Well, my Reaper loving pals, I have good news and bad news. The good news is obvious if you saw last night's episode: "Cash Out" was pretty damn terrific, the best all-around episode at least since "What About Blob" and perhaps even the pilot. The soul(s)-o'-the-week plotline was very solid, and Sam was allowed to look relatively slick and bad ass for a change in the final showdown with the killer bank robber. And my expectations for Cady were exceeded–the episode side-stepped the old "Will they or won't they?" question by simply beginning with Sam and Cady as a couple, all the while not-so-subtly suggesting that Sam is barking up the wrong tree here. (Though the same could be said for Cady as well. Sam is a damned soul, after all. Maybe Devil spawn isn't such a bad option for him.) It's entirely possible that Sam will stay with Cady even if she is the Devil's daughter. Does this synch up with the contract somehow? Is The Devil discouraging Sam from hooking up with Cady in order to encourage him? Did Sam's dad know this was going to happen? Interesting stuff, for sure.
Now, the bad news: This appears to be the last episode we're going to see for a while. According to The CW's web site, there's nothing scheduled for Dec. 11, and a re-run is slotted for Dec. 18. Based on online reports it appears the reserve of new Reaper episodes is tapped out until the writer's strike is resolved. In the short term, I'll be sad to lose my weekly Reaper fix; long term, I worry that this might do irreparable damage to the show's creative and popular momentum. Despite positive reviews and word of mouth Reaper isn't a hit; it's hard to tell whether being on The CW helps or hurts in this regard, because Reaper would probably be gone by now if it were on another network, but it might also do better numbers if it had, say, Chuck's advertising budget. At any rate, I feel fairly confident Reaper will be back when the writers finally get paid, if only because you can only fill so many hours with Beauty And The Geek. But Reaper is one of the season's new shows that will undoubtedly suffer at least some damage because of the writers' strike.
If this is it for Reaper for a while, the show went out on top. The job in "Cash Out" was to catch two damned bank robbers who killed each other over their take. Sam and the gang caught the first soul quickly, thanks in part to The Devil, who once again simply handed Sam a dossier on the escapees rather than have him figure out the job on his own. (I think it's important to the story that The Devil is helping Sam more than he used to, though it also has the practical purpose of streamlining some of the plot conventions from the early episodes.) The other soul was a little trickier–the gang tracked him to an underground Rounders-style poker game with the help of recovering gambling addict Manager Ted, once again blessing us with his hilarious, jackass presence. The soul took Ben hostage–of course it was Ben–but Sam gained the upper hand by threatening to burn the rest of the loot, distracting the damned soul long enough to trap him and send him back to the bowels of Hell. Meanwhile, Sock and Ben tried to figure out whether Cady is the Devil's kid. They thought they had the answer after seeing her naked in Sock's new hot-tub–bought with a pilfered chunk of the stolen booty–but their no-Devil guarantee was quietly dispelled by a dead goldfish and a dead flower. Apparently just being in the presence of this chick is enough to kill life forms in her radius. The last time we saw her face, it was bathed in red light. Oh oh.
And with that, "Cash Out" cut to black. What's going to happen with Sam and Cady? What is the Devil up to? More important, when in the Hell are we going to find out?
Addendum: According to TV Guide, there are two more Reaper episodes in the can. So, stay tuned, dudes.
--Another example of The Devil subtly undermining Sam's manhood: Calling him a "weenie" for not spending the money.
--Sock: "I was gonna get naked and roll around in it, but I didn't shower today and didn't want to get the money dirty."
--I desperately wanted to believe that Cady's dad really was a member of The News. That would have meant her mom was impregnated during the Fore! tour. (The most likely candidate would have been cigarette-smoking bassist Mario Cipollina.)
--Is Sock spending the stolen money on health insurance political commentary on the writers' part?
--Sock: "You should keep that suit, you have never looked faster."
--Ben: "Who the hell does that, dragging a man through walls. It wasn't cool!"
--Sock: "I planned on buying a record label and not letting you guys in on it."