Satan worshiper: “You’re supposed to be blond.”
Lucifer: “Yes, I get that a lot.”

Have you heard? Lucifer the TV series, despite being based on the Vertigo comics of the same name, is nothing like the Vertigo comics of the same name. It might be hard for some people to accept that, but since the series is going to have a second season, it’s pretty much just a fact of life at this point. But comic basis or not, Lucifer has often felt like a show that lacks a certain amount of self-awareness that one would expect out of a show—in 2016—about the devil solving crime in Los Angeles. While Tom Ellis’ Lucifer has been a quipping machine and Lesley-Ann Brandt’s Maze has treated everything happening around her as as ludicrous as it kind of is (think about it happening in real life, for just a moment), the procedural aspects of the show have lent themselves to the weaker aspects of the show, constantly slowing it all down. Plus, one can only say “THE DEVIL IS SOLVING CRIMES” when discussing the show so many times before they become the one who is looked at funny.

Last week’s “St. Lucifer” found the case-of-the-week finally achieving a higher status than just a necessary evil of the show, but this week goes all-n with that by having the case-of-the-week be related to satanists. Finally. This gives the show a great reason to have Lucifer get involved in the case and be personally offended, and it also takes the opportunity to completely take the piss out of these people who claim to be doing Lucifer’s bidding (and are apparently more like super intense cos-players).

The scene with Lucifer and the “children of the goat” is a combination of amusement and genuine confusion, as their proclamations of him being “the best Lucifer [they’ve] ever had” (“Lucifer! Lucifer! Lucifer!”) and Lucifer’s reaction to all of their shenanigans (calling them “misguided sheep… and goat”) is just what the show needs. This entire episode is actually very cathartic, despite the fact that it ends with a cliffhanger. And it all comes to a head with Lucifer’s fight with Amenadiel, a moment which is earned but is also proof of another thing that has gotten Lucifer some criticism: They’re playing with divine creatures and giving them small scale problems. Even the case takes it out of that small-scale world, as Lucifer explains it all:

“I think, it’s a long time since I encountered genuine evil.”

That is exactly what the show has been missing. Going forward, Lucifer probably won’t have an angel-on-angel beat-down on a weekly basis, but a second season pretty much guarantees bigger things, and that anticipation is strong with these last episodes of the episode.

Chloe: “I’m starting to understand why you chose this persona. All-powerful, invincible.”
Lucifer: “Not exactly.”
Chloe: “Or it’s because you think that everybody’s out to get you.”
Lucifer: “That’s because they are. But trust me, I didn’t choose it. Why would anyone choose to be vilified?

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“#TeamLucifer” also gives Lucifer the best forum to talk about his motivations and what makes him tick, and it brings up a very important point for the series. Last week, I said Trixie could’ve slowed down the momentum of the plot, as it felt like the show truly coming together. The idea of the Chloe and Dan characters having a child together obviously adds a much more dimension, but at the same time, it’s still a show about the devil solving crimes—children aren’t exactly the first thought with such a premise. Here, she does have a scene which actually works very well within the context of the plot and allows her to bribe Lucifer, which is a win-win.

Instead, it’s actually the scene with Dr. Linda that brings down the momentum of the episode of a bit. It’s over half-way through the episode when this scene finally happens, and it’s amazing how quickly the episode the episode slows down—though it picks back up—when the scene happens. Lucifer is a character that obviously has a lot to unpack, but this particular scene feels a bit redundant and reductive. This is an episode where Lucifer actively works his way through his emotional baggage, and Dr. Linda feels more like a crutch than a necessity. Ultimately, this is more of a character criticism than a writing one, but Dr. Linda’s presence in the show (like Malcolm’s) is one that seems like it has a very limited shelf-life.

Speaking of Malcolm, if his time in this world is limited, let’s at least appreciate his presence in this episode. He is the one who coins the “#TeamLucifer” of this episode, and that’s just a small part of why Kevin Rankin is also absolutely at his best in this episode. It’s honestly a shame Malcolm is a corrupt monster, because every moment with him in this episode is more lively than the last, and that’s an asset any show can use. The episode also brings up a good point in having him feel kindred and connected with Lucifer for their shared Hell experience, making clear that his “get out of Hell free” pass isn’t also a pass to move on from the torture he endured. It doesn’t stop him from acting like he didn’t just kidnap Dan and try to frame him for murder, because “friends fight, right,” but that’s not really expected.

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“#TeamLucifer” is the episode that finally showcases just how good the show can be when it turns everything up to 11, and it’s a joy to see. That volume increase is the reason why the majority of the episode can be Lucifer twisting every single thing that Chloe says into fuel for his paranoia and the reason why it works. While it’s been a bumpy road to get something that intentionally ridiculous on the series, it’s every bit enjoyable as intended, and it also ends up with some pretty interesting character beats. It all makes Lucifer actually spilling his heart out to Chloe at the end even more heartbreaking. This episode is strongly helped by the fact that it’s all setting up for the season finale, but everyone and everything really is on their game this week. The season finale has a tough act to follow.

Stray observations

  • Before this episode even started, I was excited to see that Greg Beeman was the director of this episode. His work on Smallville was the first time I ever really noticed direction (instead of just writing) on a television show. Hell of an episode to work on.
  • White Collar actor alert: Ross McCall (who played Keller) plays “Onyx” in this week’s episode of Lucifer.
  • Lucifer versus goats continues this week, and other than Maze, this might be the greatest thing Amenadiel’s done in his life.
  • I really appreciate Tom Ellis’ approach to showing how disgusted Lucifer is with the things human does—like when he gets almost to the verge of tears during his anger over how anyone could use their free will to kill innocent people in his name. Yes, I called him kind of a “weenie” last week (which, given the terminology obviously wasn’t a serious criticsm), but this episode made everything so much more than “daddy issues.” He has plenty of reason to be upset with the world, and while Ellis has always played it as such, it hasn’t always come across as well.
  • The fact that Chloe doesn’t really question Lucifer that much when he asks her to lift her shirt really shows the trust she admitted she has for him. Too bad the end ruins all of that.
  • The Dr. Linda scene is also a bit condescending, and the only thing Lucifer really needs to do at this point is show how he is physically invulnerable. He’s clearly not a fan of her turning all of his issues into hypotheticals and analogies, and this moment felt like it should have been the final straw there.
  • Oh, hi again, Reverend Williams! Bye, Reverend Williams!

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