“Adapt, or die.” Words spoken by Satan to Sam, but could very well apply to Reaper itself. Will it continue to push out entertaining (albeit) repetitive iterations of its “Soul of the Week” standard, or will it push into something more? Tonight’s episode demonstrated that the show might be aware of its own mortality, and rather than simply trod along the same path, is striving the take the road less…um, reaped.

This week’s soul, a 13th-century Mongolian, served almost as an afterthought this week. The stand-by plot device served its purpose as part of the overall episode, but fit in as a balanced slice of plot pie. While initially scared to death of modern-day technology, it soon adapted by taking ZZ Top’s sage advice: everyone indeed loves a sharp-dressed Mongolian. Alas, no sugar plum fairies this week: just the sweet spear o’ doom in a Vietnamese kitchen.

While hardly perfunctory, the shortened time spent on the demon allowed for a veritable sampler platter of storylines being advanced this year. Let’s do a short and sweet breakdown on each.

Sock it to me

Sweet, flexible, barely clothed Kristen continued to torment Sock with her nearly R-rated yoga and overall flirtatious nature. Blue balls turned to white-hot rage as his plan to get her drunk backfired, sending her directly towards Topher, smarmy son of a car salesman. Sock even went WWE on Topher at one point, breaking a chair across his back.

Turns out Kristen’s desire to have cheap, meaningless sex derives from her personal shame over being a virgin. Looks like those microskirts (nanoskirts, really) cover up a girl ashamed to be the last one of her friends to not have her own taste of Topher, apparently. This revelation unwittingly brought out Sock’s fraternal side, as he honestly comforted her. Course, now she’s committed to staying a virgin until marriage. Looks like Sock will be tangled up in blue for a while yet.

Shun the nonbelievers, Charlie

Ben’s a lonely dude. How do we know this? He gets overly fixated on a white bunny rabbit while stalking the Mongolian. (The Lost fan in me looked for a number on its side.) Sock and Sam are having none of King Charlie’s presence in their abode, which forces Ben to tend to him in the garage. Doing so puts Ben in the perfect position to tiki torch a would-be demon attack upon Sam.

That demon? Sent by Gladys in response to Sam’s request to find freed soul Alan Townsend. Rather than work behind the Devil’s back, Gladys sent Nina to take him out. But Ben’s bravery and excellent taste in pets wins Nina over. Oh, and apparently Ben’s smell, given the extra-long olfactory investigated by Nina after abducting her would-be boyfriend. Now Ben is seeing his best friend’s would-be assassin. Like I said, Ben’s a lonely dude.

A cross to bear

Sam divided his time between hunting a Bluetooth-wielding Atilla and hunting down Alan. He tries to keep his search hidden from the Devil, which is a little like trying to keep cake hidden from my godson. It’s a fool’s errand, people.

After finally pulling the “my dad is the devil” card on Gladys, she gives up Alan’s real address after much misgivings (and unsuccessful, book-club based homicide attempts). Once there, Sam confronts a clearly conflicted Alan. While Alan wants to believe Sam’s intent, he’s dead-set on avoiding temptation. But when two demons show up on scene during their conversation, Alan gets freaked out and leaves town.

In his wake, Andi and Sam find an apartment littered with crosses and commandments written out on post-it notes. Andi correctly deduces Alan’s gone to a similarly sacred place, and she’s right: Alan gets a job working in a consecrated graveyard. No devils need apply there.

Other tidbits from tonight’s episode:

  • Bye bye, Ted. Won’t miss you, although you might have delivered the single most disturbing yet hysterical line in the show’s history. I can’t decide if I should quote it in full or try to remove it from my skull. I’m gonna choose the safer option and go with Door #2.
  • Liked seeing Andi a) stop her complaining, b) support Sam, and c) be the driving force when he wants to give up on seeking Alan’s help. Props on all fronts. More of this, please.
  • Sock’s Great Wall of Primer ruled all.
  • This week’s best quotes: Ben: “Historical Channel docs are a great way to break the ice with the ladies.” Sock: “I just want her to see me the way the rest of the world does…as a sexual magician.” Gladys: “These book clubs are a lot of pressure.” And, of course, Teds magical mini-monologue. Ack! Now it’s back in my head. Time for a brain scrub.

While Reaper need not branch out into multiple plotlines that fight for screen time, it’s nevertheless heartening to see the show spend quality narrative time away from the latest and not-usually-greatest escaped soul. Sam’s job is established, but his fate is not. More time spent on the latter while not forgetting the former is a formula I wouldn’t mind the show replicating week after week as the show moves through its second season.

What did you think of the season’s second outing? Too much going on, or is too much of a good thing never enough? Happy about the love lives of these three friends? And just how did Alan escape Satan’s clutches?

Ryan didn't invent blogging, although he wishes he had, over at Boob Tube Dude.

Posted by:Ryan McGee