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Reaper season one episode reviews


Episode 1. "Reaper" I've seen this before and I've seen it better. It was called Brimstone and it was a very dark, very cool show. But, this is done with a light touch, and if they can tell great stories, I'll stick around.

Episode 2. "Charged" It's a lot like Chuck, but it's so, so much better. There are a lot more laughs, and the whole set-up seems more genuine somehow. Sam, Ben, and Sock dress like giant condoms, this week, and go up against a Bad-Guy who controls lightning! Some good FX and a lot of laughs dominate the episode. Funniest part? Sam and Sock injure a hapless customer standing wa-a-a-a-ay in the background. Pow! Splat!

Episode 3. "All Mine" The weakest outing so far. Sam pines for Andi and... does nothing about it.

Episode 4. "Magic" It's just as well that Sam, Sock and Ben are so interesting/funny, because the show sure spends a lot of time on them. Sam is still moping around, because of his un-requited love for the girl he works with. While that storyline is boring me, I must admit that I really enjoy their workplace. Largely due to a funny performance from Donavon Stinson as their boss. The two episodes I watched of NBC's similar-but-awful Chuck never convinced me that his workplace was real or interesting. Reaper has done a much better job.

The villain this week (played by Darren Shahlavi) was excellent. There was a real sense of menace from this guy, although it wasn't exactly clear why he was killing people (espacially the apple truck guy, what was that about?). Never mind that, though. The episode climax was cool. Sam, alone, against the sword-wielding BadGuy. And this sword can go through anything. Anything. Cue: a cool action/chase sequence which ended with Sam cleverly using a pick-up truck to block the sword's thrusts. Defintely worth a rewind/rewatch.

Episode 5. "What About Blob" As usual the bad-guy takes a back seat to the comedy between the regulars. And, as usual, it's a pretty good episode. We get hints that there is more to Sam's Dad than first appeared, and the Devil makes it clear for the first time that he wants Andi (the girl that Sam likes) to play no part in their adventures. The Sam-Andi romance is the only element of the show that fails to work for me. Sam's non-pursuit of her bores me, and Andi herself is getting to be irritating. Taken at face value, Sam's evasive tactics would indicate that he doesn't like her. So why is she acting like a stalker? It would make more sense for her to (incorrectly) take the hint and stay the heck away from him. That fact that she keeps confronting him over and over about his lack of interest in her makes her hard to like.

Episode 6. "Leon" Another show that breaks from established formula. This episode of Reaper opens with the capture of an escaped soul. The soul in question cannot be returned to Hell for a few days so he stays around, and becomes a subject of much debate between Sam and Sock. The story ends with Sam showing some backbone for a change. He totally stands up to the Devil in their final conversation, which is cool, and he comes on all badass in the final confrontation with the Soul (in the therapist's office). Seriously. When he sat in the chair, all silent and tough-guy like, he seemed - for the first time - as if he might actually be worthy of the title: "Devil's Bounty Hunter". Not bad.

Episode 7. "Love, Bullets and Blacktop" I'm not trying to come across as some growling Alpha Male here, but - honestly - at this stage Sam's running away from women who are throwing themselves at him is tedious and off-putting. He won't pursue Andi (who is virtually stalking him) and he walks away from this week's guest star who french-kisses him before introducing herself (!!). What's up with this behavior? I'm not sure what the writers are trying to say about Sam, but I'm not getting it. Anyone care to clue me in?

And what is the deal with Andi? Wouldn't any non-stalker have left him alone by now? And wasn't that whole hidden lair of hers really creepy? I thought the popcorn was drugged!!! This is it, I thought, he's going to wake up tied to a large kitchen appliance with Andi eating large clumps of his hair and I'll finally be proven right in my theory that she's just a raving psycho who can't take "No, thanks" for an answer. I've known girls like that. I had to change my phone number once.

The lead characters aside, it was a pretty strong episode. Reaper gives almost no screen-time to the Bad Guys, sometimes they are nothing but FX, but the battles are always inventive and exciting. This week's Bad Guy was played by a real person (not FX): the fabulous Mercedes McNab but she was totally wasted in the role. Her only real scene, at the very end, was brilliant but left the viewer wanting more. Curtis Armstrong was better served by the script. I hope we see him again.

Episode 8. "The Cop" is a delightful episode that breaks with formula by giving Sock a whole storyline to himself (and a funny one, at that) while making the human in Sam's case-of-the-week more of a threat than the Escaped Soul out to kill him. This nifty twist at the end was also a great showcase for the way the Devil does things. Sneaky, sneaky. Also, for once, the scenes with Andi didn't bug me that much. Although she still gives me those stalker-vibes (crying and over-reacting when Sam gave her the nice birthday present).

Episode 9. "Ashes To Ashes" finds our heroes stealing the ashes of many, many dead people from their relatives homes in (what I think is) the funniest sequence the show has thus far done. The show also expands it's mythology by introducing The Devil's Girlfriend and The Devil's Daugher (possibly). Erratic, crazy Andi only appears for one (awful) scene (I hope the character is ditched) and the show is faster and funnier than it has ever been. This is the second episode where Sam is really starting to appear like a kick-ass hero. Although, I must admit, I wish he hadn't whimpered like a little girl when The Devil sowed his mouth shut. Yes, I'm sure it was awful and terrifying. But, how much cooler would it have been if he'd just stood there eye-to-eye with The Devil (since he is now getting very good at standing up to the jackass on occasion)?

