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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

If Lucifer can’t have it all, what chance do the rest of us have?

Illustration for article titled If Lucifer can’t have it all, what chance do the rest of us have?
Screenshot: Lucifer (Netflix)
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You might remember this from last season’s Pierce/Chloe relationship, but Lucifer hasn’t always been the best when it comes to its depiction of the passage of time. Sometimes it’s really difficult to know just how much time has passed, and that can hurt when it comes to truly understanding character interactions. However, in condensing the show to 10 episodes on Netflix, Lucifer has made the most of its new structure and has done everything it can to make clear when things are happening and how much time has passed. From the season three finale to the season four premiere, a month passed. A whole week passed between the moment Chloe saw Eve and Lucifer embrace at LUX and the start of their “last case.” Now months have passed since “Expire Erect,” as Linda is now very pregnant. And obviously, it had to take some time to repair the blown-up Southwest corner of LUX after that whole hostage situation.

This also means Lucifer and Eve have been going strong (and hard) as a relationship for months. And Lucifer has been sharing his very explicit relationship stories with Ella and Chloe for months as well, even though Chloe most likely reached a breaking point in hearing those after the first one.


Usually, Maze being gone for months would mean a couple of episodes of her doing whatever she’s doing offscreen. But instead, this season continues down its “no actor left behind” path, and the episode opens with her returning from that absence, introducing her to Eve in the process. That it’s taken halfway through the season for Maze and Eve to meet makes sense—Maze has a life outside of Lucifer, which was a big issue in season three—as does the fact that Eve is a major Maze fangirl. Eve’s “grateful” to Maze for being “the keeper of Lucifer’s devilish flame” in a world full of lame rules, and she can appreciate how hot Maze is, which is pretty much the opposite of the greeting Maze gets from Amenadiel next. (He shuts her out of Lamaze, saying it’s not for “mom, partner, and demon.”) Of course, even fun with Eve inadvertently leads to more of Maze’s problem this episode, as one of Eve’s major issues in her marriage to Adam was the torch he held for his first wife, Lilith. As in Maze’s mother, not Frasier’s ex-wife. Maze has always struggled to fit in on Earth, even with people like Linda and Trixie in her life, and now with Linda pregnant with Amenadiel’s teenage mutant ninja angel baby, she’s reminded of that struggle yet again. Maze has to deal with the fact that her mother didn’t bond with her to help her create “healthy and nurturing relationships;” she had to figure that all out way later in life, and she’s still figuring it all out. But at least she gets to be “Auntie Maze,” and Lesley Ann-Brandt and Rachael Harris get to strengthen those character bonds even more in the process.

While Auntie Maze is a highlight any day of the week, this episode serves as a reminder that the only angel sibling we’ve seen both Lucifer and Amenadiel interact with is Uriel. You might remember Uriel from all those times I called him a dud. With Azrael—in a bonus episode that’s technically canon—only Lucifer (and Ella) spent time with her. And it was nice seeing another sibling who actually liked Lucifer, without having to have Lucifer grow on them. Here, we get Remiel (Vinessa Vidotto)—who is pretty much Amenadiel’s Azrael, the way she looks up to her big brother—and despite how much she insults Lucifer and even stakes out his club, they don’t cross paths. Lucifer doesn’t know she’s around. Amenadiel is then separated from everyone else in this episode, after that moment of telling Maze she can’t come to Lamaze. It’s not a good look, and then he’s off for a less than happy (and less than exciting, honestly) story with a sibling who is the original mini-Amenadiel. And watching a copy of original Amenadiel is kind of a buzzkill when it’s played as straight as it is.

