“I’ve lived my life finding loopholes; ways of evading responsibility for my clients. Myself. Turns out, there are no loopholes…if you’re guilty, you’re guilty.”

It may have taken the first month of Lucifer to get to this point but we finally get the return of Charlotte Richards. Not only is she back, but sweet Charlotte gets her name in the episode title and a central role in a Lucifer that tackles swearing, poison puddings, legal (and moral) loopholes, and how crushing sensations of guilt can put you on a one-way ticket to the Bad Place…

Lucifer, Welcome Back Charlotte Richards
Welcome back Charlotte (Tricia Helfer).

Though Charlotte is an important piece to the procedural aspect of the show, at first glance, the homicide case of Simon Fisher, senior chemist of Pudding Plus, isn’t all that interesting.  From some of the initial details that come out, we get a handful of the usual suspects. The CEO trying to prevent corporate espionage (along with his fixer) and the former partner-turned-rival who is still building her Heavenly Pudding brand. In the middle of it is Charlotte Richards, legal counsel to all involved. After her first on screen appearance since last season’s finale, we get a quick flashback to Charlotte’s morning routine: wake up, work out, get ready for the day, and do the mirror pep talk about owning her life…even if the last few months are nothing but a blank spot. That last point is extremely important to the story flow as, despite seemingly having things under control, Charlotte is very close to breaking as she wrestles with what happened in the last few months as well as the horrible dreams of torturous days and night without end.

While some of Charlotte’s actions in dealing with her pseudo-amnesia is played for laughs—particularly a hard seduction of a very unwilling Lucifer, the writers do the character a service, attacking the fear and uncertainty the once powerful and, from all evidence, cold lawyer that had it all. The moments of vulnerability Charlotte displays, even confiding in Lucifer, is at the heart of ‘Welcome Back, Charlotte Richards’. After Lucifer spurns her advance, Charlotte is at a dead end, no longer able to fight that unknown section of her life, including how she ended up losing her family.

Lucifer becomes a surprising support for the lost Charlotte.

“My missing time,” she tells Lucifer, “feels like I was trapped in some horrible nightmare. Reliving it over and over…and over again.” Though she likens her experience to Hell, the logical part of her doesn’t believe such a place exists and, more to the point, that she did anything awful enough to warrant such an eternal sentence. “Or perhaps,” Lucifer offers, “you feel more guilt than you realize.”

It’s a wakeup call to her, one that leads to Charlotte assisting Chloe’s investigation of Simon Fisher’s murder. Though Charlotte doesn’t feel as if her initial attempts at righting her past wrongs is successful, it actually is. It turns out that Fisher killed himself to open a true investigation on the poisonous combination of Pudding Plus’s secret ingredients. Before she knows this though, Charlotte holds the three initial suspects at gunpoint, demanding they confess to Fisher’s murder, hoping this small win is a big start to getting the red out of her ledger so she will never have to experience that hellish eternity again.

Even as Lucifer brings the news of Fisher’s suicide, Charlotte cannot let go of the fact that the legal loopholes do not absolve a person of his or her moral responsibility. “If you’re guilty,” she says, “you’re guilty.” She doesn’t want to let these vipers skate but, after trusting Lucifer, she discovers that their confessions during the ordeal are enough that they won’t be getting away with their shenanigans.

But where does Charlotte go from here? She and Dan share a moment which may be a new beginning but it’s her final scene with Lucifer that gives this lost soul a light in the darkness. She asks about her former self, to which Lucifer gladly offers, finishing with “But everything that you did, the other you did, I know that it came from a place of love. I will miss her, more than she’ll ever know.

“I look forward to getting to know the real you.”

I must admit my own intrigue in getting to know the real and true Charlotte Richards. Here’s hoping she shines. 

Post Script

  • It was wonderful to finally get Charlotte back and the character at such a low point. Since we never saw this version of her, it was easy to forget that she was dead until a matronly deity hopped into her body. Her time in Hell, one that seemed like such a dream, was both fascinating and horrifying. To experience something so horrific, something you never thought existed, let alone deserved, along with returning to your body only to find that months have passed you by, is an unimaginable circumstance. While she is not his mother, Lucifer’s protectiveness of Charlotte is the lifeline she needs to pick up the pieces, move forward, and become the best version of Charlotte Richards possible.
  • I was so glad that we got more Trixie-time tonight. Not only is Scarlett Estevez adorable but she’s a good little actress who has some very good chemistry with both Lucifer and Chloe (who, might I add, was a bit non-existent). Her “I didn’t technically break any rules” and Chloe’s talk to her about it connects with the primary vein of the story. While we may do things that, as the rules go, are legal and not necessarily in violation of said rule’s spirit, we also have to ask ourselves is it the right thing to do? Too often we see and hear those justifying their actions but, as Lucifer points out to Charlotte, talking your way out of things does not absolve you of responsibility or, strongest of all, the guilty conscience of knowing you’re in the wrong. It’s a message that Lucifer himself should think long and hard about…