The roller coaster ride of quality continues. The first episode was not very good. The second was a very enjoyable one. The third one? Well it was average.
This week saw yet another mind numbing procedural murder case take the central spotlight whilst the side story told of an imposter who had stolen Lucifer’s identity.
Let’s start with the main plot first. There is just nothing to get excited about with regards to these murder of the week’s. It’s hard to go a day without seeing a show that deals with a group of characters solving killings so why the creators of Lucifer thought it was the right direction for this show will always remain a mystery.
What makes it even worse this week is that this had to be the least interesting whodunit of all time. Now of course plenty of those programs that follow this format have throwaway plots week after week but this one was the most insultingly worthless of the bunch. For starters, the characters involved were so poorly written, and unimpressively acted, that no one in their right mind would ever care about them or their fates. To say they were one dimensional would be to do a disservice to all the one dimensional characters out there, these lifeless automatons were like black holes of charisma.
That might just have been about bearable if the plot kept you guessing as the episode progressed, building up to a gasp inducing crescendo. Sadly, it petered out rather quickly. As soon as Joe, the agent, graced the screen in all his uninteresting glory it was clear that he was the killer. So clear, in fact, that it was mildly frustrating when Lucifer and Chloe stumbled off in the wrong direction before finally finding their man.
Viewers should be thankful though as there was a secondary story to run interference for the damp squib of a main one.
As stated earlier the sub-plot dealt with the theft of Lucifer’s identity and his subsequent attempt to catch the culprit. With the way that he so fervently pursued the man it seemed likely that the retribution he delivered would be evil. Fans will, quite rightly, have been expecting the real Lucifer to finally come forth and for a sadistic brand of evil to be visited upon this Justin fellow. But no, he got to walk away without so much as a scratch.
Yes, this is just the third episode and there is plenty of time to build to a truly despicable and as such delicious moment for Lucifer in which he abandons any semblance of humanity and just lets all that that anger out in a moment of unrepentant rage. That being said, it is unbelievably irritating to be taken to the precipice of just such a moment only for the rug to pulled out at the last second and all that electric energy to dissipate.
It is not unreasonable to want a more devilish Devil and it is something that the audience would greatly appreciate. No one wants a Lucifer that just solves crimes and has an identity crisis, they want the vengeful deity of myth… and the comics.
After reading through all this negativity you would be forgiven for wondering why this episode would be described as ‘average’ rather than abysmal. The reason is that there are little touches, primarily from Lucifer himself, that push the enjoyment factor up just enough to keep the series alive.
The climactic scenes are the best example of this as, just for a second, he loses the pretence and exacts his revenge on the guilty party, Joe. In fact, he throws him clean through a glass dividing wall with one hand, something that should have caused more of a stir than it did.
This is the type of thing they should be doing more of in this series and it was actually a very enjoyable scene. The rage written across Lucifer’s face is palpable and the intervention by Chloe serves to build the intrigue into her and her relationship with Lucifer. She calms him with a touch and in doing so causes the audience to become further invested in her character arc and wonder yet more about who, or what, she truly is and how she has such an effect on The Prince of Lies.
On top of this you have the always sublime performance of Tom Ellis. It seems unlikely that a review will go by without him getting a bit of praise because he makes a very run of the mill show into something that is hard to abandon. He portrays this conflicted Devil with superb ability and it is through his mix of sexuality, confidence, and intermittent vulnerability that Lucifer comes to life.
It would be nice to see Lucifer deal more with the supernatural and less with the horrendously over saturated crime procedural trope but that is highly unlikely to happen in this season at least. The best that can be hoped for in the next few episodes is that the focus is put more heavily of Lucifer himself and his development that on vacuous plastic types being offed at a steady pace.
Despite the wasted screen time afforded to the crime angle, this episode still had something to offer the viewer and works to ask some question regarding the main characters going forwards. Do not expect to be wowed by this show but don’t write it off just yet either, there is some potential hidden deep down. Also it’s angering some religious types what with Satan taking a starring role, so that’s nice.
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