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After trying to be the “Super Bad Boyfriend,” Lucifer has a major breakthrough

Illustration for article titled After trying to be the “Super Bad Boyfriend,” Lucifer has a major breakthrough
Screenshot: Lucifer (Netflix)
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Lucifer: “This is all his fault. ... Every bad thing that’s ever happened. With Eve, with the Detective. Dear old Dad’s back up to his old tricks, manipulating me. Using these two women to… tear me apart.”

It took eight episodes for Lucifer to finally blame God for his problems. That’s got to be some kind of record. But then he takes it all back because as we all already know, angels are just as responsible for their own fates as humans. (And for him to take it back in an episode written by Jason Ning, writer of “God Johnson,” is even more impressive.) Even more so, actually, as they self-actualize and manifest their projections. This season has hit that point hard, but it hasn’t quite looked at Lucifer himself as it had. Until now. He knows both his Devil face and wings are a reflection of his current mental state. Remember in the premiere when I said that while Linda was technically right about Lucifer’s denial, she was focusing too much on that instead of Lucifer actually being right about Chloe? Well, this episode finally pulls that focus back to Lucifer’s denial issues, first comedically and then quite seriously, in yet another heart-wrenching scene from Tom Ellis.


Lucifer tried to be one thing, and it didn’t work—because Chloe still didn’t accept him. He tried to be two disparate things at once, and it didn’t work—because he was being pulled in two different directions and pretended that was fine when it wasn’t. He tried to be another thing, and it didn’t work—because he realized he was turning into a monster, which is not what he wants to be. It’s not the definition of insanity, because he’s trying different things and expecting different results, but it’s still maddening. And it’s driving Lucifer insane because he knows that it’s not his father’s fault—though both Eve and Chloe are literally both in his life because of his father’s divinity—he knows that it’s a “grand deception” that his mind is telling him. The joke has always been that Lucifer goes to therapy because it’s such an “L.A.” thing to do, but while there’s always been a lesson Lucifer has to learn here, this is the first time the topic of mental illness has truly come into play. His denial is a component of his intense self-loathing, and the thing is, it’s not like Linda can just prescribe the Devil some anti-depressants. He actually has to fix things from within.

I enjoy watching and writing about Lucifer as a character study—the thing that first earnestly drew me into the show was from its specific character work with a cast I was already mostly familiar with, especially such an against type Tom Ellis—but this is perhaps the first episode where I’ve ever really identified with a number of these characters. At the risk of getting way too personal in a review, Lucifer’s final lines of the episode are the most I’ve ever identified with any character on this show:

“There is something rotten inside of me. I find it near impossible to drown out the constant cacophony of voices whispering in my ear, telling me, I am evil. I’m drowning, Doctor! And I can’t stop asking myself: Why do I hate myself so much?!”

It’s a chilling and brutally honest end to an episode where Lucifer attempts to be anything but be brutally honest, after first choosing to go the classic shenanigans route.

Despite her bubbliness, Eve is very attuned to what people think and mean. When she gets caught up on Lucifer saying the l-word first, it’s not because she’s oblivious; as tells Maze, she’s painfully aware that Lucifer is pulling away for her. She even says “No.” to that same attempt to break up because of it. Because she knows he’s been hurt before by Chloe. Even Maze is aware that it’s his thing because everyone’s aware that it’s his thing. So, going the shenanigans route doesn’t work to get rid of Eve. (He even goes the old-fashioned way of asking suspects for help, which leads to botched couples therapy and him wondering for a second if he should kill Eve.)


While half its cast are people of color, Lucifer hasn’t really addressed race before. But it’s a show that picks its spots when it goes for something, so here we go. One of my least favorite bits of season one was when characters would double-take over the simple fact Amenadiel and Lucifer are brothers. Clearly, these men are two different races, but the reactions seemed to exist in a human world where adoption or step-siblings didn’t. (Season two had a bit of that with Charlotte as their mother, but the joke worked better.) Flash-forward to this episode, and when Caleb (Denny Love) hears Amenadiel is Lucifer’s brother, there is no double-take—he accepts that immediately. It’s a little point but it matters.

The Caleb story could have gone either way and worked. Had Caleb lived, there was also an interesting story in Amenadiel having someone to mentor in addition to his biological child. But instead, it goes the tragic way where Caleb’s murdered by Tahir (Antwon Tanner) because he assumes he dropped the dime on him. (While Caleb’s drug-dealing comes into play with the murder case, it’s hard to believe this episode would ignore him snitching on Tahir if he had.) As a result, Amenadiel realizes Remiel was right.


