Reaper: "The Devil and Sam Oliver" Review

by Ahsan Haque

With the chances of renewal for this cult favorite series looking grim, the writers pulled out all the stops for the final episode of the second season and have produced one of the most entertaining and hilarious hours of television this season in the process. For those who have been following Sam's season-long quest to get out of his deal with the Devil, this is where Sam finally gets his chance to challenge the Devil.

It's been revealed earlier this season that in order to cancel his contract with the Devil, Sam's going to have to challenge the Devil to some form of contest and win. The real challenge for Sam is to find something he's good enough at to challenge the Devil with. There's an absolutely hilarious scene with a clarinet where Sam actually thinks that playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" is a significant demonstration of talent that is going to somehow work in defeating the Devil. It didn't help that both Ben and Sock were cheering him on thinking Sam was doing great. This sense of earnest cluelessness is something that will definitely be missed.

After finally figuring out that he's really good at bouncing a quarter into a shot glass, Sam (with the help of Steve who comes back as an entry-level angel) Sam figures out the incantation needed to summon the Devil for the challenge. Things don't turn out so well the first time, as the game of quarters ends in a draw, which isn't good enough to beat the Devil. With all hope seemingly lost, Andi puts her own soul on the line and gets Sam to challenge the Devil again. With a little help from Gladys, Sam and Andi figure out that the best way to beat the Devil is to distract him with a mirror. The plan almost works, but Steve's heavenly bone-breaking intervention dashes Sam's hopes of victory.

Why did Steve break Sam's hand? Apparently, it's all part of a bigger plan by the man upstairs, and that having the Devil own both Sam and Andi's souls is part of the greater good. We see Steve get his angel wings and fly away reassuring Sam that he's not alone. He's obviously won favor with God for his actions – but why? Why put Sam through all this suffering – and why drag Andi into this mess as well? Maybe some divine intervention will help get these questions answered via syndication next season.

The other major development in this episode revolves around Ben, Nina and Sock. Ben's grandmother thinks that if she gets an exorcism performed on Nina, she'll be cured and be worthy of acceptance in the Gonzalez family. It's nice to finally see Ben stand up for his girlfriend, when he outright refuses the procedure. When Nina sees that she would be the cause of tearing the family apart – she agrees to the exorcism, despite the fact that she might end up getting sent back to Hell in the process. This leads to Sock opening up a farewell letter she leaves behind for Ben, and jumping into action to try and rescue her. Unfortunately, Sock is high and hallucinating from a toad inadvertently jumping into his drink. It's hilarious and touching at the same time.

For a series whose future is still up in the air, the writers did a fine job in giving the show some kind of conclusion (Sam and Andi do get back together), but leave the door wide open for future seasons. Lots of unanswered questions remain, and it would be a shame not to find out where things go from here. Nevertheless, this was a very enjoyable ride for the last two seasons. Memorable characters, a very compelling storyline, and some of the funniest moments I've seen on television will be ultimately be Reaper's legacy.

Rating: 9.7





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May 30, 2009 3:40AM EDT

Here here!

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Jul 12, 2009 6:19PM EDT

I think the final episode could have been greater. If there were even rumours that it was the last ever, there should have been more questions answered.
Do you think Sam will eventually come to overthrow hell? I think it could have been that when Sam was to accept his role as ruler of the underworld, he would refuse it. With a leader-less hell, it collapses and they all live (or die) happily ever after.
You know it was going to be something cheesy.
As for Andi selling her soul, I think she should be happy that she will now most definitely be sharing eternity with Sam. And if Sam has dibbs on hell, she'll be right up there as the ruler's other half. Pretty sweet turn-out either way, no?

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