'Reaper': Putting the Sprong back in their step
Some people face their imminent demise with fear. Others laugh in the face of death. "Reaper" chooses to basically ignore its own potential demise, choosing to spend its last few weeks of the season featuring fights between foam-core laced mascots rather than fights between heaven and hell. Humping between heaven and hell? Apparently acceptable, however.
Rather than spend the week hunting an escaped soul, Sam and company were forced to stay on the defensive, protecting a particularly awful person who just so happened to be their high school biology teacher. After mistaking this man for the soul, Sam, Andi, and Sock took an unfortunately beaten Mr. Sprong back for a little bit of kidnapping. Oh well, all they did was smack him with a magic mallet. It's not like they ran over him with a slow-moving steamroller or anything. Yea, baby!
Just as Mr. Sprong filled our heroes with self-doubt as teenagers, he also made a certain Jordy Boone feel invisible. So this Clay Aiken-wannabe escapes from hell to kill the one person he blames for the person he became, able to sideswipe Sam's mallet attacks easily. Not sure how invisibility made him suddenly porous to the touch, but hey, I'm just the recapper, not the writer here. In any case, Sam realizes that he himself would never be able to capture Jordy, so he hands Magic Mallet over to Sprong. Their former teacher then repays the favor by smacking them silly and reporting them to the police. Luckily, said cops think Sprong's insane in the membrane, meaning no jail time for the leads of the show.
The reinsertion of Sprong into their lives adds one other element to the show this week, as it allowed the major players to reassess their lives up until this point. After being reminded of Sprong's low opinion of them, Andi openly questions if his barbs don't have a touch of truth. Enter Sock, all Henry V, uttering his version of the St. Crispin's Day speech to rally around the small-town virtues of friendship, middle management, cheap beer, and the future inheritance of Hell. In a season that's featured the absolute worst of Sock, it was nice to have the episode end with a reminder of just why we used to love this character.
Unfortunately, the rest of the episode reminded us why we haven't liked him so much, as he turned into Wrenchy Bench, the new face of the Work Bench thanks to Ted's new marketing plan. Sock struts around in a foam-covered wrench suit to greet customers, signs autographs, and oh yea, get involved in fisticuffs with rival mascot Bargain Brandon. Turns out Ted's master stroke is just a ripoff of a rival's mascot, one apparently occupied by an elderly woman with a thirst for blood.
While the humans thirst for blood, demons thirst for flesh, thanks to Nina's annual Pheromone-a-palooza which attracts demons far and wide to break off summa dat. (Yea, I'm street. Don't front.) Naturally, this offends Ben's 87-pound frame, and sends him into "I Can Defend My Woman" mode. Nina's not having any of that, but by the time Sock and Ben construct a robot suit of armor out Work Bench scraps, she's somewhat touched by his devotion. Too bad her good luck hug turned Ben into an extremely humpable opponent for the intoxicated demon.
Other random thoughts on tonight's episode...
- So Andi likes to hunt demons with bad boys, just not date them? File under: mixed signals. However, she made a reference to one of my favorite bad movies of all time, Sylvester Stallone's epic arm-wrestling flick "Over the Top." So she's forgiven this week's wishy washiness.
- Loved Ben calling his fists "Lilo" and "Stitch." I would have gone with "Ren" and "Stimpy," but that's just me.
- Best exchange of the night? Ben: "I have no idea what you're talking about, but you seem so excited, so I'm in. No matter how stupid." Sock: "Very stupid." Ben: "More in."
There was nothing egregiously bad about this week's episode, but in forgetting the huge stakes set up this season (The Path of Steve, Sam's father in hell), they are suggesting those stakes don't actually matter. And if they don't matter to the show, why should they matter to us? There are only two episodes left, maybe EVER. Can we please stop the hammer/wrench faux fights long enough to deal with some REAL conflict?
What are your thoughts as the season/series heads towards the finish line? Are you content with stand-alone episodes this close to the end? Will any major questions get resolved when all is said and done?