The Devil -
OTHER TYLER LABINE SHOWS
OTHER RAY WISE SHOWS
OTHER SCI FI COMEDIES
A Town Called Eureka
Hitch-Hikerís Guide to the Galaxy
3rd Rock From the Sun
Sam is 21 years old today. He lives at home with his folks, works in a huge warehouse retail outlet, had no real sense of where he's going or what he wants to do. Then he learns that his parents sold his soul to the Devil before he was born and the Devil now wants him to act as a bounty hunter tracking down souls that have escaped from hell. The first is an ex-firebug turned fireman, but the job isn't going to be as easy as it at first looks.
As opening episodes go, there aren't that many as good as this one. The concept is fantastic, playing with the current trends for superheroes and slacker stories, packing in the kind of humour that made Kevin Smith's CLERKS such a huge hit (and it's therefore no surprise that Smith himself helms this opener). Touches like the Devil giving Sam a dustbuster to take on the demon or the local Vehicle Licensing Centre being the actual personification of Hell on Earth are great, but the scene with Sam and his best mate Sock tooling up for the job only to find the dustbuster needs charging is hilarious. If the show can keep coming up with sequences of that quality then this could well become our favourite show of the moment.
It helps that the cast are extremely likeable. Brett Harrison is a very engaging everyman slacker whilst Missy Peregrym is the appealing love interest. Tyler Labine is best mate Sock and is playing pretty much the same character that he played in INVASION, but that's OK because it fits the show perfectly whilst Ray wise is an inspired choice as the Devil considering that he did something similar in TWIN PEAKS (especially the second season), effortlessly mixing up the funny and frightening into a surprisingly believable depiction of hell's master.
The script is fizzing with great lines, visual jokes and humorous situations that give everyone a chance to shine.
This has leapt straight to the top of our current 'must watch' list.Top
Sam tries to deny his deal with the Devil by refusing to open the box containing the vessel into which he must place the next escaped soul. This time around the soul is that of an energy magnate who embezzled millions and who is manifesting himself as electricity. As a result, he is able to take control of all electrical items, which is not good when you're working in a store full of power tools.
The difficult second episode is successfully negotiated and whilst it is a step down from the hilarious pilot it still has a much higher hit than miss ratio in the gags. The favourite this time around was the condom gags based around the gang insulating themselves in wetsuits and the fate of the vessel on its first workout on the dam. Played to perfection.
Even whilst enjoying it immensely, though, there are rooms for doubts to creep in about the format of the show. If every week is going to be just another demon with just another amusing vessel then this might not have the legs. That said, if it continues to be as funny as these first to episodes then that might not matter so much.Top
Old ladies are dying from bug attacks and the Devil has shown up to tell Sam that it's all the fault of an escaped soul. To help him recapture the soul, Sam is given a broken toaster. More importantly, Andi is considering going back to college full time and give up her job at the bench.
In the third episode it is clear to see where the problem with the show is going to come from. There's nothing new in this epsode that wasn't in the first two. Repetition isn't what you want to be seeing so early on in a show. Also, people made out of bugs isn't exactly the height of originality now is it?
That said, the characters remain extremely likeable and the incidental pleasures continue to be strong. The dialogue is still sharp and funny and the young actors revel in it. "Don't tell the crazy you were only in it for the sex' may well become a catchphrase with us.Top
The escaped soul is that of a failed magician who is using his demon powers to improve his act. The vessel is, suitably enough, a dove. The rest follows the pattern as Sam figures out who and how to catch his escaped soul.
The soul catching is the usual stuff, so we'll pass straight over that onto the fun that the background action brings. Sam's losing of everything (it's a clue to the magic act you see) is amusing, Sock's rodeo riding of the paint mixing machine is also fun, but it is Ray Wise's continuing excellent comedy devil, with just enough of a dangerous edge, that is the most fun. There's enough in the way of visual gags and snappy one-liners to paper over the fact that the plot is getting old real fast.
The special effects of the Dove taking down the demon are also pretty impressive as well.Top
What About Blob
The soul is made of the industrial slime that it dumped when alive and seems to be wiping out the enemies of its son whose career is about to be destroyed by a lawsuit against the family firm. To help, Sam has a particularly evil-looking woolly Christmas jumper. He has taken possession of his contract, but it's going to take a while to read and Andi is getting seriously fed up of being lied to.
Forget the soul-catching, the script is sharp and witty and full of the usual quality one-liners that have made this series so much fun up to now. The backstory of the contract and the relationship between Sam, his parents and the Devil is getting some depth and interest as well, which is helping with the otherwise repetitive nature of the main storylines.Top
Hallowe'en - surely a celebration of evil fit to make fill the Devil's heart with joy (assuming that he has one)? You would think so, but no. It's the holiday when all the demons get time off and party. This means that the escaped soul that Sam has just recaptured into a snowglobe, an annoying creep named Leon, is stuck with him until the holiday is over. A new soul pops up in the shape of a serial killer who now takes the shape of a giant wolf-dog thing and Leon offers to help in exchange for a deal.
