“Love Handles.” Lucifer Season 2, Episode 12.
Another week of Lucifer, another week of me only realizing at episode’s end how the case-of-the-week ties into the episode’s theme.
It is only when this week’s serial killer obsesses philosophically about choice, and Lucifer (Tom Ellis) questions whether God denied him a choice in his infatuation and encounters with Chloe (Lauren German), that the two narrative threads weave together. They didn’t have to for the episode to be good, yet something seems off with this episode.
Perhaps one detail that distracted me from following the episode’s cohesion owes to how capricious Chloe is–again, not without realistic reasons, but ones that seem less out of realistic need and more out of artifice to prolong the will-they won’t-they for her and Lucifer. The opening was already a tease, albeit one with a good climax–of comedic nature, as Chloe finds Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) was watching her sleeping through, and reenacting, her sex dream. The following moments are Chloe trying to compromise with Lucifer, anticipating his responses with double entendres–without awareness that he is avoiding them, expecting she wants him to be serious. It’s an amusing gag, each of them trying to be more like the other, yet the tone of the episode does not complement as well this romantic comedy conceit.
Eventually, Chloe returns to her more serious demeanor, although Dan (Kevin Alejandro) recognizes she is letting her emotions still overpower her reason, Lucifer serving as the devil on her shoulder encouraging her to confront the serial killer to force him to take a careless step and get caught. And Chloe’s return to a more serious demeanor is necessary to set up the conclusion, in which something is killing Chloe, whether related to the chemical weapons developed by the serial killer, or by supernatural means, whether the Mother (Tricia Helfer) to finally cleve Lucifer from God, or God to punish Lucifer or to prevent the Mother from using Chloe as a pawn for re-entry to Heaven. I have to reserve judgment as to the timing and decision to put Chloe’s life at risk again, so soon after Lucifer’s brother Uriel almost killed her. Yet I find it an odd parallel that the episode starts with misunderstanding–Lucifer trying to be more serious, Chloe trying to be more playful–and ending with another misunderstanding–Lucifer confronting Chloe about hiding something, referring to God’s hand in her creation, but Chloe actually hiding her endless nosebleed.
Another odd bit of parallelism, foreshadowing, or just common images, revolve around hands. Lucifer offers hand sanitizer to the graduate student who pleasured himself in the library, then a professor puts her hand into the garbage disposal–was this some sick parallel by the writers?
This week’s case was less enjoyable, seeming more like Saw, more gore-porn for viewers than the more cerebral ratiocination of other detective stories, and more voyeuristic rather than the gothicism and less decadence of Lucifer’s other cases. Suspension of disbelief was difficult. It is realistic for a college teacher to take the tangible copy of dissertation from the burning vehicle rather than helping the driver, out of panic and greed–as is the aftermath, that viral video would doom his career, making him a memetic Internet villain. The nagging moments for me concern a professor who was carrying his dissertation on paper: didn’t he back it up on a cloud? And don’t say that the video filmed was from before the cloud storage was popular: the exposition said the video went viral (hence, cloud storage is happening), and the vehicle’s driver is an online vehicle for hire (no, I will not name that company). I’m just as surprised as Lucifer that a person would sacrifice their own hand, out of faith, without evidence that the killer will supply the antidote as promised–but the narrative has to move forward, and someone has to show Lucifer again faith in humanity. As well, Dan not staying with the professor so she does not cut off her own hand was such a dumb error that I cannot tell whether that is believable for Dan’s typical foolishness or unrealistic.
Next week wraps up the second part of the season, before another hiatus, so at that point I can start writing more about whether the development of Chloe has been leading to a suitable conclusion, or to one that is a bit too out-there to accept.