Lucifer S03E11 “City Of Angels?” REVIEW
Available in the UK via Amazon TV, new episodes every Tuesday
Writers: Jason Ning, Jenn Kao
Director: Mark Tonderai
Essential Plot Points:
- It’s flashback time, as we return to the days when Lucifer first came to LA for a vacation from Hell.
- He’s having a, ahem, Hell of a time, when Amenadiel arrives to drag him back to the underworld.
- While waiting for Lucifer to finish off having some fun before leaving, Amenadiel is shot by a masked man who’s just killed a jogger just round the corner.
- The masked man nicks Amenadiel’s necklace while the angel is recovering.
- Amenadiel goes to the police station and reports the theft to Chloe (who at this time has yet to be promoted to detective).
- Amenadiel’s weird manner makes her think he’s having a joke at her expense.
- Convinced that the police won’t be any use, Amenadiel enlists Lucifer’s help, but Lucifer regards the search as futile and only agrees as a way of prolonging his time on Earth.
- However, when Lucifer sees a news report about the shooting Amenadiel was involved in, he recognises the girlfriend of the victim.
- Realising he may actually have a chance of finding the necklace, Lucifer makes a deal with Amenadiel; if he succeeds, Amenadiel will owe him an unbreakable favour, the nature of which to be determined later.
- Dan is investigating the shooting. The murder victim is a famous MMA fighter, Aiden Scott. When he tells Chloe details of the case, she makes the link with Amenadiel, since his reported theft happened in the same place as the shooting.
- So Chloe’s investigation and Lucifer’s investigation take parallels paths, both of which lead them into the world of cage fighting.
- (Lucifer’s path also includes a detour into the world of porn films, but then, it would, wouldn’t it? He chats up a porn star called Misty Canyons, who was the MMA fighter’s girlfriend, while Amenadiel inadvertently almost becomes a porn star in his own right, complete with tight cut-off dungarees and squeegee mop.)
- The investigations reveal that Aiden Scott was offered money to throw a fight but he refused to do so.
- Lucifer signs Amenadiel up to be a cage fighter to see if anyone tries to offer him money to throw a fight. Eventually, Lucifer enters the cage to fight with Amenadiel, pissed off that his brother keeps calling him evil, and claims to be the best warrior in Heaven. Lucifer wins when Amenadiel refuses to fight.
- Lucifer enlists Mazikeen to torture the main suspect, the fight promoter (ultimately she shags the information out of him) and it turns out he’s not the murderer.
- But they use him to entrap the real murderer – Scott’s trainer! He was only trying to frighten Scott and shot him by mistake, then shot Amenadiel to make it look like a random mugging that had gone wrong.
- After the trainer reveals where he’s hidden the necklace Lucifer goes all devil face on him.
- Shortly after, Chloe can’t believe her luck when the babbling trainer turns himself in and confesses to the murder. Promotion is beckoning!
- Lucifer calls in his favour: he asks Amenadiel not to take him back to Hell.
- Amenadiel says dad won’t be happy, but honours the deal.
- Lucifer has Mazikeen chop off his wings.
If we’ve been counting correctly, “City Of Angels?” is the last of the four “standalone” episodes that were held over from season two. Of those four, three, including this one, have been hugely entertaining and among the season’s highlights, while the fourth, “Vegas With Some Radish” was a passable piece of fluff. Which kinda begs the question: since these “standalones” have proven so effective, would Lucifer benefit from having a less serialised, more case-of-the-week format?
Short answer – no. Because there’s something deceptive about these “standalones”. Despite that label, they haven’t existed in isolation. They may not be part of the current arc, but they have all been intricately bound up in the show’s continuity. They rely on the fact that the show’s been growing its mythology week by week for over two seasons now.
So while the “standalones” have been a massively successful experiment, they’re limited in what they can offer. They’ve been fun, but they can’t build to the those jaw-dropping revelations and emotional peaks that an arc plot can generate. Having said that, we’re delighted that the show grasped that possibilities of that old adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, to deliver this quartet of little gems (well, a trio of gems and one piece of costume jewellery).
As for “City Of Angels?” in particular, it’s great to learn that Lucifer and Chloe were solving crimes together even before they’d met for the first time. Perhaps Lucifer also being the reason that Chloe gets promoted is laying things on a little thick, but you could argue that – literally – it’s all part of God’s plan.
