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Self-loathing & grand gestures get in the way of Lucifer’s epiphany

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Screenshot: Lucifer (Netflix)

With Lucifer, there comes acceptance—or a long-lasting frustration, if you refuse to accept—that, despite Lucifer’s efforts to change or get better, he’ll always backslide in some way. Pretty much every character knows Lucifer’s patterns, whether it’s getting the wrong lesson from something, self-sabotaging, you know the drill. (It’s the reasoning Maze uses to explain things to Eve, post-break-up, and it backfires.) So despite the self-loathing breakthrough at the end of “Super Bad Boyfriend,” Lucifer’s got a pep in his step when we first see him. Because he believes that the only important part was having the breakthrough and since he’s done it, it’s good now.

“Save Lucifer” is sort of a typical episode of Lucifer, from the opening (still not Bones level of absurd) to Lucifer’s reaction to his latest (and most important) breakthrough. Lucifer approaches the “honest to Devil epiphany” that he hates himself like it’s no big deal, like by acknowledging it, it means his problems will go away. But as Lucifer goes deeper into his own issues and confronts them head-on, doing so (or attempting to avoid doing so) is a lot harder to do when angels self-actualize and manifest what they consider their true selves. Acknowledging that he hates himself only makes him become that thing he hates, and Linda only wants him to “dig deeper.” At least when he was fully in denial, he could keep it somewhat in check.

“I know why I hate myself. Because everything I touch, I ruin. From rebellion against Dad to now. Look at what I put you through. I hate that I am poison for anyone who dares to care about me. And especially you.”


While there are elements of humor and absurdity in Lucifer’s transformation (the “psoriasis,” Chloe putting her scarf on him, blaming Linda for this, even the Devil mask—because Chloe actually has a sense of humor), this isn’t a wacky episode. Because what it’s leading to isn’t funny at all. It’s a devilish version of Beauty & The Beast, right down to Lucifer basking even more in his misery and self-pity as the episode progresses. It’s a far cry away from his matter of fact declarations about how he hates himself at the beginning of the episode. And in doing so, it even turns the fun shtick of Lucifer’s “What do you desire?” mojo into an “Earshot”-esque nightmare. (Culminating in what I imagine is some niche fan service, as Chloe takes the opportunity to ask the murderer the question, really putting the cop into DevilCop.) In fact, that scene highlights just how powerful Lucifer is—or could be.

While there’s a seriousness applied to hiding Lucifer’s transformation and keeping things quiet, Joe Henderson writes 95% of Eve and Maze’s plot like a romantic comedy. In fact, this episode is evidence that Inbar Lavi and Lesley-Ann Brandt need to star in their own Netflix original rom-com. Their plot makes a hard left toward the end, but Eve and Maze are in a one-part Cyrano de Bergerac, one-part fake dating story here, all Rom-Com 101. More over-the-top than Lucifer’s heartbreak in “All About Eve,” Eve is hysterical as she spends her time at Maze and Linda’s, wondering why he dumped her. Maze tells Eve that the plan is to prove to Lucifer that she’s better off without him and doesn’t need him at all, but she’s clearly trying to prove that to Eve herself as well. Only that moment never comes.

Despite being a demon and not one for the touchy-feely, Maze is written with completely recognizable feelings and emotions. She’s gone from disinterested to longing. Longing for things she never could’ve had in Hell. Longing for family. Longing for a place to belong. Longing for love isn’t so crazy. When Dan says he’s never seen Maze look at anyone the way she looks at Eve, it works because it’s true. Last year, writer Alanna Bennett started a Twitter thread (I know) about “the look” and its importance in selling an onscreen romance. Lesley-Ann Brandt has “the look” when Maze looks at Eve. Maze also has infinite patience, because Eve truly has a one-track mind (on Lucifer). The rom-com of it all means all Eve has to do is really listen to Maze’s “grand gesture” song and then everything will be alright, because Maze will get the girl, and Eve will move on to someone who wants to be with her.

