Lucifer S02E01 “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Lucifer and Amenadiel are searching LA for their mum convinced she’s inhabiting the body of somebody who’s recently died. They’ve come to the end of their list.
- CRIME OF THE WEEK: A body double for the popular star of a teeny TV series, Leave It To Leslie, is found dead on the set, metal bars like devil horns buried in her forehead. Lucifer is convinced his mum has something to do with it, but it’s actually drugs related.
- Lucifer reveals to his regular shrink Linda that his mother did nothing when his dad chucked him out of hell, so in return he did nothing when, centuries later, his dad the banished his mum to hell. But he’s convinced now that she’s escaped from hell she wants to kill him.
- Amenadiel is pining for Maze, who has vanished. She later reappears claiming she needed time away from the bickering angel brothers to find her own place in the world with the help of a “friend” (who is presumably Linda, and they may possibly be going further than just “talking things through”).
- Chloe wants to learn more about Lucifer after he survived being shot at point blank range at the end of last season. She has sent some of his blood to forensics.
- Lucifer seems cool with this but jobsworth Amenadiel argues that humans must never have proof of divinity. He sets about trying to clear up this mess and tries to convince Chloe that Lucifer is clever faker; he dramatically demonstrates how a Lucifer used bulletproof jacket and a blood capsule to fake his shooting.
- Chloe is not buying it but lets Amenadiel thinks she is. Later she tells Lucifer she doesn’t really care how he does what he does – he’s certainly good for her career and she’s cool with that.
- Amenadiel’s time-freezing powers start going on the fritz.
- The police department has a new forensics (and part-time theology) expert Ella. She’s the chirpy face of faith and provides Chloe a handy sounding board for her religious queries.
- Meanwhile, the crime of the week plot has made Lucifer come to terms with the fact that his mother has feelings too. Just as he’s ready to accept his inaction may have affected her, she staggers into his nightclub, looking worse for wear.
The devil gets all the best tunes, and here he makes “All Along The Watchtower” his own. Whether Dylan’s enigmatic lyrics are about religion, or government, or the cataclysm, or social revolution, or The Lord Of The Rings, or whatever, somehow Tom Ellis’s Lucifer makes the song about LA, and the potential fall of this modern-day Babylon.
Which is a bit of a heavy intro for the review of an episode that opens with Lucifer stripping a man naked and tying his shoelaces together.
Such is the bizareness of this show.
While plotwise “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer” promises a lot of changes for season two – a new, more self-determined Maze; Amenadiel losing his powers; Lucifer’s mum turning up; a slightly different dynamic in Lucifer and Chloe’s relationship – tonally, this is the same Lucifer we were getting last season. The crime of the week is perfunctory and some of the humour is embarrassingly broad, but the charisma of the lead actors holds it all together, there’s are plenty of good one-liners and the ongoing arc plots – the ones dealing with angel and devil lore – are far more interesting than guff about murdered body doubles (though the flamingo army does make the crime-of-the-week plot ever-so-slightly more interesting than normal purely because of the phrase “flamingo army”).
The show has introduced a little bit more theological debate and it’s refreshing to hear Amenadiel say, “Humans cannot have proof of divinity,” because this is crucial to the show’s level of disbelief. Anyone else remember this passage from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy wherein the final proof of the non-existence of God is provided by the Babel Fish (a fish you can stick in your ear which will then translate any language)?
“Now, it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some have chosen to see it as the final proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:
‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’
‘But,’ says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves that You exist, and so therefore, by Your own arguments, You don’t. QED.’
‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
‘Oh, that was easy,’ says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.”
It seems as if Lucifer is going to be exploring this theme a lot more longwindedly this season. But it could be fun. Unless Lucifer is killed on a zebra crossing.
It’s a clever move, too, to build up Lucifer and Amenadiel’s mum as the Big Bad, then finally introduce her looking vulnerable and scared. We’re assuming this could be a double bluff, but whatever the case, it keeps the show feeling fresh and surprising.
