Tag Archives: Lucifer

Lucifer: The best part of “Lady Parts” is said lady parts

lady-partsAfter a couple of weeks off writing due to some extremely inconvenient life stuff, I’m back now and catching up with Lucifer. As is often the case with this show, “Lady Parts” is a bit of a mixed bag. Following a good season opener that successfully rebooted the series and a couple of solid episodes that further established a new normal, this one could be generously described as set-up for things down the road but perhaps more accurately described as filler, with every character and plot spinning their wheels until the last few minutes of the hour.

The episode starts positively enough, with an interesting body discovery (though we never seen these guys again) and Lucifer back in therapy with Doctor Linda. I’ve been happy to see the show back off a little on his therapy sessions in general, but this is a good one. Lucifer’s philosophy of distraction and Linda’s deep sigh at the end of the scene are perfectly delivered. Unfortunately, this is one of the episode’s few highlights. Nothing else in the next forty-five minutes works quite so well as this exchange, mostly because Lucifer’s obsession with distraction quickly becomes farcical as he spends all his time this week pushing his new philosophy of deflection and conflict avoidance on his friends and family.

Chloe is not doing well following Dan’s request for a divorce last week, and she’s rather predictably throwing herself into her work and bottling up her feelings. The thing is, this isn’t all that interesting or dramatic. Chloe has always been a Serious Person, with a straight up hall monitor kind of personality, so her current funk doesn’t actually change her behavior. Poor Lauren German has been subjected to some of the worst writing of any actor on this show, and I feel like she does what she can with what she’s given, but Chloe’s best moments are always when she lets loose a little and that never quite happens here. A girls’ night out with Maze, Ella, and Linda has a ton of potential, but it’s ultimately a missed opportunity. It’s not without a couple of funny moments, but we don’t learn anything new about Chloe, she never really opens up, and in the end she’s unable to set her work aside and have fun.

It also doesn’t help that the whole girls’ night out thing is basically a set-up by Lucifer, who has wagered with Maze that she won’t get Chloe to relax. There’s an attempt to tie this to the case of the week, but it’s a tenuous connection at best and Chloe’s outrage at the betrayal of female friendship doesn’t ring quite true in the same episode in which she bemoaned her own lifelong lack of female friendship. That said, I am pleased by the development, late as it is, of a real friendship between Chloe and Maze, and I’m looking forward to seeing that odd couple sharing a living space. And for all that Chloe complains that she hasn’t had female friends, she does seem to genuinely like other women, which is nice. It’s refreshing to see a character whose lack of female friends is pretty explicitly about lack of time and opportunity rather than due to internalized misogyny or some kind of “not like other girls” syndrome. I just wish this Chloe-needs-friends plot was given more time to breath, and I hope (though I don’t expect) that it gets some consistent development going forward.

The biggest thing that isn’t working right now, however, is Lucifer’s mom. Last week, she was sentenced by Lucifer to a life as a human, she’s taken over the life of the woman, Charlotte, whose body she is inhabiting. This week, Maze drops by to visit, and as much as I love Tricia Helfer—and she’s game—there’s basically nothing about this that isn’t terrible, and I don’t know how the show can make it okay.

First, this is another woman’s life. Charlotte was, so far as we know, not the world’s best person, but still. That’s her house, her kids, her husband. For one thing, wouldn’t someone notice the change? For another, even if no one notices and the switch is pulled off with no one getting suspicious, it’s still deeply unethical. It’s particularly cruel to the aforementioned husband—who apparently is now being sexually manipulated—and children. That the show plays this essentially for laughs is kind of gross. It’s not funny, and I genuinely don’t see any way for this to be turned around into something positive.

Still, secrets on Lucifer have a way of coming out. With any luck, this one won’t last long. I only hope that when it breaks, the show takes the time to deal with the consequences in a reasonable fashion. I said to start with that this episode feels like it was mostly set-up. Here’s hoping that they’re setting up something good.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • I’m frankly surprised that the “Dammit, Leroy” guy isn’t an internet celebrity after that performance.
  • Ella used to steal cars, which is moderately intriguing.
  • And Linda worked her way through college as a phone sex operator. I never liked Linda’s sexual relationship with Lucifer, and it had seemed as if the show was distancing itself from that characterization of her as a sort of sexpot, but I guess they aren’t really.
  • “Cosmos are yummy.” I mean, I disagree, but D.B. Woodside’s delivery of this line was amazing.
  • Maze and Chloe are going to be roommates!

Lucifer: Everything really is coming up Lucifer in the season two opener

ep01Spoilers ahoy.

So, it looks like Lucifer has made the somewhat dubious decision to practically reboot the series in its sophomore season. Sure, a lot of things are still the same, but after a full season of working through all that Palmetto nonsense and building up to the revelation of what Chloe actually witnessed, I rather expected that the effects of all those events would be more deeply felt going into this season. Instead, that whole story seems to be being dropped in favor of exploring some of the show’s more promising elements.