But Maze doesn’t get the rom-com ending. Instead, after a grand gesture that even Lucifer understands, Eve takes it as inspiration to make a grand gesture of her own. (One that lovesick Maze goes along with.) This is where everything goes to Hell, as we witness “proof” of someone who cares about Lucifer being poisoned as a result that. Obviously, Eve being as dedicated as she is to making Lucifer jealous is a sign she’s not exactly in a healthy place, as funny as it is to watch her do her Chloe impression... which is even funnier once she starts mimicking her. But after all this time talking about life with Adam and how much she hated trying to be what he wants, Eve continues to do the same with Lucifer. She adjusts herself to please him. But unlike Adam, Lucifer called things off when he realized Eve would never be what he wanted (and vice versa).


Lucifer has gone out of its way to show that Eve has a lot to offer as a person, even if it’s not with Lucifer, so it’s sad that she just can’t stop defining herself by him. Even more tragic about Eve’s turn here is that, Lucifer got off the ultimate thrill ride, but Eve simply refuses to. The scenes at Linda’s—after Maze and Eve have taken Father Kinley—show a very different Eve. She’s pacing, she’s drinking (not in a fun way), and she’s exhausted all her options. It’s simple: She wants to be with Lucifer. So she wants Kinley to change his tune, to say the prophecy’s not all that bad. When that won’t work, she figures she and Lucifer will just go away together, because the city’s clearly the problem. In that moment, and with Linda going into labor, Maze finally snaps out of her love haze long enough to tell Eve she needs to accept when “someone doesn’t feel the same way about you.” Maze is obviously telling herself this too, but it’s advice both women need. Only one of them listens to it though.

Back in “All About Eve,” Amenadiel said that Eve might not be able to go back to Heaven, to which Eve replied: “Well, if I get sent to Hell, then me and Lucifer can keep the party going down there.” Clearly, she’s at least thought that one through a bit more since then, because when Kinley suggests that she and Lucifer go to Hell together, even in her current state, she’s aware Lucifer wouldn’t want to go back. The thing is, on top of the obvious delusion that she and Lucifer could ever get back together, there is the fact that she’s genuinely worried about him. Before they kidnap Kinley, Eve sees Lucifer’s Devil eyes, and he even tells her it’s part of the prophecy coming true. So as Kinley tells her his idea, Eve is reminded of an earlier conversation with Maze—about demons’ ability to possessed newly-deceased Hellbound bodies—which leads us down the demon/back to Hell path. Get someone who’s about to die and going to Hell to send a message to the demons to come help her save Lucifer. Eve’s plan is almost good... but quite trusting of demons and Kinley.


Kinley hasn’t been in every episode this season, but his presence has been felt—with the prophecy, with Chloe and Lucifer’s relationship. Graham McTavish plays him as so genuine that he’s clearly disingenuous. So it’s surprising (but interesting) that they kill the character before the season’s over, to “bring him back” via demon possession. Kinley’s a fanatic who believes he’s on the side of good, but the way things have gone down, of course he has enough regret and guilt deep down to send him down to Hell. (He’s a Catholic priest, who’s responsible for three deaths and almost kills the Bible’s Eve.) Even more surprising (coming from the set-up for this scene) is that, while the demonic possession info dump in the beginning clearly sticks out, the bit about Maze’s hidden weapons around the house seems like just a normal thing... until that comes into play to save Eve’s life. (Because she is a tiny woman who would not have stood a chance otherwise. Maze was right to tell baby A-MINI-diel about how being the faster opponent is necessary when you’re smaller.) But Eve surviving and Kinley dying doesn’t make matters any better, they just make things much more… prophetic.

“Why does everybody always let me get away with so much bullshit?”

