In a way, “All Hands On Decker” is a pretty special episode of Lucifer. It provides the audience with two of the series’ sure-fire (but sparingly used) dynamics in the form of a Lucifer/Dan team-up and the whole Lucifer lady squad. Both of these dynamics guarantee a fun episode, and that’s what Lucifer delivers. However, the former plot ultimately suffers a bit from more of Lucifer’s now maddening (even as an intentional creative choice) inability to just have an honest conversation with Chloe and admit what he wants out of his relationship with her.
The majority of the episode’s existence is the result of the strangely rushed Chloe/Pierce romance storyline, and in Lucifer’s case, his entire motivation is getting to the bottom of why Chloe said yes to Pierce’s marriage proposal in the first place. Simply asking her would be the best way to go—as difficult as it might be—but instead, Lucifer opts to get under (and eventually into—both metaphorically) Chloe’s skin in order to figure out why she does the things she does. Of course, it’s a fool’s errand from the beginning; Amenadiel even points that out as the two brothers plot, though Amenadiel’s plan is the one that truly ends up failing. The biggest reason for this is because Lucifer is so very much off the mark from the moment he tries to get Chloe to take a personality test. Not because he tries to get her to take a personality test but because of the way he approaches figuring Chloe out for 90% of this particular plot: “The job is who you are, Detective.”
The episode clocks the exact revelation Lucifer needs to have—and honestly, still doesn’t quite have, despite Dan calling him out—pretty early on, as Lucifer makes clear that he can’t fully understand Chloe’s personality if she’s not there at work, alongside him. (To think that her work decisions are what inform her personal decisions is quite off base… even though that actually ends up being the reason Lucifer figures things out.) Lucifer tries briefly to make Dan his interim Chloe, only to “become” Chloe himself. He’s so adamant about learning what makes Chloe tick that he does a wardrobe change, he gets a sensible car, he gets a gun. Multiple times in this episode, Lucifer just ends up having a gun. Sometimes it’s Dan’s gun, but still.
While Lucifer is a fool, it’s a joy to see his version of Chloe, especially as he drags Dan into his bizarre attempt at method acting. This of course leads to Dan being the Lucifer of the episode, though—as Lucifer himself points out—he doesn’t do a very committed job. Funny enough, now that he’s not just “yes and”-ing, Lucifer’s actually pulling off some pretty good improv. (You’d think Dan would be better at being Lucifer then.) I’ve written about it before, but it’s always a surprising delight to watch Kevin Alejandro play Dan as such a goof. It’s not even that Dan is just a goof compared to Lucifer—who creates the illusion of being the coolest of the cool, despite everything he does—he’s just a goober. So when he ends up in the dive bar and has to pretend to be Lucifer, it’s so much fun to watch him work and embarrass himself. In a way, it’s even more fun than Tom Ellis as Lucifer channeling Chloe, because that’s a more prepared performance on Lucifer’s part. Again: He had a wardrobe change.
While Lucifer is certainly far more committed, the attempted role reversal between the two is quite on the mark (and on point for the show’s structure), especially once Dan breaks into the murderer’s home (and drinks his booze). Of course, the thing Lucifer always forgets about his advice for people to be more like him is that they’re mortal and have to suffer mortal consequences. Like a murderer pointing a gun at Dan. Lucifer’s really bad about thinking in terms of consequences. Just like he’s bad about thinking of Chloe in more than one-dimensional terms here. “How can the Detective’s actions be so easy to replicate and yet so hard to decipher,” he asks.
Dan calls Lucifer out for not just simply asking Chloe why she said yes to Pierce—calling him “afraid.” That’s also at the core of the case-of-the-week, but Lucifer doesn’t hit the thematic through-line as hard as usual. (It really doesn’t need to when a cute pup is at the center of it all, as that is all that matters.) Of course, while Lucifer learns something, it’s technically not that. In fact, he doesn’t have to overcome this fear at the end of the episode, because the dirty work has already been done on the other side of the plot.
Dan: “You really don’t see the irony, do you?”
Lucifer: “All I see, Daniel, is that I can’t rely on you as my partner. So perhaps I should find someone steady, someone responsible, someone who can actually be there for me.”
Of all the moments in this plot, this is the one that rings false. It’s a very neat television revelation but not one that feels natural coming out of Lucifer’s mouth. A large part of this is that by being the Chloe in this case with Dan as the Lucifer, Lucifer doesn’t get the usual moment of clarity that comes with communicating with the killer. Those scenes provide Lucifer with his emotional a-ha moment, and that doesn’t exist for Lucifer here. So it spills out of him, but it doesn’t quite work. It also doesn’t help that, even though Lucifer learns something (why Chloe said yes to Pierce), he still undoes his progress as soon as he gets confirmation the engagement is off.
As for why Chloe said yes to Pierce, this episode thankfully addresses the relationship rush on her end of things. Here, we learn that Chloe is trying to be spontaneous for once (even though it’s with someone she considers the “safe, steady guy”) and also trying to find her way back to something she thinks she’s lost in herself. It’s pretty sad, actually. But luckily, the sadness isn’t the biggest part of Chloe’s plot this week, because it’s all about ladies night. While there’s little to celebrate about a possible Chloe/Pierce union, it allows for a very drunk bachelorette party plot (the spiritual sequel to the girls night out in “Lady Parts”) and the scariest thing to ever happen to Lucifer: Maze in pearls, looking so very Stepfordian.
