Lucifer – Season 1 Episode 10
After a stellar episode last week, Lucifer returns to focusing on the procedural elements of the story that hide the more compelling character work.
As always the case of the week was really uninteresting to me. This time a chef that Lucifer admires is murdered and the loss to his taste buds compels him to get to the bottom of it. It goes through the usual methods of interviewing people, suspecting people, having that suspicion disproved before a last minute revelation blows the whole thing open. I lost interest in this part of the story somewhere in the middle of it.
One thing that was done well is tying the case to Lucifer’s issues with his father through the chef’s son, Javier Junior who predictably has a troubled connection to his father. As you might expect he is suspected of murdering him at one point but it is quickly revealed that all he wanted was reconciliation. Lucifer is able to relate to that as he has had similar problems with God that remain unresolved so he is able to connect to Javier Jr. It is handled with a particular lack of subtlety but Lucifer as a show has never been big on nuanced storytelling. The repetition of using God’s name around things that Lucifer enjoys was more heavy handed every time it was used. Still, it gets the point across and does it well.
The use of Frank last week opened the show up to the possibility of God engineering everything that is going on as a way of showing Lucifer his place in the universe. With that in mind it’s possible that having him connect with the son of someone who has been murdered is a way of showing Lucifer how important parents are and open his mind to attempting to understand his own relationship with God as a father figure. Lucifer certainly seems to be actively resisting doing that but his resolve is cracking. Showing him feel pain gives him a very tangible vulnerability that seems to be extending to his emotional state as well. Javier Jr. wasn’t the most interesting character but his effect on Lucifer was a very profound one that definitely has an impact on the way he perceives his own “Daddy issues”. If God is doing everything and that becomes a constant on the show then “God did it” could be a really irritating crutch that the writers keep leaning on. Right now it’s unconfirmed and all speculation on my part which is how it should stay I think. The idea of God is much more powerful than the literal appearance of God.
Parental issues are also explored through the appearance of Chloe’s mother, Penelope Decker (Rebecca De Mornay). She is a celebrity who is past her best and does everything she can to coast by on past glories. It is established that she tried to live vicariously through Chloe when she was young and is now doing the same with Trixie. Chloe has built her family in spite of her mother’s influence so having her around to possibly tear that apart is something that stresses her out.
Chloe calls Penelope an overgrown child which certainly fits with what we see here. They have a moment towards the end of the episode that shows they are affectionate towards one another in the way a mother and daughter arguably should be but there’s also plenty of animosity from Chloe. Penelope is largely oblivious to this and thinks the problem must lie elsewhere which, in itself, is a bit part of the problem.
I like that Chloe has a mature approach to her mother’s influence. She managed to deal with the way she was raised by continually focusing on other things which hints at the development of her skills as a detective. By constantly looking in the background to avoid what is in front of her she is able to get to the truth of things as symbolised by her noticing the strange painting. Her approach is to raise Trixie the opposite way so that she has a strong grounding free from the hassles brought on by being in the public eye. It’s a realistic and relatable struggle that works really well.
Lucifer and Penelope get along really well which makes sense as they are both naive in many ways and overgrown children in many other ways. They both seek attention and enjoy causing havoc in the lives of others. The dinner scene was a perfect example of that as both of them were brutally honest in their opinions of what was going on around them.
Despite that Lucifer is shown to be growing as a person as evidenced by a drunk Chloe making a pass at him before he turns it down. It’s something that he can’t believe himself as sleeping with her has been a goal of his since the very first episode. Lucifer considers Chloe a friend and respects that friendship too much to let it be destroyed by them sleeping together while she is too drunk to be in full control of her actions. Their friendship is compelling and continues to gain depth as the episodes progress.
I also liked some of the imagery used in this episode. The image of the Devil being burned by a fire is really striking and a good use of irony in a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously to begin with. It is addressed head on when Lucifer points it out but it was still a nice touch.
Dan is still having trouble dealing with Malcolm blackmailing him. Malcolm really is an awful person and seems to enjoy it. I wonder if he was always like that or if his Angel assisted resurrection caused his more negative traits to become prominent in his personality. Either way he’s causing Dan a lot of problems while he continues to lie to Chloe. I can understand where he’s coming from as he is just reacting to a difficult situation in a way that doesn’t paint him in the best light. He either keeps his freedom while being on a short leash with Malcolm or comes clean about the whole thing and goes to prison. In his own head he has probably justified that his daughter needs him but since this is TV it will all come out probably before the finale and then Chloe will have a choice to make.
I liked the way Maze was handled in this episode with her loss of purpose leading her to Linda for help. Since the purpose of her creation turned his back on her she is drifting and looking for something to occupy her. Her initial therapy session with Linda doesn’t solve all of her problems but her conversation with Trixie shows her that she is able to connect with people and forge her own life in some way. This causes her to approach Linda as a friend and attempt to socialise. It’s a big step up from her defining her connection to humanity through sex in the past few episodes. Everyone in this show is slowly developing .
The procedural elements really bring the episode down as the case of the week keeps getting in the way of the more interesting character work. Lucifer working through his issues with God through a son that failed to reconcile with his father before his father was murdered worked well and Chloe’s issues with her mother being added to the mix afforded more depth the the theme of parenthood. The plot involving Malcolm and Dan continues to be interesting and the show is starting to find a suitable place for Maze. If only the character stories became the focus this show could be something special.
- Lucifer exploring his “Daddy issues”
- the attempt to find a place for Maze
- Chloe’s relationship with her mother and her alternate parenting style
- another boring case of the week
- a lack of subtlety in connecting the theme to the case of the week