Lucifer is a show that loves to do fan service. So far, that’s not the type of thing that causes more harm than good for the show. Just look at “City Of Angels?” which was nice for what it was. An episode like “Til Death Do Us Part” is another casual reminder of that love of fan service; though it’s also an example of Lucifer taking what could perhaps be considered fan fiction concepts and making them into a full-fledged episode beyond that. How else can you explain an episode where Lucifer and Clark Kent live in domestic bliss in the suburbs? Or the majority of the Maze plot?
Again, none of this is to say that “Til Death Do Us Part” is a weaker episode of Lucifer or even a joke of an episode. It happens to be far from it, actually. But much like it regularly becomes a question of how Lucifer can get so many lovably immature, dirty jokes into certain episodes, you must question how Lucifer can take these elements that could arguably be called clichéd or tropes and make them work with their own original spin. Because even without the greater character beats—Lucifer’s bread and butter, of course—this is still one of the most fun episodes of the show in quite some time.
As I wrote last week, there’s still so much not quite explained or answered about the very concept of the Sinnerman, but an episode like “Til Death Do Us Part” shows how the show can thrive as a result of getting away from it completely. Lucifer and Pierce’s Odd Couple routine works better here that it has in any other episode pre-or-post-Cain reveal, as does Lucifer’s one track mind, obsession-of-the-week being more about Pierce than it is himself. Although, as Pierce points out at the end of the episode, a great deal of Lucifer’s interest in Pierce is based on his own loneliness (and belief he’s found a kindred spirit of sorts).
So because Lucifer is so determined to figure out what Pierce’s vulnerabilities are—as a way to possibly find a weakness in order to help him die—we now have a Lucifer who takes his usual self-obsession or Chloe-based behavior and shifts that toward Pierce. Of course, to Lucifer, there’s only one true way to figure out and eventually process someone’s vulnerabilities: You have to become their therapist. That’s what Dr. Linda does for him, and Lucifer is obviously the type of character who thinks that going to therapy makes him qualified enough to provide therapy to others. This belief thankfully allows the audience to witness the image of Lucifer in his “doctor” glasses, trying to analyze Pierce after rearranging his office. Because rearranging work spaces in the LAPD is apparently Lucifer’s thing now. The therapy route is shut down just as quickly as Lucifer attempts it, but it is quite amusing to see Lucifer use the tactics he’d usually use on Chloe on some other poor victim.
Lucifer can be pretty hit or miss when it comes to its more “Hollyweird”-inspired cases-of-the-week, but episodes like last week’s “All About Her” (with the surfing and beach community) and this week’s “Til Death Do Us Part” (with suburbia) work in part due to how simple and straightforward the stories themselves are. And better yet, they work without having to do much reaching in terms of character motivations for the week and their connections to the case or the setting of the case. Undercover in the suburbs is a procedural oldie but goodie, and usually, it’s key for progressing—or at least pretending to progress—the will-they-won’t-they relationship of a show. This is the type of episode where you hype up a first kiss (check), mounting tension from having to share a close space and open up (check), and how the relationship will never be the same again (check).
Once we get to the undercover sting part of the episode, this is essentially a romantic comedy between Lucifer and Pierce. (It’s technically a “bromantic comedy,” but “bromance” is a word that shouldn’t exist, because “friendship” does.) And because of Lucifer and Pierce undercover hitting the romantic beats you’d expect from the show if it were Lucifer and Chloe (or even Chloe and Pierce) in the same position, it could be so easy for Lucifer to make it all one big gay panic “joke.” However, the joke is never about them being in a same-sex relationship, as much as it’s all about the already known dynamic of their relationship. Obviously, Lucifer’s sexuality is fluid, but in the case of the more unknown Pierce (and his sternness), his part could easily lead things down that path. But this episode makes it abundantly clear that any issues Pierce has with this assignment aren’t due to the pairing of himself with Lucifer or any man—he’s only opposed to Lucifer’s very transparent attempts to get him to open up and share. After all, Pierce has been honest about at least one thing from the beginning, and that’s how much of an idiot he thinks Lucifer is. Well, that and his dislike of Dan.
The Maze/Charlotte/Dan storyline is quite divorced from the A-plot, but despite its climax—the moment when all three characters pretty much agree to have a threesome, as awkwardly as possible—it touches on some necessary character moments. (But the threesome also ends up being unfulfilled.) In her early scene with Lucifer, Maze makes it clear she’s looking for something to help her brainstorm how to handle (the sadly absent) Linda and Amaenadiel, but instead, she ends up with a distraction in the form of the real Charlotte Richards. This episode marks the first time the characters have interacted since Lucifer’s mom left Charlotte’s body, and it’s a meeting that doesn’t go quite as expected. The idea of Maze being deeply attracted to Charlotte for some unknown reason is acceptable, especially as something that could keep her mind off of the Linda/Amenadiel situation. But that also ignores how Dan factors into this, which is exactly what Maze does when she crashes his date with Charlotte. You also have Charlotte grasping for a return to “normal,” in any way she can get it; but unfortunately, she’ll never quite have that with the group she’s part of. Dan and Ella may be on the outskirts of the weirdness that is Lucifer, but they’re still in his celestial orbit.
