Lucifer – Season 3 Episode 9
Lucifer introduces the mysterious Sinnerman as Maze makes her welcome return from an extended hiatus to find that so much has changed since she left.
Maze is a character that has been sorely missed this season. Outside of the brilliant “Mr. and Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” she hasn’t been seen and the show has suffered for it. It’s not bad; my reviews will certainly confirm that I think it’s on top form but something has certainly been missing.
This episode not only chooses to deal with her return but also address her absence as part of the story. What better way to take stock of how much things have changed in a TV show than to have a returning character comment on those changes and question where they now fit in the grand scheme of things.
The focus here is very specific; Maze sees how close Amenadiel and Linda have become since she left and it makes her feel uneasy. I loved the understated way this was handled. Seeing them share a joke over Linda believing there might have been a Hogwarts style Angel school creates a sense of familiarity that feels lived in and real. It’s the sort of silly joke that only close friends could really share and the actors completely sell it.
Maze is visibly uncomfortable with the situation because she is insecure and always has been to a degree. Rightly or wrongly she compartmentalises her relationships in a way that works for her. Linda is her friend, Amenadiel is her ex-lover, Chloe is her room-mate, Lucifer is someone she is compelled to protect and Trixie is also her friend. It’s a very small yet well defined social circle for her and she was comfortable with it to a certain degree.
Her reasons for leaving were focused around her desire to find a purpose but the events of the afore mentioned “Mr. and Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” showed that she knew her purpose all along. Not picking that up immediately means that there’s a gap in the story but such is the folly of utilising unused season 2 episodes to fit into the season 3 arc. Ultimately it’s just something we have to go with at this point.
The reason Maze is uncomfortable with the situation is because she feels left out. It’s a simple immature reaction that is very valid and very “Human”. Rationally she should realise that Amenadiel and Linda becoming good friends in her absence bears no reflection on her but emotionally she feels betrayed by the notion. It’s a believable reaction and fits with Maze’s character given her lack of familiarity with actual Human emotion.
To a certain extent she is willing to accept this alteration to the status quo she’s familiar with but she’s only willing to go so far. She can accept the friendship but doesn’t want them becoming lovers. The implication based on her conversation with Lucifer is that she has feelings for Amenadiel and doesn’t want Linda blocking her from exploring them. Whether that’s true or not is unclear at this point but she asks Linda not to pursue anything for the sake of their friendship. It’s something Maze needs to work through and it’s clear that Linda shacking up with an ex-lover for hers might be too much to take.
The obvious complication to all of this is that Linda and Amenadiel have already started down the path of being involved with one another. It makes sense for them given their shared uncertainty over their place in the universe. Linda is struggling to deal with the fact that she’s the only Human being on Earth who knows that Heaven, Hell, Angels, Demons, God and everything else associated with the mythology are real. It’s an existential nightmare to comprehend and it’s something that she has had trouble processing.
Amenadiel is in a similar situation though his uncertainty comes more from his inability to figure out what his purpose is. He knows that he is God’s favourite son and suspects that his mission involves Lucifer in some way but beyond that he’s simply muddling through. Linda is someone he has been able to confide in and their shared lack of real direction has been a point of bonding for them. It makes sense that they would gravitate towards each other romantically considering that Linda would be looking for someone who isn’t in the dark about the things she knows and Amenadiel would naturally be drawn to someone who understands what he’s going through. It’s a good pairing and Maze being on the outside of that is compelling. This might be the first love triangle I’ve ever been invested in. Of course it depends what route it takes but for now I’m interested.
The Sinnerman plot has been bubbling along in the background all season but this is the first episode where it feels like there has been any forward momentum. It starts off looking like another case of the week with the notable detail of being connected to Lucifer in some way. Both murders are people that Lucifer has done favours for in the past so they send a clear message that the Sinnerman is gunning for him for some reason.
As the plot continues Lucifer walks right into the Sinnerman’s trap and finds himself locked in a freezer while he taunts him through a monitor. Kevin Carroll does a capable job as the Sinnerman considering he shares almost no actual screen time with any of the cast though I have to admit that the reveal feels somewhat underwhelming. For a name that is mentioned in whispers throughout the season and built up to be something significant the reveal was somewhat underwhelming. There is always the risk of diminishing returns when teasing something over a long period of time and this certainly qualifies.
Having a villain set up to be relentlessly intelligent and calculating only to have him reveal himself in a really ham fisted way before being caught following a shoot out with Chloe and Pierce doesn’t seem to fit what has been established and feels like a disservice to the work spent building this up.
