Lucifer: “#TeamLucifer” is a near-perfect set-up for next week’s finale

So, “#TeamLucifer” is probably my favorite episode title (and my favorite episode) so far. It’s a great joke, with several shades of meaning that are explored throughout an episode that is smartly written and nicely executed. There are a couple of hiccups, but these are more than made up for by the overall excellence of the hour and a couple of genuine surprises—including a cliffhanger ending that sets us up for a potentially great finale next week.

“#TeamLucifer” picks up three weeks from the end of the previous episode, when Lucifer figured out that Chloe is somehow the thing that is causing him to become vulnerable to injury and possibly death, and he’s been avoiding her that whole time. Apparently, he’s been acting downright weird (-er than normal for him, even), but Chloe seeks him out anyway when she has to investigate the murder of a young woman who was involved with a Satanic cult. Between Lucifer’s burgeoning distrust of Chloe (and his general paranoia and persecution complex) and his confrontation with his, well, fans, it’s an episode that’s full of comedy and darkness in almost equal measure.

I was concerned last week about the ease with which Lucifer was able to deal with Malcolm, but I was pleased to see Malcolm return as a problem that has yet to be solved. Not only that, but Lucifer’s buying off of Malcolm seems to have only compounded things; it’s Malcolm, incidentally, who coins the phrase “#Team Lucifer.” Having the case of the week be tied so specifically to Lucifer and having Malcolm be the murderer as some kind of misguided attempt to honor the Devil is a bold choice that I found unexpected and well-thought-out. There’s very little new under the sun when it comes to police procedural shows, and Lucifer has tripped over its procedural elements more than once, but this episode finally manages to make the case of the week format really work perfectly with its larger storytelling concerns.

As we’ve been shown over and over again in this series, Lucifer is profoundly lonely. Due to his history, he’s literally without peer—separated from the rest of the angels and set to rule alone over Hell. On Earth, he struggles to fit in both because he’s not human and because he’s in the midst of an existential crisis of truly mythological proportions. The life that he’s built for himself in Los Angeles and the friendships that he’s found are fragile, and this week all the cracks are starting to show. Still, when things truly break at the end of the episode it’s a surprise. After all of Lucifer’s paranoia about Chloe being secretly against him or whatever, I didn’t expect that she really would be, and the gut punch of her loss of faith in her friend is real, and it’s probably the best executed emotional beat on the show to date.

Next week’s finale is poised to start off with Lucifer more alone than he’s ever been, and we’ve been promised a trip to Hell. Hopefully that will include a trip back as well.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  • Could have done without Dr. Martin this week. I do like her, but the character just doesn’t work. She’s too disconnected from the rest of the cast to get much screen time, and her scenes seldom provide any new information or provide any extra insight into the show’s themes.
  • Another fight between Lucifer and Amenadiel. Tom Ellis and D.B. Woodside have a great chemistry together, and they really sell their characters’ conflicts. I never have any trouble believing that they really are dysfunctional siblings, and their physical confrontations feel truly fraught. Sure, there’s not necessarily any real danger for either of them, but their fights are well-choreographed and shot in a way to maximize the emotional impact of each scene.
  • Poor Maze. She is consistently the most interesting character on the show, and she doesn’t get nearly enough attention.
  • “You’re supposed to be blond.” I haven’t read the comics, but I’m still familiar enough with this complaint to have laughed out loud at this line.

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