Instead of picking up with dealing with the ramifications of the season one finale, “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer” opens with Lucifer and Amenadiel well into their search for their mother and then segues straight into a completely ordinary case of the week. Even Dan’s suspension is quickly explained away as the department wanting to sweep things under the rug and move on—as clear a case of lampshading as I’ve seen in a good while. The funny thing is, I think it works. The Palmetto storyline was always as dull as it was fraught, and it was a millstone around the show’s neck all last season when there were obviously more interesting things they could have been exploring. As moderately irritating as it is when a show does something as nonsensical as just absurdly wrapping up a major storyline without actually dealing with it, this season premiere more than makes up for that in pretty much every other area by focusing on what made the first season good and showing a real (and smart) responsiveness to fan criticism.

Starting the season off with Lucifer and Amenadiel together was a wise choice, and Tom Ellis and D.B. Woodside continue to have a comfortable, believable chemistry that really helps to sell their dysfunctional family dynamic. While they’re working together in the first minutes of the episode, it soon becomes clear that their relationship is still troubled. Lucifer continues to harbor resentment towards his brother for taking sides in the fight between their parents, and Amenadiel is (probably sensibly) concerned about Lucifer’s attempts to reveal his divinity to Chloe. I always feel as if the relationship between Lucifer and Chloe is meant to be the central one of the show, but Lucifer’s relationship with his brother continues to be far more compelling, and I was happy to see it given a correspondingly larger share of screen time this week.

Chloe doesn’t have a whole lot to do this week, but that may be for the best to avoid overstuffing the episode. I’m having a hard time caring much about Chloe’s relationship with the newly-demoted Dan, and it seems Chloe is as well. She spends the episode keeping her distance from her estranged husband as she works the case of the week. More importantly, she’s also grappling with trying to figure out what to think about Lucifer. She has a sample of his blood from when he was shot, and she starts the episode threatening to have it tested so she can find out what he is. When Amenadiel offers a more ordinary explanation for Lucifer’s seemingly supernatural capabilities, Chloe doesn’t buy it, but the end of the hour sees her nonetheless throwing away the blood sample untested. Chloe’s skepticism and how she understands Lucifer was never properly explored last season, and I would love to see some real movement on that front soon, but I’m not sure if this uncharacteristic decision of Chloe’s to ignore the evidence that is available to her bodes well for that hope.

Lucifer is still in therapy, but his sessions with Dr. Linda have changed in tone. This episode finds Linda wondering if their sessions are doing any good at all, as Lucifer seems incapable of taking any responsibility for, well, anything. It’s not certain yet if Linda will ultimately carry through on her threat to break up with Lucifer, but it’s obvious that Lucifer needs to commit himself to the therapy process with a bit more seriousness if he wants to continue. In the meantime, we find out that Linda has been harboring the confused Maze for the last few days, and their friendship seems to be flourishing, though we don’t get to actually see much of it this week. This general redefinition of Linda’s role in the show can only be a positive development at this point. Her sexual relationship with Lucifer last season was too unethical and one-note to work, and it was never quite clear exactly what her place was in the broader narrative. Establishing her as a friend to Maze—who certainly could use one—and creating a more normative patient/therapist relationship with Lucifer fixes some of last season’s issues and builds a much better foundation for the character going forward. It also, along with the arrival of a new character and potential friend for Chloe, Ella, addresses one of my own biggest issues with the first season of the show—its lack of female friendships.

All in all, “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer” is a solid season opener that shows a real commitment on the part of the show’s writers to improving the show based on common criticisms of it and by focusing on the things that were praised in season one. It’s a fresh start and shows a new confidence in the show’s success that I don’t think existed in the first season, which was inconsistently written and seemed uncertain what it wanted to be. Where this episode falters in delivering on what ought to have been the natural consequences of the season one finale, it excels at offering a new vision of a stronger show that refuses to be weighed down by past missteps.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • I missed Trixie this week.
  • Best line of the episode: “My name is Lucifer Morningstar, and I LOVE DRUGS.”
  • Maze’s character development might be the most interesting thing happening on the show. I hope there is some substantial time dedicated to exploring it this season.
  • Uh oh. Amenadiel is also having some issues with his angelic powers.
  • I never get enough of Tom Ellis playing the piano and singing, but this rendition of “All Along the Watchtower” was a little overproduced.
  • That said, OF COURSE it’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
  • Ending the episode with the arrival of Lucifer’s mom (Tricia Helfer) was expected, but also perfectly executed.

The SF Bluestocking 2016 Fall Watchlist

After a summer of not watching much at all–though I did finally check out Stranger Things–I feel like September has really just crept up on me. I realized yesterday that I’d been unaware of the premiere date for Son of Zorn, one of the few new shows that I’m even moderately interested in this year, and that’s when I sat down to work out what I’m going to be watching this fall. Sadly, some of my favorite shows (notably The Expanse and iZombie) won’t be back until 2017, and the same goes for the new shows (American GodsPowerlessStar Trek: Discovery) that I’m most excited to see. So, this fall definitely is a season of slim pickings. Still there are a few things I’ll be following.

