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'Reaper' recap: The season 1 finale

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Reaper_lWell, “Cancun,” the Reaper season finale, kind of fudged the whole question of Sam Oliver’s paternity, but we do know this: his father is one hell of a guy.

I was actually kind of hoping that the Devil (Ray Wise, right) really was the sire of Sam (Bret Harrison, left), just because their mentor-protégé relationship is so much fun to watch. Also because it would make Sam’s loyalties in the looming demon rebellion against Satan that much more complicated. Still, the revelation in the season’s final minute that the elder Mr. Oliver is apparently a demon offers some possibilities for season 2. I’ll admit, that was a revelation I didn’t see coming.

Actually, the most interesting character this episode was Tony, whoreminded us, after weeks of neighborly friendliness, that demons arenot always nice guys. He began the episode by dropping a washingmachine on Sam (a test to see if Sam had enough devilish power to savehimself and thereby prove he’s Satan’s son; Tony didn’t seem to upsetby the prospect that, if Sam were a mere mortal, he’d be crushed todeath) and later buried Sam alive in a demon-proof cage. Give Tonycredit for being cleverer than he’s seemed so far (given theill-advised rebellion attempt a few weeks back that killed his lover,Steve); he not only recognized thatSam might be the spawn of Satan, but that he was also certainly amole for Mephistopheles. And he took advantage of thatsituation by withholding from Sam the key info: that the KingSolomon-designed cage was meant to imprison not the Devil but Samhimself. (Plus, Tony got to buy the parts cheap, via Sam’s Work Benchemployee discount.)

addCredit(“(Bret Harrison and Ray Wise; Jack Rowand”)

Tony also ran the emotional gamut when he learned Steve had beenappearing in visions to Sam (and not to himself); he went fromdisbelief to jealous anger to awestruck wonder to regret to forgivenesswithin moments. Despite Tony’s assertion that not even God’s vastcapacity for mercy extends to demons, it seemed that Steve really hadbecome an angel and ascended to heaven. (“It’s better than Cancun,”Steve exclaimed, justifying the episode’s title.) Tony realized he hadto rescue Sam from the box, though curiously, he did not rescue Mr.Oliver, who’d jumped into the cage to save Sam. Had Tony figured out whatwas confirmed in the final scene, when Mrs. Oliver showed up to dig herapparently unharmed husband out of the abandoned cage? Not sure, but atleast now we know why Sam’s dad ripped out all the pages in Sam’scontract referring to his paternity, as well the nature of the secrethe told Sam he was forbidden to divulge.

I didn’t really dig this week’s subplots. The escaped soul of theweek, an evil fortune teller who was easily dispatched back to hell viaa hurled baseball? Meh. Sock breaking up withJosie for no good reason save his own immaturity? That’s just Sockbeing Sock. Sock falling for beautiful succubus Marlena? He’d alreadyfantasized about Gladys, so his attraction to another demon was nogreat stretch, especially since her kisses gave him the world’sgreatest adrenaline high and super strength. (Each kiss also took ayear off his life, but as Sock noted, they’re the crappy years at theend.) Not sure why Marlena was attracted to Sock, but that was lessirksome than Sock’s trying to pimp her out to Ben so that he could feelthe high, too — and Ben eagerly going along with the idea. Ben seemstoo sensible to shorten his life over a momentary high, not to mentionmaking out with a demon when he already has a dream girlfriend inCassidy. (Where was she, by the way?) At least Marlena had the goodsense (and self-esteem) to find Sock’s scheme appalling; she may be alife-sucking demon, but she’s not a whore.

Oh, and that fireworks effigy of Mr. Oliver? That was pretty awesometo watch, and it made a nice, emotional close to the episode and theseason. It was a send-off that Sam’s dad would surely appreciated, hadhe been there. (And if Mrs. Oliver had been a little quicker with theshovel, he might have been.)

Questions: So, how many years did Sock shave off his life? When isSam going to find out that his father is not only still alive, but is ademon as well? Is Sam’s mom a demon, too? Is Sam really their child, or is he adopted? (After all, the Devil himself left open the possibilitythat he really is Sam’s dad.) Since Tony’s cage idea didn’t work,what’s the rebellion’s Plan B? Finally, are you pleased with the wayReaper‘s first season played out, and what do you want to see happennext season?