Lucifer – Season 2 Episode 17
“Sympathy for the Goddess”
Lucifer continues the search for the missing pieces of the sword as Chloe sees a different side to “Charlotte”.
One thing I’ve appreciated about the second season of Lucifer is the constant desire to step outside its comfort zone. Season 1 had its flaws but one thing that was well built was the central Lucifer/Chloe dynamic. Even in its worst episodes that dynamic was still compelling and watchable. The writers seem to have taken that for granted this season and challenge themselves by putting other characters together to see what happens.
This season has explored the Maze/Chloe dynamic in great detail and it’s clear that it definitely works so this episode puts Chloe in a situation where she needs to work with “Charlotte”. There has been some animosity from Chloe’s side of things especially after her day in court. This was something that was begging to be explored.
Naturally the show needs an excuse for them to work together and the easiest way to do that on a procedural is to use the case of the week. Lucifer still struggles to make the case of the week compelling enough on its own but it often moves along in the background while more interesting things are happening between the characters.
The mechanics of the case aren’t all that interesting but the important thing is that it leads to Chloe and “Charlotte” teaming up at a rich people party. This is the kind of thing we imagine “Charlotte” indulging in frequently but we already know from “Deceptive Little Parasite” that Chloe feels out of place among fancy people. Fish out of water stories tend to be a good “go to” for a TV show as there’s endless entertainment that can be mined from putting characters in situations they aren’t all that comfortable with.
Strangely the episode doesn’t spend a lot of time on Chloe feeling out of place at the party as it seems more concerned with setting up a connection between “Charlotte” and Bianca (Carolina Gomez). For a one episode villain, Bianca was really strong largely due to the performance of Carolina Gomez who easily matched wits with Tricia Helfer in their scenes together. It was easy to believe that they would travel in similar circles and had a lot of history even if “Charlotte” was only pretending to have that history with her.
Chloe actually blends in at the party fairly well. We get the obvious “surprise” of “Charlotte” suspecting that Chloe will turn up improperly dressed only for Chloe to show up in an outfit that surprises her. It’s enough for “Charlotte” to see more to Chloe than she initially thought was there and the opportunity to build on this does exist.
There’s even some good comedy when she pretends to be a big fan of Chet’s (Kade Wise) music and bursts into a full scale rap complete with dance routine. I always enjoy seeing Chloe act out of character so this was a lot of fun for me. This is something the show should take advantage of more as Lauren German seems to enjoy cutting loose.
Even though Chloe not being clued up on the truth about Lucifer is wearing a bit thin it is good that she learns a version of the truth about “Charlotte”. She is told that “Charlotte” is Lucifer’s father’s ex which makes her his stepmother. It’s mostly true since she is God’s ex and it’s enough of a truth for Lucifer to talk openly about his relationship with “Charlotte” around Chloe. It helps Chloe understand a lot of what Lucifer has been dealing with as well so takes away a small piece of the barrier that has been built between them.
This also allows for a hilarious exchange between Dan and Chloe towards the end of the episode where Chloe pokes fun at Dan’s affair with “Charlotte” by pointing out that he could have become Lucifer’s father of sorts had he married her. It’s a ridiculous scenario that could end up working on this show given the right set of circumstances. It’s a rare quiet moment between Chloe and Dan where they can share a measure of levity for a change and scenes like this are great for character development.
Dan is in a bit of a strange place right now. He can’t tear himself away from “Charlotte” because he’s essentially a fairly lonely guy who looks for companionship wherever he can get it. “Charlotte” offers him attention and he accepts it because he hasn’t been getting a lot of that lately.
His scenes with Amenadiel were really good as well as they are both in a similar frame of mind. Amenadiel feels marginalised whenever Lucifer is around and Dan does as well. The episode didn’t spend too much time on them either which makes it stand out more as it left me wanting more. Hopefully there will be more time spent between Amenadiel and Dan before the season ends. My favourite part was the small piece of validation that Dan provides when he tells Amenadiel that he likes him more than Lucifer.
Amenadiel’s inferiority complex has been in the background for a while now and I didn’t actually expect it to become that prominent at any point. Mostly because it was quite subtle and this show isn’t really known for its subtlety. Usually whatever is about to become important will scream at the viewer so that they know to pay attention to it.
I mentioned in my review of “Deceptive Little Parasite” that revealing the McGuffin early on and connecting learning to use it to the character arcs was a great way to do it as McGuffin hunts are rarely interesting. Last week another piece of the sword came from pretty much nowhere which is fine as the episode wasn’t about finding it but I was concerned when this episode seemed to be about finding the last piece. Thankfully very little of the story was actually about that and the little that was still remained focued on the characters.
