This Lucifer review contains spoilers.
Lucifer Season 3 Episode 11
“You can either deal with me or deal with Father.”
Lucifer returns after a brief hiatus to begin the new year with a flashback to the event that has plagued the eponymous character since the end of last season, and gives us a look at the genesis of Amenadiel’s task to retrieve his fallen brother. However, “City of Angels?” really shines during the murder investigation when we’re given the chance to observe the relationship between the brothers and the comic genius exhibited by D. B. Woodside.
There’s so much to like about “City of Angels?” and while the murder case serves as a backdrop for the larger theme as it usually does, the separate, yet interlocking investigations pull the episode together for the climactic final scene on the beach. Though we don’t see a lot of Detective Espinoza and his wife Officer Chloe Decker, getting a glimpse of their life together on the LAPD before their separation, takes us back to a simpler time – a time before Lucifer Morningstar enters the equation. We’re certainly not surprised at Chloe’s desire to stand out in her quest to make detective, and Dan’s right when he warns her to move slowly. But that’s not Chloe.
Decker’s determined to make a name for herself on this case, and with Dan’s blessing, does some digging on her own. But it’s her certainty that she’s right that gives pause as we get a look at a younger, less experienced officer unable or unwilling to see the big picture. We don’t have a sense for how long she’s been a uniformed officer, but we feel a sense of urgency from Chloe. However, it’s her scene with lawyer Charlotte Richards that provides a career turning point. Seemingly in over her head and in the process of being schooled by the lawyer to organized crime heads, Chloe thinks on her feet and turns the situation to her favor. It’s a wonderful look at the younger version of the detective we’ve come to know and respect.
Nevertheless, “City of Angels?” belongs to Tom Ellis (Lucifer Morningstar) and D. B. Woodside (Amenadiel). Through two and a half seasons we’ve watched these two battle themselves and each other, but tonight it’s their ability make us laugh one moment and cry the next that makes this such a special chapter in the tale. Taken back to Day 1 of Lucifer’s latest excursion to Los Angeles, we see him decked out in a Travolta Saturday Night Fever outfit which he tells a mocking bystander was the “height of fashion the last time I visited.” Soon thereafter, we learn that this is not the first time that Amenadiel has been tasked to bring his errant brother back to Hell to keep their Father happy. The combination of visual humor and delightfully naive pieces of dialogue from Amenadiel make these scenes stand out and really drive the subtext of the brothers’ relationship.
While Chloe and Dan investigate the murder of MMA fighter Aiden Scott, Amenadiel enlists his brother’s aid in recovering his stolen necklace at the hands of the killer. I’m not sure there’s been a funnier scene than Amenadiel going into the LAPD headquarters to report the theft of his necklace. Pre-detective Decker takes his statement after he’s changed from his robe into surfer shorts, tee shirt, baseball cap, and oversized sunglasses. She does her best to stay professional, but even she has difficulty taking his complaint seriously.
Lucifer decides they should pay a visit to the dead fighter’s girlfriend, pornstar Misty Canyons (Taylor Black) on the set of her latest film. Of course, left alone by his brother, Amenadiel is mistaken for one of the actors and outfitted as a window washer completely unaware of what’s really happening. Yes, he tells his brother, he knows what porn is, but here he’s so focused on recovering his necklace that he’s missing the big picture. Throw in some lines like the one Lucifer delivers as he’s playing piano and asked if there’s music in Hell, and you have the makings of one of the funniest, yet poignant episodes of the season. He tells his brother they play Justin Bieber songs and “you should hear the screams.”
Coming on the heels of the revelation that Lt. Marcus Pierce is actually Cain, the world’s first murderer, the sibling issues that arise here uncover a darker, more painful past as they both try to please their Father. Is the necklace more than just a necklace, or is it simply that it was given to Amenadiel by his Father that causes the panic he feels at its loss? It all comes to a head, however, when Lucifer ends up in the MMA ring pitted against his brother. We’ve seen these two go through a lot during the years, but here, before Lucifer meets Chloe, there’s still a lot of baggage they both carry.
Having arrived at the arena to track down the killer, Amenadiel calls Lucifer evil. “You are the Devil after all,” and something resonates with Lucifer that sets off a confrontation with his brother in the ring. Why does this bother him so much? On the one hand, the Lucifer that we know in the present takes pride in being bad, so what’s the source of this pain? They beat each other senseless until Amenadiel tells his brother he “won’t stoop to your level” and gives up. And it’s after the brothers essentially gift wrap the killer for Chloe that Lucifer decides he’s going to stay on Earth. We’ve known all along that daddy issues lie at the heart of most of Lucifer’s problems, but in “City of Angels?” there are indications that Amenadiel suffers just as much, though in different ways. Told that their Father will not tolerate his staying on Earth, “He knows where to find me.”
There are a number of visual near misses that add to the fun. It turns out that Lucifer actually steals his iconic black Corvette. Chloe and Lucifer are at the women’s wrestling match at the same time but have no contact, but of course, they don’t know each other yet. Lucifer, Amenadiel, Chloe, and Dan all wait to see who picks up the money revealing himself as the killer, and waiting to see if there’s any contact is half the fun.
But it’s the final scene that brings us back to the source of Lucifer’s emotional pain as Mazikeen cuts off his Devil’s wings as they stand on the beach with the waves crashing in behind them. It’s a powerful image as the ultimate rebel thumbs his nose at God, his Father, while the Demon Maze does what he asks of her but at a cost. This is Mazikeen, Hell’s most feared torturer with tears streaming down her cheek. Lucifer has symbolically cut himself off from his Father, and his journey on Earth has begun.
There’s not much that Lucifer doesn’t give viewers in “City of Angels?” because it’s all here. The only downside is that we have to wait three weeks for the series’ return.