This Lucifer review contains spoilers.
Lucifer: Season 1, Episode 8
Just as Lucifer has been making some serious headway as a character with an emotional breakthrough here or some real brotherly drama there, so too did Lucifer the show make some real progress toward becoming a breakout series for Fox. But just as the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, too. The real drama in “Et Tu, Doctor?” stemmed primarily from new developments in the Palmetto case — but more on that in a bit.
Lucifer is a stronger show when it focuses more on the supernatural and less on the procedural. Cop shows are a dime a dozen; shows about a self-doubting Prince of Darkness, less so. That being said, I really want to like Lucifer, especially since the last couple of episodes were pretty good. And what made them good was that they delved more deeply into what makes the show’s central characters tick.
We know Chloe is juggling a lot — from her estranged husband Dan to an ongoing internal affairs investigation to working with a self-involved partner who believes he’s the Devil. In other words, she’s come a long way from the being a walking trope we were introduced to in the first episode. Who wouldn’t root for Chloe Decker to be a better cop and a better parent? And after the events of “Favorite Son” and “Wingman,” who wouldn’t want her and Dan to actually work things out?
Who besides Lucifer, of course. Satan himself is having a devil of a time reconciling the fact that he’s actually jealous of Dan. He’s feeling other emotions, too. Like remorse, for punching a hole in Dr. Martin’s office wall. This would suggest that he cares about his therapist, which I suppose is true to a certain extent. She is helping him manage his feelings and better understand not just himself, but what it means to be human. Except to Lucifer this isn’t progress — emotional baggage is an inconvenience. And how could he feel jealousy? By his reckoning, he should be immune to the green-eyed monster since he himself inspires passion in other people.
What’s interesting about this point is the degree of confidence Lucifer has in making this statement. He doesn’t question his effect over people’s libidos. He’s irresistible and he knows it. Except when it comes to Chloe, who’s impervious to his many advances. This has led some viewers to speculate that maybe Chloe possesses supernatural abilities of her own. Perhaps so, but I personally hope this isn’t the case. I’d like to think that she’s just not that into him because he’s not a likable fellow.
As for passion, that brings us to the case of the week — a crime of passion that leads to a murdered marriage counselor. A lot of time was spent on this murder, but it felt shoehorned in. Plus, as soon as Al Madrigal’s character was introduced, I knew he was the killer (and this almost completely took me out of the episode). You can’t cast an actor known primarily for his comedic work and not have him stick out like a sore thumb on a procedural show. This isn’t to say that Madrigal was bad — he wasn’t. But this part might have been better served by casting someone else.
Another thing that I didn’t like about “Et Tu, Doctor?” was that said doctor somehow wound up helping Chloe on the murder case. Isn’t the central conceit of this show that the Devil has become a crime-solver? So if you’re going to return to the case-of-the-week formula, why remove Lucifer from the equation? Why am I watching this show, if we’re going to pretend like the events of last week’s “Wingman” never happened? Lucifer burning his wings was meaningful — it meant he was destroying his last ties to Heaven. (This is assuming he really did burn his actual wings. I know Maze appeared to have one of the feathers, but Lucifer could have easily left a few real ones on the beach to confuse her.)
There was also no Amenadiel in this episode. Again, after everything that transpired last week with Lucifer, you’d think his brother would still be in the mix. And let’s not forget that Amenadiel revived Malcolm just as his plug was pulled. This is not meant to be random happenstance. So then why was this watchful angel absent? Sure, hearing what Malcolm has to say is important, especially given that he reveals that it was Dan who actually shot him in the first place (as many readers speculated last week). Making Dan a dirty cop is good, if only because Lucifer has a legitimate reason to hate him now that goes beyond mere jealousy. It also lets viewers in on a secret that we hope Chloe will figure out for herself. (And just as she and Dan were moving toward a reconciliation — all for naught now!)
To me, the most compelling moment in this rather tepid episode was Lucifer learning the truth about Dr. Martin’s new neighbor, a certain Dr. Canaan. Better still was Lucifer confronting Maze about her colluding with Amenadiel. For him, this betrayal is a deal breaker — which is a great way to bring the curtain down.
Some closing thoughts:
I like that Chloe is still a Lucifer skeptic. She likes him, but not enough to humor what she considers to be a delusion.
This may be a minor quibble, but how does Lucifer know what a participation trophy is?