Dan asks Ella that after she tells him she covered his tracks on the Tiernan/Lucifer thing. After she basically prevented him for being punished for almost getting Trixie killed as a result of that. In a season—and even an episode—where Dan keeps talking about how much he hates that Lucifer always gets away with everything, Dan finally breaks and questions why the same happens for him. Dan and Lucifer couldn’t be any more different, but it’s clear that what Dan hates most about Lucifer is what he hates most about himself. And while Lucifer’s self-loathing manifests itself in ways where he goes full-on Devil Mode, Dan’s manifests itself in full-on Douche Mode. Dan bails on Ella’s attempt to talk to him about how he needs help—as this whole season has been Dan and Ella avoiding talking to each other, despite offering to talk to each other—but at least he takes her advice and finally goes to see Linda for therapy. Kevin Alejandro has the most thankless role on the show as Dan, but there is at least a method to the doucheness that makes it worth it.


As rude as it is when Lucifer tells Dan, “I need reasons that are actually my fault, not excuses,Dan has been coming up with excuses to blame Lucifer and not handle his issues. Eve comes up with excuses for why Lucifer dumped her, whether it’s Chloe or L.A. or the prophecy. And Lucifer, despite that comment he makes to Dan, also uses excuses to hate himself. Like the ultimate excuse of how Chloe reacted to seeing his Devil face. But as Chloe tells him, she’s “still here” and hasn’t been broken by having him in her life. Then, she’s able to look at full-on Devil Mode Lucifer without the fear she had at the beginning of the season. She’s able to accept him, during what he considers his most monstrous moment. And she’s able to figure out what Lucifer’s real issue is:

“You always talk about how much you hate being blamed for humanity’s sins. You know, ‘The Devil made me do it.’ And I think I know why you hate it so much, because deep down, you blame yourself just as much if not more. You have to stop taking responsibility for things you can’t control. Lucifer you need to forgive yourself.”


Stray observations

  • “Save Lucifer” is a hat tip to the post-cancelation hashtag campaign. Nice.
  • I wonder what made Lucifer ban possessions in the first place.
  • Lucifer: “You see, I’ve made a breakthrough.”
    Chloe: “Really? What is it?”
    Lucifer: “I hate myself.”
    Chloe: “Well I’m not quite sure what to do with that, but it doesn’t sound like a good thing.”
  • Chloe loves a practical outfit, but her outfit in this episode had me write in my notes, “What are you people making this woman wear?” It’s a good thing Lucifer calls out her scarf after needing it because I wondered why Chloe was wearing a vampire bite scarf to work in the first place. And that blazer. Until the masquerade party, this was not a good outfit day for the Detective.
  • Ella: “You can’t touch this!”
    Lucifer: “Yes, I get it. It’s the lyrics to the song.” Ella finding joy in “Stop! Hammer time!” (and then doing the hammer dance) at a crime scene is why Ella is beloved.
  • Linda: “What about Michael?”
    Amenadiel: “No. Definitely not Michael.” Now the writers just have to address the Ella is Trixie theory.
  • Linda gives birth with both Amenadiel and Maze by her side, the way it should be.
  • Lucifer: “Did killing your sister make it go away?”
    Moira: “What?”
    Lucifer: “Your self-hatred, of course. If so, do you think if I made a dummy of myself and murdered it, it might work for me?”
  • Eve has no idea until much later that the reason Lucifer and Chloe are so focused on each other is that they’re trying to hide his Devil flare-ups. So cue her Chloe cosplay, which strangely enough, Chloe is fine with (but acknowledges it’s weird). She’s more concerned with Eve sitting at her desk, going through her files.
  • Eve: “So when should I move my stuff back in?” For all of Eve’s desperation, this is the moment that’s most uncomfortable. At least with everything else, she’s pretending she’s over him. This is just ripping off the bandage and blood gushing everywhere.
  • Lucifer knows its way around a musical number, but it’s usually a Lucifer musical number. Maze is the last character you’d expect to bare their soul in an emotional singing display, but it works. Lesley-Ann Brandt put Maze’s vulnerability on full display as she sings “Wonderwall” (in a mixed arrangement of the original Oasis version and the Ryan Adams cover).
  • I was impressed by the look of full-on Devil Mode Lucifer, and I imagine the Netflix budget is why we’re able to see a lot more Devil body this season.