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In “Vegas,” Lucifer gets by with a little help (and card counting) from his friends

Illustration for article titled In “Vegas,” Lucifer gets by with a little help (and card counting) from his friends
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Last week, “Welcome Back, Charlotte Richards” featured a return of sorts for a Lucifer character. This week, despite the almost indecipherable (until you watch the episode) title, “Vegas With Some Radish” does the same. In fact, both episodes provide context for characters we only really got to know under very particular circumstances—the only version of Charlotte Richards we knew prior to this season was as Lucifer’s mother, and the majority of our familiarity with Candy Morningstar was based on a character she was playing—and they do so while allowing Lucifer coming to some relatively mature conclusions without too much hand-holding.

The big difference between the two episodes, however, is that “Vegas With Some Radish” is one of those four season two holdover episodes.


And yet, this episode doesn’t need to work as hard as “Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” did in order to fit into the third season with relatively ease. Admittedly, there are still the character absences that seem to plague these early season three episodes. But the key is for Lucifer to at least capitalize on its work with the actors and characters who are available, in order to lessen the impact, which this episode does. And “Vegas With Some Radish” even takes the chance of playing with the series’ character dynamics, teaming Lucifer and Ella (with a little extra dose of Lindsey Gort’s Candy) up and giving an even rarer pairing in the form of Chloe and Linda (with bonus handyman Dan).

While Linda has gotten so much better about handling all things Lucifer Morningstar (and the reality of what that means), it’s worth noting that the majority of her interactions are with characters who are even more in the know than even she is. While it’s fun to see moments like her stumble upon things like an original script for Hamlet, in the same breath, she still has to hide that from Chloe. That’s not an issue Linda has. And while Chloe’s issues with Lucifer here don’t require an insight into his divine being—especially considering that, on his end, he’s handling a specifically human issue—there’s always that possibility when Linda is around. There’s always that possibility when Linda’s around anyone who doesn’t exactly know what Lucifer’s deal is. (No matter how many times he openly tells them he’s the Devil.) So even when Linda doesn’t have to be aware of divine implications when interacting with characters, there’s still a mix of her having her guard up (as she can’t just explain to Chloe that most of Lucifer’s stuff stems from the fact that he’s actually the Devil) and her technically being allowed to let her hair down.

Of course when Linda—and most of these characters, really—lets her hair down, that tends to lead to a lot of alcohol intake and embarrassing behavior. And sometimes that’s all you need out of your B-plot. Lucifer, however, gives us that along with an understandably upset Chloe. Lucifer disappointing Chloe is a large part of the series, and while it can get frustrating, it can also make a lot of sense.

Here, the problem isn’t just that Lucifer is off to Vegas with some “radish.” In fact, Chloe expects that type of care-free behavior from him and even hopes she just finds him passed out in his penthouse as a result of it. That’s not even a judgment: She understands and accepts her friend Lucifer as an irresponsible playboy. The problem, for Chloe, is that he’s off to Vegas with some “radish” on her birthday. It’s that Lucifer apparently sees a—again, to her—supposedly meaningless hook-up as something more worthwhile than what’s supposed to be her special day. While an eventual Lucifer/Chloe romance is inevitable for Lucifer, Chloe’s feeling in this episode being something more than simple romantic jealousy is far more interesting for the story right now and as a whole. It’s also relatable, despite the audience’s knowledge that Lucifer didn’t just bail on her for nothing. As she explains to Linda: “He’s just my friend, you know?”


It’s an honest moment in a mostly comedic plot, especially as it comes with the acknowledgment of another aspect of Chloe’s frustration: Chloe’s problem with Lucifer’s constant excuses. Or lack thereof. Chloe admits to Linda that she’ll probably never know and understand everything about Lucifer (and accepts that), but when Linda says he’ll probably have “some crazy explanation,” Chloe also flat-out admits she doesn’t expect to ever get an explanation. Because that’s unfortunately how these things tend to go. The previouslies for this episode are mostly for season two clips, but the one season three clip is the moment when Lucifer can’t show Chloe his devil face (after all of his set-up about how he’ll finally explain and show everything to her) and she storms off out of frustration. Chloe’s relationship with Lucifer, with regards to what she’ll tolerate, has been a moving goal post since the pilot, but she understandably doesn’t want to budge here. Luckily for her, she gets her birthday wish at the end, with Lucifer telling her the truth for his radio silence while she’s “sleeping.” Even better is that Lucifer does admit (to Ella) his reasons behind lying aren’t as immature or panic-related as they’d usually be: His excuse ends up being that he didn’t want to drudge up the past Las Vegas getaway feelings, especially on Chloe’s birthday. Like Chloe’s issues in this episodd, it’s understandable and honest.