Caleb’s a black kid in America, so he knows exactly how things can go when he’s down on the ground with his face to the pavement. He knows Amenadiel asking to call his friends at the LAPD can only end with Amenadiel getting shot if he reaches for his phone. He doesn’t know Amenadiel can handle a gunshot, but that’s not the point. The point is: “The only truth that matters is theirs.” The point is: Dan filing a complaint against those cops who arrested Caleb and almost shot Amenadiel won’t do a damn thing.

We just had two episodes about how much Amenadiel cherishes humanity and sees the beauty and strength in it, so of course his connection to Caleb happens quick. As much as Remiel’s anti-human argument didn’t land for Amenadiel, it still occurred, and it makes sense that he would start to see things more her way after this. Because it’s not like Amenadiel saw humans as perfect—which is why Caleb isn’t—so he didn’t assume A-MINI-diel would be either. Amenadiel hasn’t had to actually deal with race before outside of those double-takes, because he’s stayed so far away from humanity before then. But he now has to acknowledge that his son will be a black male in America. And it won’t matter if he’s angelic or not. Because: “They’ve lost themselves. Earth is… no place to raise my son.” D.B. Woodside has to play so many different sides of Amenadiel in this episode (from father figure to vengeful), and it’s truly his performance that helps sell it all on top of the writing.


It’s something I haven’t said in a while, but the case is the weakest part of this episode, even though the Caleb part works. In fact, when Lucifer gets a call that they know who the killer is, I’d forgotten there even was a case. The obvious problem is that it splinters off into a more interesting story with Amenadiel/Caleb. (And after two episodes of Amenadiel interacting with a younger sibling, this plot highlights even more how something was missing there.) Another problem? Not necessarily Lexy’s (Anna Grace Barlow) super bargain brand Tracy Flick but instead her other half, Nate (Michael Provost), who at least fulfills the criteria of not coming across like he wants to go to Harvard (or could even get into it without crime involvement). Nate is such a “doing it for her” dud that the thematic link—“Lexy just wanted to be someone I’m not, and I should have stood up to her before anybody got hurt.”—hurts the obvious comparison to the prophetic doomsday pairing that is Lucifer/Eve, two forces of nature.

Speaking of forces of nature, Maze ends up taking Linda’s advice in looking for a partner, and her sights are now set on Eve. This is an interesting development, especially as it comes along with Lucifer actually dumping Eve. While Eve and Lucifer make sense as a pairing, Eve and Maze also make sense—and without the prophetic danger and DevilCop issues that the former has. Sure, Maze’s only other alternatives here are a doppelganger and an incel—and she ghosts a handsome guy to fake date Eve—but there’s an ease with which Maze and Eve interact that’s apparent even to the drunkest of Detective Douches. Maze’s feelings of inferiority when it comes to this search for a partner make sense, despite how awesome she is. You know the way Lesley-Ann Brandt lights up when Linda makes Maze feel included in things? That happens when she interacts with Eve here, only in an actual romantic sense. Because Maze is able to do with Eve what she can’t with randos and has realized she can’t romantically do with people she already cares about (Amenadiel, Linda): open up about herself. Really, everyone can be themselves with Eve, but this is clearly different.


In the end, Lucifer has the saddest “I choose me.” moment possible, as he doesn’t feel good about himself when he’s with Eve, but he also doesn’t feel good about himself when he’s with Chloe. It’s actually no fault of either woman because they both love him for the “better man” they see him as (despite having different definitions of what that is). This falls in line with Chloe/Lucifer/Eve being an unconventional love triangle as well because either side is technically a valid one. Ultimately—because of what this show is—Chloe is the right choice for Lucifer. But not now, not in either’s current state. And Lucifer understands and explains why that is. That’s a lost art on procedurals with will-they-won’t-they pairings, and for all that Lucifer is, it’s also very much that.

Stray observations

  • Dr. Ahn: “Wait, you have moles that large on your back?” The Buffyverse taught me, with supernatural age comes fantastic drawing abilities, so it makes me so happy when Lucifer proves he has nothing even close to that.
  • Lucifer: “What happened there, brother? Hit another bridge whilst flying?”
    Amenadiel: “That happened one time, Luci!”
  • Lucifer: “Remy was here? Oh, how is your little clone?” I brought up Lucifer not interacting with Remiel, but at least they mention it.
  • Ella: “I’m so glad that we could talk about this like adults.” Aimee Garcia and Kevin Alejandro kill it in this scene, with their inability to finish their sentences, their accidental chest bump, then their simultaneous crime scene briefing. But despite their chemistry, it’s interesting (and a good choice) that the show pretty much says Ella/Dan was a one-time thing and not based on feelings, just based on their issues. Because there’s nothing more awkward than Dan’s poor attempt at distracting Ella in the evidence room with a kiss because he feels the walls closing in. (But it becomes really sad when drunk Dan actually thinks he played Ella well with that move. Oh, Daniel.)
  • Lucifer: “Whatever’s happening here is undoubtedly somehow my fault.” Those damn devilish desires...
  • Lucifer goes from distrust (“Conjuring up more ways to send me back to Hell, are we?”) to denial (with a Game of Thrones joke) when Chloe tells him about the prophecy. He does buy it when she brings up the “first love” aspect though.
  • That guy at LUX is right: Amenadiel is daddy.
  • Ella: “I’ll just tell you what it says and then you can tell Dan. Because, you know, you probably see him all the time, like when you’re handing off Trixie, the child you made together when you were married... together.”
  • Linda: “How have we not met?!”
    Eve “I don’t know!” Bless the couples therapy scene—after Lucifer transparently says all the problems with his and Eve’s “perfect” relationship, like their texting while driving—and Linda/Eve immediately bonding over psychoanalyzing Lucifer.
  • Tiernan going to prison didn’t absolve Dan of anything: Now the fact that a cop tipped Tiernan off about Lucifer is out there, and Ella is on the case.
  • Dan: “Okay. But the kid looks guilty.”
    Amenadiel: “What exactly does ‘looks guilty’ even mean, Dan? Are you talking about the color of his skin?”
    Dan: “He’s guilty given all the evidence against him, man. Come on, how dare you?” The show also never talks about how Dan’s a Latino detective in the LAPD, but his “how dare you?” reads like he’s asking how Amenadiel could ask that of him as another person of color. He goes back to friend mode when he asks Amenadiel how he feels after having a gun pointed in his face though. A bullet wouldn’t have done anything to Amenadiel—not that Dan knows that—but that’s not the issue here.
  • The moment Amenadiel gives Caleb his necklace, touches his heart, and looks up at the sky? It’s all you need to know Caleb is in a better place. It’s small, but I appreciate moments like this (like Amenadiel/Dan about Charlotte and Amenadiel/Chloe about Chloe’s dad).
  • Lucifer: “You have a light inside of you that brightens the world and a smile so infectious that it captures the heart of anyone lucky enough to see it.” This explains the Eve character so succinctly, and I’m still so taken by how difficult it must be to properly capture that that on the casting, acting, and writing fronts. The writing is there, but the character could truly crash and burn if not for Inbar Lavi.
  • Chloe: “Well, you know—I’m sure if it what’s you wanted, then it’s all for the best.” If you want an example of internally screaming for joy, look no further than how Lauren German plays Chloe the moment she reacts to Lucifer dumping Eve.
  • It’s no “Turn Down For What” montage, but the bad boyfriend montage is full of little details. Lucifer’s fantasy football team is called the “SHOW US YOUR STD’s” and Lucifer is wearing yellow Crocs. Then he’s watching The Dukes of Hazzard while drinking beer and scarfing down Cheesy Puffs (usually at the same time), in a robe, dirty white tank top, and… tighty whities? (The lit cigarette is actually in his mouth for once too, which is how you know he’s really bad.) He makes out with some woman at LUX while Eve gets drinks. Then he plays video games while Eve cleans up around the penthouse… only for Eve to join in (in her own robe, tank top, and sweatpants). They’re playing Killer Instinct—he’s “MFNDevil,” she’s “FirstWoman”—and she kicks his ass (“Suck it! Suck it! Suck it! Suck it!”). She then enjoys Cheesy Puffs and The Dukes of Hazzard with him, to the point she’s dressed as Daisy Duke. She then makes out with that woman at LUX, before joining the fantasy football team. She rocks at that too, changes the name to “THE APPLE BOTTOMS,” and shotguns a beer.
  • The fantasy football team names (I’m missing two or three): “The Big Gronkowski,” “I Wentz Myself,” “Dak to the Future,” “Stafford Infection,” “I Gotta Go Drop a Doucet,” “Mary-Kate & Greg Olsen.”

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Despite her mother's wishes, LaToya Ferguson is a writer living in Los Angeles. If you want to talk The WB's image campaigns circa 1999-2003, LaToya's your girl.

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