,” a karaoke DVD works just fine as a conduit. This week’s mythology-rich episode harkened back to the high points of Season 1 in way that that makes me wish they had taken us on a season-long journey along The Path of Steve.

There was no demon-hunting this week for Sam; instead, the Devil offered him the seemingly simple task of getting a man named Gary Martin to sign his life away after a verbal agreement with His Most Evil. Gary lives in the lap of luxury with a mansion, butler, massage service, and a polar bear straight from the Island in “Lost.” Moreover, he’s incredibly adept at not signing his soul away. Unfortunately, “Jim Fartington” is totally screwed.

In the midst of this conundrum steps Tony, exhausted from the raising of Baby Stevie and from his time spent with the demons that survived the Devil’s attack that killed his boyfriend in Season 1. Turns out that Steve’s appearance to Tony in the Season 1 finale made such an impression that those remaining have devoted their lives towards improving their chances of ultimately getting into heaven. Concurrently, they serve to counterbalance the Devil’s work on earth by systematically killing his minions and offspring.

Enter Morgan, exiled son of the Devil, crashing on Sock’s couch in a heap of Honey Nut Cheerios and horniness. With no actual skill set, he’s content to sit around erasing Sock’s DVR’ed soap operas and hitting on Nina. The former angers Sock, and the latter annoys a fragile Ben, worried that Nina’s former weakness for bad boys will send her hurtling towards Morgan’s six-pack.

Well, Nina’s flirtations are all a ruse, designed to lure Morgan into the HQ for The Path of Steve to kill him. Sam witnesses this murder because he brought Gary to repent his sins before the Devil’s Assassin came to shuffle off Gary’s mortal coil. For reasons unclear, Steve chose to speak from heaven, through the karaoke DVD player on the widescreen television, through Gary. Through this sinner, Steve warns Sam of impending danger from a vengeful Morgan, but confirms Sam’s special nature in the grand scheme of things in the “Reaper” universe.

I like the idea of a demonic army trying to undo the work of the Devil on earth. On one hand, you have Satan trying to hasten the apocalypse; on the other, you have a group of ex-demons trying to spackle that apocalypse to join Steve in that great karaoke booth in the sky. Steve’s appearance during last year’s finale gave the first indication that God even EXISTED in this universe; his appearance this year confirms in a time of potential hopelessness that salvation is indeed possible. While seemingly omnipotent, the Devil does not always win.

But you know who always wins? A stripper clown, that’s who. Yup, I’ll keep this brief, but in the interest of a complete recap: Ted invents the sad sack story of a date-gone-wrong to spur Sock to throw a party in the Work Bench. Sock wants strippers; Ben wants clowns, and they combine their mental efforts to create what Ben calls, Ben: “the Reese’s Cup of party entertainment!” BenSock cajoles Andi into allowing the party, but the entire endeavor is a set-up: behind the scenes, Ted calls the corporate office in order to demote Andi and get his old job back. Andi’s not terribly upset by this development, but seeing Bozo the Babe pole-dancing has me all sorts of confused. Let’s leave this paragraph before I start twitching.

Other items of note from tonight:

  1. I’m trying to decide what’s more delicious: the Devil leading an AA meeting, or running a Botox party for would-be cougars. I report; you decide.
  2. I make some bad puns now and again, but “Bear-y Manilow” is taking it to a whole new low.
  3. While I dug the fact that the Devil chalked up Morgan’s death as a way to further stain Sam’s soul, I do wish people would get back to doing super secret things inside circles again. It’s just too convenient how the Devil knows literally everything that goes on, with the show only pointing this out when narratively necessary.
  4. Quotes for the week: Morgan: “You’re light! Like a kitten!” Ben: “Morgan erased my stories!” Tony: “Well he’s definitely getting pointers from Steve.”

With the Path of Steve now on the menu, how long will it be before the Devil starts to really put the clamps down on Sam’s dark side? Hopefully not too long, as we’re rapidly approaching the season, and potentially series, finale. It’s a shame the show doesn’t quite know how to dole out mythology over the long haul, as tonight featured ideas rich enough to fill an entire season. Had tonight revealed Steve as the source of various, mysterious messages over the course of the year, it would have been a MONSTER payoff. As such, it was merely a satisfactory effort. I’ll take it, but I can’t help wishing for more. Oops, that’s greed, isn’t it?

What did you think of Morgan’s demise? Is the Path of Steve a welcome respite from the Devil’s presence? And what’s your personal Reese’s cup of party entertainment? Leave your thoughts below!

Posted by:Ryan McGee