On this week’s episode of Lucifer, titled “The Would-Be Prince of Darkness,” Lucifer and Detective Chloe Decker once again join forces to solve a grisly murder. However, we soon learn that Lucifer has a bigger problem on his hands: an imposter has stolen his identity and is sullying his good (or bad) name across Los Angeles, a discovery that Lucifer does not take well.
The episode begins with Lucifer at a party hosted by a virginal football player named Ty (Redaric Williams), who Lucifer naturally encourages to sleep with fellow party-girl Ali. Once Ty agrees to go along with it, Lucifer scampers off to have his own party fun. However, the bubble of joviality is shattered the next morning when a frantic Ty yanks Lucifer from his bed to show him Ali floating dead in the pool.
On the surface, it would seem like this case is just another means to shove Lucifer and Chloe together again, but its purpose is actually much more complex than that. Sure, Lucifer and Chloe do end up investigating the case together, with Lucifer constantly getting underfoot and being his usual snarky self. But something else happens over the course of this investigation too: Lucifer begins to exhibit signs that he’s capable of feeling guilty for being an unwitting accomplice to evil deeds.
This is a pretty big deal. We already know that Lucifer is changing as a result of his time on Earth, but this is an extreme that I thought would happen much further down the line. I want to take a moment to say that I’m a little disappointed that we haven’t seen Lucifer do anything unmistakably evil in the show so far. The most that we’ve seen him do is coax out people’s secret desires and embolden them to act on those desires. In “The Would-Be Prince of Darkness,” the writers even toy with the possibility of Lucifer committing a twisted, malevolent act by making the audience think that he is urging a young girl to commit suicide. Nevertheless, this turns out to be nothing more than a misdirection. Lucifer is actually cheering her on as she tries to muster up the courage to cannonball into the pool. Not exactly what you’d expect from the Prince of Darkness, right?
And maybe that’s the point. For most of the episode, Lucifer expresses outrage that someone would dare try to tarnish his reputation by going to cheap restaurants and leaving women sexually unsatisfied, but what state was his reputation in to begin with? From the beginning, it seemed like Lucifer was all bark and no bite, and this episode reaffirmed that initial assessment. Take, for example, the scene in which Lucifer has the identity thief in his grasp. He scolds the pretender for being a “two-pump chump” and for leaving a string of displeased sexual partners in his wake but then ends up doing exactly what he had chided his would-be imposter for: he fails to live up to Maze’s expectations and leaves her frustrated. In the one area in which he had excelled–punishing the guilty–Lucifer is now beginning to have performance issues, which doesn’t bode well for Lucifer and Maze’s relationship down the line.
It’s also apparent that the writers are gearing up to transform Lucifer into a champion of justice, so to speak. At the end of the episode, Lucifer’s therapist, Dr. Martin (Rachael Harris), states that his inner dilemma stems from the fact that he seems to be seeking justice for the good guys rather than simply punishing the evil ones. If done right, this could take Lucifer in an interesting new direction.
Altogether, this was a solid albeit a formulaic episode that opened up new creative avenues for the show. It was a pity that the writers didn’t dedicate more time to Lucifer’s identity crisis since it was far more interesting than the run-of-the-mill, and frankly misogynistic, murder case (seriously, a story about an overbearing agent and an obsessive girlfriend? You can do better, writers), but I expect that we’ll get to see more of Lucifer’s character struggle in the future.
A new episode of Lucifer airs on Monday, February 15 at 9:00 pm ET/PT on Fox.