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With “Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith,” Lucifer’s favorite demon goes soul-searching

Illustration for article titled With “Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith,” iLucifer/i’s favorite demon goes soul-searchingem/em
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At its core, “Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” is a very by-the-numbers episode. Perhaps not for Lucifer specifically, but it’s certainly got its place in terms of classic television and procedural concept.


It’s that episode of a syndicated television show you stumble on while channel surfing, where the show suddenly focuses on one series regular and their one episode whirlwind relationship with a character that we’ll most likely never see or hear from again. 40% of Sliders was that episode. Smallville once did that episode, and fan response was so strong that they brought back that character to officially kill her off. It’s a surprisingly comforting style of episode.


It’s the temporary love interest, the one who teaches the series regular something about themself that they’ll either never address again or they’ll simply have as part of their character from that point on (without a mention of the character who allowed them to fully see themself). In that sense, “Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” isn’t exactly that trope. For starters, this episode actually does keep the door open for its version of the temporary love interest (Chris McKenna as fugitive conman Ben Rivers) to return. It also includes a possible connection between that character and the season’s current Big Bad. That connection is where things get a bit confusing and complicated.

“Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” is one of the four holdover episodes from Lucifer season two, saved for season three airing once season two went from a 22-episode order back to an 18-episode order. I’ve mentioned it in other reviews, but Lucifer’s showrunners have gone on the record in calling these particular episodes standalone and ones that play with the series’ typical format. This episode very much falls under both designations.


Of course, the trick for this season will be to make these four episodes fit in as close to seamlessly as they possibly can; and “Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” also ticks that box. To a certain point.

After the past two episodes of Mazikeen bounty hunting offscreen, this particular season two episode happens to be the perfect first choice—both for padding in between any other Maze-less episodes and for giving a narrative excuse as to why she’s been going, going, gone so much recently. It also provides a mythology-based explanation for a lot of Maze’s personality and behavior, in Lucifer’s comment to Dr. Linda about how demons’ lacks of souls are why they’re always “living in the moment.” It’s why Maze is always going non-stop on everything—sex, violence, booze—but we learn now it’s also something Maze is finding a bit boring. And in her boredom, she’s going even more non-stop, which leads us to this episode’s quest for “something more.” Maze wants a challenge, and from what she hears about Ben Rivers and Canada, that is just the challenge she needs.


Where things get tricky (and supposedly involved in season three) is in the episode’s closing moments, as Rivers explains that Lt. Herrera (Marco Sanchez)—the actual villain of the week—is simply “a cog in the machine” of something much bigger, something that knows more about Maze than she thinks. While not fully accepted as a true threat by Maze, the implication, thanks to season three continuity, is that this bigger machine has something to do with the Sinnerman. But because of the episode’s original placement, we’re stuck with a strange vagueness after just seeing a previous episode mention the name non-stop. It makes for some confusion as to how things will be integrated back into season proper (next episode), considering Maze’s actual introduction to the concept of the Sinnerman was in a phone call with Lucifer… and that phone call was apparently her thinking he was saying “cinnamon.” While the episode feels weird as a true standalone in the type of modern television series that has a fairly good balance between its mythology-based serialized storytelling and its procedural basis, it works better before it brings in the serialized part.

But it’s not just the placement in the series and plotting that makes this episode somewhat off step. Take the concept of the Ben Rivers character. On the plus side, this is a character who could easily have suffered from the episode hyping him up too much, but he is very much saved by Lesley-Ann Brandt and Chris McKenna’s chemistry. (Then again, this episode features Lesley-Ann Brandt showing off chemistry with an overly Canadian concierge by the name of Norm and a ditzy heiress named Muffy, so it would be very troubling if the one thing she and McKenna needed to have above all else just didn’t exist.)


So here’s the thing: During this entire episode, Rivers is pretty much talked up and depicted as the human, less debaucherous but possibly more evil equivalent of Lucifer. We’re told he uses his abilities for evil, in a way Lucifer would usually spend the whole episode furious about. But the characters never make that direct connection between the two characters, as much as it feels like the episode is attempting to draw them to that conclusion. It’s even more glaring as Lucifer has his night time session with Dr. Linda, as he tells her why Chloe is so worried about Maze:

“She’s afraid that Maze’ll get bamboozled into helping this handsome conman.”

So... Throughout this episode, Chloe is afraid Maze will be stuck with another Lucifer—only one with more nefarious behavior. At least, the version of Lucifer that plenty of people must see when they see his and Chloe’s partnership. The version of Lucifer that Chloe saw in the pilot and still kind of believes to exist every once in awhile. And considering how much season three Chloe is trying to tone Lucifer down (to keep on Lt. Pierce’s good side), it makes sense that this episode would be chosen to fit into the current narrative... if that’s the story they’re trying to tell.


