This Lucifer review contains spoilers.
Lucifer Season 3 Episode 18
“She’s the key to finally getting what I’ve always wanted.”
We’ve learned quite a lot about Lt. Marcus Pierce this season, not the least of which is his true identity, and understand his need to periodically relocate to divert attention regarding his appearance. So how cool is it to finally grab a peek into his past and learn that crime fighting has been in his blood for more than fifty years. As Lucifer heads into the final third of its season, the timely addition of Tom Welling (Pierce/Cain) to the cast continues to reap dividends. “The Last Heartbreak” digs deep into the angst virtually all the major players are experiencing, and it’s not until the end, that Lucifer and Pierce gain some perspective that might enable them to move forward while Chloe embarks on a relationship with Pierce that seems destined to break her heart.
The opening flashback takes us to 1958 and Detective Marcus Pierce working on the Broken Hearts Killer case that captivated Los Angeles and law enforcement of the period. Now that a killer with the same MO has once again found its way to the City of Angels, Pierce naturally inserts himself into the investigation, much to Lucifer’s displeasure. Two’s company; three’s a crowd, and it’s always fun to watch Lucifer manipulated by someone of equal strength. Obviously, it doesn’t happen often which is why Pierce’s arrival at the precinct has been narrative gold. Employing a copycat killer scenario often leads to a predictable timeline and somewhat unsatisfying conclusion to the case, but Lucifer puts its own stamp on this plot device.
That Pierce worked the original case isn’t what solves the current crime; it’s his connection to a woman who tried to get through to the troubled detective on a human level. And then when he returns to the same bar in 2018, it’s the sight of Kay’s granddaughter that momentarily throws Pierce for a loop. Watching him manage the emotions this meeting dredges up reminds us that this is a situation he’s likely been in before, but here, it’s the fact that he once ran from a relationship with this young woman’s grandmother that leads to Pierce solving the current case. The brief emotional connection these two enjoy plays nicely into the subtext surrounding Pierce’s developing relationship with Chloe. Even though we’ve had enough information to understand what Pierce’s multi-millenia life has been like, tonight, with Kay and Chloe, the lieutenant faces a dilemma he’s undoubtedly faced hundreds of times already. Is he willing to drop his walls and give his heart to another human being, knowing full well someone is likely to get hurt? But the twist here is that he must reconcile the fact that no matter what, any time he enters into a relationship, he does so perpetuating the biggest lie of all.
And what of Detective Decker? She’s been through a lot the past few years, and now that she has her life and career on track, it’s only natural that she seeks a little romance. Watching Ella melt whenever she’s around Pierce is one thing, but watching Chloe act like a teenager in love for the first time is positively endearing as she fumbles for words the morning after her first date with Pierce. Of course, Lucifer interprets Pierce’s sudden interest in Chloe’s case as a means to further their relationship, but the fact that we know it’s not, simply adds to Lucifer’s insecurity. Ordinarily, Lucifer’s quandary might produce a humorous situation, but his connection with Chloe has become so complex that watching the Devil forced to take a backseat to Cain evokes a sympathy not usually reserved for Lucifer. In the end, he does realize that “we don’t get to decide who someone wants to be with,” and more importantly, Lucifer has reached point in his life in which he all but admits he’s willing to wait if that’s what it takes.
Jack Nicholson’s character Col. Nathan Jessep utters the now famous retort “You can’t handle the truth,” in the 1992 film A Few Good Men. Should Chloe allow Pierce to continue to romance her, at some point the truth must be dealt with, whether overtly or by him reverting to his customary approach of moving on to another city. And while modern technology must make it more difficult for him to fly under the radar with each new life change, whether Chloe can handle the truth about her circle of friends remains to be seen. Though it haunts her, Dr. Linda has gotten on with her life, and now that Charlotte presses Amenadiel for the truth about her missing time, it can’t be long until the veracity of Col. Jessep’s declaration becomes known. The truth is out there.
While it’s certainly true that more than hearts will be broken if and when the truth about the Earthbound celestial beings comes to light, the narrative situation with Mazikeen has gone off the rails in much the same way as the direction the character’s life has taken. It’s too much. Maze is a demonic torturer from Hell, and whether or not this is her first time above ground is irrelevant. Her friend made another friend, and she needs to get over it. Her reactions are out of character, and at this point detract from everything else that’s going on. Again, though he doesn’t know the truth about Maze, Dan’s excoriation of the self-destructive behavior that puts his child in harm’s way strikes a chord and frankly is a long time coming. There’s too much here that just doesn’t read right. Sending Trixie to school with pot brownies for the teacher is not funny, and whether it’s because there is a heart beating in there somewhere or not, the sight of the nine year old in tears at the door appears to be the catalyst for Maze to pack her knives and leave Chloe’s home.
There are a number of emotional threads dangling in Lucifer at the moment, and to this point, the writers have masterfully managed to keep them all in play. “The Last Heartbreak” takes a giant step towards the eventuality that has loomed in the shadows for some time now. Is Chloe wrong about Pierce? Is he “a good person,” as she tells the radio audience, or does his revelation at episode’s end disclose his true nature? Is he willing to risk her heart to get what he wants, and is this desire something other than an end to his immortality? A lot of questions.
One of the advantages of a 24 episode season is that it allows the team time to develop characters and story arcs at a pace that provides opportunity for introspection. “The Last Heartbreak” shifts the Lucifer engine into 4th gear, and though the road ahead is dotted with impediments, it may be time to slam it into 5th and stomp on the gas.