In Which Lucifer Has His Own Life Of Brian Moment Shortly Before Getting His Own Hashtag
Malcolm proves he's on the side of unfettered evil by unironically coining and using, in actual conversation, the hashtag #TeamLucifer.
We're at an interesting time, where a lot of our pop culture in one medium is adopted from a story from another -- hello, multiplex full of DC and Marvel superheroes -- and one of the inevitable byproducts of all this adaptation is criticism from people who are piqued because the adaptation isn't a perfect replica of the story they enjoyed in the original medium. And to be fair, Lucifer on television bears very little resemblance to the Lucifer in pages of Mike Carey's epic. The former is a detective show; the latter was a meditation on free will and responsibilities of creation.
Which is why this episode is so great. Lucifer as a TV show has few of the traits of the comic series, but over the arc of the first season, it's shown itself to be solidly entertaining as an entity unto itself. So consider this episode the show's declaration of independence from the source material. When you have an angry Lucifer confronting a mob of Satanists who claim to act in his name and their first response is to whinge, "Why aren't you blond?," that's one sly nod to the types of complaints adaptation purists have. But when you make the murder victim Mike Carey? The showrunners are trying to tell you exactly how much fidelity you can expect to the source material. And good for them! This show dances around many of the same questions about what it means to be moral and how it feels to be so misunderstood, and everything else on top of it is unique to the folks in the writers' room. Why not appreciate Lucifer for what it is?
And there is so much to appreciate. The episode itself is delightful for all the plotting and revealing going on. There's a bunch of Satanists out there who do silly stuff like wear robes and stand around pentagrams, but when people begin turning up dead, Lucifer gets worked up. He's also dealing with Amenadiel's mid-millennia crisis, freaking out over his vulnerability to Chloe, and deeply regretting the course of action that's left Malcolm alive. Speaking of which: Malcolm emerges as an agent of self-interested chaos here; Chloe's in professional and personal freefall because of Detective Douche; and Dan's not doing much better. By the end of the episode, everyone's nerves are done for. Too bad it's a cliffhanger.
For now, let's retrace our steps to the edge of the cliff.
"Demon daggers forged in Hell don't count. We all know those...prick. Speaking of: how's my brother?" -- Lucifer.
The background here: Maze is throwing knives at Lucifer to see if anything cuts him, or if the knife wound he gave himself is actually due to Chloe. But you know the old rule of Chekhov's demon dagger! Mention it in Act I, have Maze fail at stabbing Amenadiel to death in Act II, have Malcolm quietly pocket it and walk off in Act III. I'm sure that won't be a thing that comes back at all.
"Lovely! Very mid-century rapist." -- Lucifer.
It makes me happy to know that Lucifer can't be bothered with secret staircases hidden behind bookshelves, or all other manner of occult tackiness in the home. Although, honestly, I think there's potential in a Lord of Misrule who eagerly embraces virulently awful home décor.
"All that jazz about condemning me to eternal damnation? Poppycock, apparently." -- Malcolm.
Having the divine subway token has apparently made Malcolm cocky enough to mouth off to Amenadiel, who wears an expression of "What the actual hell?" the entire time Malcolm is explaining how he does not fear Amenadiel -- and, in fact, has bought on to "hashtag-team-lucifer." As Malcolm saunters off, Amenadiel is wearing a look that reads, "I regret everything." You have to feel for an angel who is basically going through his sophomore year in college -- regretting his major, hooking up with crazy people, dealing with parents who won't stop nagging -- at approximately eleventybillion years of age.
"You preach rebellion but you're misguided sheep! And goat. Where's the real defiance and free will?" -- Lucifer.
The inquiry Lucifer makes to the group of Satanists -- one of whom is wearing a goat's head -- immediately devolves into the successor of Life Of Brian's "You're all individuals." I could not stop laughing for a few minutes. The runner-up line here is "Why do they always associate me with goats? I don't even like the cheese!" because I so appreciate the callback to Amenadiel's admission that he started the goat rumor way, way back in the day.
"One angel can hurt another" -- Lucifer.
Remember how Lucifer originally agreed to hang out and play detective because it gave him a chance to figure out why Chloe's immune to his hypno-gaze? And remember how, in the last episode, we saw that it's physical proximity to Chloe that permits Lucifer to be harmed? He's testing out new hypotheses as to what Chloe may be. Although Chloe's back is unblemished by wings (so far...) and we've established that mom Rebecca DeMornay is all too mortal, the attentive viewer will note that we have yet to hear much about Chloe's dad.
"We found his car like this. It's registered to Mike Carey." -- Anonymous Policewoman.
Reader, I laughed for a good five minutes.
"I'm not evil. I punish evil." -- Lucifer.
Lucifer's entire scene with Malcolm is entertaining, what with Kevin Rankin joyfully sinking his teeth into any part of the scenery that's not nailed down, and a few parts that actually are, but there is real pathos in this scene. Malcolm went to Hell, then got a second chance, and his core takeaway was to live each day as if he's Cartman. Whether Malcolm is legitimately insane from his time in Hell is up for some debate, but we can all agree that he's behaved poorly since returning from the dead. And that now extends to murdering people, framing Reverend Bad Hair for it, requiring that Lucifer reiterate one of his chief complaints about humanity: stop blaming him for your nonsense! The Devil doesn't make you do anything you don't already want to do.
"I'm the pawn. You both used me." -- Maze.
The stunned looks on Lucifer and Amenadiel's faces show that Maze has scored a direct hit, and good for her. Amenadiel spends a lot of time in this episode grappling with the idea of conditional morality -- i.e. doing some really nasty stuff for a greater good -- and whether or not he wants to subscribe to a morality where the ends justify the means. To hear from a demon that he's behaved reprehensibly only exacerbates his existential crisis.
As for Lucifer? Seeing that his actions have cost him the loyalty of one of his most faithful lieutenants also smacks him right in the honor gland.
"All I ever wanted was to be my own man, here, where I was to be judged for my own doing. And for that, I've been shown how powerless I truly am." -- Lucifer.
Fittingly, that's when we all discover that he's been framed for the murder of Reverend Bad Hair!