Graphic: Erik Voake (FOX)

Don’t let the ship portmanteau in the title fool you: “Quintessential Deckerstar” is quite an excellent episode of Lucifer. That’s on multiple levels too, as an episode that builds off everything that came before it, as an emotional character-driven piece, as a procedural, as a humorous forty-plus minutes of television, and as the penultimate episode of an up-and-down season. Plus, if we’re really going to call out ship portmanteaus on this show, “Quintessential Deckerstar” also appropriately (and of course immaturely) covers that by acknowledging that Chloe and Pierce were “Pecker.”

Lucifer: “You liked this before, didn’t you?”
Chloe: “Yes. I did. It meant a lot to me, actually, which is why I don’t understand why you’re doing this. Are you making fun of us?”

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In “Anything Pierce Can Do I Can Do Better,” Chloe asks “Why are you doing this to me?” in response to the romantic set-up Lucifer creates just to compare himself to Pierce. It’s a Lucifer missing the point moment, but more importantly, it’s a moment that shows how Chloe sees Lucifer’s behavior as of late. He’s certainly not just being typical Lucifer, and it’s not like he’s telling Chloe he actually has feelings for her. So here, when Lucifer continue to behave more nonsensical than just eccentric toward Chloe, of course it seems like he’s getting some sort of cheap thrill out of it. The audience knows that’s not what he’s doing and that it’s not his style at all, but what exactly is Chloe supposed to think ? Even though Lucifer says he’s going back to “normal” and the good old days, he’s still not quite being himself, and Chloe notices it. It’s hard for anyone to miss it, really.

Bringing back the concept of “the old Lucifer” again, as it turns out—while technically “less complicated”—literally returning to that is a case of diminishing returns. It’s enjoyable to watch Lucifer juggle and matter-of-factly tell Chloe a Hell truth she won’t believe again, but by the time Lucifer tries to continue a past game of Monopoly, it’s just sad. (Okay, Charlotte’s reaction to matter-of-fact Lucifer and her attempt to save the conversation is great. As is the fact that Lucifer doesn’t want to just play another game of Monopoly, he wants to continue the same game they were playing in “Chloe Does Lucifer.”) That sadness—especially how lifeless it becomes—is the best thing about Lucifer’s attempt to play his and Chloe’s greatest hits (now with a piano rendition of “The Way We Were”).

Lucifer’s recent change in behavior has definitely turned Chloe’s reactions from “Oh, Lucifer.” to “Why, Lucifer?” and because that previous episode doesn’t answer the why, “Quintessential Deckerstar” has to. It would be insulting to keep stretching it out. Lucifer watching Chloe handle her business from the outside looking in twice in this episode inspires thoughts that Lucifer will once again retreat and regress, as that has been a major part of this season. Instead, the episode puts its money where its mouth is and has Lucifer finally realize he can’t keep repeating the past and making excuses not to move forward.

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Chloe telling Lucifer that he’s not “the Devil” is technically another example of her simply not believing the truth, but it’s a denial that works here because it’s not really about that. What she’s telling him is that he’s not a monster. Because despite what his Devil face would have had you believe, he’s not. This episode understandably doesn’t make a strong connection between the case-of-the-week and Lucifer’s behavior (as it’s more about Charlotte’s journey as a character), but as Lucifer talks about the bad, monstrous side of him, it’s after a story about a legitimate monster murderer/serial abuser Forest Clay (Doug Savant). Chloe is technically wrong to say Lucifer’s not the Devil, but she’s certainly right that he’s not a monster.

Speaking of monsters, if anyone was still on the fence about Pierce, that’s probably not the case anymore. Yes, he intends to shoot Amenadiel, not Charlotte… but that doesn’t change the fact he’s still a selfish and cowardly man. We’re introduced to Pierce’s new plan to get his mark back—as Amenadiel scared him on the whole mortality front—in the form of killing God’s favorite son. Kind of like Amenadiel and his tests, Pierce really just guesses when it comes to his plans, doesn’t he?

While this plan leads to the episode’s major tragedy, it also leads to the start of Maze’s redemption. The first, larger part of that is Maze continuing her campaign for a Best Supporting Demon nomination and telling Amenadiel a sob story about how terrible she feels for blowing up her personal relationships. The thing is, while she goes the sympathy route, she clearly doesn’t expect Amenadiel to truly accept and forgive her like that. Pierce has been preying on her insecurities, but that finally only gets so far—especially with Amenadiel saying he’ll forgive and “always be here” for her, even after everything she’s done.

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The second part of Maze’s redemption comes during the fight with Pierce, with the look of genuine concern on her face once Pierce convinces her he’s put Linda’s life in danger. In all her anger and bridge burning, Maze’s plan while working with Pierce was never to physically harm the people in her life. Pierce crosses that line with Amenadiel, but Maze won’t. Because she may have wanted to “torture” Amenadiel and Linda, but there’s a reason she only resorted to a Amenadiel dummy and terrible double dates.

Amenadiel: “That’s where faith comes in, Charlotte: Hope in the face of hopelessness.”

When it comes to redemption and Lucifer, Charlotte Richards’ story sadly comes to an end here. I’ve written quite a bit recently about how Charlotte’s redemption arc has tipped to the side of her doing good simply to get into God’s good graces, but this episode finally addresses how Amenadiel’s also been doing the same thing this whole season. I also brought up the Angel “If nothing we do matters…” quote as a reference point for the way Charlotte should probably be approaching her redemption—which is basically what this episode boils down to for her and Amenadiel. Fast-forwarding to the end real quick, after Charlotte’s really gone through the ringer just to prove Forest is guilty, she’s still not proud of herself because she feels like it’s too little, too late. But as Amenadiel points out, just by putting in the work now, she’s prevented Forest from having anymore future victims—which might not erase the past but still very much matters.