But mostly, that ending aside, “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer” feels a little like a “safe” opening for the season; giving the fans what they expect and only hinting at radical changes to come. As such it’s fun, but until the last few minutes, it never really makes you sit and pay attention.
It looks like season two proper will start next week.
- Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix purists might spit bile at us for saying this, but we found Tom Ellis’s piano-driven cover of “All Along The Watchtower” really powerful and a perfect overture to the first appearance of his mum.
- Tom Ellis is excellent at switching from light comedy to more introspective moments. In fact, the two highlights of this episode aren’t Lucifer’s comedy moments but rather when he becomes suddenly melancholy. His first session with Linda, with his brilliant potted history of growing up in Heaven (“Dad started going into the garage and tinkering with a little project he called humanity”) is pitched perfectly: amusing, self-pitying and wistfil, while his moment of self-realisation at the drugs-users support session is almost sweet.
- “Devil emoji? That’s it. I’m speaking to a copyright lawyer – today.”
- “Maybe she needed the cash to fund her flamingo army.”
- “I love a game of poker.”
- It’s great to see Chloe coming to terms with Lucifer. Let’s hope this means they can finally become the supernatural David and Maddie from Moonlighting they keep threatening to be.
- It also refreshing to see the show dip its toe into theological debate. Okay, there’s nothing too deep so far (and Ella is rather clunky device to implement this new discussion) but in a show which asks you to accept that the devil is real, it’s good to see the characters actually start to question, “Well, what does that mean for my world view?”
- We’re liking the new chilled Maze. Well, more chilled. She still seems to enjoy her torturing duties… (the moment below also disturbingly reminded up of the ending of the notorious horror film Freaks (1932)).
- Finally, we just loved Lucifer giving the murderer a second zap of the taser.
- Sure, yeah, the running joke that nobody believes Lucifer is Lucifer even though he doesn’t care if they do is amusing, but surely he could easily prove that he is? Why wait for Chloe’s blood report to come back? Just do the crazy face thing! It’d be easy for the writers to introduce some lore that the nature of faith means Lucifer is forbidden to “prove” his existence to humans (that would certainly fit in with some of the issues raised in this episode) but for the moment the vagueness remains slight odd.
- Ella, undoubtedly charismatic though she made be, is a painfully obvious “plot device” – the character who can give religion’s side of the story in chirpy sound bites. Let’s hope she becomes a real character quickly.
- One real clunker of a line is Chloe querying the idea that Lucifer and Amenadiel could be brothers. It’s hardly on the same level as, “How come he appears to be unkillable?” and, “How come he can compel people to reveal their deepest desires?” It comes across like a worryingly old-fashioned, reactionary point of view about what constitutes “family”.
- As with the earlier episodes of season one, some of the comedy moments are clunkily obvious and slightly lame, especially the opening scene and the drugs-users support group before Lucifer becomes introspective. They’re fine; they do the job; but you can’t help feeling that Tom Ellis could be having much more fun with cleverer, sharper, more devilish dialogue.
- Dan’s pardon and recall to the Police Department is a convenient piece of TV scripting jiggery-pokery.
And The Random:
- The set on which the murdered body is found is actually the set from Wayward Pines.
- “All Along The Watchtower” also featured prominently in the final episode of Battlestar Galactica, which, of course, starred Tricia Helfer as Number Six. Helfer appears here as Lucifer’s mum – or the mother of Number Six Six Six.
- Good grief, this guy was a terrible “frozen-in-place” actor – his arm was wobbling all over the place!
- This episode’s music includes:
“Money” by Ash Grunwald – during the opening hiest
“Trouble” by Valerie Broussard – Lucifer finds Amenadiel brooding at the LUX
“Letting It Go” by Wrenn – Lucifer pays Amy Dodd a visit
“Scout” by The Raveonettes – Maze stops a guy from attacking Lucifer at the LUX
“All Along The Watchtower” by Tom Ellis – Lucifer pounds the piano just before mum arrives
Review by Dave Golder