Speaking of being a kick-ass hero-type, didn't all three of them seem quite cool and heroic in those (beautifully filmed) closing shots? All majestic and so-forth against the sky and ocean. If Buffy was about the worth/empowerment of the average teenagers, maybe Reaper should embrace it's destiny and become a show about the worth/empowerment of the geeks and misfits. The writers should ditch Andi, and bring Ted and Russ onto the team full time. How cool would that be?

Episode 10. "Cash Out" This is becoming one of the shows I love most, and look forward to most. Even more so now that they have made The Devil's Daugher a regular character and, even better, a love interest for Sam. Erratic, crazy Andi only appears for two short scenes and Tyler Labine is hilarious from start to finish.

Episode 11. "Hungry For Fame" A funny storyline involving Sock's mum getting married takes up most of the episode. The guys take on the less-threatening-than-usual Escaped Soul this week, while Sam tries to help a singer being tempted by The Devil. Erratic, crazy Andi picks a fight and The Devil's Daughter starts to show her true colours. Lots of fun from start to finish. The show has nicely fleshed out it's world at this stage. B

Episode 12. "Unseen" shows that this series has carved out a strong identity for itself, too. Most of the episode is devoted to the characters and their lives/interactions, while very little is devoted to the Escaped Soul. The three boys move in together, Sam's love-life gets more complicated and his efforts to stand up to The Devil start to bear fruit. The show introduces two neighbours (with a cute twist) and teases the audience successfully with regard to The Devil's Daughter (I thought the glasses were going to reveal her demon side in all it's glory). Right now, the show has found it's groove and it's a pleasure to tune in, every week, and watch this group do their thing.

Episode 13. "Acid Queen" The backstory for this show is well evolved at this stage. Once again, the case-of-the-week gets very few scenes and we spend most of our time with the characters and their various problems. The show has introduced two fabulous new characters and it's lots of fun seeing them fit into the mix. This is also the first time Andi has played a part in the action finale and it will be interesting to see where the writer's take her now. Hopefully onto the team. As it stands now, she is just an annoying minor character, but if she was one of the good guys it might make her more interesting. Sorry, but I don't buy the romance storyline at all. I like The Devil's Daughter more (even if she's not actually his daughter). Putting Sam with a dangerous girlfriend is a lot more fun.

Episode 14. "Rebellion" This cool show returns with one of it's best episodes. The case-of-the-week is only given a few scenes and is totally resolved by the mid-point of the episode. Josie, Ted and Andi get screentime and the show is better for it. I've never liked Andi, but I will admit that the scenes between her and the show's hero were fantastic. Romantic and sweet. What about, um, his girlfriend? If the show gives Andi more screen time like this, and lets her in on the secret, then I will warm to the character very fast.

Anyway, the meat and potatoes of this show was the story of the Demon's living next door and their plans to overthrow The Devil. Half hilarious and half scary, it was an inspired storyline. This show has great dialogue. Some of the stuff coming out of the mouths of demons and The Devil is hilarious. Plus there is the incredible sense of menace that Ray Wise brings to the role. I was quite nervous for Sam as the Demons put their plans into action. A great episode, a great twist and lots of laughs. How could this be on the verge of cancellation?

Episode 15. "Coming to Grips" Best! Episode! Yet! Making Andi a part of the team makes her more interesting and makes the show more interesting. As usual the case-of-the-week is kept in the background and is only used to prop up the goodness that is Reaper. And what goodness! Sock in a relationship? Ben married? And, best of all, all of the stuff with Andi. So funny. Even the case-of-the-week was hilarious. And the twist at the end? Man, this show is so awesome right now.

Episode 16. "Greg, Schmeg" I've been looking forward to this episode so much. Looking forward to seeing Andi function as part of the team. And, to my surprise and delight, the show does something it never did before: Sam has no case-of-the-week to solve and the show tells a completely original story. Wow. And a great one it is, too. Something is coming after the team. And - whatever it is - it definitely didn't come from Hell. What the frak is going on? Clever, funny and exciting. Typical of Reaper.

Now that they are giving Missy Peregrym something to do, she is great. Her performance as the mildly brainwashed Andi was delightful. Delightful is also the word to use to describe Ben's storyline. Married to Lucy Davis? How awesome is that? And how awesome is she? The episode's funniest scene came at the very end when Ben, his wife and his girlfriend explained their "lifestyle choice" to Ted. Hilarious. Donavon Stinson needs to be given more to do on this show.

Episode 17. "The Leak" Another hoot. This is easily the best of the case-of-the-week stories so far. This guy isn't scary at all, in fact he's charming. A bit of a rogue. It makes a refreshing change to have the bad guy calling round to Sam's place and inviting him out for a night on the town! Ben's ongoing story-arc reaching a funny conclusion, too. I love this show!

Episode 18. "Cancun" end the first season of Reaper in fine style. The critical apathy towards this show puzzles me. It's so much fun, how come the critics aren't in love with it? The Ben storyline has run it's course, so the writers give Sock a crazy storyline. At least, I hope we see Cindy Sampson again next season (Those horns were hot. Freaky, but hot.). Michael Ian Black returns to the show and it was great to see Steve again and see where he has ended up. Ken Marino gets better every week and he was awesome in this episode in all of Tony's scenes with Sam. It was a great episode, full of laughs and revelations. Can't wait for Season 2!

1 comment:

Blue Sunflower said...

Awesome show, and I can't wait for season 2. The spoilers are awesome.

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