That being said little is known of the Sinnerman and his motivations so it’s too early to tell what to make of this in reality. He does all but confirm his identity though it could easily be a red herring and the dialogue is very careful not to confirm that he is responsible for restoring Lucifer’s wings while removing his Devil Face. Lucifer has convinced himself that the Sinnerman is responsible but there is no actual confirmation so what was done to him could be -and probably is- entirely unrelated. He knows that Lucifer is really the Devil which leads to him clawing his own eyes out so that Lucifer can’t force him to reveal his innermost desires. It’s a great ending to this particular episode and does set up some intrigue.
This case does provide an opportunity for Chloe to receive some much needed development. The show has been dancing around some sort of awkward connection between her and Pierce since his introduction and this episode allows some further movement in that area. It was established back in “What Would Lucifer Do?” that Piece actually has a lot of respect for Chloe though isn’t the sort of person who will simply come out and say it. He shows respect in other ways that could easily be construed as dislike. It’s not something the show does particularly well as it just makes Pierce seem a little bipolar when he is dismissing Chloe one minute and praising her the next.
For example this episode has Chloe ask for a personal day to which Pierce says he’ll take it under advisement before blanking her and going back to what he was doing. Later in the episode he assures Chloe that he was genuinely taking it under advisement and had to check the schedule before approving it. Being in hospital has meant that he has fallen far behind on his workload and needs to catch up. It seems reasonable though the dismissive way he initially approaches it is very much the opposite. Their heart to heart during the stakeout stops just short of being completely awkward. There is supposed to be chemistry between these characters but I don’t find it believable no matter how often we see Chloe leer at him when she thinks nobody is looking.
Not that Pierce is a bad character; far from it. I actually like the fact that he is someone who can come into this show and comment on everything that defines it. He sees Lucifer as being ridiculous and doesn’t understand the appeal, treats Chloe like someone who works for him and considers Dan to be some sort of walking joke. All of this is good stuff and Tom Welling does a fine job in his performance but the way he behaves around Chloe seems to exist only to constantly reveal that he doesn’t actually dislike her. It’s already tired and needs to progress in some way.
The stakeout scene does bring some of Pierce’s characterisation into focus. His prior experience with the Sinnerman has been established as personal because he killed someone that Pierce cares about. He bluntly admits to Chloe that the victim was his brother which gets us away from the dead love interest angle I assumed the show would go down. It’s not more interesting by itself but it changes up the nature of the loss for Pierce and makes it more interesting.
Pierce opening up to Chloe makes her open up about losing her father and how difficult that was for her especially with the wound being reopened recently when the killer was found and her having to deal with that. It turns out to be the reason for her requesting a personal day and the vulnerability she shows is excellently acted by Lauren German.
Interestingly the mention of the details of her father’s murder doesn’t filter through to her interactions with Charlotte. Even though it wasn’t really her representing the killer in the trial Chloe doesn’t know that so it’s curious that there isn’t lingering animosity there considering her role in those events from Chloe’s perspective. Chloe seems to regard Charlotte as something of a nuisance who is going to be hanging around causing problems for her though sees her as being a useful asset from time to time. She uses Charlotte for her connection to the Mob in this episode for instance and seems pleased with her ability to handle herself but the tension that should exist between them is never referenced.
Charlotte is still having trouble with the notion of being good. Her motivations are somewhat corrupt considering she’s only doing so to avoid Hell but it’s hard to deny how hard she’s working at it. She has switched sides to prosecuting criminals instead of defending them and is attempting to use her knowledge to help people rather than discredit them. They are all positive changes but she doesn’t feel that she is doing anything positive and the lack of progress on her moral mission upsets her. Dan is able to give her some much needed advice about fundamental changes being difficult and not happening overnight. He tells her that she needs to work at it and his experience in that particular area makes the conversation more impactful. This show has done a great job rehabilitating Dan so having him deliver this pep talk is perfect.
An uneven yet entertaining episode that does a really good job handling Maze’s return and using that to comment on how much the show has changed but drops the ball on the Sinnerman reveal and some of the other relationships. Maze’s desire to not be left out of the lives of those close to her is something that’s easy to relate to and her vulnerability in this instance works really well. Having her ask Linda not to pursue a relationship with Amenadiel no matter how well suited they seem to be shows how far she’s willing to go to accept change. There is the added complication of Linda and Amenadiel already heading down the path to a relationship which makes for possibly the first ever love triangle I have been invested in.
The reveal of the Sinnerman is somewhat underwhelming considering the build-up that has occurred before now. It’s clear that there is more to this and the ending of the episode is engaging enough but the way the episode handled the reveal of his identity and subsequent capture didn’t quite work. The interactions between Pierce and Chloe don’t quite work either because they seem to be founded on him being dismissive before revealing that he actually wasn’t. It’s not that interesting and already played out. I’m also surprised that Chloe doesn’t bear more animosity towards Charlotte considering the role she thinks she played in defending her father’s murderer. Charlotte being upset that she hasn’t made any headway towards being good was well done though and having Dan be the one to tell her that it’s a long process felt fitting.
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