Lucifer S2, E6 “Monster”
Written by Chris Rafferty
Directed by Eagle Egilsson
“So it’s not vengeance you want; it’s punishment.”
If Halloween is the holiday on which one is supposed to rip off the mask and reveal one’s true self for a single night of the year, then why on earth would one choose to represent one’s true self as dead? Similarly, why would a couple choose to start their married life depicting themselves as already dead? That hardly seems optimistic. For those of us for whom Halloween runs an entire season rather than just one night, great thought goes into questions like these. Unfortunately, for the bride and groom on this week’s Lucifer who choose a Halloween-themed wedding complete with zombie attire, they do indeed start their married life with death. As they say their vows, a gunman opens fire, wounding the groom and killing the bride. There are those who say that one should dress up on Halloween as whatever one wants to be for the next year. That eliminates a lot of costume choices. The bride did not know when she dressed up as a corpse for her wedding that it would act like a wish, a wish that unfortunately for her came true.
While Decker begins to investigate who had it in for the corpse bride, Lucifer tries to drown himself in shot glasses and distract himself with sex. He behaves obnoxiously and inappropriately. Well, even more so than usual. He even punches Detective Douche in the face. Instead of soothing his pain, all this acting out just displays it for others to see. Dr. Linda and Decker and even Mum can see Lucifer suffering, but they cannot help him out of it. Strangely enough, Lucifer’s inability to tame his own demons do not render him any less effective as an investigator. The writers of the show for a while hinted that, like Amenadiel, Lucifer might be losing his powers. In this episode, as in some of the prior shows, they seem to have backed off that potential storyline. Lucifer still seems to be able to evoke people’s deepest desires, but this talent is no longer accompanied by glowing red eyes. Maybe the FX budget was being depleted too quickly.
A witness directs the investigation toward the owner of a lunch truck, but before he can be questioned, he is shot by a sniper. At first Decker, Lucifer, and Detective Douche can find no link between the two victims. They do, however, find a connection between the two victims’ spouses. There’s definitely a marriage theme running through this episode. ‘Til death do us part turns out to be a very short time for three couples. Not only are both victims married, but the clues suggest that the widower of a woman who died of lung disease is the most likely suspect. The wife participated in a drug study, but was placed in the placebo group and therefore did not receive a cutting-edge medicine. Her grieving husband wants the people he held responsible for her death to feel like he does – alone and bereft. So he shoots their spouses to make them suffer. Lucifer pulls out of the shooter that he doesn’t really blame his victims. He blames himself.
If marriage provides the first theme of this episode, guilt provides the second. Lucifer agonizes over killing Uriel. Amenadiel blames himself for his brother’s death. Mum thinks that she is ultimately responsible for everything that unfolded. They all feel they are at fault. Mum takes Amenadiel to where Lucifer buried Uriel in the hopes that it will allow him to express his grief. Decker tries to draw out what is causing Lucifer to behave like an out-of-control frat boy. Dr. Linda also tries to support Lucifer, with some unintended effects. When he starts telling her about the dagger of annihilation, she loses patience with him and demands that he tell her the truth about who he is. He doesn’t tell her; he shows her. Lucifer lets her see his face – his true face. Talk about taking off the mask. Dr. Linda goes into a kind of catatonic shock. Some people just don’t have the stomach for Halloween. It’s not a holiday for the faint of heart.
Maze and Trixie provide the comic relief this week. Early in the episode, the tensions caused by Decker and Trixie moving in with Maze are highlighted by a scene in which Mays pushes Trixie on a swing. A sex swing. Further, because Decker is tied up working the case, she asks Maze to take Trixie trick-or-treating. For Maze, trick-or-treating is synonymous with intimidation and extortion, as she forces a poor pirate to fork over not only most of his candy but also money from his wallet. As a special treat, Maze agrees to Trixie’s request to put on a costume. Or rather, Maze agrees to take off her mask for Halloween. Maze lets half of her true demon face show. Trixie possesses an innate understanding of Halloween. Unlike Dr. Linda, Trixie not only isn’t scared of what she sees, she thinks it’s awesome. Maze definitely lands on the top ten list of people who should not be allowed to be around children, but she and Trixie are kindred spirits. The ancient demon and the precocious nine-year-old share a lot in common, and have a great time together. They fall asleep together on the couch after a candy-fueled horror movie festival. I wish I had Maze as a babysitter when I was a kid!
Lucifer, Decker, and Detective Douche converge on the shooter at a drug company where his next victim works. Lucifer stands in front of the shooter’s intended target and dares the sniper to fire on him. The sniper does fire, and it’s not clear if Lucifer thinks he is invulnerable or just doesn’t care. When the sniper is captured by Decker, Lucifer confronts him. When the man admits that he wants to be punished, Decker realizes that Lucifer feels the same way. She tells Lucifer to talk to his therapist, since he can’t talk to her.
Lucifer thinks that he is a monster because he killed his brother. He is wracked by guilt. Though he was the keeper of hell for eons and should have met many monsters, Lucifer does not understand that his very guilt means that he is not a monster. Monsters feel no remorse. They never feel guilty for anything that they have done. They can always justify any action, no matter how terrible. Lucifer’s true face may make him look like a monster, but it’s just a mask; he has the heart of a good being.
The cast on this show wields a lot of talent. Tom Ellis’ musical abilities provide the most obvious highlights to the show. But I am also continually struck by the quality of D.B. Woodside’s performance as Amenadiel. This character initially presented as intimidating, self-possessed, and a bad ass for the ages. As the story has developed, he has done an excellent job of expressing how Amenadiel’s loss of power caused him to suffer a catastrophic loss of confidence.
In his grief, Amenadiel asks all the questions people ask when terrible things happen. Why did God let this happen? Why doesn’t he stop the suffering? No answers are provided. I guess it would be too much to expect God to peel off the mask this Halloween and show us his true face.