The reveal that Maze was simply attracted to Charlotte because of her residual Hell scent (“the pain, the torment”) is pretty sad... though it’s not sad for Maze, the one you’d expect. Because despite the humor of Maze’s lack of social grace and interrupting Charlotte and Dan’s time, on Charlotte’s side of the plot, this is a story about understanding and belonging. And as soon as Maze figures out she was only interested in Charlotte because she reminded her of “her old life,” she drops that. She drops one new piece of belonging and understanding that the perpetually scared and confused Charlotte thought she might have had. While Lucifer spends the entire episode trying to get Pierce to open up and be vulnerable toward him, Maze gets that from Charlotte relatively easy—and then she can’t care less about the woman baring her soul to her. Usually, this is the type of fun Maze moment you’d expect, with her not caring enough about human emotions to get into all of it. But it’s not so fun this time around.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the best, most original scenes in this episode, which is the Lucifer fight sequence at the karaoke bar. Since Lucifer is not a show that does fight scenes often, it’s instantly something that stands out. Sherwin Shilati directs a striking scene which makes the desire for fight scenes in Lucifer ever greater, and hopefully there are more to come. (Shilati also directed “God Johnson,” which had one of the most beautiful scenes in the series’ history.) And, given the narrative, the choice to have K-pop song “Lucifer” (by SHINee) play over the scene is just as brilliant as the actual look. For as much discussion as there can be about “de-powered” (or “not as strong as he could or should be”) Lucifer, scenes like this could be a powerful tool in reminding the audience just how powerful he is in other ways, besides his ability to unveil people’s desires or turn everyone on. Lucifer’s third season continues to thrive when it tries something new and steps outside the series’ comfort zone, and that’s not just in terms of story itself.
Really, leave it to the episode that ends up in the cookie cutter suburbs to try different things aesthetically, like the dinner between “Luke,” “Mark,” Anya (Audrey Moore), and Brian (Paul Fitzgerald). In that scene, it feels like a gulf of distance between the two couples, even though they’re seated at the same table. There’s also Lucifer’s “World Worst Neighbor” montage, where the episode turns into a McG music video from the late ‘90s. It might also turn into an early 4th of July episode, considering Lucifer choice in sunglasses and Speedo.
Also leave it to this episode to develop a strange new friendship in the form of Lucifer and Pierce, while also seemingly leaving another potential friendship on the table in the form of Charlotte and Maze. While the latter leads to a failed attempt at a threesome, the former at least leads to Lucifer getting the greenlight to chainsaw Pierce into pieces. That sounds like a bond that will last a lifetime, however long that may be for Pierce.
- Pierce: “I’ve been trying to kill myself since the Bronze Age. I have tried everything. Even jumped into a volcano once.”
Lucifer: “What? You tried molten lava?”
Pierce: “Yeah, it was a rough six months.”
- Here are just some of the other things Pierce has attempted to kill himself: grenade down the throat, acid bath, devoured by wolves, dropped into helicopter blades.
- It’s somewhat disappointing Lucifer doesn’t completely snap at Pierce’s crack about him being the Devil (and how that means he must have something evil up his sleeve), but then again, Lucifer does choose that time to throw a demon blade right into his back.
- Maze: “Why don’t you see what’s going on there? Rub some of that on Pierce.” This is how Maze suggests that Lucifer use Chloe (or at least what causes her to make Lucifer vulnerable) to kill Pierce. I do think this episode at least makes it clearer why Pierce knows for sure the Chloe thing won’t work on him.
- Lucifer: “Your strengths, your weaknesses. Because everyone has a Kryptonite, Lieutenant.” Just how hard did you all wink at the screen when Lucifer said that one?
- I too am not surprised Lucifer’s bartender is also his drug dealer.
- Lucifer: “You’re terrified of letting someone get close to you, because you know they’ll eventually leave you. You’ll outlive them. You want to die, because you don’t want to be alone anymore.”
- Also, the thing about Lucifer realizing Pierce’s vulnerability and the fact that he’s afraid to get close to anyone is that Lucifer has absolutely no idea that something is brewing between Pierce and Chloe. I’m just saying, for the future when grand gestures will probably be necessary, Lucifer will have no one to blame for himself if he doesn’t bust out the angel wings to prove to Chloe he’s been telling her the truth about himself the whole time.
- An excellent music choice at the end of this episode in a cover of “John The Revelator,” but then I decided to do some reading up on the song. Let’s hope the death of Pierce—or even just the hunt for a way to kill him—doesn’t bring forth the apocalypse. Or, you know what? Let’s hope it does. That would be fun.