The Wife:

It’s been a little less than a year since we last laid eyes on Reaper, and while I didn’t forget about the tone of the show, how much my husband is like Sock (because I basically decided that he should try to emulate Sock’s slackeriffic style since they’re so similar in build; what works on Tyler Labine will work on my husband) or, say, that whole plot point about the demon revolution with Ken Marino and Michael Ian Black, I did forget the entire thing that happened with Sam’s dad faking his own death.

Which of course Sam doesn’t know about, the faking part, so in response he, Sock and Ben disappear for a month on a road trip in Sam’s sweet green Prius (which I also forgot he drove, prompting me to go: “Hey! I own one of those!”). Naturally, they don’t tell anyone, which means they return to Washington homeless, jobless and, in Sam’s case, Andi-less. See, he was supposed to send her a letter he wrote about how he needed to figure some shit out and recover from his dad’s alleged death, but he gave it to Sock to mail. And Sock never mailed it. Go figure.

Reapin souls and lookin good doin it.

Reapin' souls and lookin' good doin' it.

But that’s not the end of Sam’s problems. The Devil is also not very pleased with him. To make up for the number of souls Sam has neglected to capture by taking a month off, The Devil gives him a cattle prod and sends him to catch 20 really, really hulked-up souls in some kind of pugilist soul fight club. Question: The Devil can find Sam anywhere in Washington, why doesn’t that power extend to oh, say, other parts of the world? Like, why wouldn’t The Devil have simply popped up to party with Sam while he and his friends were getting busy getting so wasted that Sock forgot his own name in Lake Tahoe (that happened to me too, once, one fateful weekend)? I generally have to assume that The Devil can find you whenever he wants to, so I fail to understand why he wouldn’t have found Sam sooner and made his deadbeat son (since the show really wants us to believe Sam is The Devil’s son, and the characters are willing to believe it, too, although, personally, I don’t think its true given how little evidence we have been provided) get back to work.

Regardless, the guys set about trying to squat in Sock’s house, but there’s some strange hot Asian girl there who won’t let them come in, so, instead, they break into The Work Bench to sleep and get caught by Ted, who’s totally ready to call the cops on them until Sock threatens to expose Ted’s various money making schemes in which he buys Work Bench products at cost and sell them to private customers for a profit. Blackmail gets them their jobs back. With that secured, Sock tries to get them back in his house, and this time, the cute Asian girl lets them in, revealing that she’s Sock’s mom’s new husband’s daughter, thus, Sock’s step-sister. She’s housesitting while their parents are on their honeymoon, so she invites the boys to stay with her. Sock very much wants to do her, but grows fiercely protective when anyone else suggests her hotness, as any good big brother should:

Sock: She’s hot, am I right?
Ben: Smokin’.
Sock: Shut your mouth. That’s my sister. I got dibs.

So, with two out of three issues solved, Ben and Sock try to patch things up between Sam and Andi by presenting her with a “recovered” version of Sam’s letter, including such choice lines as, “I have some stuff to say about feelings.” This makes her laugh, but does not quell her fury. Meanwhile, Sam tries to conjure up The Devil to see if he can pull the “I’m Your Son” card and have some of his 20-soul workload lifted. The Devil refuses to do so, insisting that while he appreciates Sam’s attempts at nepotism, he’s sired many children, and all of them really suck at doing evil. Instead, he doubles Sam’s workload in order to get the boy to prove his mettle.

With double the souls, the boys decided to pull an all-nighter to devise a plan to capture the souls.

“We may not have gone to college, boys, but we can certainly cram like people who did. Bottoms up!” – Sock

I assume this is exactly what they did during the 4 weeks they went missing.

I assume this is exactly what they did during the 4 weeks they went missing.

After a night of drinking and pizza, the boys come up empty handed, until Ben’s mighty ‘fro (“My hair hurts.”) comes up with this: why not get all the souls wasted and capture them when they’re passed out? To implement this, they attempt to steal a beer truck, but that scheme gets foiled, so, instead, they buy a bunch of beer on the Work Bench corporate card and hijack a Work Bench delivery truck, painted over with a Beer Baby logo that was meant to be a leprechaun, except that Ben can only draw babies. This plan goes well, until the souls start firebombing the truck. Eventually, however, they all pass out in a pile, allowing Sock and Ben to lower Sam down from the roof Mission Impossible-style to zap sleeping souls back to hell as the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” plays across the scene. Perfect, hilarious music choice. Ben’s skills at knot-tying, however, are not as stellar as he claims and Sam eventually falls into the pit of souls, waking each of them. They are definitely not happy to be awake. Sam tries to escape by climbing up to the catwalk of the warehouse and swinging out the window on a firehose, only to swing back in through the bottom floor window. Thinking fast, he lets loose a spray of water on the souls, stunning them momentarily . . . until the water runs out. Faced with an army of angry souls, Sam turns the cattle prod to the puddle of water on the ground and turns it on, zapping all the souls in one amazing electric mess.

