Lucifer And A Priest Bring New Meaning To The Word 'Compadre'
Sure, 'a priest walks into the Devil's bar' seems like a joke, but the man of the cloth provides an opportunity for Lucifer to reframe how he's looking at this whole 'my dad forced me into the family business' complaint.
The case of the week is fairly cut-and-dried: A rec center supervisor is killed, there are two false leads, and then the crime is solved. What's more remarkable is the way Lucifer spars with a meddling priest and comes to respect the man for his steadfast faith in the face of adversity. Father Frank insists that there is always hope, and for the first time, Lucifer allows that idea to swirl around in his head.
The subplot is more interesting in terms of building out the show's mythos, demonstrating how easy it is for angels to really screw up mortal lives in a way that's just as pernicious as Lucifer's earlier bidding: Malcolm explains why Dan shot him ("You took me out before I could take [Chloe] out. I understand.") and we find out why he's suddenly so into how delicious food is. Turns out, when he was mostly-dead for 30 seconds, he was in Hell before Amenadiel pulled him back to the land of the living. And Amenadiel is putting the squeeze on Malcolm now, threatening to send him back to Hell again if he doesn't kill Lucifer. The theological implications here -- that being well-connected matters as much in the next life as it does in this one -- are staggering. Malcolm presses Dan into partnership, pointing out that it's less about Dan's winning personality and more about leverage. Chloe and Trixie will be very vulnerable once Dan's behind bars for assorted bad-cop hijinks. So now that it's in Dan's best interest to help Malcolm (however unwillingly), he ends up borrowing from the evidence locker the unmarked gun that Malcolm plans to use to kill Lucifer.
Will Lucifer be forcibly exiled back to his old workplace? Will he take Malcolm with him? Maybe -- he does give Malcolm a look like he knows there's some divine meddling going on, and we do know this character's the quickest wit in the room. He has four episodes left to put it all together.
As for this episode, let's go through the quotes to see how everything unfolded.
"In your line of work, how many times has it happened to you? Like in those wonderful internet videos? You know -- offering to pay for deliveries with sex?" -- Lucifer.
"DAH…never." - pizza delivery boy.
"Well that changes tonight!" - Lucifer.
Although the opening scene is one of primetime debauchery, we quickly slide from the revelry of the world's luckiest pizza delivery boy to Dr. Linda's office, where Lucifer is lamenting his lack of motivation at the party. He had three Britneys in a Jacuzzi and he declined to join them. Why? What's wrong with him? Dr. Linda suggests that maybe he feels all empty inside because he has no friends.
"So this is about young boys. Of course it is." - Lucifer.
A priest named Father Frank enters the bar to ask for a favor. Lucifer needles the priest and discovers, to his growing annoyance, that he can't burrow under the man's skin. Even pulling the "tell me your deepest desire" act doesn't quite work, because the priest only wants to punch someone who's presumably using children as drug-runners, and he owns up to his own sin of wrath with no quibbles.
So Lucifer goes to Chloe in a snit and demands she investigate the priest, simply because he'd rather needle the man of God than grant him a favor. And that's how we get dragged into a murder (of the man the priest wrongly believes is the drug-running mastermind) and a lot of "Faith! It's so great! Aren't you unhappy without it?"-type conversations.
"If I were trapped in here with these vile children, I'd lock the door as well." - Lucifer.
Few things are funnier than watching Lucifer flinch around short people, and putting him in a rec center to investigate the priest is a great setting for that. At first, I wondered if Lucifer hates children because children are supposed to be so innocent and that's anathema to the devil. But given how this character really has a strongly developed sense of right and wrong, I wonder if he loathes children because they're still so unformed from a moral perspective. I could be overthinking this.
"The most evil of people have the most normal of names. Beware anyone named Keith." - Lucifer.
This is token backstory-on-the-priest/misleading detail leading to him being a suspect, and I include it only because I enjoy knowing the prince of darkness has strong opinions about names and/or an eagerly anticipated reunion with Keith Richards.
"For your penance, ten Bloody Marys and a good shag." - Lucifer.
