The ReaperYet another pre-air show has escaped onto the wilds of d’internet. Isn’t modern technology a wonderful thing? Right, on with the recap. We open with Sam on his birthday. He is 21 today, but his parents seem a little off, odd would be a good term[1] His brother Kyle is more normal in his response, the usual brother banter goes on. Sam, at first distracted by a news story about an arsonist on the news, retaliates by asking, ever so innocently about a letter from Stanford. It turns out that Kyle had applied, and didn’t get in. His parents are a little upset at this, something that Kyle can’t quite understand and protests that Sam never went to college. His mother however disagrees, Sam did go to college, for a whole month, it just made him sleepy so he came home. They are both very proud of him.

Sam’s friend shows up. We later learn that his name is Bert although for some reason he goes by the nickname Sock. He wishes Sam a happy birthday, and when Sam’s Dad tells him to take Sam out to celebrate Sock makes a joke about going to Vegas, finding some smack, and killing a hooker. This this doesn’t go down well with Ms. Oliver and she leaves the room in a flood of tears.

Whatever… Sam and Sock head to work and as they pull into the car park a dog crosses in front of them. A dog which goes slightly insane and begins to jump, repeatedly, at the window of the car[2] Sam is a little freaked. Sock, not so much, and decides to have bit of fun by opening his door as the dog is in mid-jump, whacking into the growling beast. Aww, poor puppy.

But the weirdness doesn’t end there. As he is heading inside whatever this place is called a trolley rolls by Sam. As it comes to a stop he reaches out to take hold, but it rolls off away from his outstretched hand. Ooooh.

Once he gets to work Sam ignores the briefing from his boss.supervisor concerning a sales competition and winning a ham, it all sounds fascinating, but he is more interested in chatting with Andi. He wants to ask her out. But fail.

Sam seems to have a very busy day at work, watching telly as fires rage on the screen, and in the background we hear “Don’t fear the Reaper” but as his supervisor wanders by to “put him on report” we see that what had been uncontrollable flames are now cute little ducks. Suddenly, we get a moment of action. Sam spots that an air conditioning unit is about to fall on Andi and rushes to save her, managing to get her out from under it before it falls. OH MY GOD as Sock says. But Sam isn’t so happy, not because he saved Andi, but because he didn’t touch the air conditioner at all. It moved before he got there. Sock decides that the best thing is to test Sam’s new found super-power, and what better way than by tossing a paint tin at him without Sam seeing. Sam’s super-power fails as the tin whacks him in the head. But it isn’t all doom and gloom as the resulting injury means that Andi comes over to wonder if he is okay, and to thank him for saving her life. Once again he almost asks her out, but is interrupted by growling. The lickle mutt from before has returned. And it brought back-up, in the form of a pack of vicious looking mutts. Rottie and Shepherd types. Sam and Andi make a run for it, pursued by the dogs until Sock chases them off with some gardening implement. A leaf blower, summat, I dunno, I’m not a gardener type.

Poor Puppy

A tad perturbed Sam decides to head for home. But as he drives a voice pipes up from the back seat, and introduces himself as the devil. And a very dapper-looking devil he is too, anyway, he chats for a bit, and then distracts Sam causing him to crash. And when he gets out there is no one else in the car.

At home[3] Sam bumps into his Dad, and blurts out what has happened. His father looks somewhat sympathetic and explains that he and Sam’s mother sold Sam’s soul to the devil! Before Sam was born Mr. Oliver[4] got sick. Very sick, and so they made a deal with the devil, he’d get better, but in exchange they’d give their first born son’s soul to the devil when he turned 21. Their ever so cunning plan being to never have children and so get around the deal.

Silly peoples. Don’t you know you can’t screw around with “demonic forces” like that.

Sam is a bit freaked out. Who wouldn’t be, and, in a bit of a daze, heads out to his birthday party. Upon arriving he promptly starts drinking. A lot. Namely every single drink that his friends have already ordered. He clears the table and then tells Sock he needs to talk to him. And proceeds to tell him exactly what his father told him. Sock asks the reasonable question “How drunk are you?” and when Sam says he isn’t, he is sober, Sock asks the next most sensible question, “How drunk am I?” Eventually though he believes Sam, but thinks this is cool. Not really the response that Sam was looking for. He wanders away from the party and heads home. But as he opens his present from Andi the Devil appears and reveals more details. Sam will work for him. Tracking down souls that have escaped from hell[5] And he proceeds to show him the first target, a firefighter who is in fact an arsonist. Sam has to capture him and transport him to hell. The Devil then gives Sam a wooden box. Well, he uses a lot more words, describing those who made it, but whatever. It is a wooden box. Sam protests. He doesn’t want to be a bounty hunter. The devil’s charm fades and he gets a little serious, telling Sam that he will do as he is told or it’ll be Sam’s mother that gets taken away to hell. And then he is gone, leaving Sam to ponder that.

Next day Sam brings the box to work, to show to his friends, Sock and Ben. After he fills Ben in on the details they have a little debate about the nature of free will and the devil and whether someone else can sell your soul. Eventually however they open the box, to reveal… a Dirt Devil. But not your ordinary mini-hoover, this one has enough suction power to move a lorry.

That night the three lads head off in pursuit of the arsonist. But things don’t go to plan, as the muscle-bound dude is the one to grin and cause havoc as he sends them fleeing from the fire he creates. Ben ends up hospitalised, which makes Sam wonder if maybe he should “end this” by himself. But when he gets back to where the firefighter was there is nothing left but a giant smoking crater.

That night as he heads in he meets his mother on the porch. She is upset and tells him that she’ll go to hell instead of him. He lies, and says it is all over, he has done his deed for the devil, everything is fine, they can treat him like normal again. And she buys it! Silly parental.

Sam heads for his room, but when he opens the door he finds himself in an ice-hockey arena, with the devil. They watch a Zamboni on the ice for a few minutes and Sam tells the Devil that he is out. He doesn’t care about going to hell, but he this whole catching escaped souls is too hard. The devil disagrees, but also gives him a little psych 101 and tells Sam that he always does that, as soon as anything gets to hard he quits. And then the Zamboni stops working; the driver gets out and fiddles around underneath it. Can you spell uh-oh? It rolls over him, to Sam’s horror, leaving behind a bloody trail. The Devil offers a few words of comfort, he was a bad man, drinker, wife-beater, and he didn’t do what I told him. Can you spell warning? He then tells Sam that he doesn’t accept failure. Never!

The next day Sam apologises to Sam for getting all “I’ll do it BY MYself” at the hospital and they begin to suit up in order to go forth and do battle with the fire-dude.

I’m not giving away any more details; you can all use your imagination. But I really enjoyed this episode. Plenty of humour and the cast seem to work well together. Bret Harrison playing Sam does a good job of portraying this sortof loser who has had an easy ride his whole life. his best friend, Sock is maybe a little overdone in the dumb humour, but this is only a pilot. Ray Wise who you might know as Leland Palmer from Twin Peaks was very enjoyable as the Devil. A charmer, but you get the definite feeling that that is only on the surface.

Linknotes:

  1. strange is another good word
  2. Kinds like this, but with menace
  3. Numer 667, hee
  4. it would be nice if I knew his name, but these are the things I gotta deal with
  5. He is doing too good a job over-crowding

You may also like...