"Dirty Sexy Mongol" S2 / E2
Let’s say you’re the prince of darkness. Along with being the personification of evil and the lord of hell, you’re a master of space and time. You can appear anywhere and do anything you want, all on a moment’s notice. If you’re the prince of darkness as depicted on Reaper, you also look like Ray Wise, which means you are one handsome son of a bitch. So, if all of these things are true, how could anyone ever get the upper hand on you?
I kept asking myself this question during tonight’s enjoyable episode “Dirty Sexy Mongol.” Sam is trying to get escaped soul Alan to tell him how he got out of his deal with the devil. But after the devil simulated a demon attack on Alan that made Sam look responsible, the un-demon got spooked, and is now looking to spend most of his time on a literal graveyard shift because he thinks consecrated ground will protect him. Like the rest of you Reaper fans in The T.V. Club, I’m curious to find out how exactly Alan got out of his deal with Satan. But I can’t figure out how far the devil’s reach goes. He was aware that Sam was trying to track down Alan, but does he know that Sam is still trying to find him? Reaper hasn’t been very clear about what the devil can see and can’t see, so whenever Sam starts plotting behind his back I can’t help wondering if the devil knows. As much as I like Reaper, it’s not terribly disciplined when it comes to sticking with its own mythology, so either we’re supposed to just accept that the devil doesn’t always keep tabs on Sam or the show is building to something I haven’t quite figured out yet.
Overall I thought “Dirty Sexy Mongol” did a good job of balancing wacky sitcom elements with the continuing story arc about Sam’s quest to find Alan. I wasn’t so keen on the “Sock’s hot Asian step-sister” subplot when it was introduced last week, but I actually thought it was pretty funny tonight. (What can I say? I’m a sucker for a dance-off.) I’m not sure how much gold can still be mined from this one-note joke—Kristen has to get sick of wrestling Sock eventually—but Tyler Labine is working the blue balls bit for all it’s worth. I was also happy to see Ben get a promising romantic interest after last year’s mostly obnoxious green card marriage storyline. I just want to see this sweet kid be happy, especially after his creepy attachment to Mr. Charlie the rabbit this week. But ... didn’t Sock already hook up with a demon last season? Is there really fresh comedic material here? “Dirty Sexy Mongol” was better when it came to the soul o’ the week, who quickly evolved from a brutal, monosyllabic killer to a brutal, monosyllabic, Bluetooth-wearing yuppie. I thought having him attack Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese restaurants was a pretty good, if slightly obvious, joke.
We also got some hints of the demon rebellion that was introduced last season and has been mostly absent in the first two episodes. Actually, the demon assassins that went after Sam outside of Alan’s apartment might not have been from the rebellion, since the devil implied that it was all a set up to freak out Alan. At any rate, I’m guessing this rebellion will become a big deal at some point. Then there’s the matter of Sam’s parents—the devil was openly referring to himself as Sam’s dad tonight, though I still don’t really believe that it’s true. You have to think mom and dad will crawl out from under their rocks soon.
Last season Reaper moved uneasily between self-contained episodes and episodes that moved the overall story arc forward. I thought “Dirty Sexy Mongol” did a fine job of doing both. But, honestly, the devil must know everything that’s going on, right?