The reason behind Remiel’s appearance is that she sensed the first new celestial in millennia (the baby), but she thinks Lucifer is the father. (She also thinks that Amenadiel can still slow time, so once again, Amenadiel must lie to a visiting sibling about the status of his powers.) Remiel confirms what Eve had mentioned about Amenadiel spending his time back in the Silver City talking about “free will” and making one’s path, only she wasn’t as inspired by it. In fact, she considered it nonsense, just as she considers humans “inconsequential,” thanks to big brother’s Amenadiel’s original teachings. As much as Amenadiel tries to convince her there’s something special in humanity, that doesn’t happen, so instead, he reveals to Remiel that he is the “slut” whose “madness” she wants to put an end to, not Lucifer.

Meanwhile, as Amenadiel feared, Eve’s presence has brought out “the old Lucifer.” (It’s hard to get mad at Lucifer punishing an absolute scumbag though.)


With Eve by his side, Lucifer is back to his truly debaucherous ways... while still maintaining his DevilCop duties. If those two things don’t sound like they go together, that’s because this is an episode all about whether or not they go together. “Orgy Pants To Work” is a story of Lucifer trying to “have it all,” and Linda even makes a house call to tell Lucifer (who’s missed their past three sessions) that he’s spreading himself too thin:

“Exploring your caring, altruistic side with Chloe … and now being in a committed relationship with Eve, who expects you to be your old hedonistic Devil self at all times. ... When you bifurcate your life this way, ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ ‘crime solver’ and ‘orgy host,’ you’re effectively denying half of yourself all of the time. Lucifer, if you don’t stop pulling yourself in opposite directions, you’re going to come undone.”


Lucifer tries to defend himself by saying he’s finally gotten everything he’s always wanted, but in doing so, he’s forgetting that, as much as he genuinely wants to, he can’t be all-in on both worlds. If he were handling it as well as he initially thinks he is, it would be an “I Don’t Know How He Does It” situation. Instead, by being pulled in two directions, he’s not fully serving either. Which is balanced but also not the best when both of these things deserve 100% focus. He falls asleep during a stakeout with Chloe and accidentally brings his “orgy pants” to work, while he misses out on time with Eve because he’s always at work.

It’s interesting that both lives (while one is clearly more traditional than the other) are presented as things he actually wants, not just something he’s pretending to want. Others might think he’s pretending, but Tom Ellis doesn’t actually play it as such until Lucifer’s at his breaking point at the end. Because Lucifer wants to prove he can have both the career and the personal life (as wild as it is), he ends up neglecting the latter and making a joke out of the former. In a way, him not being home is sort of for the best, because as Maze notes, Eve needs to get a life outside of Lucifer. She doesn’t want to, but she’s also used to not having a life outside of Adam and that being a whole lot less exciting. She does go on an adventure with Maze that earns them a chainsaw and a big ass teddy bear though, so that should be enough. And it is… until Lucifer’s still at work. At work, Chloe gives Lucifer a talking to (and not in the typical “come on, Lucifer” way) about how much his personal life is bleeding into his professional these days. She later apologizes while he’s sleeping, but it’s still proof Lucifer’s not crushing it the way he thinks he is.


So while we know how both Lucifer and Eve feel in all of this, the scene where Chloe reveals to sleeping Lucifer how she hates what happiness looks like for him is a highlight of the episode from Lauren German:

“You know, I’m not happy. Of course I want you to be happy. But the way that you are happy, it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me feel sick, to be honest. And yes, sometimes it makes me jealous. So I hate the way you are happy.”


While Ella can enjoy Lucifer’s tales of sexcapades and put them on her bucket list, those stories are 100% the opposite of Chloe. Months ago she definitely thought Eve was good for him, and while she may not necessarily think Eve is bad for him now, she’s not a fan of the way their lifestyle has bled into her relationship with Lucifer or the way Eve is able to make Lucifer happy in pretty much all the ways (from Devil face acceptance to orgies) Chloe can’t.

