Lucifer: Pops Review

The Devil and Chloe grapple with problem parents in this week’s episode of Lucifer.

This Lucifer review contains spoilers.

Lucifer: Season 1, Episode 10

It shouldn’t be any surprise that Lucifer Morningstar would be a narcissist of the highest order, seeking out the spotlight at inopportune times to make other people’s problems somehow about him. It’s an oddly endearing quality, but only if you believe Lucifer is who he actually purports to be. I mean, for all his charm and outward bluster, on some level it makes sense that the Devil would harbor a secret insecurity about himself that leads him to question in the grander scheme of things.

This is Lucifer’s conceit, after all, to portray Satan as someone who is riddled by doubts and existential dilemmas. The show is at its best when it meets these meaty issues head-on, as it did last week with the stellar “A Priest Walks Into a Bar.” In that episode, we saw Lucifer form an unexpected bond with a man of the cloth, only to nearly have his spirit broken when Father Frank dies.

In “Pops,” Lucifer is still grappling with major Daddy issues, blaming his Father for making a mockery of his problems. If you’ll recall, Father Frank believed God might have been working through him to reach Lucifer, to make him understand his place in the universe. By that line of thinking, one might argue that this week’s murder, a possible patricide, is yet another way God is trying to make Lucifer realize the importance of respecting and appreciating one’s parents. Yes, it’s heavy-handed, but this show has never really been about subtlety, has it?

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Lucifer doubles down in this regard by finally bringing Chloe’s mother onto the show. Rebecca De Mornay makes an interesting turn as Penelope Decker, a celebrity whose star has faded but nonetheless finds her way into the spotlight. Lucifer takes an immediate shine to Mama Decker — and why wouldn’t he, considering how much the two have in common. They’re both overgrown children who crave attention and thrive on the chaos they create in those around them. This doesn’t necessarily make them bad people — but it doesn’t exactly make them good, either. They naturally expect things to go their way, with little regard to how selfish this makes them in other people’s eyes.

That being said, Penelope Decker is fun to watch. She’s a bull in a china shop, easily wrecking the delicate balance Chloe has constructed for herself and Trixie and Dan. Whatever mistakes she’s made as a parent, she seems poised to make again as a grandparent. For Chloe, that’s one mistake too many.

As for Dan, he’s grappling with his own problems. Malcolm is the partner from hell; he takes a lot of pressure from turning the screws on Dan, making him squirm from constant emotional blackmail. There’s no question Malcolm is a terrible person (who still has a way of eating jelly donuts that is truly gross), but Dan is no saint, either. Yes, he’s staying true to his word by bringing Trixie chocolate cake again (a nice little detail), but he’s playing Chloe for a fool, and for that reason alone we should collectively despise him. It’s interesting that Dan would go to bat for Lucifer, trying to find a reason why Malcolm shouldn’t murder him. But in the end, Malcolm gains the upper hand and deals a fatal blow to Dan’s tenuous reconciliation with Chloe.

This leads to one of the most interesting scenes of the episode, in which a spurned, drunken Chloe turns up at Lux. She immediately throws herself at Lucifer, but in a nice bit of irony, the Devil doesn’t succumb to temptations of the flesh. Chloe has become his friend, and despite his better judgment, Lucifer doesn’t want to betray their friendship by taking advantage of her. This is character growth of the highest order for Lucifer. If this is another divine test, he’s passed it with flying colors.  But I’d like to think that not everything that transpires on Lucifer is part of some grand plan, that humans still exercise free will, as Lucifer himself seems to do.

Character moments like this aside, I do think that episodes like “Priest” have raised the bar considerably for this show, and I’d love to see Lucifer maintain that high level of quality storytelling through the end of its first season. Certainly Malcolm’s presence has made things way more interesting (and complicated) for Dan and Chloe — and I’m curious to see if he’s able to carry out his mission. With only three episodes left before the season finale, we won’t have long to wait.

Some closing thoughts:

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Maze and Trixie were an unlikely duo this week, weren’t they? It was interesting to see such disparate characters play off one another, but it totally worked. A lot of the credit goes to Scarlett Estevez and Lesley-Ann Brandt for playing it straight in their Lux scene together.

It was also fun seeing Maze play against Dr. Martin. Maze is very much out of her element, away from hellish responsibilities in the underworld. That she approaches her interactions with humans primarily through a prism of sex shows how limited her understanding is of mortals—and of herself.

We all knew Lucifer wouldn’t perish in a fire, but the irony of his predicament was still fun to see.

Rating:

3 out of 5