(Throwback Thursday) Lucifer 2.18 “The Good, the Bad, and the Crispy” Review

September 8, 2017

[Head here for an explanation of Throwback Thursdays]

 

I haven’t reviewed Lucifer at all, which is a tragedy because it’s one of my favorite shows, but in my effort to analyze more of what I'm watching for "fun" I figured I shouldn’t let the finale pass us by.

 

Lucifer is, first and foremost, a show utterly infused with sex and we’re reminded of that right from the start. We begin the first scene with a close up of Chet’s scorched and smoldering skull, before immediately moving over to Charlotte’s strappy heels, a standard pan up the woman’s legs… and then to a shot of her closing the stab wound in her stomach with a stapler. Yeesh. It’s that back and forth between the sensual and the icky, the quick turns between drama and humor that give Lucifer its character, and it’s one of the main reasons why sexualizing moments like this don’t bother me like they would elsewhere. Men and women both use sex as a tool throughout the show, allowing Charlotte, Lucifer, Maze, and at times Chloe and Amenadiel to wield their bodies with agency. Could the show do more to extend that sensuality to someone other than white, thin, able bodied, primarily straight folks? Absolutely. But for the kind of comedy-drama Lucifer is emulating, it does a pretty decent job of respecting the female body and gaze.

 

In fact, let’s talk about the women in this episode. Though they might have started out fairly stock character-ish, the ladies of Lucifer have developed some greatly appreciated layers.

 

 

Though still a minor character, Ella remains a hoot: unfailingly kind, intelligent, and full of surprises. She was quick to beg Chloe to be her travel buddy on a trip to Paris, and when she realized those pics were just the Paris hotel we learn, “Vegas and me? Not pretty.” I’d honestly watch a full spinoff of Ella’s crazy adventures. For the one human not intimately connected to the divine, she might be having the most excitement of them all.

 

Trixie, as always, charms. She gets only a brief moment to play doctor (nice tie-in to Linda being forced to play celestial nursemaid), but her “You don’t have to speak in code. I can handle adult stuff” reminds us that a) she’s a brilliant cutie and b) the “adult stuff” her adults are dealing with is way past the norm. You also can’t do better than her dressing Maze in fake bandages, sharing lollipops, and fist-bumping like a pro. Seeing Maze’s growing love for Trixie—as well as her standard violence in tazing Amenadiel—makes her crying over Linda all the more gut wrenching. But we’ll get to that in just a moment.

 

Charlotte takes center stage this episode, moving from gasping in pain last week to taking charge of the situation. We’ve spent so much time this season having fun with the idea of Lucifer’s mother meddling and learning to be human that we lost sight of the fact that she’s a goddess of unfathomable power. She’s not human, she hasn’t learned to love humans as Lucifer has, and the finale reminds us of this with crushing force. We might overlook accidental killings, but we get an awful sense of foreboding when Charlotte visits and positively towers over Linda, the camera making it very clear who’s dominant in this situation. The later, off screen torture fest was practically a given. Still, I can’t hate Charlotte as much as I thought I might. It seems a fitting end to let her step into a void, far away from others she could hurt (intentionally or not), but capable of becoming something magnificent, creating something magnificent. The show has given itself a great opening here—what might a world created solely by a goddess look like?—and I really hope we get to see them explore that some day. For now, it’s enough that Charlotte is out of the way without killing/locking her in hell. She’s absolutely responsible for her own actions, though I personally can’t ignore all that the show has said about God. When it comes down to it, goddess or not, Charlotte reads primarily as an abuse victim.

 

And then there’s Linda. Poor, wonderful Linda. She was given some great development this season and it felt like an appropriate punch to the gut to see her covered in blood on the floor of her office—with a second punch right behind it when we see the bleeding wound in her stomach (parallel to Charlotte, anyone?). Psychiatrists on television are often characterized as unfailingly cold and logical, so it’s great to not only see her heart and loyalty, but also her more human qualities, like word vomiting about Lucifer when put on the spot. Or holding out for a long time… just not for forever. However, Linda’s kicker comes when she tells Lucifer that she “walked into this with my eyes wide open,” reasserting that she (along with all the other women on this show) gets to make their own choices, good or bad, and no one can take that away from her. The fact that this moment of honesty leads to Lucifer’s biggest breakthrough (his decision to be honest with Chloe) is just icing on the cake.

 

 

Amidst Charlotte’s scheming, Amenadiel’s desperate need to believe in his father, Linda’s torture, and the grand resolution, there’s actually very little time for Lucifer and Chloe in this episode. I think that’s actually okay, because the arc of this season has broadened the conflict beyond just them—which is what a show about gods and angels needs. It was enough to have Lucifer’s simple, yet touching line, “She has Chloe.” We’ve grown so used to his pet name “Detective” that any time her first names comes up it sends off alarm bells and reminds us that, yes, the devil does actually care.

 

There were admittedly some other issues throughout. We always expect a minor plot hole or two (the professionals who use bleach and removed all body hair didn’t bother to erase Chet’s prints? Was Linda’s suspension/supposed firing really fixed by just a few threats from Maze?) and the whole murder plot-line was by far the weakest aspect of the episode, both in terms of hanging together and emotional impact. Then again, are we really watching the show for the cases?

 

A better crafted use of confusion is in the final two scenes. Lucifer calls up Chloe, determined to really tell her the truth now that he’s seen the depth of Linda’s support, but before he can he’s whacked over the head by an unknown assailant. Lucifer then wakes up somewhere in the desert, badly burned from the sun—and sporting his wings once more.

 

So how did he get those back? Was it dear old dad? How long has Lucifer been out there? And how was he knocked out/burned without Chloe nearby? These are all tantalizing questions that will no doubt sidetrack Lucifer’s newfound promise to tell all. After all, is it still the same show if Chloe finally believes that she’s in love with the devil?

 

I for one would actually like to see that show. Given the wonderful humor and plot lines that Linda’s belief has created, I can only imagine what they could do with Chloe. And—if we’re still talking agency—Chloe needs to understand God’s manipulation of her if she and Lucifer have any hope of moving past it. In addition to that we have the themes of truth vs. honesty and the constant focus on appearance for many in our main cast. All Lucifer would have to do to convince Chloe of the truth is to show her his real face, but that directly contradicts the gorgeous, confident role he’s adopted; the walls he’s thrown up. It harkens back to his flinch when Chloe touched the scars from his wings. If the show maintains its path, then the journey of Chloe accepting Lucifer will no doubt be heavily tied up in accepting an ‘unacceptable’ body.

 

Hopefully we’ll start seeing some of that in season 3.

 

Honorable mentions:

  • Linda’s “Trust me, this stuff is amazing” regarding duct tape. She’s not wrong. 

  • The teeny tiny sword becoming an actual sword once it was complete. Thank god. I really couldn’t take that puny dagger seriously. 

  • Gruesome crime scene cleaners being overly peppy woc. I’m here for that. 

  • Charlotte’s refusal to kill her sons and then finding her brooding at the carousel. A little on the nose, but a nice touch nonetheless. 

  • Amenadiel and Lucifer’s brother antics amongst all the drama. Chasing each other to get at a piece of the invaluable, heavenly artifact and playing, ‘You tell mom. No, you tell mom’ before the goddess of all creation. It’s great. Bringing this family down to human understanding remains one of the joys of this show, and one of the things it does best. 

  • The death of Lucifer’s beloved piano. RIP. I’m sure your replacement will be ready and waiting next season! 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

 

 

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