Crime-solving Devil/It makes sense/Don’t overthink it

In real time, it’s been months of waiting for new episodes of DevilCop. But once we get right into “Candy Morningstar,” only two weeks have passed since the events of “A Good Day To Die.” But “only” doesn’t quite grasp just how much can change in such a relatively short span of time, especially when divine beings are involved. It’s not exactly enough time for things to have changed drastically, but it is enough time for people to be upset and worried with a certain King of Hell. Because Lucifer has been off the grid for those two weeks, and while he may have decided to shirk his responsibilities (yet again) and hope the world would simply stop without him, it doesn’t.

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When it comes to Chloe, she’s the character who really has to point that out. She is of course furious, even though this is far from the first time (even this season) that Lucifer has let his personal problems take the wheel and mess up the good thing he has in his partnership with Chloe. It’s also far from the first time Chloe has to assume Lucifer’s an insensitive flame, as he usually doesn’t give her a valid excuse up front with this sort of behavior. He avoids her when he thinks she’s intentionally causing him to be vulnerable, he self-destructs during cases after he kills his brother, he stands her up when things get too serious in the relationship. Lucifer and the audience know that there are technically very good of reasons for a lot of Lucifer’s more erratic behavior, and that’s especially the case here… But Chloe doesn’t ever really get the pleasure of immediately knowing the same truth. So when Lucifer shows up at the precinct after two weeks, like nothing’s happened, it’s no surprise to anyone but Lucifer that Chloe goes from worried to downright pissed in an instant. She has every right to be.

This is Lucifer and it’s just come back from a months-long break, so we all know the dissolution of their partnership isn’t going to last forever—or even the whole episode—but while it lasts, it makes perfect sense why Chloe would feel this way. Just like it makes sense why Ella and Dan, of all people, would miss Lucifer and even want Chloe to give a second chance. Just like it makes sense that Lucifer would have a lot to stuff to deal with individually after Chloe almost died (and he literally died to save her).

And as for Lucifer, marrying an exotic dancer from Las Vegas might be a cliché way to act out, but I can’t say it’s out of character for our favorite devil; in fact, I’m surprised it has happened sooner. (Though the fact that Lucifer mentions he takes marriage very seriously also sets up the reveal in the final end of the episode.) Plus, this form is acting out is possibly a better choice for his supposed downward spiral than anything else he could have done while he was off the grid. Lucifer not truly understanding why Chloe is frustrated with certain things is an integral part of their dynamic (and one of the best scenes of the episode is also Lucifer misinterpreting Dr. Linda’s analysis of the situation), and as a return to the series, this is exactly the type of plot Lucifer needs. Things will be somewhat back to the status quo next week, but their continued partnership is still bound to be a bit strained on Lucifer’s side of things, with his “knowledge” that Chloe’s feelings for him aren’t 100% real.

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I say “knowledge,” because this episode still has Lucifer and company maintain that God putting Chloe in his path means that their entire relationship is a sham. There’s progress in terms of Lucifer at least feeling like this simply makes Chloe the true victim in God’s games, but there’s still some questions to ask about this whole situation. Lucifer calls his romantic relationship (and Chloe’s feelings for him) “smoke and mirrors, courtesy of dear old dad,” and this episode continues the discussion of how God’s interference by means that the feelings between Lucifer and Chloe aren’t real. But there’s still never any actual confirmation of this, it’s just conjecture. Plus it pretty glaringly ignores that whole concept of “free will.” However, it makes sense that the characters involved wouldn’t think about that, because all they can really think about is how manipulative of a father or ex-husband God is in this and other instances. It’s not a plot hole, it’s an honest—albeit, frustrating—thought process. I look forward to seeing where it goes, because it can only lead to more interesting discussions about free will and destiny and all that other stuff you’d expect with angels and goddesses and humans.

Also, thanks to the events of this episode (the Candy of it all, really), we finally reach a point where Charlotte has learned from her mistakes and understands why what she’s been doing is wrong. She still wants to go back to Heaven and reunite her family and get one up on God… But she also knows that she’s been going about things with her sons (with Lucifer, specifically) all wrong, and that’s progress. It helps that she also spends this episode expecting revenge from Lucifer, because that’s how this divine family gets down. And because Maze immediately puts the idea in her head when she’d rather be in denial about her devious behavior having consequence. Funnily enough, once Charlotte lets her guard down, that’s when Lucifer is able to enact his actual plan and is finally able to keep tabs on what his mother is up to.

