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In “Devil Is As Devil Does," Lucifer finally embraces who he's meant to be

Illustration for article titled In “Devil Is As Devil Does," Lucifer finally embraces who he's meant to be
Graphic: John P. Fleenor (Netflix)
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In “Orgy Pants To Work,” just before Julian murders Rookie Joan, he takes a moment to monologue about being “a wolf,” while his father, Jacob Tiernan, is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” It’s after Lucifer asks him if Tiernan has any idea what his son’s been up to, so it’s not rhetorical—but it was still strange for him to give as self-righteous of an answer as he did. It makes sense when you watch this episode and realize it was actually set-up because as season four has proven, it’s a tightly-plotted season of Lucifer where everything pretty much happens for a reason.

So Jen Graham Imada’s script for “Devil Is As Devil Does” doesn’t truly pretend anyone other than Jere Burns’ Tiernan is the killer. And unsurprisingly, Burns makes an exceptional villain, despite is only being around for one episode.

“Yes, it’s quite the rush finally being who I’m meant to be.”

Now that Lucifer’s relapsed as a true punisher, he’s feeling that high. It only temporarily fades when he finds out about Tiernan killing an innocent man he believed attacked his son, as then Lucifer’s ready to punish him too. (This episode confirms what Lucifer did to Julian at the end of the last episode: He broke Julian’s back and paralyzed him from the chest down.) I wrote last episode that, in theory, it’s a “good” relapse because it leads to Lucifer punishing monsters who would otherwise run free because the cops can’t catch everyone. Especially not the rich and powerful ones. But the red flags are there, as Eve feels the rush and wants to join in the punishing alongside her man, like a punishment Bonnie and Clyde but technically on the side of good. She’s a thrill junkie, and watching the Devil do his thing and punish the wicked is the ultimate thrill ride.


Eve cares about Lucifer and truly thinks this is what’s best for him. She often mentions how she’s “just me,” and that’s the thing: What you see is what you get with Eve. She lays all her cards out on the table, as atypical as that is for a new character on this show. Eve’s an easy scapegoat because she’s “in the way” of “Quintessential Deckerstar” and pushing for Devil Lucifer over DevilCop Lucifer. In that Tiernan scene, when Lucifer tells Chloe to leave so he “can do what [he does] best and punish this man,” Eve’s blocked as the Devil on Lucifer’s shoulder (telling him, “Do it.”) to Chloe’s angel (who works to calm him down). Chloe and Eve are essentially two sides of the same coin, right down to the way they both consider each other the “bad influence” on Lucifer. They both want him to be the “best version” of himself, but they have drastically different beliefs as to what that looks like. They both think the other is “too involved” in Lucifer’s life, even if they personally have no problem with each other as individuals. Obviously, both women are their own characters, but they also represent both sides of Lucifer. But Eve’s not his “evil” side, because that would ignore the fact that the Devil side of Lucifer isn’t his“evil.” Actually, it’s a lot more nuanced than that.*

*I’m waiting for someone to repurpose “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” lyrics to Eve.

“I don’t have enough proof to put him in jail, but he needs to be accountable for his actions, and I know you’re a powerful man. A man who ruins his enemies. ... Look. You could finally give him a taste of the punishment he deserves.”

Meanwhile, Dan’s obsession with holding Lucifer accountable almost gets Trixie killed and forces Ella to clean up a bunch of trash, so there’s that. Basically, Dan is a mess right now. While Dan goes to Tiernan with the knowledge that he’s a “powerful man … who ruins his enemies,” this is before he finds out that Tiernan isn’t just a rich guy with some shady connections: He’s a straight-up villain and cold-blooded murderer. And his employees are cold-blooded murderers too, only stopped because they chose to go after the literal Devil. One would assume Trixie’s life being in danger would be enough to scare Dan straight, but even if it is, he’s still a mess. In fact, when he finally asks Ella if she wants to talk (as she’s offered before), she’s no longer in the right mindset to and there’s no way he can be the emotionally mature one... so they hook up instead. Yep.