When first Chloe goes to Linda’s office, she says: “It’s probably just Lucifer being Lucifer, you know?” Again, Chloe is justified in her spiraling in the B-plot, but she’s also unaware that “just Lucifer being Lucifer” actually translates to “being a good friend, in more ways than one.” And while Lucifer knows Chloe would be upset if he had told her he was going to Las Vegas (and she is when she finds out), he doesn’t consider how she’s more upset that he wouldn’t just tell her the truth. (Because there’s no doubt that Chloe would understand if Lucifer told her the truth about Candy’s disappearance, even though she wasn’t a fan of that relationship.)


But focusing on “just Lucifer being Lucifer,” that’s the key to the A-plot. As Lucifer tells Ella at the precinct, he did a favor for Candy and he hates the thought that he didn’t do right by her. Which is also a concept Lucifer finds very important in his relationship with Chloe, as we see him tell Candy in a flashback. It’s more loaded when it comes to his relationship with Chloe, but that doesn’t make his promise to Candy mean any less.

The ending to “Candy Morningstar” begged the question of what the real Candy Morningstar (nee Fletcher?) was like. And while she’s not actually a well-meaning ditz, “Vegas With Some Radish” confirms that she is the perfect recurring character for the series to use when needed. She’s a successful grifter, geographically available, and fiercely loyal. She also apparently gets her Veronica Mars on when she needs to, which is an admirable skill to have. Lucifer can often feel insular when it comes to its world, despite the larger than life aspects of it. Characters like Candy—recurring characters you know are off living just as interesting stories even when they’re not around—are necessary


Besides just bringing back Candy, this episode also serves as a follow-up to “Candy Morningstar” in terms of the talking point that was a large part of that episode: the subject of Lucifer lying to Chloe. Here, Ella calls him out on it specifically:

Ella: “Poker involves bluffing, also known as lying. Something you claim you don’t do.”
Lucifer: “Bluffing and lying: Two totally different things.”


As for what he’s doing with Chloe this episode, Lucifer claims that’s “selective omission,” which was also his key tactic in “Candy Morningstar.” And while Lucifer’s excuse is technically just a loophole, it’s not so much the writers looking for loopholes in writing the character as it is them writing the character’s genuine belief—due to his “compartmentalizing,” which Ella calls out—that he’s not lying and that “lying” is one specific thing. After all, Lucifer is a character who’s all about things only being one thing, only to learn it’s not so black and white. He’s “not lying” to Chloe, because he’s simply avoiding her and the possibility of lying to her. Back in “Candy Morningstar,” he wasn’t “lying” to Chloe, because he really was married to Candy (a choice he’s still in the process of undoing); and from the confirmation we get here, he really was as taken by her as he claimed, even if it wasn’t in the romantic sense.

Again, it’s hard to take away completely from an episode for missing actors and characters, and this episode makes great use of who’s around. Plus, it’s easy to accept things like Amenadiel’s absence, as he isn’t exactly birthday festivity buddies with Chloe. However, as this episode features the“return” of Linda, it’s worth addressing that character absences and the episode shifting haven’t allowed the audience to really see Linda come to grips with her trauma as a result of the season finale. The first couple of episodes vaguely touched on it, but after the dumpster fire with Amenadiel, Linda either hasn’t been around or in the proper season three existence to address these things. But overall, this episode does a decent job working within the context of where the show is right now (without originally being part of it).