The thing about Lucifer struggling with his identity this season is that he’s technically going through the same issues as Dan. I’ve seen people complain about Dan backtracking and embracing his Detective Douche moniker again but ignoring how Dan’s behavior is pretty much the same as Lucifer’s—or an attempt at being like Lucifer’s—only without the cushion and confidence of being the Devil. He’s behaving like if Lucifer had a death wish; and while you could say he might have one by constantly working with Chloe, that’s not actually the case. This doesn’t excuse Dan’s comments after Rookie Joan’s murder about Lucifer not being “one of the good guys,” but Dan’s currently grappling with the concept of being “one of the good guys” too. If Dan were the one to let Julian (Erik Stocklin) get away, he would be in the same boat as Lucifer, right down to getting Maze to track Julian down. And he wouldn’t even need anyone to tell him it’s a good idea. Lucifer and Dan have always been at odds as opposites (with Kevin Alejandro basically playing the anti-Lucifer as Dan), but after years of him seeing Lucifer get away with things he shouldn’t get away with (and without proper context), it makes sense that he’s lashing out the way he is.


But about Lucifer not being “one of the good guys,” we’ve been told constantly that Lucifer isn’t evil, as his job is to punish the wicked. Eve also believes that him embracing that role doesn’t make him evil, because again, he’s the one who punishes evil. So for him to go back to doing that at the end to a (human) monster like Julian, while it’s technically a relapse, I need to know: Isn’t it technically a “good” relapse? Maybe not within human law, but he’s not human—he’s the Devil. Seeing those women come off that boat, it struck me as something especially heavy for a show like Lucifer. This show can get dark, but human trafficking is an extremely real darkness with no metaphor or theme to go along with it to make it easier to swallow. Aiyana White’s script clearly does what it has to do to make clear Julian is the worst of the worst. So if Lucifer hadn’t taken matters into his own hands, Julian would have gotten away.

That’s the struggle I’ve mentioned before with the Devil anti-hero thing: It’s essentially saying the ends justify the means, which is “bad” but also his purpose. Chloe tells Lucifer “if it feels right,” that’s how you know it’s real. She’s talking about policework, but as Lucifer says at the end of the episode, that also applies to him embracing his role as the Devil as Eve suggested. No wonder he’s so conflicted.


Stray observations

  • Maze: “You haven’t had a decent orgy in years. I leave town for two seconds and you 50 Shades of Betray Me.” The post-orgy opening is very music video-esque (like director Louis Milito was compelled by the spirit of McG), but the important part is that safe sex is practiced (check the sex swing condoms).
  • Maze: “Honey, I’m home! … Linda! You’re fat.” They’ve also taken the bubble wrap off some ceiling fixtures, but Linda’s home is still preparing for a baby, flying or otherwise.
  • This case takes Lucifer and Ella to a nudist colony, which is one of those moments where we all must take the time to thank the Netflix gods for saving this show.
  • Dan says you can’t live Lucifer’s life and work with LAPD, which is insulting to the whole DevilCop premise! Okay, I get it with the assless slacks, but…
  • Lucifer: “We’re not cops.”
    Ella: “I’m actually a forensic scientist.”
    Lucifer: “And I’m the Devil.”
  • Remiel (re: humans): “They’re selfish. And greedy. And they smell wrong.” So, how do angels smell?
  • Because months have passed, Lucifer has actually gotten to know “Nameless uni” from “Expire Erect.” She’s “Rookie Joan.” Or, she was.
  • While Lucifer and Dan are having their issues about the real them, Maze is able to have a party day with Eve and be Auntie Maze, taking Linda to Lamaze. Crushing it.
  • While Eve thinks Lucifer’s trying to be someone he’s not, he does enjoy working for the LAPD in addition to being in their relationship. The problem is, Lucifer can’t see the difference between giving his whole self to both his work and personal life and someone who’s “an avid nudist and a dedicated accountant.” He sees the victim Gary’s past life as proof that he can handle this, but those really aren’t at the same level as DevilCop and King of Hell.
  • Julian: ”I mean, what kind of a man pretends to be something he isn’t?!” Even a human cockroach can come up with a good point at least once.
  • Who slipped Lucifer the Marigold tip?

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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