Lucifer, S2 E13 “A Good Day to Die”
Written by Joe Henderson & Chris Rafferty
Directed by Alrick Riley
“Take a swing and I’ll shove that so far up your ass that you’ll have splinters in your stool.”
According to the writers of Lucifer, hell is only a state of mind. How then to explain our current political situation?
You know the situation is desperate when you find yourself grasping at the nuggets of wisdom dispensed by a TV show, and look to a bunch of fictional characters to answer such questions as: what is the meaning of life? Does free choice exist if God controls everything? Is God a sadistic bastard, and if so, why? Is hell really just an expression of one’s own feelings of guilt? Does that mean that psychopaths don’t go to hell because they feel no remorse? Where is the justice in that? How can it be that modern humans have lived on this planet for over 200,000 years, and we still don’t know the answers to all these questions?
It’s Shark Week on Lucifer. In addition to asking head-exploding philosophical questions like these, Lucifer this week set a new sharknado 3D genetically engineered alien invasion zombie Nazi avalanche shark jumping standard for all TV shows which might in future be tempted to jump the shark to increase ratings. Two characters came back from the dead, one for the second time; Lucifer let two bad guys beat the crap out of Detective Douche just because; Amenadiel beat the crap out of about five security guards; Lucifer bought a painting of a mermaid clown (on purpose!); and Maze got to kill Mum with a defibrillator. Add to all that that this week’s episode sported some of the best dialogue in weeks. The winter finale delivered a lot of action and humor, but did it create enough suspense to tide us all over until the show returns in May? That’s a long time away, and now we’re back to the “will they or won’t they” drama between Lucifer and Decker. Well, that and answering The Ultimate Questions Of All Time.
Somehow during last week’s final chase, the evil professor managed to inject one of his designer poisons into Decker before slashing his own throat. She starts to exhibit symptoms, so it’s all hands on deck to try and save her. Because she’s infected by a designer poison, Decker needs the corresponding designer antidote to survive. The professor destroyed the antidote, and Exceptional Ella can’t re-create it. Decker and Lucifer track down the rich shlubby smuggler who imported the poisons, which wasn’t hard to do, considering that he’s wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. They not only interrupt his party (the court never said he couldn’t have people over), but Lucifer gives him another taste of his Hell Face. Decker collapses. Lucifer takes her to the hospital before resuming the search for the cure.
Lucifer and Detective Douche seek out another of the professor’s henchmen at the art gallery the man uses as a cover for illegal transactions and money-laundering. I don’t know which is a worse crime: smuggling bio-weapons for mad scientists or painting pictures of clowns and actually exhibiting them where people can see them. Not only that, but the man insists that in exchange for the formula for the antidote, Lucifer has to buy a painting. Lucifer draws out the man’s deepest desire and like every artist, he just wants people to buy his work. I so relate. Luckily he did not require Lucifer to actually hang the thing as a condition for the exchange. In the course of trying to obtain the antidote, Detective Douche admits that it’s for his ex-wife. The clown painter makes the mistake of suggesting that Douche should let his ex die. Douche slugs him, and Lucifer and Detective Douche end up tied to chairs in a back room. They work over Detective Douche for a while before Lucifer simply takes off his handcuffs and lays waste to the painter’s goons. As an aside, since the show often ironically referrers to Lucifer as Lucy, is it now time to refer to Detective Douche as Deedee? Yet another of those profound questions.
Unfortunately Lucifer and Detective Douche only managed to obtain the list of ingredients for the antidote, not the proportions required for the recipe. The painter reveals that the professor kept the quantities required for the formula in his head, and nowhere else. Since the professor died at the end of last week’s episode, the situation looks hopeless, until Lucifer realizes that he can go find the professor in hell and get the formula from him there.
Lucifer convenes a meeting of Dr. Linda, Amenadiel, Mum, and Maze to figure out a plan whereby he can return to hell just long enough to get the formula and get back out without getting trapped forever. The clock keeps ticking; Decker’s condition at the hospital continues to worsen. If she doesn’t receive the antidote, she will die within 24 hours of the injection.
Exceptional Ella takes Deedee to get one last ingredient needed for the antidote, while Lucifer tries to get the exact formula. The ingredient is used by car thieves to boost top speed, a fact which she knows from personal experience. She picks the lock and they break into a warehouse full of stolen cars, guarded by none other than Ella’s brother. This is a family history I look forward to learning more about.
In order to return to hell, Lucifer must actually die. Lucifer recruits Maze and Dr. Linda for this part of the plan, although ultimately he has to shock himself because they can’t bring themselves to do it. Because he’s normally invulnerable, he must be in proximity to Decker or they won’t be able to kill him. While Amenadiel stands guard to make sure that Decker is not moved from her hospital room, Dr. Linda and Maze prepare to both kill Lucifer and resurrect him with a defibrillator in the room directly below.
Lucifer finds the professor reliving over and over again the moment where he saves his briefcase rather than the life of a young man. Lucifer explains that the man’s own guilt keeps him stuck in that moment of time. He will stay there as long as he feels responsible. This does not mesh with the professor’s status as a psychopath, feeling no remorse or empathy for others. It presents a logical inconsistency within the character. Unfortunately for the professor, however, whatever smidgen of humanity he does possess keeps him fighting an eternal battle in hell with his own narcissism. Lucifer leaves the professor to his personal Groundhog Day, only to be then trapped in his own unending moment of hell.
Lucifer finds himself reliving the moment where he stabbed his brother, Uriel. Like the mad professor, Lucifer cries that he had no choice, but still finds himself tied to hell by his sense of guilt. Even though Lucifer knows that this Uriel exists only in his own mind, he cannot break free of that horrible act. Though she initially refused to have anything to do with the plan to kill and revive Lucifer, Mum shows up just when Maze and Dr. Linda realize that something beyond their control is keeping Lucifer trapped in hell. She volunteers, despite her horror of the place, to go and bring back Lucifer. Maze smacks her with the defibrillator paddles, and off she goes. Once in hell, Mum manages to help Lucifer break free from the repeating loop during which he kills Uriel. She almost gets trapped by her own sense of responsibility for the events leading to Uriel’s death, though, and Lucifer must drag her away bodily before they can return to earth. Meanwhile, Amenadiel rises nobly to the challenge of keeping Decker in her room and thereby close enough to Lucifer to make the plan work. He is an army of one fending off all the hospital personnel and security guards who try to move Decker, until Lucifer returns from hell with the formula for the antidote.
Decker survives. Her relationship with Lucifer does not. Because God not only arranged for Lucifer and Decker to cross paths, but also arranged for Decker to exist, Lucifer feels like their relationship is based on God’s manipulations and not genuine feelings for each other. He ghosts Decker. When she goes to his apartment to look for him, she finds the furniture under dust covers. He is gone.
Though at times it seems as if Lucifer is behaving like a brat, I guess he feels much the same way someone would if they were forced into an arranged marriage. We all like to control our destiny. Failing that, we all like to feel like we control our destiny, even if it isn’t true. If God and the Goddess of All Creation are as manipulative and selfish as they are on this show, human existence doesn’t really mean much. We’re all just someone else’s Lego Minifigs, incapable of moving on our own. Maybe the only things we can really control are our own hearts. Maybe Lucifer will come to understand that. All we can do in the meantime is choose, or at least pretend to choose, to wait for the series to return in May and hope it answers all our questions then.