Last time on Reaper…um, er, uh, OK, I’ll admit it, I had to go and look it up. It’s been roughly fifteen years since the last original episode of this little gem of a show aired, and honestly, I had to do some research in order to take over the weekly recaps here. When it first aired, I enjoyed its mix of humor, mythology, and interaction between Sam and the Devil. And while the show still contains all of those elements, the insanely long wait between episodes dulled tonight’s outing as we, the viewing audience, scrambled to find our bearings once again.
It’s still Christmas time in Reaperland, so you know this episode’s been collecting dust for a while now. Sam’s still dating Cady, who may be the offspring of the devil, or merely the 21st century version of The Wonder Years’ Becky Slater. In the middle of a pre-Christmas smooch-a-thon, she comes across the necklace Sam bought for Andi, thinks its hers, and hilarity ensues. And by "hilarity" I mean "Sam once again turns into Captain Tactless in front of anything female."
It’s amazing that Sam has all this attention from both Andi and Cady, in that he seems singularly unable to utter the truth around either of them until they are royally peeved with him. Come on, Sam, he who does not learn from history is doomed to have his two potential love interest face off in a
Buy More Work Bench with one of them telling creepy stories about slashing tires of old romantic competitors. Everyone knows that.
But no, Sam’s too busy trying to nab this week’s escaped soul (Philip Carmona, a creepy cannibal) while preventing another soul from being damned (Ryan Milner, a creepy Jamie Kennedy). Good to see Jamie Kennedy taking a break from his busy schedule of doing absolutely nothing to do a cameo this week as an aspiring rock star that catches the Devil’s fancy. It’s not like my first name needed any more sullying, but he pitched in and took my first name down another notch. That being said, I’m kinda envious of the umlaut.
Kennedy’s presence actually reflects one of my favorite aspects of the show: it’s almost intentionally low-budget vibe. If Chuck is A-level production values, Reaper is the lovable B-movie playing two towns over. It’s not a matter of which show is better, as that’s a judgment call. But Reaper embraces that B-movie sensibility, right down to Ryan’s patently ridiculous severed hand. But even if Reaper will never have Chuck‘s slick presentation, it never tries to have it, either, and the embrace of the aesthetic makes the show all the more endearing.
I enjoyed this week’s vessel (mystical spear gun), but enjoyed Sam’s super strength even more. In the pilot, Sam actually seemed to acquire demon-like powers, but as the weeks went on, the show seemed to forget this. I hope this week’s appearance of SAM SMASH! is a portent of the show’s original conception of Sam’s role as demonic bounty hunter. Lord knows he needs all the help he can in wiggling his way out his contract with the Devil.
All you Sock fans got an extra heaping helping of your favorite over-sized character not named Hurley, as he exhibited his usual wit and his yet-to-be-seen Oedipal issues. It’s yet to be seen if Hurley will move beyond the man-child that he is after leaving the nest, but I’m sure Ben and his two pairs of pants will have less fear of pellet gun attack in the near future.
Did you enjoy the return of Reaper tonight, or has too much time passed for you? Is Cady demonic or just plum batty? And who do you think wins in a steel cage match: cannibal soul or fire soul? Leave your thoughts below!
Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude.