Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

As Lucifer proves, there’s nothing worse than betraying the Devil

Graphic: John P. Fleenor (Netflix)
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

As we navigate through Lucifer as a 10-episode Netflix show, it’s fascinating to see how the series tackles its storylines now. None of the cast has been left behind so far, even if they only have a small feature in an episode. The meat of the series is Lucifer and Chloe, especially with how things have shaken out post-season three, but the other characters are still allowed strong, interesting stories. And we understand everyone’s motivations, not wondering if things have changed during one or two episodes of absence. It’s not like it feels like these stories (while quickly-paced) are rushed, either, as the Father Kinley story—which just can’t be over after all the prophecy talk introduced here—transitions so well into the story of Eve (Inbar Lavi).

Continuing slightly after episode two left off, it appears Kinley’s new plan of attack involves a story that makes Chloe the active pursuer of Lucifer’s demise, alongside a priest who knows how to banish Lucifer from Earth. All while Kinley is the noble priest who doesn’t believe Lucifer is actually the Devil and is trying to help him out.

Advertisement

It’s a smart writing choice not to have Lucifer swayed by Kinley’s rhetoric at first. Tom Ellis plays Lucifer during the first scene as bored, annoyed, and almost amused (if he weren’t so bored and annoyed). In fact, Lucifer’s initially sees this (specifically Chloe going to Rome to talk to Kinley about Lucifer) as a good thing, thanks to his therapy from Dr. Linda: Because if Chloe has already talked about her feelings, that means she’s already taken the first step in dealing with her issues. Meaning, any issues she may have had with him have been dealt with. Now, when Chloe starts talking about him potentially changing or what other people think about him—a result of her trying to calm Dan by telling him Lucifer’s “trying to be better”—that shifts his perspective on thing. That and Chloe lying to him about not telling anyone he’s the Devil. And her turning their date into a “surprise,” which is not an apology but instead a trip to a soup kitchen.

Ultimately, Lucifer gets confirmation that Kinley is telling a version of the truth when he demands to look inside Chloe’s purse and finds the vial with the sedative (which Chloe continues to lie about until Lucifer almost ingests it). During their session, Linda tells Lucifer to approach things “cautiously” with Chloe when it comes to his suspicions that she’s betrayed him. While he does that as much as he can for most of the case, demanding the purse is the moment the bell can’t be unrung, and the immediate proof of betrayal is even past that point.

This episode’s case hits very close to home but not just for Lucifer, as people who cleaned up their lives and made better ones end up murdered for no good reason. (And it really is “no good reason,” as they’re based on lies Kinley told the murderer.) Dan instantly starts projecting because of the Charlotte of it all, while even Chloe finds something to latch onto in this case momentarily when she thinks she finds the type of wealthy person she can mold Lucifer into, Anders Brody (Stephen Schneider). Of course, Brody ends up being as much of an overcompensating rich jerk as Lucifer initially assume, something Chloe probably should have deduced because: 1. He’s a wealthy guy. 2. “Anders Brody.”

Advertisement

As I mentioned for episode two, Kinley is self-serving, which is what ultimately drives this week’s case and his plan, as much as he says it’s all for the greater good. His manipulation of “true believer” Oscar Rivas (Joseph Melendez) by telling him that two innocent people were unchangeable, irredeemable sinners is the reason for this murder investigation, and it’s all just to get Lucifer to unwittingly reveal his Devil face to him and Bishop Hoffman (Jon Chaffin). (Even sadder about Rivas doing this is his final plea before he impales himself: “May God forgive me.” He’s still going to Hell.) It’s chilling to see Rivas goad Lucifer when they’re one-on-one, but for all of Chloe’s attempts to change Lucifer for the “better” here, while he throws the guy around a bit, he’s aware enough to realize what’s going on before it’s too late.

While it’s an interestingly evil plan, the broken logic behind it knocks the episode down a peg and reveals the problem with it needing to be part of the case. When Dan gets intel about Rivas, he tells Lucifer and Chloe that Rivas about to skip town... but that can’t be true. Not just because Rivas is waiting for Lucifer when he arrives but because the whole point is that he’s waiting for Lucifer. I also imagine Kinley didn’t know Dan would go to the streets instead of waiting for the warrant—which Chloe noted would take a few days—so how did they know to expect Lucifer at that moment? Where did the skipping town part come in? Were the Los Xs also part of Kinley’s plan? Because, Dan and Maze were the wild cards of this whole equation, an otherwise impressive plan for the episode.

Advertisement

Speaking of, that is Dan’s approach to Chloe’s suggestion that they “focus on what [they] can control.” To be fair, it works. And, it’s Maze’s idea, her attempt to help Dan feel less “powerless.” As wrong as it is, there is something about the Dan/Maze dynamic that just clicks. Every episode so far has highlighted Dan’s frustrations, as well as his refusal to accept the (healthier) help his friends offer him. He blows off Amenadiel, tells Chloe he’s got the job as his therapy, and snaps at Ella before she can tell him about God’s plan (which isn’t what she was going to do). This is at least a less controversial team-up than when they delivered a man to be executed and certainly more fun for them, which could be good or bad depending on what Dan does next. Dan’s hyped after cracking skulls, and Maze is hyped about “old Dan” being back, but I wouldn’t necessarily call this that. Old Dan pretty much only cared about himself, and while this Dan enjoys kicking ass—it’s honestly fun to watch—he does it ultimately for the team and out of a sense of helplessness. He’s essentially playing Lucifer from the moment he shows up at Los Xs HQ, and as he keeps saying, for whatever reason, Lucifer gets away with everything he does. So why can’t he?

