Lucifer S01E03 “The Would-Be Prince Of Darkness” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Amazon Prime Instant Video, new episodes every Tuesday
Writers: Jason Ning, Jenn Kao
Director: Louis Milito
Essential Plot Points:
- At a swanky LA party Lucifer convinces a virgin sports star called Ty to spend a night with a lady who’s making eyes at him.
- Next morning the girl is found dead in Ty’s swimming pool, but Lucifer doesn’t believe Ty is responsible, so he calls in Chloe to help investigate.
- Together they discover that the guy’s agent paid the girl to sleep with Ty in order to make a blackmail video (his “no sex till marriage” shtick being part of his public image). But the girl liked Ty too much to go through with it and the agent “accidentally” killed her when he got angry.
- Meanwhile, an imposter has stolen Lucifer’s identity and is going round LA spending his money and ruining his reputation as a sex god.
- When Lucifer catches up with the imposter, he scares the living daylights out of the guy but Maze is pissed off that Lucifer doesn’t kill him horribly.
- Lucifer’s shrink points out that he’s starting to enjoy eking out justice rather than revenge. Lucifer is having none of that.
Here we go with that “difficult third episode”. After a show’s pilot introduces the concept and the second episode establishes the weekly formula, third episodes tend to be a case of “treading water”. That’s one hundred per cent what we’ve got here. The series is, for now, relying almost exclusively on Tom Ellis as Lucifer to tempt us back every week and once again the devil gets all the best lines – he is immensely fun to watch. But in all other areas this is simply “episode two take two”.
The Chloe/Lucifer relationship especially is just a re-iteration of everything from last week just in case we weren’t paying attention. There’s such a lack of progression it actually feels like a regression. It’s a bizarre holding pattern that could be played for laughs: there’s a lot of irony to mined from the a situation where Chloe doesn’t need to investigate Lucifer’s “secret” because he hasn’t got one – he’s been telling her the truth all along, she just doesn’t believe him. Instead the show seems intent on showing Chloe with furrowed brow earnestly performing background checks. Where exactly is that going lead? Up a dramatic dead end, surely, with Chloe looking like some weird obsessive.
Likewise the the fact that Maze thinks Lucifer is going soft is re-emphasised in a couple of scenes involving the Lucifer imposter. They’re decent enough moments in themselves – and it’s fun to see that Lucifer is more concerned that his sexual prowess is being put into question than his bank balance is being emptied – but they reveal nothing new about Maze or her relationship with Lucifer.
The procedural plot is another serving microwave meal drama: reheated, reconstituted, conveyor-belt-produced pseudo-nourishment. It’s easy to consume and acceptable if you’re not too demanding but really, we deserve something a little more inventive. If you judge a man by the quality of his enemies, then Lucifer should be judged by the fiendishness of his cases, and for the moment he’s getting things too easy.
It’s a shame to have to be picky about the show, and it’s certainly still an amusing way to pass 45 minutes, but it’s rapidly squandering the potential it displayed in the pilot. It needs something to shake it out of the comfort zone it’s so easily slipped into. Go on, episode four – surprise us.
- Mostly the “good” this week comes in the form of Lucifer’s one-liners, including:
“I’d be careful with that thing in the guest bedroom. There’s a good chance you’ll go blind. Unspeakable acts. We got a little carried away.”
“Do I look like I’d eat a zany wing?”
“Finally I get my Father’s beef with graven images.”
“I can assure you he is in no way meteorological inclined. Apart from the whole Noah thing, and that was a one-off.”
- But especially: “Do I get a code word? You know, for when you take her down. If so, might I suggest monkey bottoms. Because trust me I can work that into any sentence quite naturally.”
- Lucifer’s shrink scenes remain amusing.
- It’s all very well expecting us to be invested in Lucifer’s transformation, but we haven’t witnessed him doing anything really horrible on the show so it’s difficult to care.
- The procedural plot is less than thrilling again.
- Chloe needs to have more of character than, “Irritated by Lucifer.”
- Lucifer’s barbed comments to Dan are so mean-spirited (and not particularly funny) you end up feeling sorry for Chloe’s ex.
And The Random:
- Sofia Vassilieva, who plays Ty’s on-off girlfriend Debra Macall, played Ariel Dubois, oldest daughter of Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette) through all seven seasons of Medium.
- Seems that the episode naming convention on this show is to use a “quirky” line from the script.
- Music this week includes:
“Beat Of My Drum” by POWERS (at the party after the girl jumps in the pool)
“Monster” by Colours (at the party when Lucifer talks to the girl who doesn’t believe he’s Lucifer)
“Delta Rice” by Oil Boom (between Lucifer leaving the crime scene and returning to his nightclub where Maze teases him about his imposter)
“Back To The Way I Was” by Emily Bell (Chloe arrives as Ty’s agent’s workplace and discovers Lucifer is there already)
“Where The Devil Don’t Go” by Elle King (during the sting on the fixer at Lucifer’s club)
“Too Little Too Late” by PINS (while Chloe is studying the CCTV footage of Lucifer throwing Ty’s agent through the window)
Review by Dave Golder