Lucifer – Season 3 Episode 8
“Chloe Does Lucifer”
Lucifer continues to explore the theme of self identity present throughout the season through the lens of superficial people using a dating app.
The main thrust of this episode could be summed up by the question “what is truth?”; it’s something that it continues to ask in various forms though does so most effectively when considering perception vs. reality. Los Angeles is the perfect setting for such a commentary as it’s a city most commonly associated with disingenuous people trying to become relevant in some profound way.
Strangely Monopoly is used to simplify this argument by Lucifer himself. By his reckoning there are two types of people in the world, top hats -representing the societal elite and the “interesting” and shoes -representing the mundane and common- where Lucifer is of course a top hat. That perception of himself is immediately called into question as the episode opens by showing him playing a game of Monopoly with Chloe and Trixie. Arguably one of the most uninteresting activities you could think of and certainly at odds with Lucifer’s flamboyant playboy lifestyle.
His reaction to being challenged on his decision to have a rare quiet night in says a lot about him. How he is perceived is very important to him and his reputation could be irreparably damaged if word was to get out that he enjoys play board games instead of sampling the superficial buffet that comes into his night club night after night. Part of Lucifer’s arc for the episode and for the season is around accepting that he has changed and living with this better self that has been created as a result.
A definitive trait for Lucifer as a character is his charming arrogance. He thinks that he’s better than pretty much everyone he meets but he’s not overly judgemental about it. When he criticises someone for something he considers to be a flaw he means it in a factual way rather than being a criticism of them. This isn’t true in all cases as he’s very judgemental of those he feels deserve punishment but the way he casually insults Dan isn’t the least bit mean spirited on his part as he’s only calling things as he sees them. It may seem harsh and mean but the important thing is that Lucifer doesn’t intend them that way.
It’s important to bear that in mind when considering Lucifer’s behaviour in this episode. When he sees the murder victim he points out everything about her that he considers uninteresting. Everything he sees is plain and dull to him but he doesn’t mean that as a criticism; it’s more of a lament of her wasted potential to do something more significant with her life; at least according to him.
What Lucifer is missing here is that the murder victim is perhaps someone who was truly comfortable in her own skin and didn’t feel the need to go to obscene lengths to impress others. Outward image may not have been important to her and that’s key to the overall conflict of this episode. Lucifer may think that he has it all figured out but the reality of the situation is that he’s just as clueless as everyone else. The fact that he’s ashamed of spending an evening playing Monopoly instead of indulging in one night stands is proof of that.
Using a dating app to explore the superficial ideals people hold themselves and others to is a fascinating idea. The world of online dating or even just social media is for many people as false as it gets. People spend time putting forward a cultivated self image that is nothing near what they truly are. The exclusivity of the dating app in question makes that more obvious because people will actively look to live up to the criteria when that isn’t who they really are.
The character of Mack Slater (Michael Rady) represents that in spades though not until later in the episode. I would say that his guilt was obvious right from his introduction but the procedural side of the plot has to run its course before he is fully revealed as the culprit. I’ll skip over the mechanics of the investigation because they’re largely unimportant but the key thing is that Mack is the very definition of false and superficial. He made a deal with the murder victim to be the face of the company because he is handsome and the sad truth of life is that people respond to a pretty face on a very primal level that’s difficult to get around. The victim had a great idea for a business but couldn’t get it off the ground because she doesn’t fit a certain image nor does she want to. Anything about her is established through dialogue but it’s clear that she didn’t buy into projecting a false image of herself though she was apparently fine with exploiting those that do.
Mack is someone full of his own sense of self importance and is fortunate enough to be pleasing enough to the eye to be marketable. He’s completely false as he has no talent or business sense so is ill equipped to amount to anything through hard work or perseverance. The worst part is that the falsehood works well enough to even have Lucifer convinced which loops back around to how he sees the world. Being unable to sniff out someone so false is a dent to his ego and makes him wonder how wrong he is about other things in his life.
Chloe helps with the conclusion he reaches in this film through her hilariously unsuccessful attempt to go undercover at the dating app mixer. Lucifer encourages her to be more like him which she is spectacularly bad at so she goes to something more comfortable for her. It’s a textbook hilarious Lucifer scene in the best way because it keeps it grounded on the character. We already know that Chloe takes life very seriously and finds it difficult to step outside her comfort zone so trying to be more like Lucifer is very difficult for her. It’s also interesting to see her do an impression of Lucifer without understanding what it is that makes him so charming. For her it comes across as cheesy and awkward where it comes so easily for Lucifer.