Except for one guy.

This guy, though, he’s different. He’s not tatted up and grunting like all the other souls. In fact, he looks just about Sam’s age. He tells Sam he’s different, and he escaped from hell by piggybacking on those dudes. Sam tries to zap him, anyway, figuring any escaped soul needs to go back to hell, whether he’s assigned to nab it or not, but the cattle prod doesn’t work on this dude. Sam demands to know how this dude got out of hell for good, and he promises to tell if Sam gives him the vessel . . . which he promptly knocks Sam out with.

This knowledge that one man beat his deal with the devil is enough to lift Sam’s spirits. He goes to Andi with evidence, and apparently the idea of a way out is enough for her to forgive Sam after yelling at him about shirking responsibilities and constantly having to worry that he might be dead. They kiss. All is well. Frankly, that’s a little sudden for me, but largely, this is a comedy, so I suppose we have to follow the Aristotelian Poetics and return to the status quo.

The Devil is very impressed with Sam’s ability to capture so many souls, telling his possible-son that he’s pleased Sam hasn’t turned out to be a dud after all. But Sam’s excellent mood from getting back together with Andi and meeting Hell’s own One That Got Away makes The Devil wary, and he calls off their celebratory evening out.

This episode was weird for me. Maybe it was the time off between seasons or if it was simply that this episode wasn’t that good. There are a lot of holes here. For instance, what the fuck happened to that cattle prod full of souls. Did The One That Got Away take it? If so, how could The Devil count the job as completed? Why didn’t they have to make this job as complete as any other by delivering the vessel to Gladys the DMV Demon? (And I do vaguely remember her betrayal last season, but I thought Sam begged for her to be spared and The Devil acquiesced? Gladys or no Gladys, there’s a procedure here. That vessel should have been given to someone at the DMV.) And still the unanswered question from last season: what exactly is the deal with Sam’s Earthly parents?

The Devil, however, was in rare form in this episode, however uneven it was. Here’s a couple of good lines from Old Scratch:

  • “I just wanted to tell you that your pentagram is a Star of David. Mazel Tov!”
  • “Where did you get this book? The Devil is attracted to radishes? What does that mean? Like, sexually?”

The Husband:

Man, I don’t know what nearly every critic out there (plus my wife) is smoking, because I loved this episode. As far as non-mytharc, standalone, soul-hunting episodes go, I thought it was one of the best, and that’s coming from someone who got almost annoyingly bored after the first couple weeks in s1 until the show came back, post-strike, and introduced some sweet ass gay demons from MTV’s The State and their plan to trick The Devil.

Yes, I’m a bit confused and frustrated by some of the stuff that happened in the four-week time span between s1’s finale and this episode that was not told to us, nor do I think it will ever be addressed. Why would Andi get so mad about Sam dealing with his father’s “death”? What exactly was the funeral like if there was no body? Was there a funeral? Can you really get evicted for simply missing one rent payment? Do we actually have enough proof that Sam is the son of The Devil? (I don’t remember ever seeing the actual full contract, nor was it read to us in any form other than the one with all the pages ripped out.)

But the soul-hunting was fucking great. It was funny, it was clever, and, surprisingly for this show, it was well-staged. (Having Kevin Smith, a self-admitted shitty visual director, helm the pilot, did wonders for the show’s comedic flow, but started a very long trend of poorly executed action sequences that didn’t let up until some time near the butt end of the Demon Revolution.)

I hear two episodes from now, though, that we’re in for a mega-treat, so I’m especially glad that I liked this critically-drubbed opening episode.

And oh man, they created one of the best lines of dialogue I’ve heard in quite some time:

Sam: Sometimes in order to do something good, you have to do something bad first.

Sock: I want you to keep that in mind when I eventually make love to your mother.