Lucifer: “Wingman” is another strong episode with some smart writing

I’m starting to think Lucifer might really be hitting its stride. “Wingman” proves that last week’s solid showing wasn’t a fluke, and it’s another strong episode with some great character work as we pass the midpoint of the season.

This is the first week that I really, really buy the burgeoning friendship between Lucifer and Chloe. The parallel development of their characters and their growing mutual affection seemed more organic this week than it has up to this point, and the dynamic between Lucifer, Chloe, and Dan was natural and, refreshingly, free of much bullshit male posturing. There’s definitely some jealousy there, but Dan is more concerned with sorting out his and Chloe’s relationship problems—which have nothing to do with Lucifer—and Lucifer has finally stopped being sexually aggressive with Chloe like he was in the first few episodes and is learning how to be a real friend.

For her part, Chloe got a huge dose of character development this week. The Palmetto case—Chloe is certain that it’s a case of a dirty cop—has been mentioned before, and it’s the reason why Chloe has problems with the other detectives at the precinct. In “Wingman,” we finally get to learn more about the situation, and there’s even a sort of resolution to it. I really enjoyed seeing Chloe struggle to balance her desire for truth at all costs with Dan’s argument that truth doesn’t always mean justice. Proving that Malcolm was dirty would deprive his family of the pension that they would normally get for an officer killed in the line of duty, and perhaps cause real hardship for them. Still, I loved the way that this conflict played out. Dan respects and supports Chloe, in spite of their disagreement, and when Chloe has a fresh idea about the case, it’s Dan who she shares her moment with. Their relationship is complex in some very interesting ways. I can see why their marriage is on the rocks, but there are also a lot of reasons to root for them to get back together.

The best thing about “Wingman,” however, is seeing Lucifer and Amenadiel work together. This is the first time these two have spent this much time with each other to date, and it’s excellent. They have a great on screen chemistry, and their dysfunctional familial dynamic is fascinating. This week, the show really digs into the divine aspects of that, setting up some clear consequences for both Lucifer and Amenadiel and taking a look at the wider-reaching effects Lucifer’s dereliction of duty might have. It also offered a much better and more philosophically sophisticated explanation for Lucifer’s decision to leave Hell in the first place. Last week, the show highlighted the “rebellious son” angle, but this week shows us both that Lucifer had something real to rebel against and that it didn’t come without some deep personal cost to himself.

Tom Ellis and D.B. Woodside were both at the top of their game in “Wingman,” and both of their characters got big injections of pathos that give them much more complexity than they had, say, two weeks ago. Amenadiel’s shock and sorrow when Lucifer burns his wings was a powerful moment, as was the anger that came on the heels of that pain. It’s tempting as a viewer to think that Lucifer deserved every punch, but his own lack of fighting back suggests that he thinks so, too, and only adds to the sense of tragedy here. The psychological, theological, and philosophical complexities of the show are slowly building up, and they’re being worked in in some smart and subtle ways, and if the show can keep it up it might turn into something really special and unique.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  • This show’s episode titles have been very hit-or-miss, but this is a good one—an amusing play on words with multiple layers of meaning. Excellent job, person in charge of picking it.
  • Dr. Martin doesn’t appear this week, and I think the episode is actually better for it. Too many of her interactions with Lucifer are uncomfortable, and her lack of ethics makes her ability to be an effective therapist questionable.
  • It seems pretty heavily telegraphed that the downed officer’s partner is the guy who shot him, which is a bummer. I’d like a little more mystery, to be honest. We’ll see, though.
  • Who else suspects that Lucifer might have only burned the fake wings?
  • I feel like the show isn’t really quite sure what to do with Mazikeen. She’s an interesting character, but she doesn’t interact much with anyone besides Lucifer, and I hate that she seems to be so motivated right now by jealousy of Chloe.
  • Finally, if I have one major ongoing general criticism of the show, it’s that none of Lucifer’s female characters talk to other women at all. There’s been so much other stuff to criticize that I’ve never gotten around to it before now, but it would be great if Chloe had a girlfriend or two that she could talk with about things. It might be tough to work in friends for Maze or Dr. Martin, but Chloe could definitely do with a girls’ night out every once in a while.

2 thoughts on “Lucifer: “Wingman” is another strong episode with some smart writing”

  1. Excellent review. As to your last point . I wonder how Chloe can talk to a women friend He Boss? I can not see her talking about Dan or Lucifer . She has no one to confide in. Lucifer has Maze.

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    1. Her boss was who I was thinking, but I don’t know how they would work that in. The show is pretty packed already, to be honest. I would kind of like it if Chloe and Maze got friendly, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

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