Son of Zorn
September 11 on Fox

I don’t have super high hopes for this show (in fact, I’m somewhat confused about how this one got greenlit in the first place), but it’s got several people involved in it who I really like. The pilot was watchable and moderately amusing, but it was dedicated almost entirely to basic character introductions and setting up its frankly silly premise. Tim Meadows pulls his weight, but Artemis Pebdani is the real highlight of the pilot as Zorn’s new boss, Linda. The rest of the cast is fine, and I really love Jason Sudeikis, but I’m just not sure this show is going to work. I’m here for it, though, at least for a few more episodes. I expect this one to either sink or swim quickly.

Lucifer Season 2
September 19 on Fox

Lucifer is one of my favorite problematic faves, and I’m very much looking forward to its second season. Adding Tricia Helfer to the cast can’t hurt, and D.B. Woodside and Lesley-Ann Brandt killed it last season. My biggest hope for it is that it gets some better, or at least more consistent writing instead of simply relying on Tom Ellis’s considerable (possibly infinite) charisma to save the show from mediocrity. Also, more Trixie, please.

The Good Place
September 19 on NBC

I like Kristen Bell, and the show claims to be from the same creator as Brooklyn 99 and Parks and Recreation, two of my favorite comedies in recent years. However, the trailer for this one isn’t great, and it seems like it could be taking its concept to a place that is a little more cartoonish than I normally find funny. Still, I’ll check it out for an episode or two at least.

The Exorcist
September 23 on Fox

I’m not that into horror, as a general rule, because I don’t like things that are actually scary, but I’ll watch this for Geena Davis.

September 23 on CBS

MacGyver is the most profoundly stupid-looking and completely inexplicable reboot of the year, and there is no universe in which I don’t check out at least a couple of episodes of this train wreck.

Luke Cage
September 30 on Netflix

Full disclosure: I still haven’t watched the last couple episodes of the first season of Daredevil, but I absolutely loved Jessica Jones, so I’m not sure when I’ll get around to watching Luke Cage. I’m not sure that I’ll like it, since I’m not really that into super heroes, and I was turned off of this show a little by an early trailer (the SDCC one maybe?) in which not a single female character was even visible. However, it’s on my list.

Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2
October 2 on Starz

The greatest virtue of season one of Ash vs. Evil Dead may have been that it was only a half hour show, so it never overstayed its welcome. It certainly made some missteps, most notably in the treatment of its female characters, but it was nevertheless a fun watch, enough that I’ll be tuning in for a second season, anyway. I’m sure it’ll be worth watching just for the artfully spraying gore, if that’s a thing you like watching (and I do).

October 2 on HBO

So, Westworld, is apparently a television adaptation of a 1973 film by the same title that I’ve never seen, but that some people are outraged is being rebooted because that’s how these things go. It’s HBO, so I expect it to have high production values and good writing, but I also expect it to have problematic elements and a similar tone deafness to certain issues that characterizes other HBO shows. That said, it looks good, and I’m always happy to see more serious sci-fi being made even if I do wish we could get more original content–or at least shows based on material written in this century.

October 3 on ABC

I’m not sure the world needs another hard-living anti-hero lawyer show, but if it really must be done I guess casting Haley Atwell is a good direction to go.

Supergirl Season 2
October 10 on CW

I really liked the first season of Supergirl, but it’s a show that was bogged down time and again by poor writing. Sadly, I don’t expect this to improve with its move from CBS to the CW and the correspondingly smaller budget that comes with that. Calista Flockhart has already been downgraded to guest star, which is disappointing as Cat Grant’s relationship with Supergirl/Kara was for me one of the best parts of the show. We’ll see, though. Maybe the smaller budgets will bring a new back-to-basics mentality to the writers’ room, and we’ll see some more coherent storytelling. Melissa Benoist is an amazing Supergirl, and it would be nice to see her get the type of writing she deserves.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again
October 20 on Fox

I am unabashedly excited for this.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2
October 21 on CW

I almost never watched this show because I hated the title so much. I still hate the title, but the show itself is amazing, and I cannot wait for season two.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
November 25 on Netflix

I mean, obviously.

All the SDCC Trailers I Care About, Part Three: Television

Most years, SDCC adds a ton of new shows to my watchlist, but this year was mostly recaps of some shows I already watch (like iZombie), recaps and trailers for shows that I don’t watch (The Walking DeadGothamAgents of Shield, etc.), and just a handful of trailers for actual new shows that look good. As with the super hero stuff and movies, these trailers also have a woeful lack of women, with not a single new woman-led show being promoted, which likely accounts for my general apathy towards most of this year’s offerings. Still, there are a couple of shows coming up that I’m looking forward to, even if none of them are quite what I really want to see.

