With “Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno,” Lucifer goes into detail about what exactly happened while Chloe was in Italy. Her obsession with learning everything she could about the Devil led her to Father Kinley, of the International Association of Exorcists and the final scene of the season premiere. This episode functions as a back and forth between the recent past and the present, explaining how Chloe could get to a state of betraying and fearing Lucifer to such an extreme (far past just being scared of his Devil face)... and honestly kind of putting a good reason behind it, even though it’s the last thing anyone watching Lucifer could possibly want.
While the premiere had Chloe play things cool, this version of Chloe is expected. She’s suspicious and jumpy, especially as she’s pulled in multiple directions when it comes to her belief about the fact of the Lucifer matter. While the premiere didn’t explain what the Chloe/Kinley team-truly up meant, this episode does: They plan to send Lucifer back to Hell, where he belongs. It’s a plan that involves Chloe “roofie-ing the Devil.”
Chloe alternates between doubting Kinley’s beliefs about Lucifer (yay) and doubting about Lucifer’s genuineness (nay), experiencing information overload either way. While the premiere constantly asked how Chloe must feel about Lucifer’s true identity, this episode finally answers that. After seeing his Devil face, Chloe had to play back every moment of people freaking out over Lucifer being the Devil. She had to play back the image of his Devil face. Again and again. While she’s definitely had a different experience than those people when it comes to Lucifer, she can’t deny the terror they felt as a result of her partner and she can’t deny seeing him stand over Pierce’s dead body. But even then, she’s still not immediately sold on Lucifer’s evil status. Not even when Kinley hits her with a big scrapbook of evidence, which she points out is circumstantial, at best. Like she needed more than an “I’m the Devil” to believe Lucifer is the Devil, she needs a lot more than “Lucifer is evil” to fully believe Lucifer is evil. So it’s not surprising that she has second thoughts about following through on the plan from the moment she returns home, because she wasn’t even completely sold on Kinley’s argument during that month away.
As for Kinley, as is Lucifer’s way, he is very much a “hero of his own story” villain, one who would be considered in the right if not for the series’ depiction of Lucifer (or the ominous camera shots from beneath him). He’s also clearly self-serving, as he doesn’t offer to help Chloe out of the goodness of his heart—he knows from moment one that she’s the key to Lucifer’s banishment because she’s the key to his vulnerability. His change of plan once Chloe quits is to throw her under the bus and go straight to Lucifer, no doubt to set him off and to prove Lucifer’s evilness true.
Now, while Lucifer’s not evil, we’re regularly reminded he does good simply because he wants to punish the wicked. He spent the whole month when Chloe wasn’t around showing up at crime scenes, then not even helping once he realized Chloe hadn’t come back. He’s not evil, but he’s not an altruistic dedicating his time to helping the helpless. Kinley’s “you don’t need to be the one pulling the trigger to cause evil” to Chloe is technically true, but he’s also working off hunches about Lucifer, while the audience (and Chloe) works off the knowledge of what Lucifer actually does. Lucifer’s biggest moments in the series of causing evil in this form are his attempts to send his mother back to Heaven and his team-up with Cain. But both were to spite his father, while the major incidents Kinley hold him responsible for just don’t line up with his behavior. “Every day he remains on Earth, people are in danger. Whenever he visits, death and destruction follow.” Yeah, that’s just life though, so in true Lucifer fashion, someone has to blame the Devil for it.
Given the right circumstances, Kinley is able to convince Chloe, as something like Charlotte’s murder falls right under that “danger” line. Chloe’s provided with reminders that Lucifer’s not the best in this episode, whether it’s from Dan, Kinley, or Lucifer himself (when he gets his tunnel vision at the wrong time). A moment like Chloe seeing Ella thank Lucifer for hooking her up with the opera tickets is prevented as Lucifer cuts her off before Chloe can hear it, so while Chloe is set with the belief that Lucifer only cares about himself, she doesn’t get to know about the selfless things he does. When Lucifer snaps at a suspect about wanting to go on the date with Chloe, it’s not because he’s only thinking about himself—it’s because he’s only thinking about Chloe. Of course, because he says “my date” and not “our date,” that gets pretty jumbled.
