Lucifer S01E06 “Favorite Son” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Amazon Prime Instant Video, new episodes every Tuesday
Writer: Jason Ning
Director: David Paymer
Essential Plot Points:
- Somebody steals a shipping container killing a security guard in the process.
- Lucifer thinks the case is dull and refuses to play detective with Chloe until Maze points out that the stolen container belongs to Lucifer.
- At first he claims not to care about losing whatever’s inside but Maze says it will be bad for his reputation if it gets out that someone stole from the devil and got away with it.
- The warehouse from which the container was stolen is known to the police as a place where illegal goods are regularly stored, raising Chloe’s suspicions about Lucifer.
- When Lucifer refuses to say what’s in his container, Chloe throws him off the case and tells Dan to look into the accounts at Lux for anything dodgy.
- Lucifer goes off in a huff to see his shrink, Linda, but doesn’t like her advice so storms out of there as well.
- Amenadiel offers to help Linda help Lucifer; he advises that she treat him as if he really is the devil and gives her some Bible 1o1 revision tips.
- At the Lux, when Dan comes calling Maze knocks him unconscious then takes him to Chloe’s house and leaves him naked on the sofa. Maze thinks this will get them back together so Lucifer will lose interest in Chloe. Maze should never be a marriage guidance counsellor.
- Dan returns to the Lux and this time manages to go through the accounts, which are suspiciously squeaky clean.
- Anyway, the crime of the week plot is as rubbish as ever so there’s no point going into details, but it does involve Tom Sizemore as the leader of a dodgy biker gang who wants to go straight and start his own clothing line because being in the saddle all day is making his prostate problem even worse. Which actually sounds funnier when we put it like that than it does in the show…
- End result: Lucifer finds the slightly unconvincing biker who stole the container but the guy kills himself by jumping off a roof before he can say who put him up to the job.
- Chloe and Lucifer open up the container. Inside, there’s merely a chest of Russian dolls. However, after Chloe leaves, Lucifer opens a secret compartment…
- But it’s empty.
- Lucifer returns to Linda, who – unwittingly channelling Amenadiel – tries to convince him that he was always God’s favorite son, that his “fall” was, in fact, a gift and he should embrace his true nature.
- Lucifer, now clearly very upset, says that he can’t. In a cutaway, we learn that somebody has stolen his wings.
So, who’s swiped Lucifer’s wings, then? The revelation of what the trailer contained was a startling end to a meandering episode in which Lucifer did a curious 180° from “am I bovvered?” to “I AM SERIOUSLY, SPITTLE-SPITTING BOVVERED!”
Never before on the show has the poor devil been so harangued by all those around him about what’s driving and you begin to wonder if he knows himself. Linda – under Amenadiel’s tutelage – goes on the attack; Chloe admits she does like him but suspects she may have to arrest him at some point; Maze simply continues to be exasperated that he wanted to leave the fun of Hell at all. He tries to maintain his cheeky public schoolboy persona but increasingly people are seeing through it. He even tries to kid himself that he doesn’t care about the loss of his wings but when the possibility of them having been stolen becomes a dead cert reality, he cares very much indeed.
The key scene is Lucifer’s second visit to Linda, when he reveals what really motivated his decision to vacate hell. “He shunned me,” he says of his father forcing him to be the devil, “vilified me, he made me a torturer.” He complains that people perceive of him as evil but he has never manipulated people to do bad things. He’s merely the man who presides over the punishment. He’s fed up with centuries of bad PR, basically. Which is almost a convincing argument until you realise that what he’s actually saying is, “He made me do it.” If he was truly that bothered why not do something about it sooner? He may be God’s favourite son but he’s still acting like a spoilt child.
In one way it’s a great scene. In another way, it doesn’t quite come off, because Ellis goes into shouty, indignant mode which does little to dispel the “spoilt child” feeling. Maybe this was an occasion when some vampiric brooding and quiet anger may have served to make the character’s plight more sympathetic…
In fact, that’s exactly what we get all too briefly in the final few shots of the episode. Nothing says “brooding anti-hero” like a “framed against the city from a high angle” shot and the image of the amputated wings displayed like a pinned butterfly is haunting.