Plus, this episode is just fun. Lucifer is a fun show in general, but this is the type of episode where all of the actors look like they’re having fun. The inclusion of an always entertaining bad Lucifer impression; a birthday stripper; drunk Chloe and Linda; Dan and his drill; Dan ending up passed out with Linda’s glasses by the end of the night; gambling (well, card counting) addict Ella; flashback Lucifer and Candy’s wine and mint chocolate chip ice cream bonding sesh; lounge singer Lucifer; awkward showgirl Ella; Lucifer and Candy scaring a murderer into confession because of ghosts. There’s a case this week, but it’s barely a major investigation and it works in service of the rest of the episode’s fun. While this episode is good for character work (and giving Chloe a meaningful bullet necklace), it’s not necessarily shifting the status quo for the rest of the season three episodes. But it’s fun while it lasts.

Stray observations

  • Ella: “Not a fan, exactly. More like a tiny, helpless space capsule being sucked into a deadly black hole.” If you ask me, that’s a perfectly normal viewpoint to have about Las Vegas.
  • With this episode, we learn that Lucifer speaks all the languages (which we already knew) except for Pig Latin, which he thinks just sounds like awful German.
  • Of course Lucifer gave William Shakespeare a “punchup” on Hamlet. It’s Daddy Issues: The Play. Also, I wonder what other cool things Lucifer has on his bookshelf.
  • Chloe: “What did he say at the end there?”
    Linda: “Um, something about… radishes.”
    Chloe: “[...] He didn’t say ‘radish.’ He said ‘ravishing,” didn’t he? He’s in Vegas, with someone ‘ravishing.’ On my birthday. You know what? Why do I even care? Why do I care? This is stupid.”
    Linda: “Okay, feelings— Feelings are not stupid.”
    Chloe: “Well this one is!”
  • I appreciate how ridiculously shallow Roxie’s desire is, wanting to just get “a hole in one” with the professional golfer at her casino. She doesn’t aspire to or strive for anything great—she just wants to get some. I respect that. It’s a shame there’s not more Lauren Holly in an episode, but what we get is good.
  • So Ella’s “coping mechanism” is counting cards. Coping mechanism for what, you might ask? “To help quiet the voices.” Well that’s certainly interesting. Let’s know more about these voices right now.
  • Candy: “I get it. The part about your dad putting the Detective in your path is kind of fuzzy. But it seems like you genuinely care about her.” At least the show is self-aware enough to admit that the details on what Chloe being “put in Lucifer’s path” are still pretty sketchy. Based on the flashback, Lucifer says this means Chloe’s romantic feelings for him are the result of her having “no control over those feelings” for him, but we still have yet for anyone to ask, “Is that really what that means?”
  • Candy: “I may pretend to be someone a little less threatening at times, but I don’t lie. I call it bluffing. Totally different things.”
    Lucifer: “Oh well that I definitely get. We’re quite similar, you and I, aren’t we?”
    Candy: “Yeah. We are.”
    Lucifer: “Except for the fact that you have ginormous feet.”
  • It’s easy to forget that, as much as Ella is maybe over-the-top with her touchy-feeliness, a lot of the weirdness comes from her being surrounded by people like Chloe, Lucifer, and Maze. People who of course wouldn’t expect or like a random hug. So when she hugs Candy to comfort her—and Candy pretty quickly accepts—it makes sense. Candy is going through something that requires a hug, and Ella is the only one around these parts who would realize that.
  • Three seasons in, and It’s still pretty surreal to watch Kevin Alejandro play such a goober like Dan. Seriously, Dan needs to find himself someone who will appreciate his love of drills and his reliability when it comes to having spackle at a moment’s notice.
  • Obviously we all saw how things were progressing with Lucifer and Chloe in season two—before he panicked and ran away—but it’s still surprising to hear Chloe admit, out loud, to Linda that and Lucifer “were getting together.”
  • Linda: “Lucifer is a non-traditional guy. And he celebrates in… non-traditional ways.”
    Chloe: “Right, like going to Vegas with some radish.” You’ve got to appreciate Lucifer just going for the dialogue-based episode title that only makes sense within the context of the episode. Because I’d been trying to decipher this title for ages.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Despite her mother's wishes, LaToya Ferguson is a writer living in Los Angeles. If you want to talk The WB's image campaigns circa 1999-2003, LaToya's your girl.