Amenadiel’s inferiority complex turned out to literally be the key to this. He resents Lucifer because he was always the favourite. Any attempt he makes to get his mother’s attention quickly becomes about Lucifer and he gets pushed aside. “Charlotte” does care about him but clearly plays favourites almost unconsciously. In this case Amenadiel feels that his only role is to translate a book because that’s all his mother needs from him. The reveal that the object entrusted to God’s favourite son is the necklace that Amenadiel wears is well handled even though it’s a fairly obvious surprise to go with. This works so well because I didn’t expect Amenadiel’s jealousy to amount to anything other than a small arc to justify his presence on the show. I’m not sure this will change the way Lucifer sees him or the way Amenadiel sees himself in any significant way but it is good to see Amenadiel get a bit of a win after suffering so much.
The sword plot is quietly becoming more urgent as “Charlotte” is aware that she’s on borrowed time. Whatever energy she gives off when injured proves lethal to Chet so I wonder if releasing all of it has the potential to wipe out Earth itself. It’s entirely possible and would certainly create the right level of threat for the end of the season while also grounding the problem in the characters. Everyone will have a view on that and it could become really tense if done correctly. I’m also sure there is plenty of humour to be mined from “Charlotte’s” deadly crotch.
Surprisingly, Linda is suffering consequences for helping Lucifer and “God” escape from the mental institution last week. There is a case being built against her and it looks like there is a strong possibility of her losing her license to practice. These are massive stakes for Linda but it might be good for the show if she is taken out of her role as a therapist. Most of the time this role defines her and prevents her from branching out into more interesting stories. It does happen from time to time and her friendship with Maze has been the main vehicle for her acting outside of this role but she doesn’t do much else.
Even in this episode this story isn’t actually about Linda as she is only the subject of it. The focus is on Maze who tries to deal with a problem without being able to stab it. This allows her to confront Lucifer about the way she has been feeling when he makes the situation for Linda worse. She sees this as another example of Lucifer only thinking about himself and using people to get what he wants.
It’s a fair point. Lucifer may solve murders but he does that because he enjoys punishing people so there’s no real altruism involved in his actions. He also fails to see that Maze is upset with him because he assumes that she’s always angry and will ultimately get over however he makes her feel. Lucifer has completely failed to notice that Maze is a different person and has grown thanks to her interactions with other people. This means that he can’t fathom her being genuinely upset with him for effectively abandoning her. He also fails to see the significance in Maze making Lucifer get her a drink in “Lady Parts” because he really doesn’t see Maze as any sort of equal.
Having this conflict come to a head with a very public physical confrontation was a great scene and highlighted the intensity of the frustration felt by Maze. She is angry with him and physical violence is her only way of expressing that. The fight itself was amusing especially considering nobody decided to interrupt it as it was going on.
Unfortunately making this plot more about Maze’s relationship with Lucifer removes the possibility of seeing this from Linda’s perspective. She is there to comment on the situation and states the obvious for Lucifer’s benefit but we don’t get a sense of how she is feeling and what losing her job would do to her. It’s a shame as this would have been the perfect opportunity to give Linda some much needed prominence.
Another thing the show struggles with is effectively using Ella. She is such a great character and brings a much needed dose of levity to most of the scenes that she’s in. Unfortunately she’s often used for exposition to further the plot but there’s a story about this character begging to be told that we just aren’t seeing.
Another great episode that lets Chloe and “Charlotte” work together. This allows Chloe to learn a version of the truth about “Charlotte’s” relationship with Lucifer and chip away at the divide between them as well as clearing the air somewhat between “Charlotte” and Chloe. This plot also allows Lauren German to cut loose a little which is something I always enjoy. As always the mechanics of the case aren’t that interesting but Biance is a really good one shot villain.
Amenadiel’s inferiority complex comes into play in a really big way when he finds out that he was entrusted with the final piece of the sword because he’s apparently God’s favourite son. This was a nice surprise as Lucifer normally isn’t that subtle about what arcs will become important so the reveal worked really well. Amenadiel’s time spent with Dan where they bonded over mutual loneliness and feelings of inferiority was good too. Linda potentially losing her job is a wasted opportunity to allow Linda to develop. The plot ends up becoming about Maze and Lucifer which does get important information out in the open but Linda’s perspective is largely ignored. She is overdue some development and prominence for sure. The show has a similar problem with Ella who doesn’t get used to her full potential either.
- Chloe and Charlotte teaming up
- Lauren German getting to cut loose with her performance
- the entertaining and important conflict between Lucifer and Maze
- the reveal of Amenadiel as God’s favourite son
- Linda not being the star of her own story