Lucifer S02E15 “Deceptive Little Parasite” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Lucifer reveals where he’s hidden Azrael’s blade, aka the Flaming Sword that can cut open the gates the heaven according to his mum.
- Lucifer points out it’s neither a sword nor flaming.
- Mum says he needs to be properly angry to ignite not. Not just, “Unexpected item in the bagging area” angry; full-on, righteous, “OH MY GOD! THEY’VE MADE MAJOR KUSANAGI AMERICAN!” angry.
- But, as Dr Linda points out, Lucifer has problems getting in touch with this feelings, making this tricky.
- Meanwhile, the crime of the week involves the murder of a snooty admissions officer to a touchy-feely, new-age school that teaches kids that they can control their emotions.
- Lucifer secretly borrows Trixie and pretends he wants to enrol her at the school, partly as a way of gathering evidence, partly so he can sit in on classes and see if he can learn a thing or two about controlling his feelings.
- When Chloe hears about this she goes to challenge Lucifer but overhears Trixie saying in class that she’s scared her mum’s job will get her killed.
- Chloe briefly wonders whether she should enrol Trixie at the place as it seems to have opened her up, but actually…? She soon learns the place is a hotbed of simmering animosity and backstabbing…
- Speaking of which, the murderer is the art teacher, Madison, who once had a fling with the dim, oversexed PE teacher, a one-night which produced a child so feeble-minded it clearly wasn’t the fruit of her brainy husband’s loins (can brainy parents not produce thick kids?). The admissions officer worked this out and threatened to reveal all so Madison stabbed her in the back, literally.
- Dr Linda is delighted that Lucifer has dismissed the spurious claims of the school that emotions can be controlled, and advises him that the best thing to embrace his pain.
- He returns to his apartment, where, in front of Amenadiel and his mum, he tries to give in to his pain while holding the Azrael’s letter-opener. It flames a little but remains resolutely unsword-like.
- Mum seems furious, implying there’s a time factor involved, but doesn’t explain further.
- Calming down, she gets into the left and, as the doors close, takes a plaster off her wrist, revealing a cut that’s haemorrhaging energy beneath.
Okay, so Lucifer in a class full of cute kids – here’s a show that knows how to target its key demographic like a heat-seeking missile. That one shot of him looking all eager and vulnerable, desperate to learn how to control his emotions, surrounded by cherubic-looking children (who actually aren’t that cherubic) must have had huge sections of the audience Tweeting “BEST EPISODE EVAH!” They’ll need ninja cats to top that next week.
It’s plainly not the “BEST EPISODE EVAH!”, but it is one of the funniest, helped by the fact that Maze produces comic genius every time she’s on screen. Plus, Lucifer partnering Trixie is always a winner, because a) he pretend to have the same contempt for precocious kids that a lot of TV viewers have and b) somehow, the writers and actress Scarlett Estevez achieve the impossible yet again and make Trixie both cute and NOT irritating. That’s some feat.
The procedural plot, however, is terrible, even for this show; sure, Lucifer is a comedy drama, but you still want the crimes – and the solving of them – to have some drama as well as the comedy. This tale of a lecherous PE teacher and the apparently intelligent women who queue to bed him despite his lack of brain cells borders worrying close to cheap farce. There are also a couple of truly poor moments of toilet humour that are desperate even for this show (oh look, a hole that looks like a willy).
Luckily, the dialogue elsewhere is far, far wittier and cleverer, and there’s a really touching undercurrent of sadness running through the episode that gives it the dramatic clout it needs. Chloe’s realisation that Trixie is fully aware of how dangerous her job is, and Lucifer having to admit to himself that he’s in pain about what he’s learned about Chloe are handled with a delicate poignancy.
As for the arc plot, well, we’re with Lucifer that the Azrael’s blade is more of a shiny letter-opener than flaming sword. We’re also a little concerned at how unconcerned Lucifer is to discover that mum has super strength – wouldn’t he be demanding what else she’s been hiding from him?
On the other hand, the revelation that mum’s leaking energy sets up a very effective ticking clock element as we head into the season’s end game.
- Maze faking interest in Chloe’s problems is a classic Maze moment.
- Actually, though Maze isn’t in the episode much, every time she does turn up, she’s brilliant, from her advice to Chloe about Trixie’s education (“I’ll teach her the knives”) to her welcome interruption of this week’s murderer’s dull confessional speech.
- Lucifer reading his children’s self-help book the the Lux is a peach of an image.
- “Triple-Decker.” Ho ho ho – we bet they’ve been waiting to use that gag for months!
- Lucifer becoming visibly upset at the pain he has to dredge up to power the flaming letter-opener is an immensely powerful piece of acting from Tom Ellis, who, unusually, decides to underplay the moment.
- The cliffhanger is a great, “Oooooooohhhh…?” moment, but we also like the attention to detail; the sticking plaster has a little scorch mark on it, as if the energy leaking out of Lucifer’s mum has been burning into it.
- There are two bits of toilet humour in the episode which are so low brow even the Carry On team would have thought twice about using them: the knob-shaped gap left by the missing commemorative scissors and Amenadiel looking like he’s slapping the salami when he’s trying to get the flaming sword to ignite.
- The big denouement – that Madison is the killer because Debbie realised her thick son must be the illegitimate child of the dimwitted PE teacher – is too stupid for a drama but too banal for a comedy. Okay, Lucifer’s crime plots are rarely CSI in their complexity but this one’s particularly vapid.
And The Random:
- This week’s tracks from Hell include:
• “Who Are You?” by Spring King – the music Maze is listening to when she isn’t listening to Chloe.
• “Luck Down” by Cold War Kids – the shot in the Lux when Lucifer is reading his children’s self-help book.
• “Cowboy” by Leopold And His Fiction – Lucifer takes Trixie to Starford Academy.
• “Sweet Revenge” by Milck – Chloe turns up at the grieving ceremony at Starford Academy.
• “Double Darkness” by Big Scary – Lucifer catches Amenadiel playing with his blade (fnarr, fnarr).
- Lang’s certificate names the “Colette Cloutier Institute”. Colette Cloutier is a set designer who worked on Lucifer season two.
- Oh look – the brickwork where Lucifer punches the wall is different to the brickwork surrounding it. Wonder why that could be, hmmm?
Review by Dave Golder