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A focus on feelings continues Lucifer’s hot streak

Illustration for article titled A focus on feelings continues Lucifer’s hot streak
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If there’s one thing Lucifer the television series has made clear during its time on the air, it’s the fact that Lucifer the television character still has quite a way to go before he truly understands this whole human thing. He’s not quite as far gone as his mother (apparently “all humans look alike” to her) and he’s not as divorced from society as his brother (two seasons in and Amenadiel still remains detached from humanity). But even with his partnership with the good detective, Lucifer still manages to struggle to understand this world, as well as his place within it.

Usually that quest for self-discovery and understanding allows and fuels Lucifer to help solve the case-of-the-week, but this time around, he’s a little too busy to really focus on that. It’s not even for lack of trying, as he does his best to get back in the DevilCop groove. But as “Deceptive Little Parasite” reminds us about Lucifer, sometimes, the divine missions have to take priority over the crime-solving missions. At least for Lucifer himself. We already know that Lucifer likes to let his personal problems take the wheel on cases, for better or worse, but this episode makes it pretty clear that his particular personal problem this week doesn’t just affect Lucifer: It literally has cosmic consequences. You can’t really say the thing about personal problems like Lucifer trying to distract himself or trying to learn what it means to be a good or bad parent. And the personal problem here allows it to make quite a bit of sense that Lucifer’s not too focused on the punishment aspect of this week’s case, at least not as much as he should be. He’s way too committed to his plan to punish his mother (and father) as quickly as he possibly can, and while there’s a murder on the books, that has to take the backseat to this punishment. Plus, luckily, the murderer in this episode pretty much folds under her own punishment in the form of guilt; so it’s fine Lucifer takes a little time off.


Speaking of Lucifer’s personal problems, I first must address the small touch that most people probably wouldn’t even think about, and that’s the (much appreciated) fact that Lucifer doesn’t drag things out with a great search for the blade on Amenadiel and Charlotte’s part. Early on, Lucifer just pops it out of his wall, and then we get into the actual interesting part of the episode in Charlotte trying to take Lucifer through the spectrum of emotions to set the dagger/flaming sword ablaze. It sounds like a small thing that Lucifer is straightforward about where Lucifer hid the blade, but having seen plenty of genre shows waste too much time finding a hidden MacGuffin (whether a main character knows where it is or not), it’s refreshing that Lucifer doesn’t go there.

Also, as self-serving as it ultimately is and as much as it eventually turns into unnecessary pressure, this episode features perhaps the most well-intentioned version of Charlotte yet, and things still don’t quite work out her way. But the reason she’s less diabolical here is because she’s currently under the impression that both of her sons want to return home, so with no knowledge to the contrary, she’s pushing things in the way she assumes everyone wants. This plot does eventually lead to Lucifer having to go through pain, but that certainly isn’t Charlotte’s intent, and it’s not as though she expects him to just “get over” whatever trauma he goes through here (like she expected in her plans to get Chloe out of the picture). Yes, the episode does end with the reveal that Charlotte also has a ticking clock driving her behavior—it appears her body can no longer contain her divinity—but she is also working with the belief that both Lucifer and Amenadiel are on the same page here, so while there may be a selfish motive behind all this, this is perhaps the first time there’s nothing nefarious. Surely she still wants to see her ex-husband fall, but right now, she just wants to survive, which you can’t really fault her for.

Of course, Lucifer’s actual plan requires not caring if she or God survives, so they’re definitely at odds there.

As for Amenadiel, while his plot isn’t the biggest chunk of the episode, it definitely resonates, even without the “feelings” context. His resentment of Lucifer—specifically when it comes to Lucifer being the key to all this dagger nonsense—is perfectly understandable, and at no point does it sound as petulant as it would had it come from someone like Uriel. A good portion of this season has featured Amenadiel at their mother’s side, her willing soldier, but now is probably the right time for Amenadiel to finally address (at least to Lucifer) just how much of Charlotte’s focus has been on only one of her sons. When it’s not on getting home, that is. It’s truly sad, as Amenadiel doesn’t have the special designation of “light bringer,” he doesn’t have his powers—all he has is his mother’s confidence, and even that really doesn’t matter compared to Lucifer’s specialness. The Lucifer/Amenadiel brother dynamic is still a compelling aspect of the series, and this episode is a reminder why. This show isn’t called Amenadiel, after all, and sadly (and understandably), that’s something that weighs heavily on Amenadiel. He isn’t the one God cares to mess with. He isn’t the one who’s needed to make things happen. He’s the one who sometimes gets to go on reconnaissance missions with Mazikeen or Lucifer sometimes confides in, and despite his initial role as the badass big brother, his badass days are currently far behind him. He unfortunately has reasons to feel bitter, and this mission brings that bitterness to the forefront.


