This Lucifer review contains spoilers.
Lucifer Season 5 Episode 3
“Things have changed up in Heaven.”
Workplace relationships in the real world typically prove challenging for all involved, and television writers continue to draw on the compelling conflicts that often arise out of these situations. The Moonlighting Myth has long been dispelled, and putting a television couple together doesn’t necessarily mean a show loses its edge and ultimately its audience. Good writing prevails.
That said, Lucifer may be heading down a path that’s been travelled too far, too long, and at this point in the series’ history, completely unnecessary. The Devil and the detective work well together professionally. Lucifer loves Chloe. Chloe loves Lucifer. So what’s the problem? The trouble with angels (sorry, couldn’t help it) is that there are just so damned many of them, and if the writers’ plan is to continue to trot out another of Lucifer’s relatives or a well known biblical character every time the plot needs a jolt, then maybe it’s time to rethink that plan.
There’s still a lot to like in “¡Diablo!,” not the least of which is the “play within a play” narrative device that finds Chloe and Lucifer investigating the murder of a showrunner on the Warner Brothers set of a hit television show that eerily mirrors their own real life situation. And when it turns out that Matt Owens literally sold his soul to the Devil in return for the premise of “Lieutenant ¡Diablo!,” the humorous meta aspects of the show’s characters and their crime solving methods momentarily return Chloe and Lucifer to familiar territory. His name is Diablo, and hers is Dancer which neatly coincides with the character’s former career as an exotic dancer. “There are strippers out there considering becoming detectives. I’m kind of a role model.” Really. What’s not to love
Suspect number one claims to have written over one hundred crime procedural scripts and after suggesting Owens’ death could have something to do with his drug problem, the new showrunner’s disdain for the entire genre comes to the surface. “Even Diablo could follow that clue path.” Though the investigations on Lucifer generally follow whatever relationship issues Chloe and Lucifer currently battle, here, it’s even more compelling as the detective and the actress commiserate about being manipulated by those around them. The helplessness many of the principals feel regarding their situations strikes at the heart, and when Lucifer matter of factly tells Chloe to simply “tell me what to do” to fix their present dilemma, it’s clear that he’s as oblivious as Diablo to the reality swirling about him.
Feeling betrayed by Lucifer after Michael’s revelation, Chloe’s desperation leads her to confide in the actress portraying Dancer, and while it’s certainly possible that the detective had already determined the actress’ guilt in both murders, there’s still a lot to be learned here. We’ve long known that “dear old Dad” placed Chloe in Lucifer’s path, but what does she realistically think he should have done with that knowledge? Would she have believed him? Even though she’s since been read into the celestial family reality, Lucifer’s return to watch over the demons in Hell left little time for the conversation that Chloe feels Lucifer ignored.
Along with forensic scientist Ella Lopez, Dan remains on the outside regarding the show’s fundamental truth that Lucifer is, in fact, the Devil. Though she’s weathered some significant crises of faith, her belief in God holds true at the moment, and we have to wonder how she will react once she learns Lucifer’s truth. Almost as an aside, however, we learn that Ella’s relationship with Dirty Doug continues, and when viewed in its totality, seems entirely out of character for her. Is she too feeling a bit left out?
After minimal opportunities in the season’s opening two episodes, Dan makes much more of an impact in “¡Diablo!,” and his attempts to connect with Lucifer provide some delightful, yet meaningful moments. While Chloe struggles with her newly acquired knowledge and Maze fights against intense feelings of abandonment, Dan sets out to make not only his own life better but those around him as well. “I can feel your negative vibrations from across the room,” he tells Lucifer, brushing aside the cruel, personal jabs directed his way and then offers a piece of wisdom that Hell’s gatekeeper seems to comprehend. “Losing Charlotte made me realize we have so little control over our lives.” And while Chloe could benefit from this sage advice as well, it does appear to resonate with Lucifer who unexpectedly asks Dan for the matching bracelet he rejected earlier. A small moment that speaks to Lucifer’s growing humanity.
Leaving Amenadiel to “hold the fort while I’m gone” is a nice touch and temporarily leaves Dr. Linda on her own to deal with her own anxieties over their son’s safety. It’s always fun to watch her reason with Lucifer and his own concerns, but here the tables are turned a bit, and while they do counsel each other, the big takeaway is again, how oblivious Lucifer can sometimes be.
The doc also meets with a terribly dispirited Mazikeen in one of the most poignantly funny scenes of the season. Watching ¡Diablo! on television, the women talk out their fears, and it’s fascinating to watch Linda reassure the ordinarily overconfident demon that their relationship is solid. But Maze always seems to be on the outside looking in at others developing serious relationships while she struggles with her fading self-esteem. However, it’s Linda’s self-worth that now appears to be in question, and after last episode’s revelation that she may have given birth in 1994, her declaration that she and Maze can spend eternity in Hell leads to the conclusion that something tragic may have occurred when she was younger.
We’ve seen all the characters battle self-doubt before, but Michael’s assertion that he’s been subtly working his twin brother “since the dawn of time” suddenly becomes a real possibility. Did Michael really plant the seed in his brother’s head that led to the failed rebellion against their Father? Is this sibling feud solely based on the jealousy Michael feels towards his brother?
Action sequences on Lucifer don’t occur with any regularity, and fight scenes that require the same actor to play both roles are difficult to successfully execute for any director. The highlight here is not only the realism of the scene but the fact that they slug it out amidst the scattered, broken pieces of Lucifer’s beloved grand piano. Though the black and white keys continually remind us of Lucifer’s constantly developing dual nature, here they represent the stark differences between the brothers.
Lucifer’s attempt to use Maze’s blade to cut and then kill Michael leads nicely into her exchange with the not-quite-dead evil twin who now bears a nasty scar across his face. Seemingly unsuccessful with Lucifer and Chloe, Michael turns his attention toward Maze and the claim that Lucifer is keeping secrets from her and “I can tell you how to find it out for yourself.” Can Maze be influenced this easily to take up arms against someone with whom she possesses so much history?
Fortunately, the writers made the wise decision to keep Chloe and Lucifer’s physical separation brief, and though the detective’s reaction to Michael’s news appears to be perfectly reasonable considering its enormity, “¡Diablo!” sets the stage for what amounts to a potential civil war within the LAPD family. Now we wait to see whose words carry more weight with Chloe – Lucifer’s or Michael’s. There’s always trouble with angels.