Reaper: Acid Queen

A-

Reaper

Acid Queen

Season 1, Episode 13

Last week, I finally lost some patience with Reaper, a show I haven't been able to quit in spite of it never being quite as good as I want it to be. I was feeling used, abused, and unfulfilled. So, what does Reaper go and do? It makes me dinner, compliments me on my hair, and starts acting like the show I want it to be. Tonight's "Acid Queen" was the first episode in a long time with some long-term character and plot development. Let me say right away that I was completely wrong about the handling of gay demon neighbors Michael Ian Black and Ken Marino. Not only was it not dispensed with quickly this episode, as I predicted, the characters and their relationship with the gang was deepened in funny and potentially rewarding ways. Black's smarminess makes me gag on occasion, but he and Marino were great tonight. I loved the dynamic between the demons and the "racist" reaper, and how it appears Black might be manipulating (or possibly helping) Sam into actively fighting the devil.

It was Black that posed an obvious question tonight: Why does the devil spend so much time with Sam? The obvious answer is TV plot mechanics, but that damned missing page of the contract looms. There's something happening here, and we don't know it is. But how great is it to wonder again? Reaper has unfolded so slowly that I've come to wonder whether any type of unified story will emerge. After last week, I was almost sure there wasn't, but "Acid Queen" was pretty much all over-arching plot and very little self-contained hijinks.

Which brings me to Sam and Andi. It seems strange that I haven't brought up the kiss yet, as this is big news for us Reaper-heads. Of course, things with these two can never be easy or even logical. Andi finally admits she like Sam so Sam acts tongue-tied. Sam invites Andi to the beautiful girl party and they kiss, but then Cady has to call and Andi has to leave in a huff. The story was wrapped up with a hospital scene where Sam appeared to brush Andi off with the ol' "I could never stand to lose you" line. It was a non-ending ending. Sam and Andi obviously like each other, it's out there, so Andi is already in danger, no?

The Spider-Man-esque crisis of conscience also clashes with the tone the show appeared to have taken of late. Reaper is a pretty light-hearted show. We never really feel like the gang is any danger. The soul hunting is more Ghostbusters than Night Of The Living Dead. Which is why Sam hasn't expressed all that much guilt about putting, say, Sock and Ben in danger. (Also, why didn't Sam care before about putting Cady in danger? He's really cold to that chick, isn't he?) Now Reaper wants to be darker and treat the demons with a little more seriousness. Maybe I should be annoyed by this but I'm not, because I prefer the tone of tonight's episode to what Reaper has been doing lately. It's still a fairly breezy show, but there was a little more to hang on to tonight. C'mon, Sam! Fight the devil! That's something I want to see!

Grade: A-