Amenadiel: “They may be flawed, yes. But so are we. And flawed doesn’t mean weak.”
Remiel: “Sounds like something a weak person would say.”


I understand the gravity of the situation between Amenadiel and Remiel—especially as Amenadiel is responsible for Remiel’s being someone who sees herself as above humans on every conceivable level—but as with the previous episode, there’s just something missing in these scenes. Vinessa Viditto is basically playing the early first season version of Amenadiel, but Remiel feels more like a little sister playing dress-up, as Viditto doesn’t have the same presence that D.B. Woodside has and had as that version of Amenadiel. Things are better when it gets to the fight scene, but that’s because this season has been great about its fight scenes (and also about letting those wings breathe)... and even then, it’s kind of short, especially for how important and good it is while it lasts.

Ultimately, the focus in this angel combat is that Remiel believes “everything special” about A-MINI-diel “will be leeched away” on Earth, while Amenadiel believes being raised here is what will make him special. The only time Viditto really pulls off the character is in that brief moment after Amenadiel follows-up by saying the baby will be raised with its family on Earth, and Remiel reminds him she’s also his family. Amenadiel wins, his proof that Earth has made him stronger, and Remiel accepts defeat, “reluctantly” accepting his point of view but making clear he’ll come to regret this decision. And then she flies back home. These two episodes with Amenadiel and Remiel’s interactions needed to happen, but as strong as Lucifer is on the casting front, it’s somewhat of a misstep to have such a new actor in such an important role.


Lauren German has done a lot this season, but one thing she excels at here is her reactions to all things Lucifer/Eve. Seriously, everything Lucifer and Eve say and do near Chloe causes her to react with silent rage and disgust. German also excels in the scene where Lucifer confesses to paralyzing Julian, clearly on the verge of tears as Chloe realizes that Lucifer did exactly what she told Dan he’d never do. Months after she thought Eve could be good for Lucifer and just after the speech to (a sleeping) Lucifer about how she’s not happy with how he’s happy, Chloe’s willing to admit that she thinks Eve’s rubbing off on Lucifer in a bad way. And she says that even before she has to talk to him about how he can’t bring your girlfriend to work, a conversation where Lucifer speaks to her not with his usual whimsy but with a new tone:

Lucifer: “Well if you don’t want us here, we’ll just go and find the killer on our own.”
Chloe: “You can’t do that.”
Lucifer: “Oh, yes we can.”


The way Tom Ellis says that last line is deadly serious in a way Lucifer never is with Chloe, and there’s nothing playful in the line he says before, either. This continues as he tells Chloe he’s finally figured out who he is:

“Well, I’m the Devil! I ruled Hell. Bad people were sent to me so they could get what they deserved. And it is my job to do the same here on Earth, because when I don’t— When I don’t, bad things happen.”


Tom Ellis played the dramatic beats of Lucifer often and is always great, but there is a difference with this particular version of Lucifer. It’s not the typical scene where he bares his soul; it’s cold in a way Lucifer hasn’t been with Chloe until now. Lucifer’s supposedly having the time of his life, but he’s also got the weight of the punishment world on his shoulders, even though that was the whole reason he left Hell in the first place. He supposedly accepts that this is the real him because the woman who has known him since the dawn of humanity says it is. And he’s already gone through the fact that Chloe can’t accept him as is, even though “as is” Lucifer at the time had still changed a lot. So why isn’t he happy?

Chloe is able to find something to latch onto with Lucifer (and something to try to change his path) when she remembers and reminds him that, while he’s still the Devil, he’s also still an angel. It makes sense that Lucifer wouldn’t check his wings post-return of his Devil face, because after a season of trying to get rid of them (then finally accepting them), he’s afraid he might not like what he finds, that he might not be “an angel anymore.” It’s a sweet moment between Lucifer/Chloe that unfortunately takes a turn at the end with the reveal that, instead of getting his angel wings back, he got his Devil wings. He did the right thing with Tiernan in hopes that it would make them change back because he doesn’t “want to be a monster.”