Meanwhile, Amenadiel is determined to be a good father, one who’s always there for Linda. Somewhat surprisingly, Linda’s response—as the celestial beings in her life just keep stressing her out about this—is to say she wants to raise the baby alone. More importantly, she doesn’t expect Amenadiel to contribute, even though we all know there’s no way he’s going to be an absentee father. Linda’s clearly overwhelmed here, and while Amenadiel doesn’t help by buying every possible baby book and proposing to her, he does help just by letting her know everything’s going to be okay. A pregnancy story like this is usually the kind of late-series story that doesn’t quite work because no one wants to see these characters only care about a baby instead of the action. However, so far Lucifer is telling an interesting story about an unexpected scenario without changing its characters’ behavior or motivations. Plus, there’s no chance daddy Amenadiel isn’t going to still be part of the action.

Advertisement

This episode also confirms Kinley is operating on his own because no one at the Vatican actually believes that he’s found the Devil. That really doesn’t help his case, nor does his lack of fact-checking about Lucifer’s “first love.” However, a major component of Kinley’s plan involves driving Lucifer and Chloe apart, and he does see that come to fruition, by using the information Chloe willingly gave him, right down to the fact that Lucifer makes every case about himself. This wedge between Lucifer and Chloe is something they finally have to discuss here, with all the cards on the table. Lucifer can’t trust Chloe now and is upset because she wanted to hurt him, but the bigger problem is still his Devil face. Chloe now tells Lucifer how she felt at seeing his face and getting confirmation that he is the Devil of all those stories: “terrified.” Yes, returning home and being near him made her realize the error of her ways… but she still dwells on the fact that he can “change,” as though changing will stop him from having the Devil face, which is really the breaking point.

Lucifer and Chloe’s final scene this episode is heartbreaking, but it had to happen. They had to have this conversation about who and what he is, underneath it all. Chloe may have decided to try to get things back to normal after the second episode, but her idea of normal is clearly a world where Lucifer is never be allowed to show his true face to her. That Chloe can’t even look him in the eye pretty much ends the discussion. Tom Ellis plays Lucifer as broken, realizing this conversation isn’t going to end any other way, but Lauren German has the real struggle in this scene. Imagine seeing Lucifer’s Devil face in reality, not just as an effect on a show or a trick of any sort. Now consider that German has to play seeing that that while actually looking at Tom Ellis with tracking dots and a bald cap on. She crushes this scene, just like Chloe crushes Lucifer’s heart.

Advertisement

But that’s not even the end of the episode. As we learn, Kinley isn’t just adamant about sending Lucifer to Hell because he’s the Devil on Earth; he’s adamant because there’s a prophecy. “When the Devil walks the Earth and finds his first love, evil shall be released.” It’s surprisingly taken four seasons for a fantasy show like this to include a prophecy of any sort, but this feels like a right time, right place situation. It’s actually for the best Lucifer hasn’t been bogged down with that type of thing driving the plot every season.


Stray observations

  • Lucifer: “Vatican investigator? Sounds like a soon-to-be-canceled TV show.”
  • Dan: “I swear, he only exists to torture me.” Sure, the “Chewbacca Voice Contest” is funny, but again, not the time. (Oh, and Dan’s number? 310-742-3046.)
  • Lucifer: “Maybe there’s another explanation.”
    Amenadiel: “You think Linda’s an angel in disguise, don’t you? I’ve been wondering the same thing. Maybe she’s not even human.” Amenadiel totally created an evidence wall somewhere trying to prove this.
  • Maze: “Is it true that human spawn erupt from their mothers’ bodies in a ceremony of blood and pain?”
    Linda: “What? No.”
    Maze: “In Hell, torture via birth was a favorite. If half of what we did is accurate, your sex holes are never going back to normal.”
  • Maze: “Okay, so—at what age did your parents teach you to hunt?”
    Dan: “What’s going on here? Maze, you know she’s not allowed to play with knives.”
    Maze: “Relax, Dan. These knives aren’t for Trixie. They’re for a baby.” She still sneaks Trixie (who is “the closest person to a baby” she knows) one of the (adorable) knives.
  • Amenadiel: “This one’s good, because this Dr. Spock—he seems to know the most about babies.” D.B. Woodside’s delivery is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard on this show, and the words alone don’t do it justice. The same goes for the proposal moment, where Linda closes the ring box, only for him to open it again.
  • Lucifer: “So you’re saying they trusted him, made their dark sides vulnerable, and then he just stabbed them in the back.”
    Dan: “Yeah, pretty much.”
    Chloe: “Why?”
    Lucifer: “That’s the million dollar question.”
  • Dan: “It just felt so good, you know. Just to let loose, not have to follow the rules for a change. And you are amazing for helping me out like that.”
    Maze: “Come on, any time you want to beat someone up. Any time—you call me. In fact, I’m going to kick your ass if you don’t.”
    Dan: “Oh man, this is going to sound crazy: But I can’t wait to do it again.”
    Maze: “Oh! Old Dan is back. I am so in. The straight and narrow Dan—total buzzkill.”
    Dan: “Screw that Dan. It was getting me nowhere.”
    Maze: “Trust me, darker Dan will get you real far.” Maze really is trying to help and thinks this is the key. It is not.
  • Lucifer can be subtle when it wants to, but it doesn’t want to in the final scene. Note the apples on the bar and Eve’s drink of choice, an appletini. (Unrelated, the scene is scored to a jam by Portishead, “Glory Box.”)
Advertisement

Share This Story

About the author

LaToya Ferguson

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.