American Gods

American Gods looks amazing, you guys. Ricky Whittle is perfectly cast as Shadow, and the rest of the supporting cast is also excellent. I’m a little disappointed/concerned that there’s been no casting news for Sam Black Crow, who figures much larger in the narrative than Bilquis or Easter or the Djinn–all of whom have already been cast–but I’m hoping they’re just saving her as a surprise for when the show finally airs next year.

Star Trek: Discovery

It’s not much, but I’m glad we got something Trek-related. I’m super stoked about this show, and I can’t wait to see the new crew and have some idea of the plot. I’ve always love DS9 best of the shows, though, so I’m slightly skeptical of this being another ship series. Those always struggled with getting preachy and feeling very after-school-special-y or just with being too episodic without a strong overarching story. That said, it’s not 1995, and I have a lot of hope that this new show is going to reflect the best of some of the newer trends in TV storytelling.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is among the Douglas Adams books that I haven’t ever gotten around to reading, though I am vaguely familiar with the concept of it, so this show wasn’t even on my radar before SDCC, to be honest. In a largely lackluster year for new shows, this one stands out as a quirky adaptation of a work by one of the great humorists of the genre, and it looks hugely entertaining if you enjoy madcap adventures (which I do).

The Exorcist

On the one hand, I’m not sure why anyone thought The Exorcist needed to be revisited. On the other hand, Geena Davis.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I am unabashedly excited for this, just like I have been about most of the recent spate of TV productions of musicals. Laverne Cox looks amazing, and Tim Curry is the Criminologist. The inclusion of the audience participation stuff seems iffy, but I like that they’re taking some chances on incorporating some different things into the production so I’ll reserve judgement on it. I’m not expecting great things from this Rocky Horror, but I think it’s going to be fun to watch once.

Lucifer Season Two

There’s not a ton of new footage here, but it’s enough to keep me interested. Season one of Lucifer was inconsistent, to say the least, but I ended up really enjoying the show overall. Tom Ellis often carries the show with just his considerable charisma and excellent good looks, but it’s enough to keep me coming back.

Sherlock Series Four

I generally prefer Elementary to Sherlock, but I’ll watch three or four more episodes of this.

The Expanse Season Two

There are no words for how thrilled I am by The Expanse. It’s the best sci-fi show since Battlestar Galactica in my opinion, and I have every reason to expect season two is going to continue the excellence that characterized the first season of the show. Now I just need them to give us a firm air date for the series so I know how long I have left to get around to reading the second book, Caliban’s War.

(Part One HERE)

(Part Two HERE)

Lucifer: “Take Me Back to Hell” Brings the Season Home

“Take Me Back to Hell” is strong finish to Lucifer’s first season, smartly written and well-acted, with a satisfying conclusion, just enough left unresolved to make us want more, and a last-minute introduction of next season’s probable major plot. It’s not great television, but it’s solidly good and highly enjoyable fluff of exactly the sort the previous twelve episodes prepared us for. In short, it’s exactly what it ought to be, a fitting end to this season and an excellent teaser for the show’s second season.

The episode opens where last week’s hour ended, with Lucifer surrounded by cops and under suspicion of murder. Not for long, though. Before Lucifer is arrested, and just in the nick of time to keep him from getting shot, Amenadiel swoops in—literally—to rescue his brother. It turns out that Amenadiel has had an attack of conscience over the whole Malcolm situation, and he wants Lucifer to help him put things right. Meanwhile, Chloe goes to Maze for help in finding Lucifer, so the first half of the episode is split between these two pairs before the second half of the episode draws everything together.

While the setup isn’t particularly intricate, there’s a good deal of story crammed in here, interspersed with smartly written and performed character work. Lucifer and Amenadiel are always wonderful together—Tom Ellis and D.B. Woodside have a great chemistry, are remarkably believable as brothers, and become great fun to watch when they’re friends—but Chloe and Maze are surprisingly good together as well. It’s nice to see the two most important women in Lucifer’s life getting to spend some quality time together, and Lauren German and Lesley-Ann Brandt work well together. Dan (Kevin Alejandro) fades a little into the background, though he does get a big moment as he tries to redeem himself, and Dr. Martin (Rachael Harris) is as sadly superfluous and ill-utilized as usual, but in general all the show’s parts are in perfect concert.

Malcolm (Kevin Rankin) is still delightfully villainous, but the episode almost goes overboard with including his implied sexual abuse of his wife, especially since late in the episode he holds Trixie hostage. The scene in which Chloe and Maze speak with Mrs. Graham is handled relatively sensitively, however. Mrs. Graham’s trauma is treated seriously, and while the word “rape” isn’t actually used, it’s obvious that the audience is meant to understand it as such, but the scene passes quickly and the topic is never revisited so it just doesn’t seem very important. Sure, it’s consistent with what we know about how Malcolm was changed by his time in Hell, and it serves in a way to further establish the mythology of the show (Maze has seen this affliction before), but I’m just not sure that it was warranted. Murder and kidnapping are plenty of evil for us to root for Malcolm’s demise without adding rape into the mix as well, but it could have been handled far worse than it was.

