Lucifer Season 5 Episode 2
“You are different, but sometimes change is a good thing.”
Though I’m generally not a fan of the doppelganger as a primary plot device, Lucifer takes a risk and trots out our titular hero’s twin brother in a story that gives the detective a chance to solve a case and pave the way for a welcome return to the status quo. The murder investigation takes a back seat to a crime of the heart perpetuated by the archangel Michael, but “Lucifer! Lucifer! Lucifer!” still puts Chloe at the center of this latest challenge and provides a solid bridge toward developing her burgeoning, yet seemingly ill-fated relationship with the Devil.
Tom Ellis gets to spread his acting wings literally and figuratively here, and while his American accent falls a bit flat, that certainly can be attributed to the director’s vision of Michael’s second rate status when compared to his infinitely more well known sibling. It’s a nice touch to have Michael employ fear rather than desire as his celestial superpower, and it’s particularly meaningful when we combine his conversation with Linda and the 1994 Polaroid of her holding a baby. To this point we’ve interpreted her approach to raising Charlie as that of a typical 21st century helicopter parent, but now it appears there may be a much darker reason for her actions.
Lucifer explains to Chloe in the season premiere that time has passed much more slowly for him during his stay in the underworld, so it at first seems understandably natural that it might take some time for him to reorient himself with his former life in Los Angeles. Like Chloe, we excuse the little white lies as simply the “new Lucifer,” since his inability to lie has been one of the fundamental ironies and delights of his character. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Dan and his pudding, and when we observe Chloe’s ex puzzle over Lucifer’s compliments and the offer of Dan’s favorite snack, it ignites a spark of recognition that this is not really Lucifer.
Watching a naked Lucifer preen and practice in front of a full length mirror should be enough to set off our devil-sense, but after the previous episode’s uncertain ending, the possibility that it might take Lucifer some time to adjust after thousands of years in Hell seems a reasonable assumption. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long to see that this is yet another chapter in the celestial family’s dysfunctional existence, and it will be up to Chloe and the gang to unmask this jealous imposter. Once Mazikeen discovers Michael’s truth, the fundamental question centers around how long it will take the detective to decipher the clues.
We’ve watched Dan take the first steps toward rebuilding his life after Charlotte’s tragic death, but life just refuses to cooperate when it comes to Maze and her personal relationships. After Chloe cuts her loose as a partner, it’s not at all surprising to watch her assist Michael in his plan to ruin Lucifer and Chloe’s lives and their relationship. She feels abandoned and mistreated by both. But then, despite the emotional pain she bears, Maze reveals a core value system that refuses to allow Michael to steal the purity that still exists between the Devil and the detective. We don’t know how long Chloe’s has known that Michael isn’t Lucifer, but that doesn’t matter; Mazikeen’s willingness to put her own hurt aside for her friend speaks volumes about this increasingly undemonlike demon.
In retrospect, Chloe’s understated response to Maze’s initial betrayal makes sense because, like her demon friend, she’s already concluded that the man wearing Lucifer’s designer clothes is not who he pretends to be. We get a wonderful scene between the two as Chloe reassures Maze that their friendship hasn’t been destroyed. “You’re trying to apologize in your very awkward demon way,” she tells Maze before confessing that she’s also decided to take her relationship with Lucifer to the next level. And speaking for much of the fan base, “I think we’ve waited long enough.” Yes, Chloe, we agree.
The theme of change runs continuously through the series, and even though Chloe’s insistence to Michael that she likes the new Lucifer, the subtext of her mini-speeches should become even more significant once the Devil returns to Earth. Michael flips the script and conducts a serious interrogation of guest star Sharon Osborne as Chloe does her best to insert innuendo filled commentary into the process. Of course, Osborn thinks she’s talking to Lucifer when she expresses gratitude for the help the Devil provided her husband Ozzie – “From one Prince of Darkness to another.” Kind of cheesy, but I still like it.
That said, on the surface, it’s difficult to believe Amenadiel fails to immediately recognize Michael, but taken in conjunction with his preoccupation with baby Charlie’s safety, we’ll cut him some slack. The dynamic between Luci’s brother and his human wife is priceless as is the image of him carrying his son around strapped to his chest as Lux patrons go about their hedonistic business in the background. However, it’s Linda’s confrontation of Lucifer at the precinct that crystallizes her concern. “Who’s watching Hell?”
On the other hand, Amenadiel can rest assured that Lucifer has the demon population of Hell well in hand, but his willingness to risk his family’s safety for the sake of the human race shows just how much he’s changed in his time on Earth. Amenadiel understands the havoc his siblings can cause and must feel it’s worth the risk to ask Lucifer to return to help prevent a potential apocalypse. It’s hard to believe Michael has given up his quest to bring his twin to heel, so we now wait for his next move and anticipate Tom Ellis’ dual portrayal.
The episode’s title makes a not so subtle reference to the 1970s sitcom The Brady Bunch, and the murder investigation of one of Anders Brody’s (sounds like Brady) participants in his Red Mars 2 project takes a back seat to the turmoil caused by Michael’s appearance. The cultural references work as Lucifer takes control in Hell while Brody backs a mission to put the first manned colony on the Red Planet. The revelation that Brody actually fears going into space and the project only serves as a publicity stunt in his competition with industry giant Jeff Bezos and real-life SpaceX founder Elon Musk seems a bit silly in hindsight.
Once Lucifer found its footing during its early seasons and established the complex web of interpersonal relationships engaged in by both humans and celestials, the procedural aspect of the show has gradually moved further into the background. Yes, the parallels between aspects of the criminal suspects and the challenges the core characters face in their personal lives continue to have meaning, and “Lucifer! Lucifer! Lucifer!” certainly continues that trend. It’s just that the complexity of the crimes and subsequent investigations don’t resonate as they once did. And that’s okay.
Needless to say, the episode bombshell Michael drops on Chloe as he slinks away, looks to drive the subsequent narrative, and her relationship with Lucifer faces perhaps its greatest test yet. Will Michael’s pronouncement that she’s merely a “gift from God” put on Earth to be Lucifer’s plaything resonate, or will she consider the vast body of work that comprises her history with her long time partner?
While Michael’s interference may not be enough to sustain interest for very long, Lucifer quickly puts into motion several plot subsets that should have more staying power once the Devil returns to Earth. Lines are beginning to form, and yet again, Chloe finds herself caught in a web spun by others whose motives clearly do not align with hers.