Lucifer S03E10 “The Sin Bin” REVIEW
Available in the UK via Amazon TV, new episodes every Tuesday
Writer: Sheri Elwood
Director: Greg Beeman
Essential Plot Points:
- As Pierce, Chloe and Lucifer argue over who gets to interrogate the Sinnerman, a video message comes in on the Sinnerman’s cell phone.
- It shows a chained-up girl in imminent danger of drowning.
- It appears the Sinnerman has an accomplice. The race is on the find her.
- The girl is identified a roller derby player called Maggie. A teammate reveals that she had an argument with a rival teammate who recently died in a car crash.
- But the investigation sputters to a dead end, so Chloe (somewhat surprisingly) agrees to carrying out Lucifer’s alternative plan – to spring the Sinnerman from his cell under the nose of Pierce so they can force him to take them to the drowning girl.
- But Pierce guesses their plan, and allows it to unfold so he can join them on their decidedly dodgy course of action.
- The Sinnerman takes them to where the girl, Maggie, is tied up in a stream in the hills outside LA.
- While Pierce and Chloe free her, Lucifer and the Sinnerman vanish. Chloe and Pierce assume the Sinnerman and his accomplice have abducted Lucifer.
- But Maggie says there was no accomplice – she faked her kidnapping, having been forced to by the Sinnerman who threatened to kill her if she didn’t.
- Chloe realises that Lucifer has used the opportunity to squirrel the Sinnerman away so he can interrogate him on his own.
- Using some of her always uncannily accurate intuition based on a throwaway line about sunsets, Chloe works out that Lucifer has taken the Sinnerman to a swish apartment he owns in the LA hills (with a good view of the sunset).
- Lucifer brings in Maze to interrogate the Sinnerman. She gets nothing out of him, but determines that he is human.
- The Sinnerman then taunts Lucifer, saying he hasn’t got what it takes to kill him. The Sinnerman actually appears to want Lucifer to kill him.
- Maze reminds Lucifer that angels aren’t allowed to kill humans, but Lucifer figures: what has he got to lose? His father’s traditional punishment would be take away his wings and give him back his devil face, which is exactly what he wants.
- But Chloe and Pierce arrive before Lucifer can kill the Sinnerman, Pierce shooting the guy dead instead.
- Meanwhile, Trixie bonds with Charlotte when Trixie’s usual daycare becomes unavailable and Dan manages to offload his daughter on his old flame. Incredibly, Trixie manages to broker a (kinda) date between them!
- Later, Lucifer is looking through the Sinnerman’s personal effects to learn more about him when he sees a photo of the Sinnerman as a child, with the arm of a man (whose head is out of shot) around him. A birthmark on that arm looks strangely similar to a tattoo on Pierce’s arm.
- But if Pierce is the man in the photo, how come Pierce still looks so young?
- Lucifer has a theory, which he puts to the test when he invites Pierce to the Lux out-of-hours, and stabs him in the chest.
- Pierce recovers from the fatal wound, because he’s actually Cain – as in the murderer of Abel – who is cursed to walk the Earth as a loner for all eternity by God as punishment.
Allow us a moment of smugness. Although not too much smugness. Because while, yeah, we’ve been right about Pierce being the season’s real big bad since we first clapped eyes on him, as we said last week, the show hasn’t really done a great job disguising the fact.
Ironically, it might have done so if the Sinnerman last week had been more like the Sinnerman this week. He’s genuinely creepy and weird and manipulative here, rather than the obvious (and dull) stooge he was last week. But by this point, he’s fooling no one, so his sudden reinvention as a Gotham-style baddie is too little too late. But at least he goes out in style, even if his brief reign as the show’s ongoing baddie si completely and utterly eclipsed by that big reveal at the end.
Pierce is Cain? Wow. Didn’t see that coming. Well, yeah, we knew he’d be the proper big bad, but Cain? There’s big bad and there’s BIG bad. As in “Cain is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big he is. I mean, you may think Doctor Doom, Thanos and Ultron are pretty major bad guys but they’re peanuts compared to Cain.”
Okay, that might be overplaying things a bit, but within the Judeo-Christian mythology of this show, Cain is a big deal. He invented murder, guys. It’ll be intriguing seeing where this one’s going, but we assume Cain has a bit of a grudge against Lucifer for all that “tempting-mum-with-an-apple” shtick.
It’s a great cliffhanger to an episode with a brilliantly tense final act. From the moment Lucifer kidnaps the Sinnerman to have him interrogated by Maze, “The Sin Bin” becomes Lucifer at its best: tense, shocking, ominous and underpinned by black humour.
