Lucifer S01E02 “Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Amazon Prime Instant Video, new episodes every Tuesday
Writer: Joe Henderson
Director: Nathan Hope
Essential Plot Points:
- Chloe is trying to figure out Lucifer’s secret but he knows she’s been checking up on him.
- He also points out he doesn’t have a secret; he’s told her he’s the devil and it’s not his fault if she doesn’t believe him.
- On the other hand he’s still obsessed with discovering why his powers of persuasion don’t work on her, so he insists on tagging along on her next case to see what makes her tick.
- The case involves the murder of a film star’s son by the paparazzi. An paparazzo, Nick, who once had a run-in with Chloe (snapping her at her father’s funeral) confesses but neither Lucifer nor Chloe believe him.
- Amenadiel turns up, doing his freezing time trick as usual, to remind us that he’s in the show and pissed with Lucifer… and to set up the climax.
- The real murderer turns out to be one of Nick’s proteges, Josh, who’s been going to extreme lengths to make sure he get the scoop first, and he’s even engineered a death of someone famous to make sure he on the scene when it happens.
- Mazikeen taunts Lucifer about becoming too human, so Lucifer decides to enact his own form of justice on Josh.
- Lucifer springs Nick from jail and takes him to Josh. Then he gives them both guns and waits to see who’ll fire first.
- Josh pulls the trigger but his gun has no bullets.
- Chloe arrives and implores Nick not to shoot…
- …But he does…
- …But Chloe (to Mazikeen’s disgust) has gotten through to Lucifer who…
- …Summons Amenadiel who…
- …Freezes time (as is his wont) allowing Lucifer to stop the bullet hitting Josh.
- Oh, and Lucifer kicks Josh in the nuts for the hell of it.
- When time starts running again, Chloe hasn’t a clue what just happened but arrests Nick and Josh anyway.
“Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil” is almost the copybook episode two of a new US drama: the good elements from the pilot remain but they don’t seem quite as sharp and the bad elements seem even more annoying. It sticks to the blueprint to establish the formula. Annoyingly, though, the blueprint the writers seem to want to establish is one of the least promising things about the show: the police procedural.
Because once again we get a blistering performance from Tom Ellis as the “Jack the Lad” Lucifer with only the faintest grasp of human social niceties. He’s not just the show’s MVP he practically is the show. But his Lucifer is so masterful and witty and cunning and powerful that when you stick him in the midst of the kind of banal crime plots we’ve seen so far it almost seems an insult to him. This episode visibly strains under the pressure of not letting Lucifer solve the case in the first 10 minutes and – in striving to string the investigation out – lays bare the inherent dramatic pitfalls in the show’s central concept. The main pitfall being: you have to make the devil look a bit crap to stop him solving every case in the first act.
All of which suggests that if the show is going to settle for a weekly procedural formula, the fun could wear pretty thin very quickly. Especially if the procedurals remain this humdrum.
But there remains a lot to enjoy. It’s still very funny. There’s some genuine warmth between the lead characters, even if Chloe is trying to maintain her distance for the moment (that ain’t gonna last). And there are a couple of more chilling moments that suggest Lucifer’s perky persona is a mere mask he chooses to wear and that we could be seeing a far darker side to him in coming episodes. Indeed, when the mask falls off in a brief scene that he has with Mazikeen, there’s a great piece of acting from Ellis as Lucifer doesn’t just snap back into his public face when Chloe arrives; he visibly struggles to return to it for a couple of seconds.
There also seem to have been a couple of slight changes of emphasis from the pilot, one of them good, the other… well jury’s out. The good one is that Chloe’s ex, Dan, is no longer just a straightforward dickhead. He’s actually really supportive of her investigation this week. Good move, as the “antagonistic ex” shtick was already irritating by the end of the pilot. Also, it seemed that there was already a kind of sneaking bond and admiration between Lucifer and Chloe developing in the pilot but here Chloe is just downright suspicious again. It’s a shame because the Moonlighting vibe (“they bicker but they really love each other underneath”) worked well on a tonal level. However, that dynamic suits the cosy, unadventurous “cop buddies/police procedural” formula more, whereas with Chloe determined to get to the root of what the devil’s doing in LA there’s a lot more potential for interesting arc plot material to mine.
- Lucifer is still very funny, and wonderfully schoolboyish at times (“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”). And you know we said last week he reminds of the Eleventh Doctor at time? Never more so than, “Hello again small human.”
- But there are hints of a darker side to his characters which are clearly going to come more to the fore.
- “How do afford this place? Are you taking bribes?”
- Summoning Amenadiel at the climax simply to make use of his collateral time-freezing powers is a clever ploy.
- Lucifer turning the con-man street preacher into a “believer” is hilarious.
- Chloe’s continued embarrassment at having appeared in Hot Tub High School is very amusing (we’re bound to get to see a clip in a future episode, surely?)
- Good to see that Chloe’s ex is no longer being played purely as a dick with a chip on his shoulder. That was a bit of a shallow cliché in the pilot.
- The police procedural plot is a bit dull again.
- The antagonistic relationship is a little bit of a step back from the first episode.
- So what exactly are Lucifers powers?
- Trixie is a little too wise beyond her years to be true. Very cute, though.
- The typography on the film poster is no way an ’80s font.
- And “How will you graduate?” is a really rubbish tag line for Hot Tub High School. It’s supposed a raunchy comedy but where’s innuendo in “How will you graduate?”
- Nick’s motives for taking the rap for Josh are never convincing.
And The Random:
- Aside from Penelope Decker, all the other names on the poster for Demon Town appear to be people working behind-the-scenes on Lucifer. Shanna Mair (costume designer), Sean Rooney (Gaffer), Michael Bevis (construction co-ordinator), Randy Casano (construction foreman) and Tony Richardson (lamp operator) are all in the credits for this episode, while Mikal Williams (carpenter) and Marie Hock (costume assistant) are both listed on IMDB as currently working in US TV production and so presumably do work on Lucifer uncredited (for the moment). Susan Davis, though, is too common a name to be sure if she’s the same Susan Davis who does make-up work on films and TV.
- And here’s the top of the poster since we only got a very glimpse of it in the episode. Great monster!
- Oh, and it’s clear we’ll get to see Penelope in a future episode and already we’re thinking she’ll be a pushy nightmare.
- When Chloe’s spying on Lucifer in this night club he begins to play “King Of Pain” by The Police on a piano. Now, some people think “King Of Pain” is a reference to the devil (and about 95% of all music in Lucifer’s night club is devil related) but, to be honest, the song’s lyrics never seem to back that up. Instead it just seems to be about a man suffering from depression (with some lovely metaphorical imagery). However, maybe the real in-joke here is in the name of the band; Lucifer is playfully letting Chloe – a police woman – know that he knows she’s there.
- Other music this episode includes “Valkyrie” by Battle Tapes (“Dancin’ with the devil sweating gasoline”); “I Need My Memory Back” by The Glitch Mob (feat. Aja Volkman); “Devils” by Say Hi (“the devil got my number and the devil got my size/And the devil got my head and the devil got my eyes”); “Fuji” by Minuit; “Sweet Providing Woman” by Paul Otten; “Ten-Twenty-Ten” by Generationals; and “Here Comes The Sun” by Jeremy Abbott & Louise Dowd.
- Since we got a better look at Lucifer’s Satan face this week we thought it was worth a screen grab as the internet like such things.
- Jeremy Davies (who plays Nick Hofmeister) is best known as Daniel Faraday in Lost, though recently he also played a recurring character, Ritchie Simpson, in Constantine.
Review by Dave Golder