But no. The Devil now has Devil wings to go with his Devil face, and he’s pretty much come down from that relapse high in the process. And this comes with the (excellent back and forth) juxtaposition of Father Kinley revealing to Chloe—who finally visits him in prison to tell him to leave her alone… and that Lucifer’s an angel, not a monster—the prophecy.

Stray observations

  • We’ve got an angel director in the building with this episode: Richard Speight Jr., Supernatural’s Gabriel.
  • As Amenadiel tries to show Remiel the beauty of Earth, he takes her to the top of a building in downtown L.A. where they can take in the sight of the beautifully… smoggy Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful shot, but seriously, the amount of smog isn’t going to prove his case about humans, just like taking her to LUX was also an awful idea.
  • Remiel realizes that Amenadiel no longer has his time-slowing powers, and he tells her how they “kept [him] disconnected from humanity.” Not only is that true, but it’s also a good excuse for any seemingly “narrative cop-out” (“Why doesn’t Amenadiel just…?”) or budget reasons for the show not allowing Amenadiel’s time-slowing powers. The angels/self-actualizing component works for the show, because as Amenadiel very much wants to connect with humans, of course he’d have no more use for those powers.
  • Yay: Ella has an Ella mug, which even has a photo of her right on the bottom. Also, she’s done trying to fill the void with drugs and booze. Nay: Ella is dwelling on the fact that people die and “we just deal with it.” She brings up people dying of things like “chunk of blue ice from an airplane” or being “blown up into a million pieces by some crazed killer” (which almost happened in “Expire Erect”). Oh, and she slept with Dan.
  • I know Chloe has a lot going on, but you’d think she’d listen more to Ella about how she’s turned her back on religion. So Ella snaps and says it’s “bullshit” (thank you, Netflix).
  • As much as Ella realizes how awkward the Lucifer/Eve thing is for Chloe, once Chloe/Lucifer step away at the crime scene, Amy Garcia does some amazing quiet acting as Ella’s still really excited to see Eve.
  • Lucifer: “Oh, and that’s Daniel. He’s a douche again.”
    Eve (waving): “Oh. Shall we punish him too?”
    Lucifer: “Believe me—his existence is punishment enough.” Ouch.
  • Ella (re: golden pistol hitman): “Greg Grabowski. And goes by the nickname ‘Pony Boy’.”
    Lucifer: “Pony Boy? Stay gold, indeed.”
  • Trixie: “What do you do for work?”
    Eve: “I don’t. Pretty much just get to be me.”
    Trixie: “Well, that’s kinda cool.” Trixie is so far the only person (besides Amenadiel) to prove immune to Eve’s charms, and she ultimately thaws. Eve immediately protects her once Pony Boy rushes into the penthouse, so that’s got to count for something. It definitely counts to Chloe.
  • Trixie: “Are you the kind of friend Lucifer needs right now?”
    Eve: “I hope so. I care about him very much.”
  • Maze: “Why would you want to hear a story not about graphic murder?” Maze obviously doesn’t remember Lucifer’s weaker cases-of-the-week.
  • Maze is straightforward, so she tends to take things very literally. So after being told she’s part of this family, she considers it her personal duty to protect the baby at all costs. But Linda points out that Maze is just trying to fill a void—there’s a lot of that going around this season—in her heart. The way Lesley-Ann Brandt plays Maze’s quiet recognition that Linda’s right wraps this up nicely.
  • After season three’s Linda/Maze storyline and how many people interpreted as something it wasn’t, it makes sense Lucifer would finally address here that Maze is not in love with Linda. (Even though the episode states that and opens the door for Maze to find someone she’s actually is in love with, whoever wrote the episode synopsis on Wikipedia still missed that point.)
  • The intent is to ramp up the tension to make it seem like Pony Boy knows Dan is the dirty cop, but Owen Harn plays it up so much that it looks like he knows and only doesn’t snitch because it means Tiernan can use Dan. But since Tiernan is arrested, it looks like he was, in fact, telling the truth.

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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