Once Chloe realises that she isn’t a very good Lucifer and decides to be herself she is a lot more successful. Her comfort level increases and she proves herself to be as confident as she always appears. More so than anyone else Chloe is very attuned to the sort of person she is and has no desire to change. Lucifer chides her for being uninteresting which of course he doesn’t believe but he certainly sees aspects of her like that such as her devotion to being a good mother to Trixie. Hilariously Lucifer fails to admit to himself that something about that lifestyle appeals to him so his character arc is focused around opening himself up to those possibilities.
Despite last week’s episode being a season 2 holdover this episode manages to incorporate the death of Reese in a really deliberate way that builds into Linda’s arc for the season. She has been through a lot since season 2 with the confirmation that Lucifer is actually the Devil and her injury sustained in the season finale. It’s something that she seemed to be taking in her stride somewhat though the death of her ex-husband is her first real brush with mortality since her world view has been altered.
She struggles to process his death because she knows what comes after it and she’s pretty well certain that Reese is in Hell after all that he did. Lucifer doesn’t sugarcoat that fact to there’s no doubt in her mind. There is also no doubt in her mind that she is headed that way as well which may or may not be accurate but the important thing is that she believes it. Lucifer said last week that people send themselves to Hell and can leave whenever they want so by that logic Linda will end up damning herself.
Linda makes reference to her being different to pretty much anyone alive because she knows the answers and has all the guess work removed which is very far from comforting. Amenadiel ends up being the key figure here as he is able to relate to Linda on a level that nobody else can. It flips the script on Linda helping him realise his purpose earlier in the season and allows Amenadiel to be the one to offer much needed context thanks to his experience as an Angel.
Their interactions are brilliantly handled and special praise should be given to Amenadiel talking about he he used to look down at Humanity from the sky but realised that looking up into the sky offered that different perspective. It’s a very poetic way of looking at things and exactly what Linda needs to hear at that very point. By contrast Lucifer simply sees the stars as a collection of gas so it’s clear that there’s a difference there and still more room for Lucifer’s appreciation of the universe to grow.
A plot that didn’t work quite as well is Charlotte latching onto Ella in an attempt to learn how to be “good”. A stint in Hell and the subsequent loss of so much that defined her life has given her a bit of a shake and made her realise that she has to change otherwise suffer a more permanent fate. Unfortunately Charlotte just isn’t that good a person as she thinks in broadly self serving terms. She doesn’t want to be good for the sake of being good; she wants to do that to prove herself worthy of staying out of Hell. It’s the truest representation of the road to Hell being paved with good intentions that I can think of and the idea itself isn’t a bad one but the execution didn’t quite work for me.
Tricia Helfer always has a magnetic presence as does Aimee Garcia so their scenes together are well acted and entertaining enough. It’s unclear why Charlotte would latch onto Ella specifically to be her poster child for what is good so the lessons don’t quite click. Charlotte does learn that interacting with other people is a good thing for its own sake rather than doing so for personal gain and there is some forward movement when she does something that could be considered bad to achieve a good result. Ella sees that as a bit of a win but it’s the first step on a long journey. Maybe this dynamic will be a more natural fit the more it’s featured but it feels like a bit of an afterthought at this point and Ella could be put to better use.
Another excellent episode that explores the notion of identity through the way people present themselves to the world. The case matches up with that nicely and Lucifer’s world view is challenged in really interesting ways as he doubts his definitions of “interesting” when presented with meaningful alternatives. The episode presents a really strong message about being true to yourself especially when it comes to Chloe who fails to imitate Lucifer and achieves more success by being herself.
Linda’s role in the episode seamlessly connects to the pain of losing her ex-husband as well as her arc for the season as she questions the very meaning of mortality now that she knows exactly what lies beyond death. Amenadiel’s poetic outlook is the perfect way for her to contextualise this and begin to move on. The weakest part of the episode was Charlotte trying to learn lessons in morality from Ella for very selfish reasons. It’s entertaining enough but fails to stack up in comparison to the other plots.
We’d love to know your thoughts on this and anything else you might want to talk about. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter or just leave a comment in the comment section below. You’ll need an account for Disqus but it’s easy to set up.
If you want to chat to me directly then I’m on Twitter as well.