But as this episode goes on about Rivers’ ability to manipulate, his status as “emotionally dangerous,” there’s this lingering connection between the character and Lucifer that just isn’t made for some reason. And it’s not just Lucifer not finding him as handsome as everyone else seems to. While Lucifer is a supporting character in this episode—which is something that this show does pull off, as its supporting cast has more than proven their strength—he’s still of use when he works his literal devilish charm on Rivers’ attorney Athena (Erica Cerra). His own ability of manipulation, of getting people to tell him what he wants and needs to hear. Rivers’ talents are more in line with telling people what they want to hear (even if it’s as ridiculous as him being a prince), but both men still use their talents for very specific reasons to very successful results. The big difference is that Ben Rivers is just human. And Maze is into him. And somehow, the episode glosses over that.

But as for Maze herself, after last week’s episode about self-identity, “Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” conveniently fits that concept for a character who also needs that story. As strange as this episode is, given the circumstances, it gets that right. Because as much of a relief as it is to have previouslies chock full of Maze at the beginning of the episode or even have her do something as ritualistic as eating Dan’s pudding, it’s the moment at the end of the episode—as she drinks wine with her family—that’s needed. Maze is very much the same as she’s always been, but that scene alone tells you everything you need to know about how much things have changed. And for the better. As much as she loves the chase and the hunt, it can’t beat time with Linda and Chloe and Lucifer and Trixie. It’s a rare moment of just absolute peace on this show, and it’s simple and touching. This is an episode of non-stop action and quipping, but there’s still that emotional connection that makes Lucifer as good as it is. And at this point, it’s really good, even when it’s off its game.


The only thing truly missing in this episode, however, is Amenadiel. It’s pretty notable in that last group scene, because this is the episode airing right after Amenadiel accepts that Lucifer is his test. He should kind of be around, you know. It’s also pretty notable because it would make so much sense for Amenadiel to want to help out Maze in this kind of situation. On an episode about Maze and soul-searching, that Amenadiel is nowhere to be found is confusing. Of course, it makes sense (both as a character and as someone who knows his conveniently-plotted layaway schedule) that Chloe would call Dan for back-up. Plus, after Ella, Chloe perhaps knows the least about Amenadiel and would never consider him for such a thing. The Dan/Maze relationship is a fun one though, and after the past couple of episodes of watching Dan get piled on, it’s nice to see him… get piled on for wearing a terrible Hawaiian print shirt and get taken out by the biggest thug in a trio of thugs. But this week, he at least sort of gets a win.

“Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith” honestly is a fun episode of Lucifer, and when it comes solely to the standalone aspect, it does its job extremely well. As standard as the story beats in this episode are, it’s still a slight twist on the case-of-the-week structure for Lucifer, and Lesley-Ann Brandt gets to give us a mini-dose of the Maze spin-off we all not-so-secretly dream of. But this episode is also a reminder how difficult it is nowadays to get in a fully standalone episode, especially one so far off concept. Viewing it through the context of where we are in season three right now and where we’ll eventually be—as opposed to its original context—this episode takes a blow. So it’ll be interesting to see just how well the other three episodes of season two do, especially since this one is pretty tailor-made for where the story currently is.


Stray observations

  • This episode was originally supposed to be episode 19 of season two. Naturally, I’m even more curious how they were going to from point A (Lucifer in the desert with wings) to point B (this). Perhaps that’s the true key to this episode’s flow.
  • Linda: “How do you do this every night?”
    Maze: “How do you not?”
    Linda: “Fear of liver failure, mostly.”
  • Trixie’s attempt to stow away with Maze means I was absolutely on the right track when I suggested that Maze and Trixie have been off bounty hunting together the past two episodes. Lucifer knows what it’s doing, indeed.
  • Lucifer: “Daniel, where are you off to? The ‘80s?”
    Dan: “Ha. Nice one. Hawaii.” No, Dan. That’s not an excuse. Also: Every time he made it clear he’s only able to go to Hawaii because of his miles, I felt really sad for him. Just be happy, Dan.
  • It’s strange that no elaboration is even given as to why teenagers were targets for Herrera and murdered by him in the first place. There’s a vagueness (re: Rivers/Herrera’s entire situation) in all of this that seems to want to detach the episode from the realities of how sordid the whole gun-for-hire and another crooked cop things are, while also blasting rounds of bullets all over the place.
  • First of all, I’m very convinced that the final scene with the mysterious gloved man (which takes place in the precinct, no?) was one filmed after the fact, to work properly with the season three storyline. Second of all, it’s important to note how the files are filed: “Lucifer Morningstar,” “Amenadiel/Dr. Canaan,” “Mazikeen of the Lilim” (not “Mazikeen Smith”), “Charlotte Richards,” and “Gaudium.” That last one is interesting, because it’s basically the official introduction (without anything else) of Lucifer comic character Gaudium to the show. So, is Gaudium someone we already know or someone we will know?
  • As for who the mysterious gloved man is, I’ve already crossed Lt. Pierce off my suspect list. The person is not… burly enough.

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.

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