Lucifer S01E12 “#TeamLucifer” REVIEW

Lucifer S01E12 “#TeamLucifer” REVIEW

Lucifer_1.12_team_Lucifer_at_the_door

stars 4

Airing in the UK on Amazon Prime Instant Video, new episodes every Tuesday
Writer: Ildy Modrovich
Director: Greg Beeman

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • Lucifer thinks Amenadiel may be weaponising Chloe and so wants to send him back to heaven using “demon daggers” – the only thing that can harm an angel.
  • Lucifer has been avoiding Chloe for three weeks after discovering that she literally makes him vulnerable. But now Chloe demands he joins her on a case because…

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  • …the murder victim has “Hail Lucifer” carved into her back.
  • A preacher outside the crime scene appears to recognise Lucifer as the devil and blames him for the death.
  • Lucifer is outraged that someone is killing in his name and so joins Chloe on the case but keeps his distance, knowing he can be harmed when he’s near her (plus he’s half-suspicious she’s out to kill him).
  • The case involves a Satanic cult which the murder victim’s boyfriend belonged to, but they turn out to be more looney and inept than murderous. That doesn’t stop Lucifer getting pissed that they’re misrepresenting him.
  • During the investigation Lucifer briefly wonders if Chloe might be an angel but an examination of her back reveals no signs of wings or wing scarring.
  • The boyfriend is ruled out as a suspect when he’s found dead in what looks like a ritual sacrifice.

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  • But the crime scene also has the name “MORNINGSTAR” painted across it in red paint. Somehow, Lucifer does seem to be connected to the murders so Chloe demands him off the case.
  • Maze has more sex with Amenadiel and when he falls asleep she gets ready to kill him with the demon daggers… but can’t bring herself to do it. Amenadiel wakes, sees what she was up to and leaves in a huff.
  • Lucifer is growing increasingly angsty about the fact that humanity blames all evil on him, when his job in Hell was to punish evil not cause it.
  • So when the preacher gets in his face again, Lucifer lashed out at him – an altercation which is caught on cell-phone camera and soon makes the TV news.
  • Malcolm, who’s been hanging around the episode like a particularly pungent fart stops Lucifer from taking punishment too far with the priest then goes back to his apartment with him…
  • …Where Lucifer notices the red paint on his hands.
  • Malcolm has been killing in Lucifer’s name and Lucifer is furious. But before he can hand Malcolm over to Chloe a seriously pissed Amenadiel shows up and has a big fight with Lucifer. Malcolm takes the chance to scarper.
  • Maze stops them killing each other by pointing out they should both feel guilty for using her as a pawn.
  • Later, Lucifer is drowning his misery in the bar of the Lux. He’s so full of his own woe he doesn’t spot the dead body of the preacher on the floor.
  • Unfortunately, Chloe does… and arrests Lucifer.

 

Review:

Poor old Lucifer. Nobody understands him. Thankfully we’re spared his descent into penning self-obsessed poetry about the injustices of existence when he becomes the target of another almighty injustice: he’s arrested for the suspected murder of a nutty preacher. The fact that he was witnessed shortly beforehand strangling said preacher in a scuffle that made the local news probably isn’t going to do his case any favours. He’s probably hoping for an all-female jury…

This is the penultimate episode so it’s little surprise there’s a cliffhanger leading to the finale and here we get the old “framed for murder” chestnut (also seen recently in Lucky Man’s season endgame). It’s a trusty TV trope, but “#TeamLucifer” manages to keep it feeling fresh and relevant by prepping us for it with episode driven by Lucifer’s growing paranoia and self-pity; he seems so convinced that the world has got it in for him that the death of the preacher – and his presumed involvement in it – almost feels like a fatalistic inevitability.

You can’t help feeling sorry for the guy, though. He just wants to be loved, not worshipped. And certainly not worshipped for being evil. He argues that he’s not evil; it was just his job to punish people, in which case he really ought to sue the Bible for defamation of character (it’d be great to hear his take on that whole Jesus-in-the-desert thing, not to mention whether that “serpent in the Garden of Eden” affair was a case of mistaken identity). It’s a compelling argument, made more so thanks to Tom Ellis’s casual charm in the role. But beware; Lucifer in this show has been shown to be a master of self-deception, so what he says about himself and what’s actually the case may be two very different things.

But for the moment, right or wrong, he firmly holds the audience’s sympathy, which makes his gradual meltdown in this episode so gripping watch. The eventual revelation that Malcolm has been responsible for the killings, like some over-zealous puppy, is a masterstroke; Lucifer isn’t responsible, and yet indirectly and unwittingly he is. He cannot escape his reputation as easily as he has Hell.

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So for once the crime plot and the arc plot dovetail beautifully and there’s less of a disconnect between the humour and the drama because there’s actually a lot of melancholy and blackness behind the humour this time. Even Lucifer turning up his nose at some sacrificial chicken in case it has salmonella isn’t just a throwaway line; it’s indicative of Lucifer’s disgust at what he’s come to represent.

Credit is due as well to Lauren German who has a tough task this week making Chloe’s journey from friend to reluctant doubter seem convincing and she totally pulls it off. Though, to be honest, her best moment is the indignant comedy expression she has on her face when Lucifer uncaringly flattens her against a glass door.