What’s most impressive about “Candy Morningstar” is that it’s such a confident and self-assured episode of Lucifer. That’s obviously a good quality to have in a return episode, but the episode really is such a success on its own, outside of that context. It works with the established arcs, it has the patented Lucifer sense of humor, and it even has a compelling case. For that last point, this episode is officially the first one post-Professor trilogy arc, and it’s a return to the typical Lucifer case-of-the-week format. It’s been the case since the pilot, but despite being a procedural, the cases-of-the-week are very rarely even minor highlights of the episodes; unfortunately, they often feel rather half-baked compared to the rest of the series. The past three episodes excelled on the case-of-the-week front because of the overall arc and the presence of a compelling villain courtesy of Tim DeKay. Plus, the case was integral to the episode, and it wasn’t just some standard weekly television mystery. Because of the Los Angeles backdrop, Lucifer regularly goes for cases that are inherently sexy and scandalous, but so rarely do they ever actually achieve that. This week’s case, however, with the death of Ash the Heavy Woolies’ lead singer, flips the script on that for once. The scene with Chloe and Ash’s ex-wife (with Chloe relating to having an immature partner you want to kill), Chloe (as Candy) and Lucifer’s trip to the mediator, the concert turned perp grab—those are highlights from the case but also highlights from the episode as a whole. And that intersection is very rare on Lucifer, as is actually being invested in the team solving the mystery. It’s a great way for the show to return, with all aspects of the plot working. More of this, please.

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Which now brings us to the Candy Morningstar, played the terrific Lindsey Gort. Given the end of the episode, I’d say it’s important to differentiate between pre-reveal Candy (the majority of the episode) and post-reveal Candy (which is just one scene), but both versions of Candy are pretty excellent. While pre-reveal Candy may be the butt of everyone’s jokes, the best thing this episode does with her character is make it very clear that she’s a well-meaning character. Honestly, the insults about her stupidity almost reach a point of too much (the episode starts with her feeling “stuffy” in a convertible), and they’re really only saved by the fact that people like Chloe and Charlotte have good reason to be disparaging toward her. But the episode itself does a good job of having her genuinely be helpful in the case (“mannequin hair”), in tangentially making Charlotte realizing how badly she hurt Lucifer, and in allowing Chloe to see Lucifer’s side of things in the aftermath of the poisoning. And speaking in terms of the show’s long-term relationship, Candy’s a character who’s clearly not going to be around long enough to consider a true roadblock in Lucifer/Chloe, so it’s easy to just accept her and how uncomfortable (or aroused) she makes everyone around her. Candy’s a likable character that the final reveal that she was just playing a role to help Lucifer out makes her somehow even more likable as she exits the show.

The conclusion to this episode actually allows for the Candy character to have an open door back into the world of Lucifer, and since we don’t quite know what kind of trouble she got into back in Vegas, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. They say, “always leave them wanting more,” and Candy Morningstar (the character and the episode) does just that.

Stray observations

  • Charlotte: “You’re a terrible kisser.” This episode definitely opens with Charlotte making out with a Lucifer proxy, right? I didn’t imagine that?
  • This isn’t a big Amenadiel or Maze episode, but both have their individual moments in this episode, trying to talk sense to both Lucifer and Chloe respectfully. Plus, Amenadiel has the pleasure of trying to talk some sense into his stressed out mother while Maze has the pleasure of… Candy. Dr. Linda also only gets a little bit of screentime in this episode, and it’s worth it for her reaction to Mr. and Mrs. Morningstar. It’s a good reaction, even before the veiled criticism and sarcasm.
  • Ella: “Man, I miss Lucifer. He was the best hugger. I mean, squirmy on the outside, but warm and fuzzy on the inside.”
    Dan: “Ella, do you mind?”
  • Candy: “Someday I wanna open my own juice bar. Or a tanning salon. Or a combo juice bar and tanning salon!”
    Charlotte: “You’re speaking and yet I don’t understand a single word.”
    Candy: “I get that a lot. Why don’t you talk and I’ll listen. I’m a great listener. Like right now, I know exactly what you’re trying to say.”
    Charlotte: “But I didn’t—”
    Candy: “You want what’s best for your son, and you’ll do anything to make sure he’s happy. I want you to know, I got Lucifer’s back. And yours. ‘Cause, you’re my mom now too. We’re family!”
  • Charlotte: “She’s a sinister genius.”
    Amenadiel: “Mother. Come on now.”
    Charlotte: “Here I thought this Candy was an insipid dullard. But she may be the most formidable opponent I’ve ever faced. I came away with nothing! Not a single crumb of information about Lucifer’s real agenda.” It’s funny at the time, but it’s even better knowing that Candy was in fact playing Charlotte. I’d also say it’s a pretty big deal that Candy knows Charlotte is Lucifer’s mother, even though she’s clearly not aware of how big of a deal that really is.
  • I’m slightly disappointed with Lucifer for lumping The Bangles in with other ‘90s jams (“Eternal Flame” existed in 1988 and was as a single in 1989, people), but as far as confusion over ‘80s pop culture goes, this is far from the most egregious example of such things in this television season. The Devil singing “Eternal Flame” makes sense, but hopefully the Lucifer writers don’t lie about The Bangles or ‘90s jams ever again.
  • So apparently Azrael’s blade is the flaming sword, also known as the one thing that could best God in a heavenly rebellion. Way to let Uriel grab your blade while you were sleeping, sis.
  • You know, there’s still every chance that Candy actually is an exotic dancer, which would add a layer to Lucifer’s frustration with the “stripper” comments. Because from what we see, the real Candy is pretty cool.

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