Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lucifer, Season Two, Episode Sixteen: God Johnson

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From the moment Charlotte was introduced, I wondered if Lucifer would ever get around to introducing God? For many, Lucifer is already a problem because they find it problematic to paint the devil in a positive light, while encouraging viewers to identify with them.  This clearly Christian fear has not stopped people from tuning to Lucifer but i'm quite certain that it's set limits as to how far writers are willing to go.  Lucifer tends to portray Charlotte, Amenadiel, God and Lucifer as one big dysfunctional family, even as it gives Lucifer's interpretation of the fall. It certainly isn't a show that takes it self seriously and is far removed from the comic book which is supposedly the source material. Lucifer instead seems to take the Christian faith and play with it in a tongue and cheek matter to make it relatable. 

The reoccurring question this episode is, "What if God were one of us?" And yes, this comes complete with Ella singing and playing Joan Osborne's nineties hit. 

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make His way home?

If God had a face, what would it look like?
And would you want to see?
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets?

A murder occurs at a mental institution and one of the suspects just happens to be a former millionaire named God Johnson.  God has been insitutionalised after giving away his money. Lucifer at first believes that God is simply another mentally ill patient until he is called Samael.  Given that Lucifer didn't introduce himself by name, the fact that God instantly recognises him, is all he needs to decide that dear old dad has come to earth.

God's appearance on earth means a change in plans.  Lucifer no longer has to cut open the gates of heaven to have access to his father and can now plot a way to make him miserable here on earth. Lucifer decides to check himself into the hospital in order to have more access to dear old dad.  Chloe heads to visit him and his fixation on God Johnson clearly worries her but she's got a case to investigate and she's got a Maze shaped problem of her own.

Since Maze and Chloe got fake married last week, it seems that Maze is determined to increase their bond which involves spending every waking minute with each other.  To that end, Maze even offers Chloe burnt toast for breakfast. Chloe is desperate to get some space but Maze it seems just won't take the hint.

With the possibility of not being able to stay on earth and no one to talk to, Charlotte is really beginning to feel isolated. Charlotte reaches out to Dan, who's not at all interested in rekindling anything between them, making it clear that he's got too much pride for that. Charlotte being Charlotte, sees this as Dan playing hard to get.

Lucifer's new plan is to get mom and dad together again because he believes that it's the perfect punishment.  It seems that Charlotte and God cannot spend any amount of time together before arguing and driving each other around the bend. This involves breaking dear old dad out of the hospital with the help of Dr Linda. Lux is set for romance and Lucifer plays True, of all things to get his parents in the mood.  Charlotte is amazed at seeing her estranged husband and responds by kneeing him in the balls. Not one to give up hope, God tries again to romance Charlotte, professing his love for her and Lucifer once again pays DJ, this time playing Emile Mover's, Can't Take My Eyes Off You.  God is a surprisingly good dancer and even earns himself a kiss.

Chloe continues to investigate the murder case and decides to invite one of the Doctor's to her home. Maze turns it into a double date and invites Amenadiel. Things are awkward largely because neither Maze or Amenadiel know how to act in this situation.  When Maze and Amenadiel head into the kitchen to give Chloe some alone time with the doctor, Amenadiel lets it drop that he didn't show up with the hope of sleeping with Maze but to spend some time with her since he, Lucifer, and Charlotte, plan on returning to heaven soon. This news shocks Maze because she's really been outside of the celestial loop since her disagreement with Lucifer and Amenadiel.  As Chloe tries to get information out of the doctor, she learns that Lucifer and God escaped the hospital.

Things seem to be going well for God and Charlotte when the police burst in to return Lucifer and God back into the mental institution. As Chloe discusses the case with the doctor, Lucifer and God are trapped by a nurse wearing a Santa costume. In order to make Lucifer and God more pliable she changed and increased their medication. Lucifer is shocked that it's hitting him so hard, while God seems unaffected.  It turns out that the nurse changed her identity to work at the hospital, in order to make her mother's life a living hell. When God and Lucifer figure out her identity, she decides that they need to die.  With their life in peril, God apologises to Lucifer for however he has hurt him in the past and expresses his pride.  It all comes to naught when the nurse returns to hang them and removes God's belt. The buckle falls on the ground making God suddenly not certain of who he is or where he is

After finding some fingerprints, Chloe works out who the killer is and shows up in time to save God and Lucifer from being murdered. It turns out that God no longer believes that he is God and only thought so because of his belt buckle. The buckle is part of the sword Lucifer intends to use to break into heaven and because of this connection, it gave God Johnson a touch of the celestial. Lucifer tells Mr. Johnson that he should have known that when he apologised that he wasn't actually his father.  This entire incident it seems only serves to increase Lucifer's rage much to the bewilderment of Mr. Johnson.

Charlotte knew right away when she kissed Johnson that he was not her husband and this has left her feeling all the more vulnerable.  Charlotte turns to Detective Douche for comfort.  At first, Dan really doesn't want to be there for her but seeing Charlotte so vulnerable for the first time is enough for him to show her sympathy and agree to be an ear for her.

Lucifer puts the buckle on the sword but it promptly falls off when he tries to use it. Lucifer now wonders if there is another piece of the sword that is missing.

As aforementioned clearly there's a lot of dysfunction in the celestial family. It's way it's so heartbreaking when it turns out that God Johnson is not in fact God. For a brief moment Lucifer heard the affirmation he's been waiting to here for eons.  For all the rage and the red flaring eyes, Lucifer is the little boy who has been sent for a time out that really wants redemption and unequivocal love. When he and Linda arrange a date for God and Charlotte, rather than being Samael the punisher, he's more like a little boy desperate to get his parents back together. Sure, Lucifer claims that Charlotte and God aren't good together but his facial expressions and demeanor are all about hope and certainly not rage. In fact, it's one of the few scenes in which Lucifer isn't all angry eyes this episode.

Other than God Johnson apologising to Lucifer by far the best scene of this episode is of Lucifer and God breaking out of the asylum. If you watch closely, you'll see that everything that they do is times perfectly. It's how one would imagine God moving through space with his child. This synchronicity makes it that much more heartbreaking when Johnson's real identity is revealed. What Lucifer wants is a fantasy  and not a real relationship because he's ill equipped to deal with the complexity of them. If that were not the case, he would acknowledge that when Johnson brings up free will, he's asserting that Lucifer had a role to play in the current estrangement. In a relationship there are always three sides.

Now that Dr. Linda has accepted the fact that she's interacted with celestial beings her reactions are hilarious. I loved her uncertainty about how to address God.  I even loved that she pointed out that God and Charlotte killing each other might not work out well for humanity. As much as Lucifer claims to love earth, he seems at times to be oblivious about the effect that he has and that there's so much more at stake than his daddy issues.

Okay, we have to talk through the elephant in the room which is the absolutely ableism of this episode.  It's not okay for Lucifer to announce that  “I love the mentally ill! I mean, who isn’t amused by someone who thinks they’re Elvis or Napoleon or… Wesley Snipes.” Mental illness isn't just some fun altered state of mind that should be mined for shits and giggles.  It's like Lucifer has disconnected from the fact that these are people that he's talking about. Lucifer clearly sees the patients as nothing more than tools to achieve his end goals.