REAPER varies the standard format just enough to make this episode seem a good deal fresher than some of the others (a disappointing thing to say considering we're only five episodes in) which allows the witty script to shine all the more and provide plenty of laughs. The main source of these is the therapy-obsessed Leon, who also has a hand that can turn into a giant gun which can be kind of useful at times. The mental warfare that he unleashes on Sam with the constant stream of tactless insults is a delight to both Sock and the audience.
The wolf-dog thing, however, is a cheap CGI effect too far when it steps out into the light to be revealed as pretty bloody awful.Top
Love, Bullets and Blacktop
A pair of souls deeply in love and utterly unkillable with an affection for blue muscle cars is Sam's target for the week, but he is also target for Taylor, a hot girl who apparently loves to have her earlobes stroked. As his relationship with Andi is pretty much going nowhere, Sam might finally get something going on with a girl.
The opening scene this week is a real blast and has nothing to do with the Devil or escaped souls. Sock, Sam and Ben on the pull in a bar is a thing to behold, but when Sock puts on the music and starts to grind it is one of the funniest things the show has come up with yet. After that, the wit flows as ever, not least with the introduction of a co-worker at the Work Bench for whom the eighties never really ended. He's cringeworthy, but the episode's a great laugh.Top
The Devil sends Sam on the trail of a killer whose soul is now tracking down and killing all of the members of the justice system that convicted him. He is also framing Sam for the murders that the soul is committing. Sock has even bigger things to worry about as he gets obssessed with Gladys, the demon at the Department of Motor Vehicle who receives the recaptured souls, obssessed to a point that he should never really reach.
There is so much going on in this episode that it blasts past too quickly for any thoughts other than how entertaining it is. The least important strand is the soul-catching (again), but the manner in which the Devil entraps Sam in the web that looks likely to bring a murder charge is very well handled and then wrapped up just as neatly. The real jewel in the crown of this episode, however, belongs once again to Sock. As his obssession with the demon Gladys grows, he comes to understand more about the nature of demons and that takes him to an apology and....ah, but that would be telling and it is far too delicious to reveal.
On top of that there is the gimmick of the soul being able to materialise the tattoos on his body into deadly weapons which is quite nifty and Sam's fight with Andi's boyfriend in his car which is the funniest, lamest fight between two males since BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY.
This is probably the best episode since the Pilot.Top
Ashes to Ashes
A soul who sold the organs of the dead before cremating their remains can only give itself a physical form by animating the ashes of the dead. Sam finds himself protecting a woman who is also the girlfriend of the Devil as he tries to track down the soul.
As is now the case in most of the episodes, the soul-catching plays second fiddle to the storyline of the Devil's girlfriend Mimi. It is the difficult position that she puts Sam in by trying to get advice on her relationship with the man she knows as Jerry from him. The scene is which the Devil sews Sam's lips shut or eliminates someone with just a thought reminds us all that this character may seem like fun, but is in fact the most evil creature in all creation.
The introduction of the girl who might just be the devil's daughter also introduces a lot of new avenues that the show could conceivably go down.
The initial fears of the show's format becoming repetitive are receding as it continues to grow in confidence and come up with new and fun riffs on the central ideas.Top
Sam's hunt for the souls of two bank robbers takes a turn for the unexpected when they capture one easily and find his stash of six million dollars. The second soul is the dangerous one, though, and it's going to take all Sam's ingenuity to capture him. At least things are going well with Cady, potentially the Devil's daughter.
This is another fun episode in what is proving to be one of the most consistent genre comedies for some time. The soul-catching story proves to be less straightforward than usual and possesses a much more dangerous threat to life and limb than is usually suggested.
The fun, though, comes in the shape of Sam's relationship with Cady or, more importantly, the interest that Sock and Ben take in it. They are determined to reassure themselves that she isn't the Devil's daughter before letting their friend become involved even if it means getting her naked in a hot tub (purely to look for the 666 motif on her body, you understand). Their appearance on the dance floor is also very funny.Top
Hungry for Fame
Whilst being given his new assignment to track down a cannibal soul, Sam sees the Devil grooming a talentless musician by promising instant fame and fortune. When Sam tries to talk him out of it, the plan backfires so he resorts to more desperate measures. At the same time, Andi and his new girlfriend face-off and Sock's mother returns from Las Vegas with a new husband and kicks him out of the house.
REAPER's in a groove now. It's funny, sharp and managing to play around within its format to keep things lively, interesting and fresh. It also proves to have just enough of a dark side with its treatment of the cannibal's mother and the Devil's 'disappointment' at Sam's actions.Top
Sam, Sock and Ben find a new place to live and Sam finds himself ambivalent about telling Cady about the move when her bowling technique seems to be a bit 'devilishly' effective. Whilst failing to sort that, he has to take down an invisible soul in the forest and make friends with the apparently gay men who now live next door.