Though the episode starts with shaking things up and separating characters, in the end it’s about solidifying the bonds between all of them. Lucifer and Amenadiel discover a new closeness and come to perhaps a better understanding of their father’s plans—or at least a better understanding of the fact that they don’t understand His plans. Chloe and Dan are more complicated than ever, but the secrets Dan was keeping are all out in the open now. Maze is missing in action after healing Amenadiel, so I expect her fate to figure largely in the first part of season two. The central relationship of the show, of course, between Chloe and Lucifer, has matured into something quite deep, though, and it’s their reconciliation that carries most of the emotional heft this week. It’s not that I expect their friendship to be untroubled from now on, and I do expect for the will-they-won’t-they aspect to be heightened in season two, but a relationship that seemed shallow and laughable early in this season has become something that feels real, with emotional payoff that feels natural and earned.

The biggest question to be answered in season two, though, is who is Mum? I can’t wait.

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.

Lucifer: “St. Lucifer” is a mess of rape culture and mediocre-to-poor writing

I can’t help but feel as if Lucifer shot its wad a little early this week. Last night’s episode was an overall okay hour of television, but “St. Lucifer” somehow managed to feel both as if it rushed through story and as if nothing much significant happened. With just two episodes left in the first season, this one ends on a curiously ambiguous and frustratingly dull note. First, though, let’s talk a bit about how this episode is actually a pretty vile piece of rape culture.

The hour opens with Chloe waking up naked and hungover in Lucifer’s bed, which I guess seems like an obvious follow-up to the events at the end of the previous episode, but it’s a situation played for laughs that I just don’t find at all funny. The more I’ve thought about the ending of “Pops,” the more I hate that we’re supposed to think at all highly of Lucifer’s “self-sacrifice” in refusing Chloe’s drunken advances. This opening scene only highlights how awful it would have been for Lucifer to have had sex with her in that condition, as Chloe was apparently so drunk that she barely even remembers what happened and needs his help with making sense out of what little she does remember. That this is framed as her having a fear of doing something she would regret rather than concern that she may have been taken advantage of is actually disgusting. Because, make no mistake about it, a sober person having sex with someone who is blackout, passing-out drunk—especially if the sober party knows that the drunk one would not ordinarily be down to bang—is rape.

It may have been easier to overlook this gross, victim-blaming, rape-enabling messaging if it didn’t form most of the basis for the thematic arc of the episode. Basically, Lucifer feels so good having done something nice that he wants to repeat the experience. It just doesn’t work the way it seems to be intended to. Or, rather, it doesn’t work if you recognize taking advantage of a drunk and incapacitated person as rape, since in that case Lucifer’s managing to, you know, not rape his friend isn’t a particularly good or heroic act as the show’s writers seem to want us to believe. Unfortunately for the foundational premise of this episode, not raping someone is not a good deed that one should feel self-congratulatory about—especially not to the degree that Lucifer is self-congratulatory. It’s just basic human decency. Not raping is literally the least you can do when your drunk and distraught friend shows up unexpectedly looking for comfort, and, frankly, not being quite human is really no excuse.

This is made even worse by the fact that, while Lucifer has been shown to enjoy a great deal of sex, often in party situations where drugs and alcohol are being consumed, there’s been no actual evidence put forward on the show that he’s a rapist. In fact, he seems to be generally considerate and nonjudgmental of his sex partners, and the show has always presented all the sex Lucifer is having as situations where a good time is had by all. To suggest that Lucifer taking advantage of a very drunk Chloe is on the same ethical level as a bunch of people having fun sexy times with substances shows a creepily bizarre lack of judgment and good taste on the part of the show’s writers. It feeds into rape culture myths that muddy the definition of rape and shame women into silence, and this undermines all of Lucifer’s supposed character growth this week.

The case of the week involves the murder of a wealthy philanthropist, and Lucifer identifies strongly with the dead man, who was someone who had reformed his life after a misspent youth. Lucifer sees himself on a similar journey, but instead of wanting to change for truly other-focused reasons, Lucifer is more concerned with rehabilitating his image and is only doing good if and because it gives him a bit of an emotional high. Through the investigation of the murder, Lucifer ought to learn that goodness comes from a sincere desire to be decent and helpful to others, but that lesson seems lost on the Devil, and it’s honestly not clear what Lucifer has learned from this experience by the end of the episode. This is half due to the writers’ seeming confusion over what rape and basic human decency are, but it’s compounded by the fact that any Lucifer character growth this week is totally upstaged by the episode’s other significant events and revelations.

