“Sometimes, when someone has real feelings for someone and it doesn’t work out, they shut down to anything new until they can deal with those leftover feelings.”
Lucifer nursing a gunshot to the stomach, Eve making out with Ella, and Chloe declaring “this is the answer” while intently staring into a sub sandwich? Well, that’s just the first 30 seconds of “Expire Erect”, the fifth episode of Lucifer Season Four.
After one of the most head-scratchingly ambiguous in media res moments of any show in recent memory, “Expire Erect” rewinds the clock back 36 hours to build towards the how-the-hell-did-we-end-up-here introduction. It’s been more than a week since Eve barged back into Lucifer’s life and she’s already tossing around the “b” word. Being the woman and man loving rake that he is, “boyfriend” is not something Lucifer’s really thought about. Except—as Dr. Linda points out—when Chloe was involved. His answer is a cross “look how that turned out”, highlighting those feelings of inadequacy Chloe’s rejection has resurrected. Linda’s suggestion, that the immediate demise of his and Chloe’s partnership prevented Lucifer from truly gaining the closure he needed to move on, is the driving force behind “Expire Erect”.
Since catching Lucifer with Eve, Chloe has avoided any interactions with her former partner, only touching base with him when the murder investigation of Derek Lee leads the LAPD needing an “in” into the world of MME, better known as Malibu Motor Enthusiasts. Lucifer jumps at the opportunity, not just for the closure but his own uncertainty as to his seemingly casual/but not really fling with Eve. The way the murder investigation seamlessly integrates with the characters’ narrative arcs is a continuing reminder of the step-up in quality of this show’s writing since its rebirth on Netflix. The murderer in the case is Marco Franklin, a man who, after doing 9 years for armed robbery, is on a revenge tour, tracking down his former partners and wife as they left him holding the proverbial guilty bag. While not as constructive as Lucifer’s own quest, Marco is searching for his own personal closure, one that intersects with Chloe and our favorite bad boy trying to resolve the idea that they won’t be working together anymore.
All through this closure train ride, the sweet and lively Eve is relegated to the background and, despite her carefree nature, she’s no dummy. From the beginning, Eve has seen the connection Lucifer and Chloe share and, while she hasn’t said anything about it, the uneasiness their bond triggers in her is clear to see. For Eve, the most disturbing news may be Lucifer’s flippant remark of only being vulnerable around Chloe Decker. That type of connection goes beyond the emotional and, considering her origins, Eve knows all about destiny and the difficulty getting past it.
Though doing a serviceable job addressing what appears to be the end of the Chloe and Lucifer ‘ship, “Expire Erect” is thus far the weakest episode of the truncated season. It’s not without its fun moments—Ella’s dabbling into illicit drugs and the sisterhood kinship she shares with Eve is the best entertainment—there’s a decided lack of the meaty emotional moments the first four episodes carried in spades. It makes for a fun distraction and sows the seeds for a banger of a second half but, on its own, it’s a forgettable adventure, lacking the “must-see” qualities that have thus far powered a surprisingly impactful season four.
- Initially introduced as comic relief, I’ve loved what they have done with Ella this season. She still has that quirky exuberance someone could fall in love with but her crisis of faith regarding God adds a much-needed layer to her development me. Her proclamation to Dan that “God doesn’t exist” suggests that, at some point, she’ll discover the truth about Lucifer as well.
- Like every other supporting character, Amenadiel’s getting his own beefed-up narrative. His concerns over Eve’s influence on Lucifer seems ridiculous considering he’s the original tempter but Amenadiel’s point is not without merit: Eve is chasing the thrills of a lifetime and there are none more powerful than the devil himself. But as Amenadiel points out, that’s now who Lucifer is now and revisiting that relationship could prove the impetus for a very probable backslide for Lucifer.