Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 7: Off the Record

Well… that was a surprisingly hefty one, Lucifer….

It also lost me for a little while before realising this episode starts a year ago, sort of.

Rhys Getty has recently woken up from a hospital bed after a near death experience and has decided that with this fresh opportunity at life he needs to reconcile with his estranged wife

Except she’s apparently found someone else - and is sleeping with Lucifer. Who, when stalked by Rhys, encourages Lucifer to seek our elaborate revenge against the man stealing his wife

And time - no. Yes Lucifer likes his “punishment” thing but despite the many dismissive ways he’s treated women, he hasn’t shown any particular inclination to believe a woman “belongs” to her husband. Aside from anything else, he’s quite willing to sleep with a number of married women. This whole narrative simply doesn’t square with Lucifer’s past actions when it comes to marital fidelity and encouraging people to be themselves.

But it’s a small issue and, honestly, doesn’t change the plot one way or the other.

So Rhys (a reporter) decides to get his revenge by digging into Lucifer’s past and selling to his boss a hit piece on him and Chloe - he gets himself a position to ride along with them, interviews their colleagues and finds... that Lucifer is pretty much well liked by everyone. Except Dan.  But allegations of pudding stealing don’t really hit anyone’s radar. We do begin to see a little more about Rhys though and his clear obsession as he tells Dan that “separated is not divorced”. We definitely get to see an insight into Rhys’s clear obsessing with his wife.

They follow the criminal case and Lucifer continues his normal, unorthodox self while Chloe, conscious of the fact that she’s now under scrutiny tries to make him follow basic evidentiary procedures like wearing gloves and not juggling the evidence. Despite his antics, he still manages to make it clear that he does offer insights and knowledge that the police don’t have.

The case is a serial killer hunting down people he deems as hypocrites (the natural beauty advocate who had cosmetic surgery, the vegan who owned a cattle ranch, the environmentalist with the private jet), all killed by poison

Rhys keeps following Lucifer, stalking him which means he gets to see an apparently shady exchange late at night: except it’s just for novelty sex toys. He finds a woman tied up in Lucifer’s bed - which is clearly consensual. He does get threatened by Maze - but, hey, everyone who looks like they’re in Lucifer’s way at this point is going to get threatened by Maze.

He does declare “I’ve been threatened by worse than you” to Maze. Oh, Rhys: no, no you haven’t. Really not.

So far he’s dug up no dirt at all - and seen some obvious proof that Lucifer is actually pretty effective

Oh and we also see who his wife is - Linda. Yes therapist Linda. And they’ve been separated for 2 years. And she is really really done with him telling his colleagues that she’s still his wife. It’s over and she really needs him to get over her and sign the divorce papers. He begs her to give him 24 hours to prove Lucifer wrong

Again, his obsession is really well portrayed here - focusing on Lucifer as the reason Linda doesn’t want him and completely ignoring the fact their relationship is long over and he is fixated on Lucifer as an excuse for why his relationship is failing and completely ignoring everything that Linda is telling him

He rejoins the case and though they don’t find the serial killer, they do find a criminal thanks in no small amount to Lucifer’s insight. Rhys has to conclude that Lucifer is actually an asset to the police force - there’s no story here.

He seems to accept that but then he sees Lucifer question a suspect and, through the one way glass he sees Lucifer’s devil face (this is a year ago, before Lucifer lost his devil face). He realises that all of Lucifer’s claims of being satan are actually true.

He goes straight to Linda to rant about Lucifer being the devil - and this is before Linda was in on the big secret and she, naturally, thinks Rhys has lost his ever loving mind. Linda makes an excellent point about why she enjoys Lucifer’s company: He doesn’t make her feel trapped. Lucier is 100% in the moment, gives her 100% of his attention and doesn’t demand anything from her.

Which basically sums up Lucifer perfectly. She also demands Rhys and his terrifying obsession sign the divorce papers and leave her alone.

He spends a year - yes hence the flashback - investigating Lucifer. And he’s really really good at his job, laying out a large part of Lucifer’s life. He’s very very very good. But his obsession is also clearly degrading him: his career is in crisis, he stops looking after basic grooming; the obsession takes over his life

Which is when Chloe and Lucifer return to him a year later looking for a lead into the serial killer case - which reinvigorates his hatred of Lucifer which leads him to interrupt Lucifer’s therapy session with Linda to shoot Lucifer

Lucifer is not amused - this shirt was expensive. Rhys tries to protest everything to Linda but this is a year later -she knows Lucifer, she accepts him. And calls him a good man and her friend which he doesn’t even come close to understanding. Linda is professional and kind, understanding how he completely misunderstood his previous ranting and tries to talk to him - but he leaves, horrified that he’s just spent a year of his life trying to prove Lucifer to Linda and she already knew and didn’t care

He returns to his obsession with Lucifer (because the alternative is that he has to accept that Lucifer is not the reason why Linda doesn’t want him back). His excellent research shows and he figures out the way to hurt Lucifer - he’s vulnerable when Chloe’s around

He shows his considerable research skills, tracks down the serial killer who has been out of action due to being “back on his meds” (oh look, more demonising of mental illness) and promptly manipulates him to murder Lucifer, arranging for Chloe to be at the club at the same point as the serial killer

It’s well done but fails when Lucifer’s huge charm hits the serial killer and has him switch drinks, murdering an innocent bystander in the process. Lucifer is duly outraged that someone is murdered in his own home. Chloe assumes that Rhys is the one being targeted since he was the one with the evidence pointing to the serial killer

This would all add up to a whole lot of guilt - except he has, again, moved all the blame to Lucifer and goes to confront him again - it’s all Lucifer’s fault. Because if it isn’t, this dead woman, Linda not being with him is all Rhys’s fault. And Lucifer responds with an epic speech about humans always blaming him: and how he’s sick of it. He never makes humans do anything, he takes no part on who goes to hell: humans do it, they send themselves down with their own guilt, forcing themselves to relive their sins in hell. And, twist, the doors aren’t even locked - humans could leave at any time, but no-one does. Only you are responsible for your soul.

It’s an epic Lucifer speech and an excellent call back to early Lucifer.

He falls back on assuming Lucifer is using some kind of magic to convince Linda (which… originally may have been the case but not so much now): Lucifer says he just showed Linda his true self. She’s probably the only person he told that.

Rhys decides the option here is to go to Linda and be himself, apologise and admit to all the bad things he did during their marriage. But this touching scene falls apart when it’s clear he’s only apologising because he thinks Linda will take him back. He’s not sincere, he’s not taking responsibility, he’s just manipulating Linda to try and get what she wants.

He collapses, desperately telling her all the things he’s done to try and win her back. Including murder. Oooops… Linda is not amused and tries to call the police… and he grabs her and throws her across the room, injuring her. This seems to be a final wake up call for him and he flees the room

He returns to his office where the serial killer finds him - and poisons him - for daring to call precious Lucifer a fraud (that Lucifer charm is powerful). And the police arrive as Linda called them - so the serial killer is caught

He dies from the poison… and restarts this whole episode. Because he’s in hell, reliving his sins over and over.

And that episode was… excellent. The whole depiction of obsession, stalking, self-justification, denial, transfer of guilt, scapegoating just so excellently came together. The ultimate sense of entitlement Rhys had that he wouldn’t let go of was brilliantly maintained and had a nice, long, slow reveal. Because so often these kind of obsessive stalkers can seem so reasonable and innocuous... at first and few people outside of their victims realise how far they've gone