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    Five Thoughts on Lucifer‘s “Super Bad Boyfriend”

    By | July 1st, 2019
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    The devil is back! After three seasons on Fox, Lucifer has made his new home on Netflix with a shorter ten-episode fourth season. We only have three episodes left, and the show is wasting no time ratcheting up the tension as we head into a possible supernatural conflict. Lot of heaviness in this episode mixed with…Lucifer pretending he’s into fantasy football.

    As you all know this show is months into its episodes being up, and with two more after this, you should probably go ahead and binge the rest. I myself just made it through the first season of Designated Survivor in less than a week, a fact that I’m not proud of, but maybe I feel like a millennial now? Anyway, I’ll catch up. Only two more after this. This episode, Lucifer takes on one of the most important social issues of the day: racism and police brutality. It’s a very disparate episode, with everyone realizing they’re being people they aren’t and the odd tone of the first part giving way to something much different. But with that let’s dive in.

    1. The aftermath

    So after last episode ends with Dan and Ella hooking up in the office they see each other at the crime scene and they are…awkward. It not good, Ella doesn’t know how to talk to Chloe anymore and they agree to keep it between themselves and not hook up again. It’s just really funny seeing them try to deal with all this, they’re slipping over each other’s sentences, Ella can’t address Chloe directly without making a crack about her and Dan having been married, it’s great. In an episode that’s packed, and packed with a lot of absurdity that is trying really hard to be funny, and a lot of heart that is dealing with very serious things, this humorous beginning is great.

    Of course it transitions as Ella comes to Dan saying that someone called knowing that a cop tipped off Tiernan that Lucifer hurt his son and he manipulates her by kissing her. This is in the serious part of the episode in part two, as a lot of the things in part one start to unravel. Dan takes credit for tricking Ella when he goes to Lux later and gets wasted, then he just kind of becomes disgusting. And he is. He’s a dirty cop trying to save his ass and trying to get out alive. He wants Maze to punish him in the bar, and it’s becoming increasingly likely that he slept with Ella because he hates himself and wants to hurt. With that sense of self-sabotage he’s a lot like Lucifer. It really sucks for Ella though, and I hope she can bounce back.

    2. The case in the background

    The case matters way less than any of the other things that happen this week, which makes it so odd when it just kind of…ends. There’s a teacher who is murdered at a high school, Lucifer and Chloe interview some kids, one of them’s dad was having an affair with the teacher. Turns out that kid and his girlfriend were behind the murder because the guy cheated on the SAT and the girl really wanted him to go to Harvard with her. Yikes. You can almost see the hints of the celebrity college admission scandal in the background. Nonetheless, the case is really only a vehicle for Amenadiel to meet another student, Caleb, who we’ll talk more about. Lucifer does the typical asking questions related to his personal life and trying to break up with Eve, but he spends more time hanging out with her than he does really making parallels at work. The bulk of the episode is consists of Caleb, who gets framed for the murder of killing the teacher, and Amenadiel hanging out. Lucifer and Eve dealing with prophecies and relationships is the quirky absurdity happening alongside the case, which flames out much more seriously. Everything goes from quirky to serious so quickly, and the played-for-laughs girlfriend talking about going to Harvard becomes a forced detail in a cover-up, as a two white teenagers frame their black classmate for murder.

    3. Amenadiel the father

    After fighting with his sister Remiel last episode, Amenadiel comes to Lucifer to ask if he’ll be the godfather of his and Linda’s child. He confesses to his brother that he’s worried about being dad and about raising his kid on Earth. Lucifer tells him he should observe other dad’s, or practice, and Amenadiel thinks it’s genius. He then goes down to Lux where he asks a bunch of people about fatherhood, one guy asks if his wife sent him, a gay man makes a daddy joke, and the exotic dancer he asks, in stereotypical fashion, tells him because she’s dancing for money of course she has a bad relationship with her dad.

    Continued below

    Amenadiel then meets Caleb who has come to Lucifer for a favor. Caleb sold drugs for a gang in the neighborhood once, and was given more, and wants out of it. Amenadiel tells him they can take care of it. They bond over being black men in America, Amenadiel goes to the leader of the gang and shows off, they get ice cream and Amenadiel tells Caleb he’s about to have a kid and that’s why he’s helping him, and it’s all cute and sweet and good. You can see where this is going. Caleb gets framed for the murder, police come to arrest him and definitely hurt him and use unnecessary brute force, Amenadiel may be an angel, but in LA he looks like a black man, and the other cop points a gun at him and he’s powerless to help Caleb. Dan ends up breaking up the fight, Dan the crooked cop I might add, and they get back to the precinct. Amenadiel tells Dan, “Why wouldn’t those officers listen to me. It’s like they already made up their minds.” And he’s right.

