Lucifer S01E07 “Wingman” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Amazon Prime Instant Video, new episodes every Tuesday
Writer: Alex Katsnelson
Director: Eriq La Salle
Essential Plot Points:
- The family of the comatose cop, Malcolm, whom Chloe is investigating for corruption, has decided to switch off his life support. Dan urges Chloe to close the case before he dies or her colleagues will never forgive her.
- Lucifer is having trouble tracking his stolen wings. After Amenadiel refuses to help him Lucifer turns to Chloe. They agree to help each other on their respective cases.
- The FBI discovers that Lucifer’s wings are going to be sold at an illegal black market auction for (mostly fake) religious artefacts.
- Lucifer and Amenadiel (his sudden change of heart makes sense with the episode’s denouement) try to recover the wings before the FBI raids the auction. Lucifer discovers that the wings for sale are actually only replicas of his own real wings.
- Amenadiel discovers that Lucifer can be killed, which delights him; all he need so is arrange for someone to kill Lucifer to force him back to hell.
- Lucifer realises that that auctioneer has looked at the real wings and now cannot bear to part with them; that’s why he made the replicas.
- Lucifer pays the guy a visit, recovers his wings and learns who tipped him off about them: Amenadiel.
- Lucifer burns his own wings in front of Amenadiel to prove that he has no intention of ever returning to Hell.
- Chloe, meanwhile, discovers that Malcolm was not a bent cop; there was another cop (identity unknown) at the shooting.
- When Malcolm’s life support is switched off, Amenadiel secretly intervenes to save his life.
- Maze promises to support Lucifer whatever… but she’s kept a feather from his wings just in case.
Hallelujah! “Wingman” is the best episode of Lucifer so far, which is somewhat ironic considering it’s also the least funny. That not to say it isn’t funny – there are loads of great lines – but previously the main reason to watch an episode was the devilish humour. This episode, though, is more of a drama with comedy than a comedy drama, and the result is far, far more satisfying.
Not that the crime of the week is any less pish but at least it has the decency to use up the minimum screen time necessary. And while the “detective work” is the usual combination of guesses and sheer dumb luck, the “crooked cop” plot also benefits from having a resonance beyond just this episode. It’s part of Chloe’s arc (which, if the final moments of the episode are anything to judge by, will start dovetailing with Lucifer’s arc plot in increasingly unexpected ways) and so immediately comes across as more engaging than most of the throwaway crime plots we’ve been served so far.
The real driving force of this episode, though, was Lucifer’s battle of wits with angel bro’ Amenadiel, and his search for… well, ultimately it wasn’t a search for wings. It was a search for self-realisation. Ironically, the wings were stopping Lucifer from cutting himself free rather than letting him fly. Amenadiel hoped his ruse would make Lucifer remember his priorities; instead it has the opposite effect.
The verbal sparring between the two angels is top notch, because it’s not just bitching, it is two centuries’-old acquaintances trying to figure out this new dynamic. It’s like one middle-aged guy who’s happy with his lot trying to figure out why another middle-aged mate has dumped his wife, bought a sports car, sleeps around and goes paragliding every weekend. They do argue, but there is camaraderie there too. It’s a respectful rivalry that makes the scene in which Chloe meets Amenadiel for the first time – and tells Lucifer that his brother got all the charm – all the funnier.
Until the final few minutes this is a great episode. Then it becomes a really great episode. The last few scenes lift it to another level. Chloe’s speech at the (too early) “wake” is gutsy and makes you like her all the more. Then there’s a lovely scene with Lucifer and Chloe at the piano where they feel genuinely at ease with each other for the first time. Then Maze reaffirms her loyalty to Lucifer… which is nice’n’all but what she reveals next is what you really want from Maze; she’s kept one of his feather, presumably as some kind of insurance policy if he ever changes his mind. (Can angel wings grow back from single feathers in some kind of divine Jurassic Park kinda way?)
Then the most curious but oddly spinetingling twist of all: Amenadiel saves the life of the dead cop. You’d like to think he did it out of the goodness of his heart but you can’t fearing he has something more devious in mind.
- This image above. It had to be done.
- The arc plot is deepening, the elements of the show’s “lore” – Lucifer’s coin, Amenadiel’s ability to freeze/slow time – are being brought back into play at relevant moments.
- Amendiel taunting Lucifer about the fact that Lucifer being mortal means Amenadiel could just arrange for some thug to kill him; the dark look on Lucifer’s face is brilliant.
- The little bit of boding between Lucifer and Amenadiel over St Paul is not just funny, it reinforces with deft ease the idea they were once good buddies:
“Paul’s wrists were too thick to fit in those chains.”
“I know. That man never could pass on dessert, could he?”
“He should have been the Saint of…”
- The two twists in the episodes’s dying moments – Maze still having one of Lucifer’s feather and Amenadiel saving Malcolm’s life – both leave you desperate to know where this is all heading.
- Lucifer doesn’t get all the best lines. Amenadiel asking, “Maybe I can ask Father for some rain and make it a moment?” when Lucifer and Chloe flirt is an absolute peach.
- Chloe and Lucifer are finally feeling comfortable around each other. As we’ve been saying since episode fun, they’re more fun when there’s mutual admiration and it’s not Chloe trying to catch him out all the time.
- Not too many heinous crimes this week, but most of them involve the heinous crime plot. Chloe discovering the “secret” exit and the dropped key was so suspiciously convenient you have to wonder if a) the original team of cops that searched the place were all brain dead or b) it’s all a big set up. Maybe Amenadiel’s plans are even more devious than we thought!
- How did the auction guy knock up a pair of wings so perfect they could fool even Lucifer in the time he had? Amenadiel again?
- In fact, Amenadiel could be a really handy “get out of jail free” card for the writers when it comes to explaining plot holes, couldn’t he?
- Ecxcept… why doesn’t he just kill Lucifer if he thinks that will send him back to hell. Expect some clarifying theo-babble on this front soon.
And The Random:
- This week’s devilish music includes:
• “Talking Bodies (Young Professionals Remix)” by Tove Lo – Maz seduces Segei at the start.
• “Before The Light Takes Us” by Darkness Falls – Lucifer, Chloe and Dan go to the site of Malcolm’s shooting.
• “Get Some Freedom (feat. Dragonette)” by Big Data – Lucifer meets with Amenadiel before the auction.
• “Getting Surreal” by The Fratellis – Lucifer and Amenadiel at the start of the auction.
• “Hurt” – Lucifer plays the Nine Inch Nails song made famous by Johnny Cash.
• “Breathe Into Me” by Marian Hill – as Malcolm’s life support is switched off.
- Director Eriq La Salle Dr Peter Benton in the medical drama series ER, and was a recurring character in the final season of Under The Dome last year.
- Considering how crewmembers’ names keep cropping up on props in this show, we’d bet that the “Reynard” on the poster on the left in this shot is a reference to location manager Tracey Reynard.
- Did anybody understand Carmen’s “pun” about the sky’s the limit at his auction? Then again, this is the man who calls St Paul’s chains “the missing links” so his level of humour is very low…
- We’ve been a little disappointed at the blandness of the episode titles of late. They’re still taken from lines in the episodes but they’re not as much fun or as quirky as some of the earlier ones (“Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil” and “Manly Whatnots”). Personally from this episode we would have gone for, “I Miss The Dress”.
Review by Dave Golder