So the undercurrents of the arc plot are beginning to be whipped up into some exciting white water. The rest of the episode is business as usual. The crime plot is is dull and forgettable. Chloe rolls her eyes at Lucifer’s excesses and frets about Dan. Dan is the fall guy. There are some funny comedy bits and some clunky comedy bits. Trixie is cute but far too wise beyond her years. The end result is entertaining fluff but worryingly uneven. It still feels like a show in search of a consistent tone a real heart.
- The cross-cutting between Lucifer singing “Sinner Man” and the murder is a striking opening to the episode, even if Tom Ellis pulls some very silly faces while performing.
- You have to agree with Chloe that the biker guy’s greatest wish – to create his own clothing line – is wonderfully left field.
- The arc plot is taking some unexpected turns.
- It’s a fine episode for fans of the naked male torso. Is it after the Supernatural crowd?
- There’s the usual smorgasbord of great lines:
• “Right, so, what unpleasantness filed this heap of unrealised ambition, then?” Lucifer is his usual tactless self.
• “Just call me when you’ve got a murder with a pulse, or at least someone good looking.” Um…?
• “I need your help like I need a third boob.” “Oooh!” “Wait. Don’t say a word.” Go on, say “Ding dong!” again.
• “What was it, his memoirs? Some priceless porn collection?”
• “Why would you think that putting me in her bed naked would get us to have sex?” “Always works for me.”
• “This is the longest I’ve sat in a parked car and not had sex.” “Ew”.
- The crime plot is yet another case of interrogate/question suspect, learn name of next suspect, interrogate/question next suspect, learn name of next suspect, repeat until 42 minutes is up. Do the writers even care about the crimes of the week?
- “Howdy partner.” “We’re not partners.” Oh, we’re not back to that stage of the relationship again. Having Chloe as a constantly sniping non-believer is dull already! And this is before she learns that the container is Lucifer’s, so she doesn’t even have that excuse.
- Another scene in a bar, with Lucifer facing off against tough guys while Chloe rolls her eyes in the background. This show is fast coming a weekly checklist of its own repeated tropes.
- Lucifer’s rant at the end is a little… well, ranty. When it comes to Lucifer letting his “jocular” mask slip, Ellis has proved better in the past at understated anger and boiling resentment. Here the outburst is a little too broad.
And The Random:
- This week’s devilish music includes:
• “Sinner Man” performed by Tom Ellis – Lucifer sings the traditional African American spiritual song (made most famous by Nina Simone) right at the start of the episode.
• “Black Cloud” by Rise & Shine – when Maze presents Lucifer with the two Brittneys.
• “Fame (Lovers Anonymous Remix)” by The Acid – when Dan returns to the Lux in Chloe’s clothes.
• “Changed Man” by Michael Burks – Lucifer and Chloe head to Los Diablos biker bar.
• “The Day Is My Enemy” by The Prodigy – Lucifer drives after Renny.
• “Zvvl” by Chvrches – final sequence of the episode with Lucifer mourning the loss of his wings.
- You do have to wonder what that clientele at the Lux think when they go to the nightclub for some bitching dance grooves and they get the owner crooning instead.
- Contenders for single entendre of the week include, “Ooh, I love role play” (Lucifer) and, “If you come out back with me I’ll let you see whatever you want” (Maze). They really should have called this show Carry On Lucifer. Tom Ellis is more like a mix of Leslie Phillips and Frankie Howerd every week.
- There’s a moment in the episode when Linda appears to be able to resist Lucifer’s allure for the first time. Is this a side effect of Lucifer becoming “more mortal” or has Amenadiel surreptitiously given her some of kind of resistance? Either way Lucifer seems curiously unconcerned considering how much Chloe’s ability to resist him fascinates him.
Review by Dave Golder