This episode also marks the first time Linda and Maze have interacted since Charlotte tried to mediate, and while there aren’t any knives being thrown, there’s certainly no love lost between two. There’s a point during the party bus montage where a very drunk Linda tries to dance up on party pooper Maze, but in a very nice bit of acting from Rachael Harris, she backs off and clearly remembers they’re not friends anymore. Linda suggests to Charlotte and Ella that Maze is up to something back at the apartment (as Maze’s classy party is “torture”), and that comes to a head on the party bus. This is why the celestial group text message idea needs to happen: With Lucifer’s knowledge that Maze and Pierce were working together to gaslight him and Linda’s inkling that Maze is up to something here, surely they could figure out the missing pieces.
Chloe’s just so excited to have her friend Maze help with her bachelorette party and to possibly have some debauchery in her life, that it’s such a bummer that Maze is still trying to manipulate her for her own gain. Such was the case in “Lady Parts” too, but it was also the start of a beautiful friendship. This is the undermining of that friendship. It’s hilarious when Chloe sees just how little debauchery is at play, but it’s interesting to watch this episode and realize the most fun Maze is when she’s talking about how “excited” she is to go back to Hell. Actually, scratch that: Her most fun is when she feels Chloe up during the toilet paper wedding dress “game” (an unscripted moment from Lesley-Ann Brandt). That’s our girl. Still, Maze is unhappy around booze and half-naked men. This is not okay, even if the rest of the ladies fill that drunk, happy void. “All Hands On Decker” makes it harder to be mad at Maze because of how amusing her buzzkill character is in contrast to the rest of the party animals—especially as her scowling intensifies—but it’s still frustrating that there hasn’t been a moment of clarity for her in trying to truly reconcile with Chloe (or Linda). At least she sticks to her guns, unlike Pierce.
Yes, Pierce—the one who gets fake tattoos to avoid telling Maze the truth and is easily manipulated by Amenadiel. In the case of the latter, while Amenadiel gets into Pierce’s head about his mortality, he unfortunately does the opposite of what he’s trying to do. So instead of scaring him out of marrying Chloe, he scares him into wanting to marry her quicker, because “life’s too short.” Also unfortunate is how abrupt that entire “bonding” scene feels in the first place. “Every sip of beer, every blue sky, every motorcycle ride. Every kiss. Is so much more precious when you realize it could be your last. That any random act could just take it all away.” While it’s amusing to see Amenadiel really play it up, and D.B. Woodside pulls off the cheesy existentialism, Pierce is just so quick to let his guard down with Amenadiel.
But as it turns out, no schemes or plans from any of the other characters are what puts an end to the Chloe/Pierce relationship: It’s just Chloe finally gaining the courage to say what she needs to say. By the way, Dan also does that with Charlotte at the end of this episode, and it actually ends up being very sweet. So, for better or worse, getting over the fear of telling someone how you feel is the correct course of action. And Lucifer still refuses to do so. Again. Maybe he should take a ride on the party bus too.
- Is it safe to assume the Pierce/Maze plan is back on?
- No wonder Lucifer only sees Chloe through her job: She starts her day off by wedding planning at the precinct. And she makes a murder board out of her wedding planning, which is amazing. “Ah, mug shot for the caterer. Nice work, Decker.”
- Lucifer: “The plan... is simple. The plan is simple. I’m going to try to understand why the Detective would want to marry that overstuffed man ham and then make her see she’s deranged.”
Amenadiel: “Or—you could just tell her how you feel.” Lucifer then says he doesn’t understand how Pierce has “weaseled his way into her heart,” but the key difference between Lucifer and Pierce is that Pierce tells Chloe how he feels. All the time.
- Dan: “Thank you for caring, man.”
Lucifer: “Oh, no—I don’t care.”
Dan: “Oh right. Right. Chloe would.”
Lucifer: “Now you’re getting it, Daniel.”
- My note when Charlotte mentioned “prosecuting the Malibu State water polo team” was “yikes,” because I assumed it meant they did something very bad. Having them work as strippers on the party bus removed that “yikes.” So I guess they just vandalized something? Or this.
- In order to capture Lucifer’s essence, a person has to be clever, unpredictable, handsome, and sexual. He calls Dan “one of the four.” I’d say “unpredictable” is the only one he’d give him, but we know Lucifer finds Dan predictable.
- Charlotte and Maze make for a very warped version of the angel and devil on one’s shoulder in this episode. Actually, they’re more like the reformed resident of Hell and demon on one’s shoulder.
- Charlotte: “Looking for booze?”
Ella: “Yeah. And Maze’s bong. And decent music. And a strapping naked dude with student loans and a dream.”
Charlotte: “Not on Maze’s itinerary.”
Ella: “Maze has an itinerary?”
- Ella: “I can’t believe that Maze legit hijacked my bachelorette party.”
Charlotte: “You mean Chloe’s bachelorette party.”
Ella: “That’s what I said.”
- I’m pretty sure Chloe was making out with a pillow during the party bus montage, and I just needed to address that. Also, Maze still calls Ella “Ellen,” even when she’s in Serious Mode.
- As Lucifer is apparently the second home for Suits alumni, of course Aloma Wright shows up at the party bus driver… as well as the one person who can talk some sense into Chloe. I’m also pretty sure drunk Chloe thinks the bus driver is God, at least for a split-second.