Lucifer S02E07 “My Little Monkey” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Joe Fields, the man convicted of killing Chloe’s cop dad 16 years before, is being let out of jail briefly for his granddaughter’s christening.
- En route to the christening his police van is intercepted and he’s shot dead.
- Chloe asks Dan and Lucifer to team up to solve the case (she can’t investigate as it’s a “conflict of interests”).
- Lucifer, meanwhile, has decided to emulate Dan in an attempt to discover why the detective is liked while Lucifer pisses everybody off. This even involves copying his clothes. Actually it mainly involves copying his clothes; otherwise Lucifer is pretty much business as usual, with the occasional attempt at an American accent and a pimp swagger.
- Maze is job-hunting, which involves wearing unsuitable outfits to the interviews and failing to get the jobs.
- Maze is also concerned about Doctor Linda who has gone into lockdown since discovering the truth about Lucifer.
- Linda tells Maze that she can’t be friends with a demon.
- Back at the crime plot, it turns out Joe was innocent of Chloe’s dad murder – he was paid to take the rap. And the guy who confesses to Joe’s murder was paid too.
- Dan is impressed when the Lucifer gets a Russian crime boss to confess that he’s the man who finds fall guys ready to confess to crimes for big pay-offs.
- Lucifer is less impressed when he discovers that Dan is secretly going to improv workshops in the wake of his divorce from Chloe; Dan wants to learn to be more spontaneous.
- Lucifer and Dan appear to reach a state of grudging mutual admiration but we know that’ll be forgotten by next week,
- In custody, the Russian tells Chloe that her dad was killed because of something he was investigating; something big.
- In one of the show’s customary amazing leaps of logic, Chloe works out that Joe – and her dad – were killed by the dodgy deputy prison warden, Alex Fernandez.
- However, before he can be arrested,Fernandez scarpers.
- But Maze has now discovered her perfect vocation – bounty hunting. She tracks down Fernandez and brings him in, delighted to find out she gets paid for providing this service.
- She finally manages to convince Linda to get over her demon-phobia and they go out together to spend her first paycheque.
- Amazingly, Lucifer somehow manages to give Chloe some genuine comfort, telling her that he thinks her father would be proud of her – Chloe appreciates this rare moment of Lucifer thinking about someone other than himself, and hey hug.
Considering the procedural plots are repeatedly to weakest element in this show, an episode which forefronts the crime-of-the-week while the arc plot mostly takes a week off, is a risky move. It doesn’t pay off. Not even making the crime personal to Chloe helps. Well, that’s not entirely true. It helps a little but not nearly enough. Especially when the main beats involved in solving the crime are the usual string of lucky guesses and monumental leaps of logic. This week the crime’s solved because Chloe realises – gasp – that Joe wasn’t smiling at her when he left jail, but at the deputy warden. Cue that good old “duh-duh-daaaaaaaaaaa!” musical sting.
Sure Chloe’s connection of the crime gives the procedural an emotional depth that helps keep the perfunctory investigation more interesting than it might otherwise be, but the episode has other problems dragging it down. The idea of Lucifer play-acting as Detective Douche to try to understand the guy’s likability could be comedy gold, but the after a few weeks where we’ve seen Lucifer grow as a character, having him act like the same self-centred, callous buffoon he was back in early season one (in fact probably even less self-aware than he was at the start of the series) feels like a retrograde step.
For most of the episode he comes across like Mork From Ork, and considering this is a guy whose business concerns the human soul, all this “tell me about this thing you humans call…” shtick feels incredibly artificial. As a result, Tom Ellis, who has been on great form recently, is left floundering. There’s little sign of his usual feckless charm here; Lucifer here is just a bit of a prat, and a dearth of his usual devilish zingers doesn’t help (Maze gets most of the best lines this time).
Luckily the support cast bring some great moments to the table. Maze’s jobhunting subplot is a joy throughout, and the twist with her delivering the deputy warden at the end was a genuinely great surprise. She also has some wonderfully touching scene the PTSD Doctor Linda who’s having trouble “processing” (to use a term she might use herself). Kevin Alejandro also takes the opportunity to show more shades to Dan than we usually get to see, and he’s great this week; it’s so easy to side with him against Lucifer in any given scene, and by the end of the episode you’re left hoping the prodicers have now put an embargo on its writers using the word “douche” ever again.
It’s a shame, though, that an episode that gives so much good material to Dan, Chloe and Maze never feels like anything more than a filler. With no Amenadiel or Mrs God, the arc plot is on hold at a point at which it should be motoring. “My Little Monkey”, while not without its charms, is the most disposable episode of the season so far.
- Maze’s job hunt is huge fun.
- The Maze/Dr Linda scenes have the kind of heart and warmth that’s mostly missing from the main plot.
- We say mostly, because Lucifer redeems himself with that really sweet hug with Chloe at the end.
- “They find you helpful, like duct tape or a trusty socket wrench. I want you to teach me your secret. I want you do show me how to be a tool.”
- Lucifer’s Dan accent may be crap, but his Dan walk is perfect.
- It’s good to know Tom Ellis, as the star of the show, has no qualms about appearing half-naked next to a supporting character with a more ripped bod than he’s got. (Okay, this bullet point is just an excuse to post that image…)
- After all the great recent development as Lucifer as a character, he’s back to being the early season one buffoon here again.
- We never want to hear the phrase “Detective Douche” ever again.
- The transformation of Tina Fields from revenge-driven daughter to sobbing apologist is ridiculously sudden.
- Was the second flashback – the Chloe’s first day on the force – at all necessary to the episode? It seemed to perform no function.
- “I’m going to step away from the case. It’s a massive conflict of interests.” BUT NOT FOR DAN? Her EX-HUSBAND? We’re sure this episode is full of reprimandable breaches of conduct by all the main characters.
- No Amenadiel; no Mrs God.
And The Random:
- This week’s red hot track listing includes:
• “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals – Opening flashback to John Decker’s death.
• “Gout” by Hot Bodies In Motion – the city montage leading into the reveal that Lucifer has has a Dan makeover.
• “Low Lays the Devil” by The Veils – The final scene with Lucifer comforting Chloe.
- Many of the names on the police memorial appear to be members of the production team. David Moroz is the show’s transportation co-ordinator; Robert Buxton has worked in the transportation department of various Hollywood films so we’re guessing he works on Lucifer now; Ben Decter co-writes the music for the show; Michael Bevis is a construction co-ordinator.