The age-old question of what if God was one of us is answered in last night’s Lucifer when the petulant man-child Morningstar infiltrates a mental institution and comes face to face with his dear old dad.
Well, sort of.
Inundated with Maze’s overly exuberant desire to hang out, Chloe’s more than thankful to get out of the house and on the job. This week’s procedural is an absolutely irrelevant mental institution murder investigation whose only significance is to position God Johnson in the sights of our two protagonists. God reveals his identity early on, calling Lucifer by his original name—Samael. While the Morningstar is in disbelief at this revelation, he decides to face his would-be father again, the rage at all the perceived slights and manipulations God has perpetrated towards him for millennia. But then the pair hit it off and the ever-scheming Lucifer realizes that, if this is really God, then what better way to get his punishing on than to put God and Charlotte in a room together, have them make up, and watch as they flit up to Heaven in reconnected bliss…until they eventually tear each other apart.
But first, there’s the whole escape from the institution plan, one needing an accomplice. As such, Lucifer enlists the aid of Dr. Linda, who is again thrown off kilter being in the presence of a cosmic entity. Lucifer sets up the blind meeting that, as Dr. Linda says, is eerily familiar to The Parent Trap plotline. It’s safe to say this particular entry into the Lucifer episode list will not be quite as memorable as that 70s Disney movie.
In fact, “not quite as memorable” is a gentle way of saying that “God Johnson” is one of the most eye-rolling episodes of Lucifer I’ve seen. One of Lucifer’s big issues
recently has been the utter lack of interest in the show’s procedural aspects. Sure, we don’t expect them to have the pizzazz or detail of a Law & Order but I’d rather them not phone in those storylines either. The murder perpetrator in “God Johnson”, a nurse whose name and motivations I feel no remorse in ignoring, is only there to jump start the true conflict between Lucifer and his father. It comes to the point when a portion of your television hour is useless filler, those other aspects better shine.
And whereas Lucifer’s charm and wit generally keep us afloat, in “God Johnson” are devilish bad boy reads more like a petulant child, one who blames everyone else for how he’s turned out. Sure, that’s been Lucifer’s shtick from the beginning…and yet, this time around it’s gone beyond tolerable. Add to the fact that, once again, Maze is relegated to background noise, though she does have a few good lines and her overt sexuality continues to throw roomie Chloe into all sorts of positions of discomfort.
Now, “God Johnson” is not without a handful of positives. The episode’s titular character, as it turns out, isn’t God but a wealthy businessman who just so happened to strap on this belt buckle that may (or may not have—they aren’t wholly clear) contain an essence of God that allowed him to heal. Said buckle also fits perfectly with Azrael’s Blade, furthering the ‘Bust into Heaven’ plot line. On an emotional level, the one of the more touching aspects is a dejected Charlotte showing up on Dan’s doorstep, laying herself bare at the sadness she felt that the man who seemed to be her husband wasn’t. Though Dan’s initial thought is to reject her, Charlotte’s emotional plea for them to just hold one another cuts through his steely wall. Of course, she adds, “with your pants off” the moment he allows her entrance into his home.
Lucifer’s final conversation with the God stand-in where our anti-hero realizes his anger has evolved into fury is the second of such moments. After realizing the kind and loving words “God” muttered to him at the end were things his true father would never say, Lucifer wants more than ever to see his father punished. It’s an admittedly heartbreaking moment to see how little faith Lucifer has left that he meant anything to his father. It’s almost enough to make up for the Morningstar’s overly childish behavior seen throughout the first 40 minutes.
But, as God’s inclusion was a swing and a miss, so too is Lucifer’s final shot of righteous anger.
Lucifer: “God Johnson”