While the audience, for the most part, understands why Lucifer does the things he does and behaves a certain way, even with Lucifer’s truth-telling—and he still omits a lot—Chloe isn’t privy to any of that. So like back in “Anything Pierce Can Do I Can Do Better” when she thinks that Lucifer’s feelings for her are a game so he can beat Pierce, here, she thinks Lucifer’s moments of physical invulnerability are a trick. This is where the “Prince of Lies” moniker that Kinley mentions comes in, as Chloe asks: “Is anything even real with you? Were… Were you trying to manipulate me? Were you trying to make me feel bad? Is this is all to make me care about you more?” This is when she finally asks what “the difference” is between moments when he’s hurt and moments when he can come out of an explosion without a scratch. Lucifer point-blank explains—in an episode where he constantly to tells her he’ll answer literally any question she has about him—that he truly doesn’t know, and then he risks his life (and suit) to save her, effectively getting her back on his side.
This episode, Tom Ellis has to play nervous about his impending date while also playing concerned that everything has been irrevocably damaged. While the former seems minuscule, it’s actually informed by the latter. For most of this episode, Lucifer believes Chloe is on his side. Believing he has things back to normal with Chloe—at first—he starts to dwell on the fact that, before everything changed, he and Chloe were on the path to romance. So at the very sappy urging of Amenadiel, he tests that potential, unaware that Chloe only says yes to a date because of her plan with Kinley. (By the way, I’m pretty failed dates are Chloe and Lucifer’s joint Hell loop.) As he plans for a date, Chloe tests the concept of him being the Devil more and more, asking him questions that are the false stories that have been told about him and not the man she knows. No, he doesn’t bite the heads off children, and no, he’s not a serial killer. It’s clear that once she starts asking these specific questions, Lucifer is clearly gutted by the fact that she would think so poorly of him.
Meanwhile, Lauren German reminds us just how bad of an actor Chloe is, as she continues to try to play Lucifer right into her hand despite her doubts. Come date time, Chloe is absolutely shaking when she tries to put the sedative in Lucifer’s drink, and while it’s only two episodes, it’s clear the Lucifer writers knew how Chloe’s betrayal could possibly hurt the character in fans’ eyes. Instead, Chloe’s actions make absolute sense, as the result of the scared version of this otherwise strong woman we’ve come to know. It’s unfortunate that Chloe handles things the way she does, but it also makes sense when she finally comes to terms with the right thing to do.
While this episode’s case doesn’t have the casting choice immediately answer whodunit, it’s a weaker case than the premiere’s. It would typically bring down the episode more if not for the strength of the largest story. Because in all the “very L.A.” cases this show has, it’s disappointing just how off the mark it is when it comes to reality TV. Of course the killer is the one cameraman this show has—and the one cameraman thing makes the fact none of the cameras caught the murder the biggest clue he did it—but the actual problem is that, while the thematic throughline about no one being who they seem makes sense for this episode, this is a 2019 story of how surprising it is reality TV is far from reality. Lucifer should honestly know this, especially because reality show contestants (especially career ones) are exactly the kind of people who’d ask him for a favor. The case technically does everything it needs to do for the big picture, which is at least the most important point.
Amenadiel’s plot continues to play on the humor of the fish out of water character he’ll never quite stop being, but it also begs the question: “What’s an angel without the Silver City?” After all, Lucifer is a series about the Devil without Hell, but Lucifer’s brother’s story is also a fascinating one. While Amenadiel is the serious brother, D.B. Woodside plays the comedy of being that type of character quite often, and the montage of Amenadiel looking for his purpose is pretty much a classic Amenadiel story at this point. Only, it ends with him finding that purpose in the form of his and Linda’s pregnancy. As for how an angel can have a baby with a human, if an angel can get an STD from a human—such is Amenadiel’s luck—then anything’s possible.
