave Ray Wise opportunities to play so many shades of Satan (lonely, passive-agressive, then evil). It gave me the first Sock storyline since the Gladys episode that I enjoyed unreservedly (maybe the key is to have Sock get lucky as often as possible), and the first time ever that I haven't minded Ted.

One minor complaint: the previous episode (which I believe was the last one written pre-strike) ended with Sam making the Peter Parker choice of not wanting Andi to get too close to him, and all of a sudden he's fine with her asking him out on a date? Did I miss something?

What did everybody else think?


greebs said...

It felt very disjointed from the last episodes - Sam and Andi both had makeovers in some sense (and Andi looked incredible). But it's a shame to lose Ken Marino and Michael Ian Black (though Marino seems to be alive)...but it's also nice to know the Devil isn't a total idiot since that sort of makes no sense here.

Also, Sock getting back with his ex? Another lame development, though the interaction with the manager and the scarf WAS funny. This show is ALMOST good, most of the time, but it just falls short of greatness.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Reaper isn't so good that I count down the days to the next episode. But it's good enough that I get mad at myself when I forget to watch it, like I did last night. I could've sworn I saw a commercial that said it was coming back on Thursday. I watched so much stuff on DVD and OnDemand during the strike that it seems weird to have to be in front of the TV at a certain time every week. I really need to get one of those TiVo contraptions to remember this stuff for me.

Anonymous said...

I also though Ken Marino and Michael Ian Black revived the show, but I think even after they're gone, it'll continue building this mythology and quickly dispatching the procedural elements.

That said, it bothers me that in an episode featuring Sam and Andi making out a lot, when it came time for Steve and Tony (an adult gay couple in love) to show affection, they rubbed noses.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy they have finally started to explore the biblical story lines- demons are really angels, Satan is Lucifer and loved God...I would love it if they would get into how the Devil was jealous of humanity- that would add an interesting dynamic between Sam and Satan. It also allows them to bring in angels as new characters. As Alan mentioned, a "Soul of the Week" can be tiresome.

Anonymous said...

I found it distracting that everybody looked slightly different after the hiatus.

Until I'm proven wrong, I'm going to pretend that Sock was just hanging out in Josie's robe in her apartment to make it look like they had sex.

ashez2ashes said...

I really hope they go with the 'Sam's the Devil's son" angle. Maybe the REAL deal Sam's parents made with the devil was if they had his son they'd get a normal one later on? Like the 'father's illness' was stretching the truth (impotency's an illness? lol). It would explain Sam's occasional TK. Ben even mentions one ep that maybe it was Sam that was cracking the glass/wilting flowers etc...

I hope the season finale has Sam looking in the mirror while wearing those glasses... Although if the series doesn't get renewed and they end with that I'll just about kill me.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who noticed that that at least one of the demons survived? It seems to me that there may well be more to the story, so I wouldn't count Marino and Black out just yet.

Also, I hated the Sock storyline. It seemed completely superfluous and just reinforced the unfortunate fact that Valarie Rae Miller is almost entirely wasted on this show.

The stuff with the Devil was really good, and the tension was palpable. I could empathize with Sam's discomfort at double-crossing the guy, even though he's Satan. That's part of what makes Sam a real hero, but everyone should have known from the start that he was pulling the strings. Again, HE'S SATAN!

daveawayfromhome said...

Just because Josie slept with Sock doesnt mean she's getting back together with him, just as despite all the nice things she said about Sock it doesnt make Ted's theory less true.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with Josie sleeping with Sock, but I would have preferred it if she'd kicked him out afterwards. For one thing, we would have gotten to see more of her character.

kensington, no, you're not the only one. greebs said it in the first comment. I hope it means he'll still be around.

Anonymous said...

