Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Devil's Deal

Somebody was taking notes during the strike. After last night's episode, all the complaints about Reaper not delivering on the promise of it's pilot have been answered and the series delivered it's best episode since the pilot. That's now three great episodes that look to the future for the frosh series, hitting it's stride as it awaits news of renewal or cancellation. To wit, last night featured not only the return of Tony (Ken Marino,) but the introduction of two more familiar faces: Lucy Davis (BBC's The Office, Studio 60 and Kandyse McClure (Dualla on Battlestar Galactica,) the kind of casting you don't expect from a series near death on The CW.
We understand what the show is now and what it can be. I think now that we're in this groove, all of a sudden, in a weird way, instead of narrowing what our prospects are, it just opens them up. 'Oh, I can see what Season 3 is now, and Season 5.'
Co-creator Michele Fazekas in the LA Times, April 28, 2008
One of the fixes in the past couple episodes, was dealing with painfully boring relationship between Sam and Andi. Either bring Andi into the Scooby Gang, the complaint goes, or at least give us more reason to care about whether Sam and her ever get together. Well, they finally got together last week, and this week Andi was brought into the circle -- an inevitability of getting together. While I'm sure Sam would prefer her to remain safe on the sidelines, you have to imagine that Andi is going to participate in the escapades going forward, giving the character more to do than just prank Ted -- not that it isn't an important job.

The other biggest complaint about the series was how it fell into a 'soul of the week' routine that offered nothing more. Since the strike, the hell-bound souls have been more interesting and at the same time taken a back seat to an over-arching plot line involving a rift between the devil and his demons. To that end it was also nice to see Ken Marino returning as the gay demon Tony, with the show utilizing his comic timing. Watching him cooking in full demon getup was a highlight (and begs for a SciFi/Food Channel mashup show called Demon Chef... someone get on that). If there's a common thread to the rebirth of the series, it's got to be the work of Marino, who's place here is not unlike his turn as Vinnie on Veronica Mars.

The theme of the episode was making a deal with the Devil (a drastic measure which the series itself want to look into to get renewal,) with the obvious instance being Sam's literal handshake deal with Old Scratch over letting Andi in on his work. His end of the bargain, though, is to again be party to the downfall of his friend Tony, spying on his little uprising. The other deal, of course, is Ben's Green Card marriage to Sara (Lucy Davis) and him finding his Sue Grafton-reading dream girl Cassidy (Kandyse McClure). Sock, of course, has the perfect solution: "You tell them you have an open Green Card marriage!" Other comic Sock highlights include, "my head is going to some pretty awful places with this one," echoing our own thoughts trying to figure out what special powers the semen demon (Ian Gomez of Felicity fame) might possess.

Musically, there was 'Sock's Tunes for Humping,' which maybe we'll hear more of, but in this case, we hear some close-to-real cover of Hendrix's version of "Hey Joe." Only Sock would think "shoot my old lady" is ripe for romance. Sam quickly changes it to a more appropriate enchanting bossa nova number from the London-based, São Paulo raised, singer Cibelle, called "Luisas." The rest, I couldn't figure out, but The CW does update their music page later in the week, so check back there to find out.

Previously: Cell Number of the Beast (Episodes 1.14).

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