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As for Amenadiel’s actions, he finally admits that he’s just been assuming and making up all the stuff about tests from God because he has no idea what he’s supposed to do. These tests—and God’s supposed will—are his version of trying to get back in with God. It’s really a big deal in terms of character development that Amenadiel finally realizes humans and celestial beings are more alike than he’s thought all this time. Not realizing that—and trying to draw a distinct line separating the two worlds—has always been one of Amenadiel’s biggest struggles on Earth, even after becoming mortal. The conclusion that Amenadiel comes to is basically that God gave his angels free will, just like he did his humans. Lucifer doesn’t want to believe Amenadiel’s theory, but he then realizes Chloe—who he spends so much time saying has no choice in her feelings for him—actively chooses him, both as a partner and love interest. And then once he finds a loose feather from Amenadiel, he realizes the son of a God did it. Amenadiel is able to get his wings back in an integral moment, after knowing in his heart of hearts that Charlotte does not belong in Hell. She may have resigned herself to that fate, but Amenadiel has that hope in the face of hopelessness.

I don’t want to downplay how good the rest of the episode is, especially as such an important one for Lucifer/Chloe—something that both Tom Ellis and Lauren German clearly have in mind throughout the episode—and Maze turning the corner on her path of self-destruction. But everything D.B. Woodside and Tricia Helfer give in their final scenes simply go above and beyond. Something I found disappointing about the season two finale was that Amenadiel didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to his mother; but after this episode, I’ll say Woodside actually ends up with the better “farewell to Charlotte.” This episode also highlights just how ridiculous Woodside and Helfer’s chemistry is, making it hurt even more for their characters’ friendship to end. As much as Charlotte felt like Lucifer’s responsibility at the beginning of the season, Amenadiel filling in the role as her best friend was simply the better call.

I also can’t forget to include the Dan of it all, as this episode “telegraphs” the impending tragedy by beginning the episode with couples bliss… only for that to end up a Hell loop nightmare that really drives home just how much Charlotte cares for Dan in all his waffle-loving glory. Lucifer is devilish for transforming Dan into the most genuinely sympathetic, likable character on the show (a transformation that began in season two), only to give him the happy life and immediately rip it away. Dan’s reaction to seeing Charlotte’s body is heartbreaking—and I never imagined I’d feel that way about a waffle bracelet—but seeing Chloe so affected by it really hits hard. The Chloe/Charlotte relationship wasn’t BFF status, but it was nice to see the evolution on Chloe’s end, as she accepted this formerly corrupt woman (and Charlotte’s reaction to Chloe’s acceptance).

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This is honestly a really dark episode of the show and not just because of Charlotte’s death. The case-of-the-week even lacks the typical humorous spin or misunderstandings you’d expect. Sure, Lucifer quips and juggles, but the situations themselves completely eliminate the comedy—which is pretty necessary to handle the reveal of the kind of person Forest is. Even worse, the perp for the initial murder in this episode is a man who ended up in prison for 13 years, for a crime he didn’t commit… and accidentally kills an innocent woman in his attempt to get revenge on the actual killer. It’s all so depressing. This is supposed to be the fun DevilCop show, right?


Stray observations

  • I knew it had to happen, but Lucifer actually saying “quintessential Deckerstar” caused me to pause, eye roll, then write “eye roll” in my notes. The follow-up actually being a Chloe eye roll and Lucifer saying “And the eye roll.” is perfect.
  • Lucifer: “She broke it off with Pierce, so—I win.”
    Linda: “Yes. I know that they broke up, but just because she didn’t choose Pierce doesn’t mean she chose you.”
    Lucifer: “And just because she un-chose Pierce doesn’t not mean she didn’t choose me.”
  • I appreciate the scene featuring both Doug Savant and Colin Egglesfield. Why? Because it’s an unexpected Melrose Place and Melrose Place 2.0 mash-up, a fact that only matters to me and maybe five other people.
  • Lucifer: “Personally, I’m avoiding the boring, forensic part of the case like I normally do…” Ella doesn’t deserve this disrespect. She’s even repping Lucifer with her shirt of choice!
  • On the other hand, she says the phrase “beautiful Pecker babies,” because the dirtiest Lucifer lines are in episodes written by the showrunners (here, they’re Ildy Modrovich’s Pecker babies).
  • Messenger: “You Dan Espinoza?”
    Lucifer: “How dare you?
  • While Lucifer is mostly focused on the past for himself and Chloe, the double dose of “Dr. Canaan” and Chlamydia from Amenadiel is a nice touch.
  • At the beginning of the season, there was a major question of if Lucifer could justify having Tricia return as Charlotte. If this season has done nothing else, I’ll say it did that very well. Also, it’s nice to see the show bring Egglesfield’s Ben back in this episode—it brings Charlotte’s story full circle, as she was having an affair with him before she was murdered the first time. Despite playing him to stall for Amenadiel, Charlotte does give him good life advice.
  • Pierce calls Maze out for going soft after his entire “Chloe is the one” saga. I’m glad she tosses him through his stupid rock collection.
  • Hopefully everyone’s happy: Chloe admits she only said yes to Pierce’s proposal (and then no) because of Lucifer.
  • Charlotte: “I’ve been coming here ever since I realized that this may be the closest to Heaven that I’ll ever get.” I wrote in my notes, “Okay, ‘Iris’ from the movie City Of Angels.” Also, does that final Charlotte/Amenadiel scene take place at the La La Land bench?

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