B+

Reaper: "All Mine"



In my first Reaper post, I compared the show to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and naturally some Buffy fans (including my fellow A.V. Clubber Scott Tobias) threw down their monocles in disgust and took me to task. "Sure, Reaper is solid enough, but does it have the depth of our beloved Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle? Hardly!" For the record, I never said it did–I merely made the obvious enough observation that the shows have similar premises executed with similar senses of irreverence. Three episodes in, Reaper has not yet had a single weighty moment. And yet "All Mine" did add depth to the series, using a typically light touch to further ingratiate the main characters with the audience and add a few more dimensions along the way. I really like these guys, so the table is set for Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas to screw with me somewhere down the line.

The escaped soul this week was the coolest yet–a foxy mistress who reverts to swarming insects to maul whomever gets between her and her lover. But I found myself more interested in the B story involving Sam and Andi weighing Manager Ted's offer to be assistant manager of the plumbing department at The Bench. Sam's sense of inferiority was explored a bit more this episode, prompted by Andi deciding to attend college full-time and hang out with an Aryan-looking fellow student. There was also a cheesy Lifetime Movie Network moment where Andi mournfully dwelled on her dead dad, once again tipping the cap to the inevitable upcoming episode where Sam will have to give the vessel treatment to Andi's undead brood.

I've become a big fan of Donavan Stinson as the wormy Manager Ted; he and fellow secondary character Ben (played by Rick Gonzalez) proved themselves to be more-than-worthy bench players this week. Ben, in particular, has emerged as a smart, levelheaded, and necessary counterpoint to the overtly oafish Sock. I keep waiting to hate Tyler Labine and his blatant Jack Blackin' ways, but if you like the guy from the start I think you keep on liking him. If you hate 'em, there's no way you're still watching Reaper.

Here's a familiar complaint: Not enough Ray Wise. He showed up a few minutes in and promptly dropped the best line of the night. ("I'm sorry. That's me at the Emmys.") Then he was gone for another half-hour, and then gone again until the end of the episode. (I had to rewind the DVR to catch the thumb's up one more time–great!) So far Wise essentially is Dean Stockwell to Bret Harrison's Scott Bakula, showing up every now and then for guidance and a quip or two. While that worked for Stockwell and his ugly shirts, Reaper needs more than three Wise scenes per episode.

Still, my enthusiasm is back up after last week's solid if unspectacular second episode. "All Mine" set up the characters nicely and with a light touch established a course Reaper will hopefully follow as the story deepens.

Grade: B+

Stray observations

--What happened to the lady at the DMV tonight? They aren't ditching that bit already, are they?

--Speaking of ditched bits, they can't keep running to Sock's ex-girlfriend's office every time they need some background on a lost soul.

--I'm really glad Ben didn't get hurt again this week.

--I like The Decemberists, but they should never used as background music for a bar scene. I suggest Exile On Main Street.

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