For once the story of capturing the soul is the better part of the episode. The predator-like invisible soul is taken out in a very original manner that allows for paintball and tree-hugging. The revelation regarding the neighbours opens up some interesting possibilities for the future and Sam's relationship with Cady still has some legs in it.Top
The escaped soul of the week is a beautiful woman in the habit of throwing acid into the faces of her rivals. Sam is now very much her enemy and the woman decides to get at him through is newly-escalated relationship with Andi. The gang's relationship with their demon neighbours is somewhat strained.
Forget the escaped soul scenario, apart from having EUREKA's Erica Cerra as the acid dripping beauty it is merely a device to get Andi into a evening gown and then into a dangerous situation. The emotional fall out from that gives Brett Harrison and Missy Peregrym something to get their dramatic acting muscles working on for a change. The fun of the episode comes from the 'break up' with the demon neighbours. The actual break up scene is very funny in its own right, played with perfect comic timing by all involved.
REAPER remains quality entertainment, though nothing more memorable than that.Top
Andi comes out the hospital and her near death experience has made her determined to embrace life, mainly by embracing Sam - something that he is not exactly averse to. There is a blood-sucking soul to deal with and the demon neighbours turn out to be organising a scheme to bring down the devil, a scheme that needs Sam to get the Devil's mobile phone number.
The plot arc of the demon neighbours peaks as they reveal their plans to bring down the Devil to Sam and he is forced into helping them, the implications of which are somewhere just south of biblical. This makes for a better episode and one that would have been even better without the shoehorning in of the escaped soul subplot that is only there to reveal the Devil's own plotting. It distracts from the main plot and is rushed in itself.
Ray Wise gets a chance to show what his Devil can really do and it is a timely reminder that he is not the affable, cheery character that he appears.Top
Coming to Grips
When Andi sees Sam behead a man with scythe, she understandably freaks and promises to call the police unless Sam can come up with an explanation. Sam makes a deal with the Devil to allow him to tell her everything, which she doesn't believe. When he proves it to her, she freaks again and gets locked in a series of car boots. Meanwhile Sock has to deal witht he trauma of having a naked man on his back and Ben gets married right before meeting the girl of his dreams.
Sam finally gets to tell Andi everything and it is refreshing that things don't go quite as planned. The ongoing plot arc also pleases this week as Sam is manoeuvred into his deal with the Devil and then finds out what it is going to cost him. The matter of Ben's marriage of convenience comes out of nowhere, but you just know is going to run awhile.
The rest is present and correct with the likeable characters being likeable, the plot being witty, the dialogue funny and a pleasant (if not outstanding) experience all round.
It's a kick ass fighting scythe, though.Top
Andi's ex-boyfriend Greg walks back into her life and suddenly she's kissing him and breaking up with Sam. It's all the work of the Devil, of course, who has bought Greg's soul for the price of him being able to make Andi fall in love with him. There's a catch, of course, as always. There's also a chainsaw wielding soul that seems bent on attacking Sam when he's in Sock's classic car.
A sudden change of format makes this episode seem fresh and bright. Having the focus being someone who has sold their soul rather than an escapee from hell allows the plot to play around with the expected format. The surprises aren't really surprises, but there's more than enough fun to be had along the way.
The supporting story of Ben's unorthodox matrimonial situation also has enough moments of fun in it to make this is a good all round episode.Top
Sam bags an escaped soul who is so charming that no woman can resist him. Unfortunately, he's worked that same mojo on Gladys, the DMV demon, allowing him to escape before being sent back. As Sam keeps trying to catch him, the team learn that Gladys is responsible, leading to her death and her being sent back to Head Office via being swallowed by a giant worm. In the meantime, the demon resistance has learned that Sam is the Devil's son.
OK, so we've all suspected that Sam was the son of the Devil for a while now, but it's been said and it certainly opens a few doors to new storylines. Of course, it may still not be true, but merely part of the Devil's larger schemes, but this is one of the more intriguing twists in the show's larger story.
As for the rest, Ben's marriage comes to an end as Immigration catch him and his wife dumps him. That's a storyline we won't miss. It's the finale next week, so let's hope that REAPER can lift up its game to go out with the same style that it came in.Top
The demon rebellion enlist Sam's aid in building a cage for to constrain the Devil. Sam is conflicted by this, but when it proves to be that the cage is actually being built to kill him then only the ghostly presence of a demon that might now be an angel can save him.
There's no big dramatic cliffhanger ending to the series to ensure that you'll be back next season and that's kind of the story of the show. It's never really lived up to its premise or fulfilled its potential, but has remained amiable and likeable throughout and that's the same here. Sam now suspects that he might be the Devil's son, but can't get a straight answer out of anyone. He seems to accept this with great ease. He also accepts the death of his father with no great emotion. In fact nobody seems too put out by it at all. Sock even creates a wicker man for burning in celebration.
There are darker, deeper themes emerging in the show and it would be nice to see where they are going to take us, but if the show is to return, it is to be hoped that it can up its game a little.Top
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