First, Maze—still on the outs with Lucifer—seeks out Amenadiel, ostensibly looking to ruin his night since she blames him for her current woes. Their dinner at a fancy restaurant ends up being the standout scene of the episode, and their later getting it on in the back seat of a car is probably the most unexpected and pleasantly surprising event of the night. I said weeks ago that I shipped this pair, but I didn’t really think it would happen. Sure, Maze later tells Lucifer that she’s using Amenadiel (her revelation that she had sex with his brother should definitely have elicited a more comical spit take from Lucifer than it did), but there’s real chemistry here, and the angel and the demon steaming up the car was nicely done, sexy but understated and just the right amount of wryly funny.

The other big event of the week is that Malcolm makes his move to kill Lucifer. However, this whole plot seems to have simply fizzled. After all the buildup of making it a bit of a mystery at first why Amenadiel brought Malcolm back in the first place and then having Malcolm abduct Dan and plan to frame the other man for Lucifer’s murder, the whole thing was resolved very quickly and with remarkably little fuss. Malcolm comes at Lucifer with a gun, Lucifer sets Malcolm straight about Amenadiel’s false promises, and Malcolm is sent on his way with a get out of Hell free coin. Sure, it seems like this coin might be more important to Lucifer than he lets on, and I’m certain this is somehow going to come back and haunt him at some point, but it’s definitely a little anticlimactic after so much time in the last couple of episodes was dedicated to this stuff.

Even Dan manages to escape on his own, and arrives just in time to see Lucifer recovering from being shot by someone else entirely. Instead of focusing on Dan’s having just seen Lucifer return from the dead, or even taking a moment to pause and talk about why Dan looks so awful, Lucifer rushes off to catch the murderer, and his miraculous survival goes pretty much uncommented on, even though it ought to be pretty incontrovertible evidence that something weird is going on. This might be addressed next week, but Chloe doesn’t even bring it up in the last scene of the episode when Lucifer shows up at her house to test his new theory of what causes him to be physically vulnerable (it’s Chloe, obviously). On the one hand, it’s good to have this information confirmed (although it shouldn’t be a big surprise to viewers). On the other hand, Chloe didn’t mention Dan’s return or Lucifer’s bullet hole-riddled suit, which makes her seem a little stupid. At the very least, her wanting to talk about feelings makes it seem as if she’s inexplicably completely ignored some very important things that maybe she ought to be bringing up instead.

That said, it really could be the case that all this stuff is going to be dealt with next week, or even the week after, but it feels jumbled, and the confused ordering of events, revelations, and emotional moments only serves to weaken the overall impact of the episode. It could have been worse, and this show has certainly been worse in the past, but “St. Lucifer” was not good.

Lucifer: “Pops” is all about Lucifer’s daddy issues, but it has other virtues

In “Pops,” Lucifer and Chloe investigate the murder of a well-known chef, and when the prime suspect turns out to be the man’s estranged son, it brings all of Lucifer’s festering issues with his own father even more to the surface than they usually are. I’ve been saying for weeks now that Lucifer is at its best when it deals more with its broader mythological ideas, and “Pops” is not an episode of Lucifer at its best. However, it’s surprisingly good nonetheless and proves that the show is capable of tackling family drama as well.

The murder mystery this week is slightly better than usual, and it actually has a couple of interesting twists and some nicely done misdirection before circling back around to its conclusion. As always, the case of the week is primarily a device with which to explore Lucifer’s copious existential crises, but this one works well as a self-contained plot in its own right and doesn’t distract too much from the family drama that is actually the main event in this episode as Chloe’s mother, Penelope Decker (guest Rebecca De Mornay), turns up for a surprise visit. When Penelope invites Lucifer to a family dinner, and Chloe invites Dan, and Lucifer invites their murder suspect, things go about as well as you might think. My favorite things about this episode, however, were all subplots, minor happenings, and set-up for the next couple of weeks and the season finale.

Hands down the best thing that happened this week was Maze finally getting some much-needed character development. Up to this point, we’ve almost exclusively seen her in scenes either with Lucifer or about Lucifer, and there’s been very little sense of who Mazikeen is as a person on her own. Now that she’s very much out of Lucifer’s good graces—and still very much stuck on Earth as long as he is—Maze finds herself at loose ends. She’s already said that she likes Lucifer’s therapist, Dr. Martin, and this week finds Maze seeking out the good doctor for some therapy of her own. When Dr. Martin suggests that perhaps Maze needs to try making some friends, Maze storms out in frustration, but she manages to make a friend after all: Chloe’s daughter, Trixie, who is goddamn adorable. Fresh from this success, a somewhat softened Maze returns to Dr. Martin and asks the other woman out for a drink, so maybe Maze has made an adult friend now as well. I’ve been overall very unhappy with the treatment of Maze on the show, so I can’t even say how excited I was to see her getting to just exist and have a little bit of story that is only about herself rather than revolving around Lucifer and his drama.