Because this episode is all about feelings. “Your feelings and you,” actually, as the book Lucifer snatches from the Starford Academy says. Lucifer has to learn the seemingly impossible task of controlling his feelings (going through the spectrum of anger, sex, and fear), Amenadiel finally reveals his feelings to Lucifer, Chloe tries to understand her own feelings in the aftermath of Lucifer’s disappearance and subsequent marriage, and poor Trixie hides her feelings about how much she worries about her mother. What an emotional bunch of characters Lucifer has, huh? Also, there’s a little bit of an extended impotence metaphor going on with both Lucifer and Amenadiel when it comes to the dagger, but no one ever said Lucifer was a super serious show, now did they?

What also works about this episode is that, for the second week in a row, the case-of-the-week is compelling and pretty damn fun, as the Starford Academy integrates the cast and theme pretty well. Surprisingly, Lucifer doesn’t lean as much into the easy comedic territory of a touchy-feely elite school, instead focusing more on how all of that touchy-feely stuff is a load of crap, whether it’s on the side of the rich, gossipy parents or on the side of the corrupt, holier-than-thou staff. Except for Mr. Taylor (Ryan Bittle) the PE teacher. He really is “dumb as a box of hair.” (Speaking of, what a beautiful choice for him to have a delayed reaction to having a child, not even getting it when Alison Becker’s Madison goes on a rant about her motive for murder. What a glorious idiot.) It would be very on brand for the show to focus more on the weirdness of the school, and while that would still probably be fun, it wouldn’t quite lend itself to the Chloe/Maze part of the episode. And that part truly is key.


In fact, while Lucifer doesn’t work as much with Chloe as expected after last week’s weirdness, that separation does allow for another team-up between Chloe and Maze, which is the gift that keeps on giving. The pairing is already on firm ground early in this episode with Maze’s failed attempt at genuine compassion toward Chloe, but once Maze joins Chloe at the school as Trixie’s second mommy, it really is a match made in Heaven… pardon the expression. In fact, two weeks in a row, I’d say it’s now the Lucifer way: Everyone gets a fake spouse. If Amenadiel and Dan go undercover as a couple next week, you can thank me for willing that concept into existence. Maze has previously taken Chloe’s father’s killer hostage for her, but her wing woman act in this episode really is above and beyond the call of duty, even before the kisses and butt smacks. The woman is ride or die, and while Lucifer can easily get distracted on a weekly basis, the same can’t really be said about Maze. She makes the perfect temporary partner. And boy can she kick ass.

After a good return episode like “Candy Morningstar,” it’s rather impressive that “Deceptive Little Parasite” is able to maintain that quality in its own special way. Lucifer getting in touch with his feelings, as painful as that ends up being, is equal parts amusing and heartbreaking, and the case-of-the-week allows for most of the Lucifer crew to get involved in their own ways. Sadly, there’s very little Dan here (a statement which couldn’t have possibly been said last season), but his snarky response to Lucifer posing as Trixie’s dad is a solid highlight of the episode. Everyone on Lucifer has problems truly expressing and controlling their feelings—even Dr. Linda, whose struggles come from Lucifer misinterpreting her therapy sessions—and this episode focuses pretty well on why that is, trying its best to help them all out with that. Maze may still get nauseous over human emotions, but even she still “gets” it by the end. And generally speaking, it feels like Lucifer really gets it too.


Stray observations

  • If not for last week’s “Candy Morningstar,” this episode certainly could have been called “Trixie Morningstar.” Actually… More Lucifer episodes should just be titled after faux Morningstars. Also, Lucifer may refer to Trixie as the titular “Deceptive Little Parasite,” but it’s an expression that could also be used to describe all of Lucifer’s feelings.
  • This episode really made me think: I would not be surprised at all if Linda has been writing a book (fictional, of course) about all of her dealings with Lucifer and company. Because she is seriously sitting on a goldmine with all of these stories.
  • Chloe: “And sure, he got that annulled right away.” Sadly, we do not get to see Chloe’s immediate reaction to Lucifer telling her he got his marriage to Candy annulled. Also, as I mentioned in the comments last week, I am excited for our next run-in with the artist formerly known as Candy Morningstar.
  • Ella may seem all sunshine and rainbows, but there’s a “lotta darkness” in her head. She did used to steal cars, after all.
  • Lucifer: “A foursome is not an emotion, mom!” Only on Lucifer will you hear such a line. It’s beautiful.
  • Charlotte: “You’d understand if you had children. Many of which you haven’t seen in a millennia.”
    Lucifer: “That’s it, mom. You’re right. I need a child!”
  • Trixie regularly hides her one true love—chocolate cake—under her bed. Bless this child’s heart. And metabolism
  • Trixie: “Is it bad to pretend?”
    Chloe: “No, not always, monkey.” This is true, but I do wonder when Chloe will stop pretending with Lucifer that she’s fine. Or when she’ll stop pretending she doesn’t believe him about that whole Devil thing.

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