Despite the season opening with a new status quo, a newer one is created here. Chloe goes through a lot to ultimately side with Lucifer, even though she’s still not quite 100% back to normal when it comes to Lucifer. Amenadiel now has a purpose on Earth, as an expecting father. And after failing to get Chloe to do his bidding, Kinley has now come to Lucifer directly. This is an episode that features necessary exposition for why Chloe came back how she did, as the premiere didn’t fully tackle that. To end the partnership with Kinley so soon is also a fascinating choice. These first two episodes have already introduced some interesting new dynamics, while still simmering on things like Dan’s attitude, Ella’s search for a new purpose herself, and Maze’s situation post-season three heel turn. Plus, Tom Ellis has gotten into insane shape this season. Seriously.
- Chloe’s lack of processing the fact that she was in a relationship with (and almost killed by) Cain from the Bible is almost as frustrating as the Sinnerman saga itself.
- In case you couldn’t see it, for the Chicago Fire (hehe, Lauren German saying “Chicago Fire”), Lucifer wrote his name in a hotel guest book. As for Nazi Germany, the look on Lucifer’s face doesn’t suggest he’s schmoozing with Nazis. He clearly can’t wait to punish some Nazi scum down in Hell.
- Linda: “It’s pretty scary stuff when you think about it.”
Maze: “So that’s why you’ve gone full Tyson? The Goddess of Creation burns your face once and you freak out.” Actually, it’s a combination of that and Pierce threatening her life at the end of last season. Linda has the right idea in keeping her guard up, and she does it without enlisting the help of a Devil-hunting priest. She does have a demon best friend who will always make sure her eyes aren’t bleeding though.
- Ella’s search for something to fill her time with now reminds me of the Daphne new hobby gag in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo. Her poor turtle. And when she gets excited over working a case on the set of The Cabin because she watched 27 seasons in two weeks, I have to ask: Just how much of her time was she dedicating to church? Also, should we be worried that Ella thinks Indecent Proposal is romantic?
- Chloe: “You said it, he’s the villain. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it probably murders like a duck.” This case begins with Chloe doing the major projecting, but that flips once she realizes they can’t trust anyone’s word and Lucifer has the promise of the date dangling in front of him. It’s fun to watch Lucifer the good cop role to Chloe’s bad cop though.
- Amenadiel: “So, put up your sign: Open for business. Humanity, come on in.” What a dweeb.
- Chloe: “What happened? Did he steal your pudding again?”
Dan: “No. People don’t get shot over stolen pudding, Chloe.” Dan switches desks this episode to avoid Lucifer. He also makes clear he’s mad at Lucifer for keeping them in the dark about Pierce, because if they’d known about the guy, he wouldn’t have had a chance to kill Charlotte. Dan asks Chloe if she wonders what other secrets Lucifer might have, which of course pushes her back down the paranoid, anti-Lucifer rabbit hole.
- Dan’s given up on improv, which might actually be the greatest tragedy of all.
- The poor writer woman who Amenadiel creeps out at the coffee shop is Ildy Modrovich, Lucifer co-showrunner and the writer of this episode.
- Shout-out to the woman who tries to shoot her shot with Amenadiel, only to dip out once Linda drops the p-bomb.
- Chloe: “I know that you think he’s some evil monster. But I know in my heart that you’re wrong. Even if he used to be that thing in the books, he’s not anymore. At least not around me.” Chloe’s arguments defending Lucifer would be absolutely terrible if they were for any other guy. In fact, to Kinley, they are terrible, because they’re “this isn’t the man I know” and “he’s different with me” arguments. Those would be red flags in any other context, and in theory, because they’re being said about the literal Devil, they’re bigger red flags.