Lucifer: Sweet Kicks Review
The Devil risks life and limb to dabble in the limits of his newfound mortality.
This Lucifer review contains spoilers.
Lucifer: Season 1, Episode 5
The most notable thing about this episode is that Lucifer can now add “official civilian consultant” to his considerable resumé (he can list it right below “seducer supreme of humanity and corrupter extraordinaire of the weak-willed”). This is an important development for the show; no longer must the writers rely on flimsy plot contrivances to bring Lucifer‘s two leads together.
Now, time can be devoted to fleshing out characters and making us understand them, and in the process care about them, too. Up to this point, there hasn’t been much for viewers to grab onto over the last four episodes. Yes, there was a glimmer of depth in last week’s “Manly Whatnots,” when Chloe became a bit too curious about Lucifer’s mysterious scars, but we need more. And we do get more character development in “Sweet Kicks,” though it’s Maze whom we learn more about.
Tasked as she is by a higher authority with being the devil’s protector, what Maze seems to lack in free will she makes up for with inspired sadism. (And would one expect anything less from Hell’s official torturer herself? Lesley-Ann Brandt brings a smoldering anger to the role of Maze that gives this episode some much-needed malice and oomph, specifically in a fight scene that plays out as more of a well-lit shadow play. But if Maze can bring the hurt (and we know she can), show us. We want to see with our own eyes what makes this demon-turned-bartender so special — not only to the show, but to Lucifer himself.
We know these two have a certain history together that extends beyond simply both being from Hell. And it’s also obvious that whatever romance they once may have shared is now just as lopsided as her disfigured face. As portrayed on the comic book page, Maze bears a resemblance to Batman’s Two-Face, though in her case, so much of her head is missing she can barely talk at all. So it was nice (and I use the term “nice” loosely here) to get a real look at how badly damaged she really is, inside and out.
This better explains not only her exasperation with a demon she once greatly admired, but also her willingness to collude with the angel Amenadiel to return her and Lucifer to Hell where they both belong. In other words, “hell on earth” is not everything it’s cracked up to be. As far as she’s concerned, the sooner she returns Lucifer to his own private hell, the sooner everything can go back to normal.
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As for Lucifer, he spends a lot of time in this episode having fun with his mortality, though not quite the way a true mortal might. A true mortal confronts their mortality by skydiving, or swimming with sharks, or eating a dozen ghost peppers. Apparently, an immortal like Lucifer embraces his newfound frailty by getting into bar fights or being slapped in the face. (Is it any wonder Maze has lost patience with him?) While I understand Lucifer’s existential dilemma is at the heart of this series, it doesn’t really carry the gravitas needed to make us truly care about his plight, or his sudden vulnerability. I will say that a character like Superman is certainly more interesting when he’s brought low by kryptonite, but his Achilles heel isn’t the central conceit to the Superman mythos. Giving us a confident Lucifer Morningstar who is vexed or even in denial about his creeping mortality would be more compelling than the impish playboy who embraces his unexpected humanity.
As for the case of the week, a young girl is trampled in a crowded fashion show after gunfire erupts. This leads to gang warfare that never really amounts to much. But the idea that by granting sneaker designer Benny Choi a successful career could lead to his friend’s downfall is compelling. Chloe sees this causality for what it is, even if Lucifer himself can’t. Which suggests Chloe may finally be coming around to accepting that her would-be partner is actually who he claims to be.
Some closing thoughts:
To reference Batman again for a moment, one could argue that the Caped Crusader is a magnet for deranged personalities, attracting dangerous criminals like the Joker to Gotham City. The argument exists that no Batman means no super criminals. One could also argue that Lucifer is a magnet for trouble, as he certainly seems to find himself up to his neck in murder every week.
I like that Amenadiel has started working the inside angle (so to speak) with Lucifer’s analyst, Dr. Martin. He’s a smooth operator — smoother, it’s worth mentioning, than the prince of darkness himself. What kind of show might this have been, were the brilliant D.B. Woodside cast in the title role instead?