Before the episode ends, we also get an update on what’s going on with Dan and Malcolm. I don’t quite get why Dan would be so concerned with finding some reason to advocate for Lucifer’s life—I really just didn’t buy that whole situation at all—but I was interested to see the Malcolm and Dan stuff escalating so quickly. It’s safe to say, I’m sure, that Dan is still in the land of the living going into next week’s episode, but Malcolm has managed to, perhaps permanently, damage Dan’s relationship with Chloe and has driven her right into Lucifer’s arms. I don’t love the way that Lucifer’s unwillingness to take advantage of Chloe’s inebriated state is framed as character growth—because it suggests that maybe at some point he would have raped a drunk and vulnerable woman—but there’s still a good deal of sweetness in the way Chloe snuggles up next to her friend and passes out.

Overall, “Pops” is another solid hour of a show that I’ve really grown to love. It’s not perfect, but it continues to improve in multiple areas as it marches on towards the season finale.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • I have no idea at this point if we’re supposed to like and root for Dan or if we’re supposed to be hoping that he dies tragically in the season finale.
  • I would watch a whole show based around Mazikeen’s friendships with Trixie and Dr. Martin.
  • No Amenadiel this week, and I find that I didn’t miss him. Or, I did, but I think trying to squeeze him into this episode would have pushed it over the edge from jam-packed with story to straight-up overstuffed.
  • Lucifer’s narcissism was especially over the top as he tried to get someone, anyone, to admit to having daddy issues as big as his own.
  • Chloe’s relationship with Penelope was well-done considering how little screen time was actually dedicated to it. I thought their reconciliation over wine near the end was a little too neat, but not terribly so.
  • I wonder how much Uber is paying for all their product placement in shows these days?

Lucifer: “A Priest Walks into a Bar” is this show’s best episode yet

I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this show in the very shaky first half of the season, because it’s really gotten good in the last few weeks. “A Priest Walks into a Bar” is Lucifer’s best episode yet. Lucifer is always at its best when it doesn’t focus too much on its cop show elements, and in this week most of that is pushed well into the background in favor of working on Lucifer’s character growth.

Spoilers ahoy!

Much of this is due to guest star Colman Domingo as Father Frank Lawrence, a Catholic priest with a complicated past. When Father Frank seeks out Lucifer for help with extracting a teenage boy from a drug ring, Lucifer is hostile, mocking the priesthood and what Lucifer perceives as either hypocrisy or stupidity. Just when Lucifer reaches the height of his pathological obnoxiousness, though, there’s a breakthrough of sorts when Lucifer realizes that Father Frank isn’t what Lucifer thought he was. The growth of their friendship over the course of the episode is excellently written and nicely acted, and it feels organic and earned without being cloying.

There are a great number of wonderful moments with Father Frank and Lucifer, including a charming piano duet, but the real importance of this relationship is the opportunity for exploring some of the theological underpinnings of the show’s premise. Fortunately, the writers did not disappoint. While some of the parallels drawn between Father Frank’s relationship with his teenage charge and Lucifer’s relationship with his father are a bit of a stretch, it’s good for Lucifer to see unconditional love and faith at work, and Father Frank’s life and tragic death have certainly given Lucifer something to think about as we move into the final few episodes of the season.

Lucifer’s arrested development might be a central aspect of his characterization, and I think it’s unlikely that this is a major turning point for him, but it’s good to see him open up a little and, between Lucifer’s short conversation with Dr. Martin at the start of the episode and his experience befriending Father Frank, it seems like there is some real progress made this week. The narrative reward for this, of course, is a deepening of Lucifer’s friendship with Chloe, and the episode ends with the pair having a sweet moment of connection when Chloe shows up to comfort her friend after Father Frank’s death. It’s a little frustrating to see Chloe’s attention being set up so clearly as a sort of “reward” for Lucifer’s good behavior, but if a central story being told on the show is about Lucifer’s journey to earning Chloe’s trust and love (whether platonic or romantic), I suppose this is a necessary step.

After a couple of weeks very focused on Chloe’s concerns, this episode leaves her largely in the background, both literally and figuratively. In many scenes, she exists as an observer of Lucifer, around whose growth this episode revolves, but to the show’s credit this serves more to put the viewer in Chloe’s point of view than to cut her from the action. It’s an interesting tactic that straddles a weird line between marginalizing the show’s most significant female character by removing her from being a direct agent in the story action and making her the character with whom we the audience are most intended to identify by putting her in a position of objective witness to something mythological.

That said, the evolving remains of the Palmetto storyline take a decided back seat this week, and even Chloe’s thawing feelings towards Dan are pushed off to be dealt with in the future. The biggest news on this front, to be honest, is the further confirmation from a conversation between Dan and Malcolm that Dan is indeed a dirty cop who only shot Malcolm to protect Chloe—an excuse that likely isn’t going to make Chloe more inclined to forgiveness when this all inevitably comes out sometime in the next two or three weeks. We also learn what Amenadiel is up to with resurrecting Malcolm, but the ideas introduced there are still waiting to be further developed, again in the next two or three weeks.