    Amenadiel and Lucifer and Chloe clear Caleb of the crime, rather swiftly, but the gang leader has Caleb killed. Lucifer and Amenadiel drive out and Amenadiel beats the crap out of the guy. He then tells Luci he doesn’t want to raise his son on Earth. The whole plot is very powerful, and it’s the first time this show has dealt with race this forwardly, outside of people making jokes that Amenadiel and Lucifer are brothers. Caleb tells Amenadiel that he’d be a good father, and he does everything right, and this still happens. Things shouldn’t have to be this way.

    4. “Why do I hate myself so much?”

    This episode also is the first time it seems like any of the therapy is actually helping Lucifer. I mean that seriously. Linda’s a great character, but most of their sessions are played for laughs. Eve and Lucifer go in for couple’s therapy when Lucifer is trying to get her to dump him, and Eve agrees with Linda’s psychological assessment of Lucifer. At the end though they make a breakthrough.

    This comes after Lucifer finally breaks up with Eve, and tells her he doesn’t like who he is with her and she also tells him she deserves to be treated better. She loves who she thinks he should be. He also makes Chloe cry after going through a whole episode of her egging him to break up with Eve because Father Kinley told her about the prophecy last episode and she doesn’t want Lucifer to actually be the devil. That’s been her struggle this season. She may can accept that Lucifer is good, because he’s getting better, but the devil part of him she can’t deal with. Which makes sense, it’s absolutely terrifying. Anyway her seeing him as better and special, he tells her, also makes him feel like trash.

    This leads to his late night session with Linda where she finally is stern with him, urging him to make this breakthrough, to admit whatever it is that he needs and has to admit, and he tells her that he hates himself. And that’s definitely heavy and true. After asking a plastic surgeon at the beginning of the episode to dress up the “moles” on his back (his new wings), he gets out his self-loathing. Seems an honest step, and will be interesting to see where we go from here, and if he ends up with either woman, or winds up back in hell, or human and alone because he pushed everyone away.

    5. Conflicted

    So here’s the part of this where I tell you I felt gross finishing this episode, and I’m trying to process that exactly, so bear with me. This episode features Lucifer making jokes to a plastic surgeon about his wings, him turning into a dude bro with fantasy football nonsense, Eve dressing up to watch Dukes of Hazard with him, Lucifer hilariously failing at breaking up with Eve (emphasis on the hilarity), Ella and Dan’s “next day,” Maze going to a sex club for a date and meeting a creepy old dude for a second one, and Amenadiel asking a dancer about her daddy issues. It also features an unarmed black teenager brutalized by white cops, and killed by a gang, which is way, way more serious than everything that I listed above.

    Continued below

    I absolutely and emphatically think it’s important for entertainment to make social commentary. Hollywood, Broadway, network television, art, etc. leads that charge a lot of the time and they have to, because fiction reflects reality and vice versa. Our fiction’s are sometimes more real than the world and they can impact people on an emotional, spiritual, intellectual, human level better than the news or Twitter. There is a problem in the United States with cops being racist, brutalizing and killing unarmed black men, and arresting and tormenting black people who have not committed crimes and have done nothing wrong, but are harassed simply for being black. That is unarguable.

    It’s fine that this show wants to address social issues, but to me there is such a problem of tone. You can’t have an episode in which such ridiculousness happens in part one and then also expect the weight of Caleb’s problem to land in the next. It just felt so odd to me. And maybe that’s the point, maybe we’re supposed to laugh at Lucifer in part one and be petrified in part two because the world is full of humor and horror at the same time. Maybe we’re supposed to be knocked off the privileged high horse by what happens in this episode, and be faced with a little bit what black people in the United States are faced with on a daily basis. Perhaps I am wrong. As an upper-middle class, white man I do not face discrimination based on the color of my skin. Perhaps the representation is what matters, and the fact that this episode decided to do this at all is the important piece. But to me, it just felt so callous and disrespectful, that it’s hard not to come to the other side of this 50 minutes and think that in some ways, this episode was trying to be edgy and political for the sake of that, instead of dealing with something so serious and important with the respect and care it deserves. I’m open to thoughts on the matter.

    With that though, our time is at a close. Sound off in the comments below, and come back next week for the penultimate episode of Lucifer‘s fourth season!


    //TAGS | Lucifer

    Kevin Gregory

    Host of the Make Mine Multiversity Marvel podcast, Kevin is a displaced Texan currently in graduate school at The University of Chicago Divinity School. Feel free to email him about history, philosophy, theology, and politics (you know all those things people want out of comics). He's on Twitter @kbgregory13.

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