Graphic: FOX

Picking up where we left off, based on this episode, Pierce didn’t lose his mark because he was finally selfless: It literally was as simple as getting Chloe to fall in love with him. Which brings us into some questionable terrain for Lucifer, specifically in terms for Chloe as a character.

In theory, that’s something for Lucifer/Chloe fans to chomp on, as it implies (or downright confirms) that Chloe was in love with Lucifer by the fourth episode of the series. At the same time, the combination of that knowledge and now the Pierce situation kind of cheapens that, doesn’t it? It certainly points out an unpleasant character flaw for Chloe: The woman falls too hard, too fast. Not in a romcom lead sort of way but in a terrible taste in men sort of way. Dan is her ex, Pierce as her current, and it’s not exactly like Lucifer is steady boyfriend material. Typically, this wouldn’t matter on top of everything else about the character, but the show itself is making Chloe’s love an integral part of the story and the mythology. And instead of making the audience root for Lucifer to show her the light about Pierce or even for Chloe to realize she deserves better, this episode kind of makes people more likely to root against Chloe and her terrible taste.

Keep in mind, Chloe was still trying to figure out how to tell Trixie about Pierce just last week, and now she’s saying yes to his marriage proposal (when they’re broken up). “Anything Pierce Can Do I Can Do Better” is a strange episode for Chloe’s agency, because in her enacting it, the audience is pretty much shown that would be better if she didn’t.

The power of “Chloe’s love” also brings more murkiness into the whole concept of God putting Chloe in Lucifer’s path. While the show has joked before about how little clarity there is on that particular aspect, considering how much it’s driven Lucifer to step aside when it comes to his feelings for Chloe (because he doesn’t believe her feelings are real), his tune should presumably change with what appears to be official confirmation that her love is real. (Unless fake love also works for making celestial beings vulnerable.) Yes, Linda eventually calls him out for constantly using “excuses” like that, but at the same time, she should have called him out for that much earlier (which she herself points out).

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The thing about Pierce’s “redemption” this episode—in his realization that he doesn’t want to hurt Chloe—is that it’s still very much rooted in the fact that he’s a selfish, one track-minded man. His love for Chloe doesn’t change that; it just makes his mind’s current track Chloe. After getting Maze to join him in his quest for mortality, he discards her as soon as he can once he has what he wants. And even more, actually, since he realizes he can grow old with Chloe. Also, just to be clear: While Pierce is definitely not a Good Guy, him “getting in the way” of Chloe/Lucifer isn’t actually one of the reasons why. When Pierce asked Lucifer if he had feelings for Chloe or was involved with her in that way, he denied it. And when given the chance to show Chloe who he really is, Lucifer just makes excuses instead of going for it. None of that is on Pierce.

Chloe: “I’m just trying not to take it personally, ‘cause it’s not like this is the first time this has happened, so… I just wonder if it’s something I’m doing.”

That is the far more interesting aspect of Chloe’s character, as she’s clearly addressing Lucifer’s habit of disappearing whenever they get too close. This episode is essentially the final straw when it comes to Lucifer jerking Chloe around, with the “romantic” dinner hitting her like a punch to the gut. And this is after he’s already told her he thinks what’s happening in this triangle is “some sort of competition.” If the audience were watching this show from Chloe’s perspective, they’d see the dinner scene as the moment where a man who calls himself the Devil seemingly takes glee in blowing up Chloe’s expectations and shattering her heart. She even asks him, “Why are you doing this to me?” To her, what Lucifer is doing is like some sick joke. He doesn’t ask her to take their relationship to the next level, like she expects (or to a new level at all). “Isn’t this better than anything Pierce could do?” Chloe’s terrible relationship methods aside, she’s right to think Lucifer doesn’t actually care about her. We know that’s not the case, but that’s how he frames it. Yes, “someone better” deserves Chloe, but Lucifer isn’t exactly doing anything to prove that’s someone is him.

Lucifer: “To think: You could’ve had everything you wanted. All you had to do was tell Amber how you felt. But you blew it. … And so did I.”

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As for the case-of-the-week, except for Myles the fake amputee, everything about it is played relatively straight. There aren’t any particular ridiculous twists in it, which appears to be intentional: This entire case has more of a straight metaphorical through line to the main Lucifer issue than usual, and it’s understandable Alex Katsnelson and the rest of the Lucifer writers wouldn’t want anything to derail that point. The point about Lucifer’s own constant self-sabotage, something that was even more blatant in the beginning of the season and something that’s become an involuntary part of Lucifer’s existence at this point. I believe I’ve mentioned before that people often confuse Lucifer’s own myopic nature for stupidity, and the scene at the victim’s secret apartment is the perfect example. Lucifer’s not playing dumb when it comes to all the evidence that this is a love affair—he genuinely believes this is a stalker’s secret crash pad. (Plus, casting Robert Curtis Brown in the role of the lover helps sell the shifty possibility.)