We get to see Amenadiel in more different costumes than he’s probably worn in the rest of the series put together. It’s always entertaining to take the straightest of straight characters on a show and make them look ridiculous, and “City Of Angels?” has the advantage that it gives us an Amenadiel who’s even straighter than he was when we first met him. That makes Amenadiel as a sexy window washer or gormless cage fighter even funnier, and DB Woodhouse is brilliant to watch as he send his character up mercilessly.
There are cameos for Charlotte and Mazikeen which are fine but add little, though Maze’s fascination with the glass sink plunger is a great pervy little detail. Admittedly, Maze in this episode feels more like Maze we know now than the more guarded, scowly Maze we first met, but since we like the Maze we’ve got now, that’s not really a complaint.
Perhaps the best compliment you can pay this episode, though, is that at no point are you thinking, “Yeah, but what about that cliffhanger about Cain at the end of the last episode…?”
- A Lucifer vs Amenadiel cage fight? Have we just entered a Lucifer fan’s fever dream? That has to be five-star fan service.
- Amenadiel: “They know not what they do,”
Lucifer: “I beg to differ. Everyone here is well aware that they’re doing me.”
- Chloe: “So a Jack’o’lantern stole your necklace?”
Amenadiel: “You know this man? Where can I find this Mr O’Lantern?”
- Amenadiel: “What, there’s no music in Hell?”
Lucifer: “Only for torture, and usually out of tune. Lately we’ve been playing music by this chap named Bieber. God, you should here the screams”
- Lucifer: “You know me brother. I can turn anything on.”
- Lucifer: “Obviously R is for reverse not Really Fast.”
- Amenadiel: “There must be hundreds of porn stars in Hell.”
Lucifer: “Sadly, no, on account of all the good work they do here on Earth.”
- You have to love this show for going with the Karate Kid reference rather than the more obvious Rocky homage for the training montage.
- The running gag about Amenadiel’s “dress”.
- The final image, with Mazikeen chopping off Lucifer’s wings, is every bit as uncomfortable as you’d expect it to be. Tom Ellis has never looked more demented.
- The Charlotte scene was pretty pointless and felt like a contractual obligation.
- Penis de Milo – that’s poor even for this show. Then again, it’s better than LA Whorey. Honestly, you’d think a show that’s as consistently smutty as this one would have more fun with its porn names.
- Lucifer and Amenadiel have loads of really LOUD conversations about their divinity. Okay, in LA bystanders would probably just assume they’re some kinda new age freaks, but surely the crowd at the cage fight would have found it all a little, well, odd, at the very least
- Okay, it’s perfectly in character for Lucifer to masturbate along to Hot Tub High School but that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to (almost) see him doing it.
And The Random:
- On the devil’s playlist this week:
• “Vehicle” by The Ides Of March – during the opening scene with Lucifer in his Saturday Night Fever togs
• “Walk This Land” by EZ Rollers – Lucifer has fun with some laaaaydeeez (and cream)
• “Changes” – Lucifer plays a piano version of the David Bowie classic
• “Watch Me Take It Away” by Cameron Avery – When Lucifer and Amenadiel steal the car
• “Summer Romance” by Jordyn Kane – Lucifer and Amenadiel arrive at the porn shoot
• “Pony” by Ginuwine – window cleaner Amenadiel questions Misty Canyons about his missing necklace
• “Sleepwalking” by Bleached – Lucifer, Amenadiel and Chloe all head for Rico’s fight club
• “We Just Wanna Have Fun” by The Never Never – Lucifer makes a deal for Amenadiel to fight in the club
• “You’re the Best” by Joe “Bean” Esposito (as used in the 1984 version of Karate Kid) – Amenadiel’s training montage
• “American Funeral” by Alex Da Kid & Joseph Angel – Mazikeen chops off Lucifer’s wings
- Blooper: in the scene above, the couple on the table in front of Amenadiel and Lucifer keep changing position between long- and medium-shots: from sitting across from each other, to sitting adjacent to each other.
- Lucifer’s suit in the opening scene is, of course, an homage to Saturday Night Fever.
Review by Dave Golder