This is what happens when Lucifer hops into the confessional and hears a trophy wife lamenting her lust for the chauffeur. But it does raise an interesting question: Why do the acts of contrition not come with a recommended wine pairing? There's enough liturgical symbolism in the beverage to make it theologically defensible.
"God has a plan." - Father Frank.
"Yes, I know. But why does everyone always think it's a good plan?" - Lucifer.
I suspect whomever wrote this exchange did so after experiencing directly -- or hearing secondhand -- one of those horror stories at funerals where a person grappling with an incomprehensible loss is approached by some sanctimonious clod who intones, "It was all part of God's plan." If that's the case, then well done, you! You've given all of us a nice riposte for the next mourning occasion.
As to why this exchange comes up in the episode? We get Father Frank's tragic backstory, and his telling an incredulous Lucifer that in his darkest moment, he found comfort in the idea that all his pain was meant for a greater purpose he couldn't divine.
"The boy was trying to protect the one who's trying to kill him. Isn't that an ironic kick in the cassock?" - Lucifer.
This is the part of the episode where we get the suspect who turns to be a false lead. When Lucifer and Chloe break the news to Father Frank that Conor may be a drug kingpin, Father Frank insists that even if that's the case -- which he highly doubts -- Conor is still worth saving, and he still believes God has a better plan for him. He expands on this to say that God has a plan for everyone, even Lucifer. After Lucifer snaps, "His plan for me was quite clear," Father Frank asks if Lucifer's ever entertained the notion that maybe, plans have changed.
The look on Lucifer's face suggests he had not, and the hope that he allows himself to feel for a moment is touching.
"Go on, shoot the altar boy. In the leg or something." - Lucifer.
This line comes about when Doyle -- the counselor -- turns out to be the mastermind behind the drug operation, and he demands Connor show his loyalty by shooting Father Frank. While the standoff is taking place below the altar, Lucifer and Chloe are watching from the narthex. Lucifer hisses to Chloe to take action.
Naturally, she dithers long enough to let Father Frank appeal to the better angels of Conor's nature -- though what we know of angels on this show suggests they're not all that great under the best of circumstances -- and while it's great that Father Frank pulled Conor back from this particular moral brink, the talk could have honestly waited until someone had blown out both Conor and Doyle's kneecaps. Then the priest would remain un-shot by Doyle. Dumb Chloe, waiting a beat too late, doesn't shoot at Doyle until after he's already had a few minutes to wave around a gun, make some threats, and shoot the priest.
"I'm not afraid of dying." - Father Frank.
"Well, you should be. It's really boring where you're going." - Lucifer.
We all knew this was going to end with the priest dying, right? And with Lucifer outraged that someone who had faith in God suffering the consequences of other people's bad decisions -- both because it offends his sense of vengeance and because it confirms his worst thoughts about his dad.
What I'm not so much a fan of is how, after Lucifer pins Doyle against a wall and begins working up to righteous fury, he comes right back down on Chloe's say-so. I sort of enjoy Lucifer's brand of punishment. It's proportionate to the crime and it doesn't equivocate. If Chloe can circumvent that, doesn't it make her a force for evil in the world?
"It doesn't matter if you're a sinner. It doesn't matter if you're a saint. Nobody can win, so what's the point? What's the point?" - Lucifer.
After the bodies have carted away and the paperwork left to less beautiful people, Lucifer heads to the roof to have a good yell at dear old Dad. This scene works really well because it does manage to reference one of the core principles that drives Lucifer through the comic book series: The game is rigged, and it's codswallop that God should seek to punish both the players and the entities who try to sit it out.
After having a good yell -- and, one hopes, laying the seeds for Lucifer's eventual notion to completely destroy both the game and its creator -- Lucifer comes downstairs to discover that Chloe's come by to check on her friend. That the two share a moment of genuine amity over a duet of "Heart and Soul" on the piano is a nice callback to two earlier scenes: Dr. Linda's query to Lucifer about who he has as a friend, and the piano duet between Lucifer and Father Frank.