This is what I mean when I mention that, while Lucifer may be better fitting in with humanity than Amenadiel, he still has blind spots in terms of humanity. This is why he still needs Dr. Linda, even though he rarely actually learns the lesson he should during their sessions. Why he needs people like Chloe and Ella and even Dan in his life, for perspective. Even Charlotte Richards, who is a human, still needs help in being human—and a good one at that—after coming back from the dead and from Hell. Pierce has supposedly seen and done everything a human can probably do, but he certainly doesn’t have it all figured out. All of this can make for some intense frustration, but it’s still worth acknowledging that as a baseline for these characters.

Maze, unfortunately, has chosen to latch onto the worst parts of humanity. And I don’t just mean in terms of her behavior. In her fake reconciliation with Chloe, she still lets out a kernel of truth in what she believes: “People always let you down.” This is the place Maze is coming from, and it’s most likely even worse because of the simple fact that she’s also one of those people who has let others down. She’s let Amenadiel and Linda down, she’s let Dan and Chloe down, she’s let Lucifer down, and she’s of course let Trixie down. The problem with that, of course, is that Maze is hanging onto the fact that she’s not “people,” she’s not human. To run away to Hell, she won’t have to deal with being looked at like a person anymore. There’s no letting anyone down, because all she’ll be doing is torturing. I’m not saying it defends the glee she took in breaking Lucifer last week and the fact that she’s invested in ruining his life (as the full plan involves framing Lucifer for Pierce’s murder) in order to get what she wants. But this episode steps away—ever so slightly—from her full villainy in just that moment of honesty with Chloe. A moment of honesty in the middle of absolute deception. It’s then followed by another brief moment of honesty, when you can see the glimmer of guilt on Maze’s face over the fact that Trixie’s still mad at her. Guilt she wouldn’t have to face in Hell.

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“Anything Pierce Can Do I Can Do Better” is technically a very solid episode of Lucifer. It hits the necessary beats in the case-of-the-week better than usual, and it makes those beats resonate with the main theme in a way that doesn’t require any mental gymnastic to really make the connection. The problem with this episode isn’t the execution of the story but the story as a whole. The passage of time, murky mythology, and questionable (albeit appropriate) character choices make up this episode. Separating this episode from the rest of its arc though, I believe it could make a fairly solid episode to rewatch.


Stray observations

  • Direction-wise, not bad from new director Jim Vickers. Especially having to shoot something like the ballet scene, which I imagine can’t be easy.
  • Pierce: “Another time. Hell, I’d be the luckiest guy in the world, but I’m in love with Chloe. Sorry.” I’m sure there are plenty fandom AUs dedicated to Smallville’s Clark Kent and Battlestar Galactica’s Six, and I choose to believe the Pierce/Charlotte scene was for those shippers. It certainly read as such. The motorcycle chase—and thankfully Charlotte was dressed appropriately for said chase, down to the leather gloves—is especially the stuff of very specific fic. (Also, Tom Welling confessing his love for “Chloe” has reached peak awkwardness levels these days.)
  • I’m also reading this particular tweet as some solid trolling.
  • Last week’s episode led to some Angel comparisons on my end. (I had to cut out a part about Charlotte and how she could use this advice: “If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.”) This week, I’ll just note that Giselle was the ballet Angel and the gang went to see in “Waiting In The Wings.” That episode was also the story of unrequited love gone very wrong.
  • I mentioned Charlotte and Amenadiel in terms of humanity, and I want to address their plot quickly. Specifically the part where Amenadiel doesn’t see the red flag in Charlotte becoming gung-ho in “doing God’s work.” It’s apparent that she doesn’t so much care about doing God’s work—that poor man she steals the motorcycle from—as much as it is still making sure she doesn’t go to Hell. When Amenadiel asks for her help, she instantly makes this about finding another loophole to avoid Hell. Simply put, Charlotte needs to chill.
  • My biggest laugh this episode was the Andre’s Glass Repair van in the background during Pierce’s phone call with Chloe. Obviously, it’s just a way for the show to explain to us why Pierce’s windows are eventually fine… only for Charlotte to break another one of his windows later in the episode.
  • When I see people complaining about Lucifer being too soft (not the same situation as people complaining about it not being like the comics), I see a lot of cries for Lucifer to go back to “the old Lucifer,” which both feels like a request for character devolution and a blatant misunderstanding of the fact that Lucifer was never evil. Lucifer not being evil is kind of one of his major arguments. The only difference between now and then is that back in season one, Lucifer probably would have sent Maze back to Hell without hesitance. However, in the same breath as wanting “the old Lucifer,” I usually see complaints about Maze’s current behavior as a “bitch” and how she should be killed for… I guess for no longer being soft? Well, it’s more for getting in the way of Lucifer/Chloe, but I genuinely don’t understand how “the old Lucifer” and Chloe would ever be in a relationship in the first place. Then again, Chloe was apparently in love with Lucifer by the series’ fourth episode, so who knows?

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