Merry Christmas: Reaper is finally back! (Yes, I know it’s March, but the show only just got around to airing a yuletide episode that was next in line when the show went on break back in December.) Alas, last night’s ep, “Hungry for Fame,” didn’t offer much to chew on, and it continued to underscore the widening gap on this series between the dull main plots (capturing the soul of the week) and the more interesting subplots (this time, it was Sam trying to convince a would-be rock star not to sell his soul to “Jerry”). At least the episode found a clever way to tie the two main strands together at the end.

The rocker (played by a surprisingly low-key Jamie Kennedy) was a street busker named Ryan — excuse me, Ryän. (Guess you can’t rawk without a superfluous umlaut.) The Devil landed him a sold-out gig at an arena, planning to swoop in afterwards to sign Ryän to the record contract from hell. Sam (Bret Harrison, pictured) got the not-so-brilliant idea to bring hell’s latest escapee (a cannibalistic serial killer, whom Sam captured a little too easily via this week’s vessel, a nifty spear gun) to the concert in order to scare some sense into Ryän. The idea backfired when Cannibal Soul bit off Ryän’s hand before Sam could recapture him. Fortunately, doctors reattached the hand at the hospital, but there was enough nerve damage to keep Ryän from ever playing the guitar again; with his rock star dreams dashed, he was no longer about to sign away his soul. A win-win for everybody — except Satan, who vented his disappointment by creating a giant mess of knocked-over shelves and spilled merchandise at the Work Bench. (Paging Sam, Sock, and Ben: Clean up in aisle 6, 7, 8, 9…)

addCredit(“Reaper: Andrew Eccles”)

Despite his several rows of shark-like teeth, Cannibal Soul didn’t seem that scary (notwithstanding Ben and Sock’s post-capture discussion at the bar of their past captures), but he sure was cold; he even killed and ate his own mother because she had nothing in the kitchen but pie. Some of the same pie that the sweet old lady had served to the soul hunters just hours before. Sock was having his own mother issues this ep; he contrasted the unconditional love and support Cannibal Mom had given her son with his own mother’s surprising return from Vegas with a new husband in tow, a cowboy-hatted Asian guy named Morris. Sock finally decided to forgive his mom and allow her her happiness, only to find that she wants her 25-year-old son to move out already and had already converted his room into a pottery studio. Guess he’ll be crashing with Sam a while longer.

Sam’s romance with Cady took a junior-high soap-opera turn when she discovered the necklace he’d bought weeks ago for Andi. She thought it was a gift for her, and he let her think so, until her run-in with Andi revealed the truth and made both women mad at him.(This even though, when Sam had tried to give Andi the trinket, she rejected it and started crying, leading him to start dating Cady in the first place. Andi and Sam clearly still have feelings for each other, though neither will admit it, even to themselves.) Cady ultimately forgave Sam, but her second meeting with Andi, when she told the Work Bench-er a disturbing story about how she’d once gone to a romantic rival’s house with a knife and slashed her tires when she didn’t find her at home, didn’t exactly smooth things over between the two women. We still don’t know if Cady really is the Devil’s daughter, but she sure seems to share his temper.

Question: Is that temper going to drive Sam away (and back to Andi), or will it be her snoring? Who is the scariest soul the boys have captured? And will the CW renew Reaper for another season? The network has already announced the renewal of several shows, but our favorite demonic dramedy was not on the list. Better bring it back, CW — you don’t want to piss off Beelzebub.

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