And thank God it does climax on that note, because beforehand, “The Sin Bin” is a misfiring mishmash of tones and a disastrously thin plot. After a reasonably decent opening, which seems to promise a Silence Of The Lambs-style thriller, the episode turns instead into an Ocean’s Eleven romp. There’s no reason why Lucifer shouldn’t do an Ocean’s Eleven riff, it’s just questionable whether it belonged here. For a plot in which the team believes that a girl is in danger of imminent drowning, there’s little sense of urgency, just mucho high jinx. This is one of those occasions where the show’s house style is totally at odds with the events that are unfolding.
Not that the final section needs to be relentlessly grim to be great. The gag with Lucifer drawing eyes on the Sinnerman’s bandages proves the show can have wicked fun without being downright silly.
Overall, then, an uneven episode, but one that comes together so well for the final stretch, it’s easy to forgive and forget its earlier sins.
(Quick question: if the Sinnerman was working for Cain, and the Sinnerman wanted Lucifer to kill him, why did Cain kill the Sinnerman before Lucifer got the chance? Does Cain want Lucifer to kill a human – which we assumed he was setting up for some reason – or not? Presumably we’ll learn next week.)
- Lucifer drawing eyes on the Sinnerman’s bandages – and then later blacking them out – just became one of the Top 10 TV moments of the year. Funny, but sick, in the best possible way.
- While we’d guessed that the Sinnerman was just a stooge, the revelation that Pierce is history’s first murderer, Cain, still left us reeling.
- Plus, the timing between Lucifer stabbing Pierce and Pierce waking up as Cain was spot on; just long enough to get us worried that Lucifer had made a big big mistake.
- Trixie bonding with Charlotte was incredibly cute.
- The Sinnerman was a far more chilling and effective villain this week than he was last week.
- “Helen Killer.” A really terrible pun, but exactly the kind of tasteless gag Lucifer would make.
- “Following his lead will be much faster than running down clues, dodging red herrings and following up on random tips from every Tom, Dick and dullard.” Hang on – did Lucifer just describe virtually every procedural plot on the show?
- Helena: “I was on fresh meat patrol.”
Lucifer: “Good for you Helena.”
Chloe: “No, it means training a new crew.”
- Trixie: “Mummy lets me.”
Charlotte: “That statement would never hold up in court. Decent poker face, though.”
- Lucifer: “Nickelback on repeat?”
Maze: “That’s where I started.” (Speaking as someone forced to go to a Nickelback gig by an ex, this comment really struck home…)
- Oh, and Lucifer with a beer in his hand looks so, so incongruous you just know it’s not a style choice…
- The jokey tone of most of the episode doesn’t mesh with the race-against-time to save a (possibly) drowning girl.
- Okay, we may have missed a detail here, but we’ve watched the episode twice, so if we have missed it, it’s well buried. But… who the hell was attacking Maggie in the opening scene if she faked her own abduction? (Feel free to post “I think you’ll…” comments below.)
- Surely Charlotte would have been a bit more resistant to getting stuck with Trixie all day, at least at first (though as we admit above, they did make a great double act so we’re not really complaining).
- “It’s so hard.”
“Yes, always.” The Carry On films want their gags back.
- Ella turning her Pierce-fangirl mode all the way up to 11 is extremely irritating.
- How many police rules and regulations did the unholy trilogy of Lucifer, Chloe and Pierce transgress to spring the Sinnerman from the precinct? Surely any internal investigation into the Sinnerman’s escape would expose them in under 10 minutes.
- When Maze ascertains that the Sinnerman is human, how come Lucifer isn’t a little more surprised by how a human could return his wings to him? Surely he should have worked out that the Sinnerman was a stooge at that point?
And The Random:
- This week’s sinful songs include:
• “Sin Oficio” by Systema Solar – the first scene with the piñata party at the Lux.
• “Down To The Bottom” by Dorothy – when Lucifer and Chloe arrive at the roller derby.
• “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways – during the chase at the roller derby.
• “Devil’s Souls” by Dirty Monster – as Lucifer draws eyes on the Sinnerman’s bandages.
- Hang on, is Charlotte a shameless queue-jumper? She won’t get to heaven if that’s her attitude…
- Was the subtext of the scene below, “Put that down, you don’t know where it’s been”? Considering how smutty this show can be, very probably…
- Helen Keller was a famous deaf and blind author and political activist from the turn of the 20th century.
- Lucifer is amused at the name “Helena Handbasket” so he’s clearly not the biggest Friends fan in the world – Helena Handbasket was the name taken by Chandler Bing’s dad when he became a Las Vegas drag queen.
- Lucifer’s comment about George Clooney is a reference to the Ocean’s series of film,
- Now the show’s shooting in LA, they’re certainly making the most of the fact, aren’t they? Surely we’re going to get to see more of that breathtaking view from Lucifer’s swanky apartment?
Review by Dave Golder