Two seemingly unrelated murders perpetrated by a lone gunman, Maze being a Halloween chaperone for an eight-year-old, and the most infamous of punishers—and devilish antihero—dealing with the guilt of his actions gives us a multifaceted episode in this week’s Lucifer.
Last week, after Lucifer was forced to kill his brother Uriel, I said that, in order to drive the story forward, it had to be a turning point for Lucifer. Turns out, the writers knew what they were doing as the Lucifer we see in “Monster” is nothing like the arrogant, self-assured, blameless lothario we’ve been given throughout the first season and change. Even with this, things start somewhat bland as Lucifer is doing nothing more than embracing his inner hedonist. It even carries over to the shooting of a zombie bride (it is Halloween, after all). Chloe recognizes that her partner in crime solving is off, though he pushes her worries aside, not giving up the goods on his current state. But that’s his MO—projecting outward rather than dealing with the emotions inwardly. We’ve seen it all along and even his mother, Charlotte, remarks upon Lucifer’s particular way of dealing (“a rebellion here, an apple there”) when she’s consoling Amendial on the familial loss. But that conversation, though small in this week’s arc, will no doubt pay major dividends down the road.
The procedural-of-the-week seems cut-and-dry. A disgruntled someone is killing folks without rhyme or reason. Well, at least his victims are innocent. Turns out Wes Williams has a gripe with the victims’ spouses after his own wife died, and what better way to let them know his pain than to leave them widowed, like him? There isn’t much special with it until Lucifer, nearly drowning in his guilt, taunts the gunman to shoot him and just so happens to save the next victim on the least. As Williams is being led away, Lucifer confronts him, to demand answers. His forked tongue and frank words pull the truth from the devastated Williams. “It’s not vengeance you want. It’s punishment.” Williams wholly blames himself for his wife’s death, just as Lucifer, bravado of the Morningstar or not, blames himself, not just for Uriel’s death but for the events that led up to it. Lucifer can truly relate to those feeling and Chloe, recognizing the pain her friend is in and despite his refusal to confide in her, urges Lucifer to talk to someone before the pain consumes him.
On the other side of the coin is Amenadiel, suffering the same guilt as Lucifer. Yet where Lucifer loses himself briefly in the debauchery of sex and alcohol (probably drugs as well), the eldest of angels would rather punish himself fully. Thankfully, Charlotte is there for her son, pointing out in a way only a mother can that Amenadiel has “welcomed responsibility” his entire life and should be rewarded for his loyalty. His sacrifice. She even takes him to Uriel’s grave, fresh and unmarked. Here, with his mother at his side as Lucifer’s piano rendition of ‘The Unforgiven’ playing in the background, Amenadiel wipes his hands clean of his Father. It seems as if he’s finally standing up for himself but in his grief, Amenadiel is blind to Charlotte’s subtle manipulations.
But the biggest payday comes at the very end, where Lucifer finally takes Chloe’s advice and opens up to Dr. Linda. As she listens to what she perceives as another round of metaphors, the good doctor wants no more of these far-reaching explanations and demands that she be shown the real Lucifer. “No more lies,” she says, “no more metaphors.” More vulnerable than he’s ever been, Lucifer complies and shows Dr. Linda his real face. The devil’s visage stuns her speechless and a dejected Lucifer leaves the office, the doctor’s quiet rejection (at least as he sees it) another massive stone on his tower of pain and guilt.
- “I’m a monster. A monster who deserves to be punished.” Never before have we seen Lucifer loath himself as much as he does when he expresses this to Dr. Linda. It may not be a surprise to us her stunned reaction upon seeing his true face but to the self-involved Lucifer, it’s a mere confirmation of what he is. Despite fighting against the eons of being known as an evil creature of the damned, for the first time it appears that Lucifer truly believes the ‘press clippings’ of his true nature. It will take time for him to get over Uriel’s blood on his hands as well as the crushing blow of Dr. Linda’s reaction.
- As Lucifer is two sides of a coin, Maze shares in a similar duality. Like Lucifer, she does not relate too well to people though, for some reason, she has formed an attachment to the absolutely adorable Trixie. In all the seriousness of murders and guilt, the Maze/Trixie dynamic was the sole bright spot of the episode. Faced with a similar rudderless state of being as her liege, for albeit for different reasons, also decides to drop the façade and present her true form to Trixie. Instead of fear and rejection, Trixie offers Maze an unbridled enthusiastic whoop of acceptance and the torturous demon continues her unintended evolution towards becoming a bit more human.
- Alas, we come to Charlotte. Oh, she’s very good. Striking while Amenadiel is at his most vulnerable and with a few motherly words of encouragement and support, she easily sways her eldest, and once staunch support of God, onto the side of her and Lucifer. He refuses to offer his blind loyalty to someone who isn’t there and, as he holds his mother’s hand as they stand over Uriel’s grave, I can’t help but think back to earlier in the season where Charlotte, as Lucifer hinted at forgiving her, glared up into the heavens as if to say, “I didn’t forget. And I will have my vengeance.” Maybe I’m wrong in this but Charlotte’s desire to spend time with her children have been a bit too earnest, her words too much on the mark…methinks she wants nothing more than to depose God and take His throne. To her, there would be no sweeter vengeance.
Lucifer: “Monster” –4 out of 5 pitchforks