Reaper is loads better than it was throughout the first third of the season (with the exception of the pilot). I liked how they introduced the demons next door and created an ongoing secondary storyline. This show really needed something other than the single "I work for the devil because he owns my soul" storyline. That format (and the monster of the week) was really getting old and the Andi love interest storyline wasn't enough to provide the show the necessary depth.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that while it isn't (and may never be) a top-notch program, it's back to being a show that I'm looking forward to as opposed to watching out of habit.

So, I’m sad to see such a quick end to that storyline. I really hope they follow up with some sort of an engaging, sustainable plot. I’ve long had problems hearing people compare this show to (the brilliant) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (just because a show has supernatural roots, it’s not necessarily comparable), but I’m going to have to violate my own pet peeve.

There were times in BTVS where a pretty impressive and compelling villain was introduced early in a season and got a few episodes of play to make you think that that particular villain was the season’s “Big Bad”. Then, that villain would be dispatched quickly with a flip of a stake and down the road the audience would find out the who or what the true villain (or main theme) of the year would be.

What I’m saying is that I’m hoping that this engaging storyline was a clever misdirection from what will end up being a great finish to the season. That said, I’m not really confident. I fear that now the writers can fall back on the much easier – and much less engaging – “monster of the week” pattern.


Anonymous said...

I'm with ashez2ashes; I think Sam is the devil's son, and that's what the dad was burning from the contract. And Sam's demon catching is him in training for dad's job.

Marino crawled over the edge at the end. Is he mad at Sam, the devil, or both? Sad that Black's character was right--the best way to make a difference is to do good.

Anyone else thinking that Andi's dad might be the season-ending demon of the week?

Anonymous said...

I'm in Philly, and this ep was pre-empted in favor of baseball (it will air tonight Saturday 4/26, at 9PM), which had me pulling my hair out! It finally appeared streaming on CW's website this morning, and I finally got a chance to watch it. In one word: WOW!!!

I never quite believed that there was a place that the devil couldn't hear them; I always kind of suspected that it was a setup.

Love the idea that the demons were planning to destroy the devil through random acts of kindness. Love Sam having to explain to the demons that human sacrifice isn't a good thing, even if it's a bad person being sacrificed to save the soul of a good person. Love the idea of the devil having a cell phone that the demons are going to use to lure him in.

The one thing that I really would have liked to see: when the devil commented that Sam had betrayed him, I was waiting for the devil to follow up with: "I'm so proud of you!" Because I'm definitely in the camp that thinks Sam is the devil's son, and I think the devil would be very proud to see his son become a sneaky, conniving betrayer ... as long as that son is not more sneaky than the father himself!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy this sho, but I do feel like it's got to be working up to something grand:

If Sam's NOT the son of satan, I'll be more than a little disappointed. Imagine all the dramedy that could come from him wondering whether he's evil or not...and yes, the glasses are key.
Here's some evidence that's been convincing me of Sam's demon ancestry:
- in the first episode, Ben makes a very important comment along the lines of this: "The devil can't have your soul if someone else sold it for you, Sam. D'you know why? Because of free will. It's impossible." This statement is shrugged off, but it seems an accurate point. If it's true, then the hold Satan has over Sam is more sinister...and more fatherly, perhaps.
- The contract. Yep. In itself,and because Sam's dad tore a page of it out.
- In the episode in which Sam starts dating Cady, Sock and Ben are very suspicious of her...but what caught my notice was that one of them says something along the lines of "Some people can't see what's staring them in their faces" about Sam's disregard of their doubts. The staged pause afterwards is hinting that ben and sock can't see what's right in front of THEM.
- The devil. How could we forget him? He talks only to Sam. He "coddles" him, regardless of what he claims to do. And he does make certain that he succeeds in most tribulations...can we say "daddy"?
-Sam's parents: These two are very vague about Sam's father's illness and how the devil approached him. They're hiding something.
- Finally and most obviously: The devil confides in Sam and other hellish creatures find it unusual.

Now I just wonder if Sam is really his mother's son...
and I wonder what will come along with his satanic heritage. Besides slippy feet on occasion and cockroach-toothpaste.

hmm, the possibilities.