"You have me all figured out, don't you Sam?"
It's been two long weeks since the previous Reaper episode and my "State of Reaper" address on The TV Blog, and "Ashes To Ashes" proved to be worth the wait. I've been getting a little antsy lately with this show, which despite a consistent, easy-going charm had started to seem more like a time-filler than Must-See TV. (By the way, what's up with you commenters? You spend weeks complaining about how Reaper is going nowhere, and when I finally say, "Hey, you might have a point," it's all, "Who needs a story arc? You're crazy." I'm telling you, the Internet is a bitch goddess.) With "Ashes To Ashes," Reaper was back to subtly fleshing out the seamy underbelly to all the funny wisecracks and reapin' tomfoolery.
"Ashes To Ashes" began by re-establishing its outstanding track record with incredibly hot MILFs, sending Sam to fix the dishwasher of The Devil's mistress, played by O.C. star Melinda Clarke. (Further muddying the waters between Reaper and Chuck, no doubt.) Why would the Devil send Sam to his mistress' house, and then act so pissed off when Sam inevitably starts talking to her about him? All season The Devil seems to be nicer and dumber than he really should be, which makes him all the more mysterious. But, so far, his diabolical ulterior motives haven't really manifested. The Devil showed Sam the contract, and Sam's dad was weird about it, but the contract's real importance is still unknown. The Devil appeared at the end of the one episode to be harboring lost love for somebody, but whom? (Does it matter? Still unknown.) The Devil also has given Sam a "Get Out Of Hell Free" card. Will this end up being important, or merely a punchline somewhere down the road?
We learned by episode's end that The Devil brought Sam to his mistress for two reasons: she helped lead him to this week's escaped soul; and (maybe) more important, she's the mother of Sam's potential new love interest Cady. So, again, a plot device is introduced that may or may not be big for Reaper down the line. Personally, I don't buy Sam doing anything with Cady. Right away, it was made clear that she may-or-may-not be Devil spawn. So, sure she's cute and all, but Sam has made it abundantly clear that he's more than a little careful with the ladies, and a possible genetic connection to the Prince Of Darkness should be enough to turn him away.
I think Cady, like the contract or the hell card, is a MacGuffin. The only important thing here is that The Devil always knows more than Sam does, and his ultimate goal is to corrupt him by any means necessary. (Notice the throwaway line about spending 20 years corrupting Mimi? No wonder Reaper is unfolding so leisurely.) Sam's problem is he keeps treating The Devil like a human being when he's obviously not. He doesn't care about Mimi or Sam or anybody else–he's evil incarnate. I lead with the above quote, another seeming throwaway line delivered with Ray Wise's little car salesman smirk, because Sam clearly hasn't figured The Devil out yet.
--On the Sam-Andi relationship front, amazingly, I thought it was handled pretty well this week. Thank God for Ben, who finally confronted Andi about her feelings for Sam and got an answer sort of.
--Ben's creepy staring grandma says the boys are doing God's work, despite working for the Devil. Interesting commentary on the duality of God and The Devil, or total cop-out bullshit? Discuss.
--Mimi is moving to New Mexico, one of the hottest, driest states in the country. Hmm...
--The Devil is making Sam's job easier every week. In "Ashes To Ashes" he gave Sam the name of the soul and a list of people he was going to hit. What's the motive there? Are the souls themselves MacGuffins?
--Also, Sam's manhood was called into question several times this episode, by Sock and The Devil. If he's being goaded into "acting more like a man," that could be his undoing, no?
--Sock: "I feel like the weirdest drug dealer of all time."
--Sock again: "The devil and I have the exact same taste in women. Is she really flexible, too?"
--Can we met Ben's uncle Hector?