With just four episodes left in the season, things seem to be on track for some major developments in time for a dramatic finale. The show has managed in the last few episodes to achieve a solid foundation on which to build the rest of its story, but I still haven’t forgotten that less than a month ago I was ready to quit it altogether. Here’s hoping that Lucifer can stick its landing. If it does, I think it will definitely have earned a second season.

Lucifer: After two steps forward, “Et Tu Doctor?” is a decided step back

After two very good, though decidedly not great, episodes, this week Lucifer falls back into the tired cop show trap it’s struggled in all season. Of the show’s more procedural type episodes, “Et Tu, Doctor?” is among the better ones, and there were a couple of developments that I really liked, but the reality is that Lucifer has a tendency to be dragged down by its procedural elements rather than elevating them. What made the last couple of episodes better than the first half of the season was their heavier focus on the mythology that ought to make Lucifer fresh and interesting, but this episode is mostly back to a humdrum case of the week that even guest star Al Madrigal can’t rescue.

When a therapist known for advising couples to cheat on each other (Is this a real thing?) turns up dead, Lucifer manages to get his own therapist in on the case because he’s convinced that Chloe’s consistent rejection of him and his jealousy over her relationship with Dan is a sign of a problem with Chloe. This whole bit—that Lucifer is so used to getting what he wants that he just can’t wrap his head around the idea that someone doesn’t want to bang him—is one of my least favorite things about this show, to be honest. Lucifer’s fixation on Chloe isn’t cute or endearing; it’s unhealthy and his level of selfish entitlement is slightly frightening. Occasionally the show manages to make this whole mess work, and the last couple of weeks saw some of Lucifer’s worst behaviors subsiding. However, this episode brings all of it back with a vengeance, and there’s not much more infuriating to see than Chloe’s patient indulgence of Lucifer’s nonsense.

However, I complained just last week that none of the women on the show ever get to talk to each other, and this week was actually mostly them talking to each other. Well, not mostly, but Lucifer himself did take a bit of a back seat in this episode. Chloe and Dr. Martin actually have a somewhat fun dynamic as they work the case of the murdered therapist together, and I think this episode finally manages to pass the Bechdel test. Dr. Martin also gets to meet Maze, though that interaction is less interesting, as the show still seems determined to write Maze as more of a very jealous, possessive, catty girlfriend of Lucifer’s than anything else. Still, and sadly, having these women interact with each other at all is a kind of progress for this program, even if it doesn’t entirely pay off.

In better news, this episode addresses Dr. Martin’s unethical behavior—which I’ve criticized before as highly unbelievable—more or less head on. Considering how little Lucifer’s sexual relationship with Dr. Martin has really figured into either of their characters’ development so far, I’m not sure why it was bothered with at all, but I’m happy to see that chapter of their interactions come to a close. Dr. Martin is a potentially very interesting character, but it’s been frustrating to watch her be mostly flustered by Lucifer and engaging in such clearly problematic behavior with a patient when she could be much better used as, well, Lucifer’s actual therapist. The idea of the Devil working through his feelings in talk therapy isn’t a bad one, but the running “joke” of Lucifer banging his hot therapist has made it difficult to take any of his sessions very seriously. Also, it’s not funny. Hopefully the change in their arrangement this week means that we’ll see some real improvements over the last few episodes of the season.

The other major development this week concerns the Palmetto case, which Chloe and Dan are still investigating together. Amenadiel, for some reason, resurrected Malcolm right as his life support was being disconnected, and this week Malcolm confronts Chloe about her investigation, claiming that he also wants to know who the dirty cop is who shot him. Their conversation gives Chloe the idea that Malcolm’s partner must have been the shooter, and this seems to be proven when the partner turns up dead of an apparent suicide, accompanied by a note confessing. Before the end of the hour, though, we learn that this is all a red herring meant to stop Chloe’s investigation. We also learn that it wasn’t Malcolm’s partner who shot him—it was Chloe’s ex, Dan. This is a legitimately surprising development, and promises some serious drama to come.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  • No Amenadiel this week, though Lucifer did figure out some of what his brother is up to—as well as Maze’s betrayal.
  • Thematically, this episode worked, for the most part, as an exploration of jealousy, but I don’t think Lucifer really grew or learned anything about himself, which is a disappointment.
  • I think I would have an easier time buying into the Lucifer/Chloe will they or won’t they thing if these two characters had any discernable romantic chemistry or sexual tension.
  • The show has implied that Lucifer is not that choosy about the gender of his sexual partners, so is there a reason that every person he needs to fuck in order to get stuff has to be a beautiful woman? (A reason besides sexism and/or homophobia, that is.)