Sadly, some of the supporting character lose out this week. Maze performs her plot duties efficiently but with no great style; her bedroom scene with Amenadiel is blandly functional and when she appears to stop the fight between the two angels her little speech feels a little abrupt. Dan just kinda potters around the fringes looking generally ineffectual and even Amenadiel, despite the benefit of a gutsy fight scene, feels a little like he’s in second gear the rest of the time.

Overall, though, an interesting and unexpected change of direction going into the finale. Will there be Hell to pay?

 

The Good:

Lucifer_1.12_team_Lucifer_goat2

  • “Filii circus. It’s Latin. It means children of the goat. Why do they always associate me with goats? I mean, I don’t even like their cheese.” The running gag about goats is even funnier because it was so casually set up last week. We know that Amenadiel is to blame for the whole goat thing.
  • Plus, the bit with the guy in the mutant goat mask being too tall to make it through the door was hilarious.
  • It’s good to see Tom Ellis having a few more serious scenes as Lucifer. The Devil having an existential crises could easily have been very cheesy but the show has pitched it at the right level to makes sure Lucifer keeps you on his side.

Lucifer_1.12_team_Lucifer_wink

  • Malcolm’s “you gotta be crazy to work here” shtick has come across as a little broad in the past (almost Joker-lite) but here he’s perfect. He’s the annoying guy in the office with an inflated sense of self-importance who doesn’t realise no one wants to be his friend and justifies his own fetishes by making out they’re actually selfless sacrifices for other people. In short: jerk. It actually repositions him from minor irritant to someone you really want to see come a cropper in the season finale.
  • You have to love any show in which the protagonist cheerily asks a small child, “So are you adopted?” like that won’t lead to trauma.
  • Conversely, when said child extorts money for answers, she’s probably mentally strong enough to cope.
  • The Lucifer/Amenadiel fight is great.
  • The “demon daggers” look great, even if they are a rather handy addition to the show’s lore at this point.
  • Plus the usual plethora of pithy dialogue:
    • “Right, because deviant foreplay is so time consuming.”
    • “I can’t pay good cop/handsome devil cop all the time.”
    • “It’s the wink with the porn ’stache sending the wrong message, I think.”
    • “Is that supposed to be an offering for me? Then I decline on grounds of salmonella.”
    • “There’s a whole chapter on sex. I like this book.”

 

The Bad:

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  • Not so much bad, more something that need clarifying, but why does Lucifer send Chloe away when he does his scary face? He’s been trying to convince her he’s the devil all season, so surely letting her see something like this would help sway his case?

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  • The scene in which Lucifer strangles the preacher is a little over-the-top. It looks like he actually might be trying to kill the guy but when the cops are watching the footage later on TV they dismiss it like some minor altercation.
  • Although three weeks has passed, it seems that Chloe and Dan haven’t spoken much in the meantime about their relationship, and neither have Malcolm and Dan spoken about what’s been happening with them. It’s like those two plots have been on hold, only to be discussed now Lucifer is back on the scene.
  • Maze’s bedroom scene with Amenadiel, in which she considers killing him and he wakes up, is perfunctory at best. It’s a plot beat that needs to happen and it just kinda… happens, with little style or emotional clout.

 

And The Random:

  • This week’s hellish playlist included:
    • “Call Me Devil” by Friends In Tokyo – the opening scene with the Satanic ceremony.
    • “Mess Around” by Cage The Elephant – as Chloe and Lucifer head to the theatre crime scene.
    • “Stop Dead” by Stop Dead – The linking cityscape shot between the theatre and Rose’s apartment’
    • “Let Me Get It Out” by Born Ruffians – Lucifer and Chloe head to Satanists’ secret meeting.
    • “Confessions” by Lila Rose – Maze and Amenidel in bed.
    • “Eyes That Kill” by CooBee Coo – Lucifer drowns his sorrows in the Lux.

Lucifer_1.12_team_Lucifer_cinema

  • The Beast With Five Fingers is a real horror movie from 1946. It’s about a sentient disembodied hand.

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  • However, Revenge Of The Goat Children is not a real horror film, but it should be. We’re also amused that in this grab the Church Of The Dark Prince changes to Church Of Dark Price two line below… rather apt consider they’re charging people $200 bucks to register.

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  • While we’re on the subject of websites, did you notice there was the exact same text next to both pictures on the Church Of The Dark Prince website?
  • The murdered boyfriend is called Mike Carey, presumably named after the writer of the Lucifer comic book series. What a dubious honour!

Lucifer_1.12_team_Lucifer_free_will

  • When the Satanists are all agreeing wholeheartedly with Lucifer that free will is a jolly good thing we couldn’t help but be reminded of the classic scene in Monty Python’s Life Of Brian when Brian implores a crowd not to follow him but to be individuals and they all reply in perfect unison, “Yes we are all different.”

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  • Did you spot the ad for Supergirl? We presume it wasn’t deliberate as Lucifer airs on Fox and Supergirl is on CBS. On the other hand, they both originated in DC comics (Lucifer through the company’s Vertigo imprint) so it could have been.

 

Review by Dave Golder


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