I'm not alone in thinking that the tradition of not speaking ill of the dead might be best honored in the breach than the observance where the record of the Saudi King is concerned. I have a feeling that in a country where currently, atheists are considered terrorists, and public beheadings are still common (although heaven help you if you try to film one), and the human rights record on women especially is pretty lousy, calling King Abdullah a "reformer" is a bit like saying "well, he could have been worse!" But he was, if a reformer, a terribly cautious one; he could have been better. If he allowed some higher education for women or for them to vote in local election, it should be remember that these were things permitted for women if their male keepers also permitted them.
Will things likely change with the new King Salman, a youthful 79 year old whose rumors of dementia may well be exaggerated? It's hard to say--he seems to have been a capable executive in his prime. But it seems like there are a number of other Saud family members who have a lot of say in how things are run, and I don't like the odds of further reforms really taking off in a country run by scads of geriatric millionaires.
The relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, however, is unlikely to change much, because well, you take allies where you find them, I guess.