Lucifer, S2 E15: “Deceptive Little Parasite”
Written by Mike Costa and Julia Fontana
Directed by Brad Tanenbaum
“Fancy pants rich kids, they’re like vipers. Trixie will learn to slash them with her words, and then I will teach her the knives.”
Parents. First they fuck you up, then they die. This episode of Lucifer is all about the first part of that equation, with a little hint of the second part to come.
Lucifer retrieves the flaming sword from behind a wall at Lux where he’s hidden it, but he can’t ignite it. Mum says he has to call upon his emotions to make it work – Lucifer was furious when he used it in his attempted rebellion against God. Ever helpful, Amenadiel clocks him. In return Lucifer tries to kick him in the balls, but none of this sets the sword alight.
This week’s murder victim was the head of admissions at a posh elementary school for well-to-do kids. The school, Starford Academy, is supposed to be all about teaching kids to manage emotions. Instead of a gym teacher, they have a “Movement and Wellness Mentor” (gag). The motto of this progressive school is “I feel therefore I am.” Teachers are supposed to follow the philosophy of the school as well as the students: the principle tells Decker that any of the adults who become embroiled in conflict must make handmade gifts for the person with whom they are not getting along (more gagging). He indicates that the murder victim had no macramé projects in her office. He does admit, however, that a very vicious verbal fight took place in the front of the school between the dead admissions officer and two disappointed parents whose child was denied admission.
So Decker goes off to interview Suspects numbers 1 and 2, the two fathers of the boy who was refused admittance. They admit that they are angry and even threatened to kill the admissions officer. She had told them that if they made a generous contribution to the school, it would get their child admitted, so they wrote a check. But the admissions officer told them it was never received. They accused her of ripping them off. They seem like unlikely killers, until the bloody murder weapon is found in their unlocked pool house.
Mum decides to help Lucifer get in touch with his emotions so that he can ignite the flaming sword, cut through the gates of heaven, and bring them all home. She does this by hiring three strippers who sort of resemble Decker to pose as detectives and “arrest” Lucifer. Aw, isn’t that nice. One of them even has fluffy fur handcuffs. This week’s episode is all about parents and children, especially what the former will do for the latter. Although hiring strippers to solve a son’s emotional hang-ups probably doesn’t fit into the curriculum even at this very progressive school.
Lucifer decides that what he needs is a child to help him negotiate his emotional waters. So he loads Trixie into the vintage Vette and rolls up to the school, going undercover as a potential parent on a tour. At the same time, Decker and Detective Douche interview the principal about the missing check. The principal immediately bursts into tears and confesses that he took the money. Remember that this is the guy who runs a school based upon teaching children how to control their emotions. He says that the dead admissions officer found out that he took the money, because he couldn’t afford to keep up the affluent appearance required for his job. Though he didn’t kill her, he blames himself for her murder, because if he hadn’t taken the money the fathers of the rejected boy wouldn’t have killed the woman.
Lucifer and Trixie attend some sort of group therapy class in which the children are expected to share their feelings. Most of them clearly don’t want to be there. Trixie volunteers, at Lucifer’s urging, that she feels sad because her mom almost died. Her mom has a very scary job but because it is so important, Trixie pretends that she’s okay. The dip shit teacher tells her that she can channel these sad emotions into constructive action, for example by writing a poem (extra gagging). But then, another child in the class shows his drawing, in which he depicts his mother stabbing the dead admissions officer. So we move on to Suspect number 3.
The mother whose kid thought she stabbed the dead admissions officer admits that she talked about killing the woman within her son’s hearing, because the woman made her feel like a bad mom for having a job. She also admits to having an affair with the dishy Movement and Wellness Mentor; in fact, he’s her alibi for the time of death. Exit Suspect number 3.
A person in a hoodie and a mask attacks Lucifer, and throws him around the parking garage. Suspect number 4? No. Surprise! It’s Mum, once again trying to help Lucifer get in touch with his emotions so he can ignite the flaming sword. This episode is just brimming with examples of great parenting. Lucifer expresses his surprise at his mother’s increasing strength and ability to manhandle him. Foreshadowing, I believe.
The school holds a “grieving gathering” to help people deal with the death of the admissions officer. Since it’s pretty clear that the motive was related to the school, Decker decides to attend. Trixie, Decker’s precocious and charming daughter’s undercover work with Lucifer has reaped an unexpected benefit: the school likes her and it is inviting her to enroll. Decker feels inadequate in the face of all these well-groomed and well-heeled parents, and she’s not sure that she wants Trixie in such a place. Maze comes along, pretending to be Trixie’s other mother. She points out that all these people have flaws and worries of their own. Decker realizes that the school community is a hotbed for gossip, so she gets Maze to chat up some guy at the bar and tell him that an arrest is imminent, and that the DNA evidence is currently locked in Decker’s car in the parking lot. Decker is sure that the murderer will try and retrieve the incriminating evidence. Within minutes, that news spreads through the gathering.
The dip shit teacher who ran the therapy group tries to break into Decker’s car, but is surprised by Lucifer. He doesn’t realize what is going on, and offers to unlock the car for her. Decker walks up just as the teacher finds Decker’s gun in the car and turns it on them. As all the people at the gathering come outside to see what is happening, the teacher admits that she had an affair with the Movement and Wellness Mentor. Though handsome, he is not the sharpest tool in the shed and unfortunately, neither is his child. The murder victim was going to tell, which would have resulted in catastrophic results for the teacher’s family and for her son’s educational prospects. The teacher breaks down and hysterically admits that she couldn’t control her emotions, yet another abject failure of the school’s philosophy. Just as it looks like the woman is going to surrender, she becomes a mass of human forms crashing to the pavement. Maze. All of this takes a few minutes, which is good, because it gives the dumb Movement and Wellness Mentor time to figure out that he’s the kid’s father.
Lucifer admits to Dr. Linda that while he does intend to use the flaming sword to open the gates of heaven, he is going to trap his mother inside and leave. Dr. Linda convinces him that it’s not anger that he’s suppressing, it’s pain and heartbreak. On her advice he tries once again to ignite the sword. He allows himself to feel his sadness, and tears fill his eyes. Briefly, the sword fires weakly. Mum tries to pretend that it’s okay, but she’s clearly feeling some sort of time pressure. Her urgency has increased throughout the episode. As she leaves Lux after Lucifer’s final attempt, she removes a Band-Aid on her wrist. Underneath is a small cut through which light is streaming out. This suggests that she is disintegrating in some way, although her increasing strength and power at the parking garage suggests otherwise.
According to the preview, next week God finally makes an appearance and we’ll finally get to meet the parent of us all. Appropriately enough, he is staying in some sort of mental facility.