Reaper Episode 3 "The Sweet Science"
Written by: Chris Dingess
Directed by: Tom Cherones
Original Airdate: 17 March 2008
In This Episode…
Ben tells Nina he wants to introduce her to his friends. However, he doesn't want to tell them just yet that she was the demon who tried to kill Sam. She doesn't like the lying (she was just "rebelling" and "acting out" when she tried to kill him) but goes along with it.
Sam's soul is Red, a boxer who threw a fight in the 1950s. Sam is certainly no match for him. His first attempt at collecting sees Sam beaten soundly. Second attempt, Sock jumps in to help, and Sam runs – and trips and knocks himself out. After the second try, the three of them go out for a beer. Red isn't a bad guy. He just made a mistake. Red tries to strike up a deal: Sam leaves him alone until he can win the title fight, and he will go quietly back to Hell. When Sam presents this deal to the Devil, he rejects it, and Sam discovers it was the Devil who paid Red to throw the fight.
Sock and Sam like Nina – until they find out she is a demon. Ben and Sam are in the parking lot, gathering shopping carts, when Nina drives up – and almost through them. She mixed up the pedals; and while Sam doesn't mind, Ben goes ballistic, thinking she was trying to kill Sam on purpose. Nina spills her scaly little secret, and Sam demands that Ben break it off with her. He later does (in a public place), and she is upset (crying acid tears), but doesn't cause a scene.
Sam takes the bad news to Red, and suggests he leave town. "If I can't find you, I can't take your soul." Red wants nothing more than to win the title fight, and prove that he can do it. The Devil pops up and turns the two against one another. Red begins to pummel Sam, then whispers in his ear to "make it look good." He can't win the title fight, so he wants to help someone else out. Sam takes his soul – and rubs it in the Devils face. The Devil is none to happy when Sam tells him that, in a way, he forced someone to do something good.
Sam concedes that, if Ben trusts Nina, he will trust Nina. Ben goes crawling back to her, and after a few tense moments and a very sweet apology, they are back together.
Also in this episode: Andi is named new store manager, which of course raises tension. She can't goof-off with her friends – she has to be the "grown-up" – which is especially unpleasant when she finds out that Sock has created an "alter ego" by the name of Les Nussman, who has been working at the Work Bench for two years, and sending the paychecks to Sock. Andi tries to reason with Sock and make "Les" quit, but he won't. So she sinks to his level and kills him off by reporting his accidental death (on the toilet) to corporate.
Dig It or Bury It?
This episode was surprisingly heartfelt. Red isn't a bad guy, just a guy who made a mistake. Unfortunately, in this format, it doesn't make for interesting television. There was little action and little humor. In general, this episode just felt tedious. Plus, the whole Ben/Nina relationship is just the poor man's version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Xander/Anya relationship. Not as fun, not as charming, and not as attractive.
Vessel… To Hell!
This week Sam must fight fire with fire. His vessel is a set of boxing gloves, which must tap Red on the chin, his "sweet spot." I am not sure why Sam didn't just throw the gloves at Red from a distance. Is there a rule I missed?
This episode didn't have many funny moments. The best, however, was when Ben went to a restaurant to break up with Nina. He arrives early, and hides his silverware. Then he takes the set meant for Nina. Then, after a moment of consideration, he collects the silverware from surrounding empty tables.
Next week, we have a bug infestation (with really, really cheesy graphics), and old people, who look like zombies. I hope they are zombies. Everything is better with zombies.