Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 8: Chloe Does Lucifer

So, Lucifer, Chloe and Trixie are playing monopoly and it’s super super adorable.

But Lucifer has a huge moment of doubt when Amenadiel much approves of his “quiet night in” and even says “boring suits you”


Lucifer is MORTALLY OFFENDED by this.

And like every other time he has an issue he decides to externalise this on to the case. So he declares the murder victim, a computer programmer, is “boring” and her room-mate who loves selfies is “interesting”

This whole concept this episode leaves me a little blah. I mean Lucifer is supposed to be daring, self-absorbed, sexy, charming and adventurous, his parties wild and elite. And yes, he’s shallow - but he’s been shallow for a long long time. Long enough to spot fakes and definitely long enough not to confuse “attractive” with “interesting and worldly”. Now we can argue that Lucifer doesn’t care too much about the latter with good evidence given his previous actions (but, at the same time, he apparently appreciates the finer things in live and has an extremely successful exclusive club… which would argue at least some ability to tell the movers and shakers from poseurs) but the idea that this centuries old being would both CARE about fakery and interesting, worldly people AND be unable to spot it? Just seems… unlikely

This also brings us the odd episode of Esther and others not finding Lucifer that interesting which… if they developed this into a story thing of Lucifer maybe losing his supernatural charm as well as his devil face would be interested. But they don’t… which is just inconsistent world building. Remember season 1 when Linda threw out all professional ethics to sleep with him? Remember the number of people compelled by his presence? Remember how Chloe pinged his radar as the only one not affected by his mojo? Yeah, I’m going to need an explanation for these people being indifferent to his devilish charm.

So, the murder victim was in contact with people who run a dating app for the rich and pretentious which has super strict entry requirements - and on arrival the owner, Mac is impressed by Chloe, but, again, super off Lucifer. He’;s also unco-operative because this is a crime show and everyone is always unco-operative at all times but it never matters because the police can commit infinite crime for their investigation and it’s never ever a problem.

So Chloe decides to interview the one person kim the dead woman probably spoke to by going to a party and hoping he hits on her while she’s channeling her inner Lucifer. Something she’s very very bad at, her small talk includes talking bulk buying at the super market. Also both she and Lucifer consider presecco to be a posh drinking choice. Every European bone in my body cries out for me to be judgmental and snarky about this. And yes, she does laugh like a demented witch on crack

Of course she does find the man because the plot says so and questioning him reveals he doesn’t rate Esther because he always has to play act around her while Kim was someone he felt comfortable around and could be himself. Because we’re being subtle with the messages here.

Jumping on a possible revenge theory they go to see Esther, wearing a bikini so Chloe can be all disapproving and judgey, of course, and she cracks under Lucifer’s mojo to reveal her whole well-travelled lifestyle is just completely fake. How shocking. Lucifer is shocked. I am not shocked. But it also reveals a money angel

In the predictable denouement it turns out that Kim was the one behind the highly success elite dating app but didn’t have the confidence to face it - and hired someone to promote the image. Hence Mac; and then she wanted her money back. Chloe and Lucifer both confront him and, realising he’s a fraud, Lucifer uses his own predictable self-obsession (and, again, it doesn’t make sense for Lucifer to find such a fraudster predictable AND not to recognise them)

We see Lucifer return to his sexy lifestyle, but part of him maybe appreciating a quiet night with Trixie and Chloe a little more.

Now for side plots that are much more interesting

Linda. Linda is planning her ex-husband’s funeral but also clearly troubled. In steps Amenadiel for advice and support and Linda’s over-the-top funeral planning cracks to reveal the truth (because Linda is many things - including self-aware).

She is dwelling on her own mortality, like Charlotte is now doing. She’s had a near death experience and, worse, with the celestials in her life all the big questions of the universe are replaced by certainties. Like she used to wonder if reincarnation was a thing - but now she knows Lucifer. She knows what happens after death, she has the concrete knowledge of heaven and hell. And that certainty is terrifying, especially as she seems to feel she’s being dragged downwards. She dramatically insists she wishes she never met any of them.

Something she takes back later because she is Linda and, yes, excellently self-aware. But Amenadiel has some awesome advice, drawing on his own experience of assumed infallibility. He asks if she has less questions - she admits she doesn’t - she has very different questions but she doesn’t have less. Basically, she’s still clueless, she’s just differently clueless and she shouldn’t assume a level of certainty any more than he does

Linda seems to find this comfortable - the idea that there are still unknowns and she isn’t as set on the path as she feels. I think this is a really powerful statement on the effect of divine certainty on humanity, of having answers to the big questions and what it actually means in an urban fantasy setting to have someone clean up that “through the glass darkly” issue. I really wish we’d focused far more on this than on anything else

The next plot line is similar - and again shows how these could be developed - Charlotte desperately trying to find her path to redemption by stalking Ella who she considers a super good person (she isn’t wrong). But Ella is afraid of her. So it’s lots of stalking and accidental knife waving and admitting there’s a lot of darkness in her

She does also help in the case, but not through entirely legit means, which Ella tries to work on her with with TVlandia morality - it’s ok for police forces to shit all over the law so long as they pretend to try not to. No, it’s not what she said exactly but that’s the theme and I’m not sugar coating it because I’m annoyed. I’m sick of crime dramas that continually present the idea that the law is an inconvenience to police and detectives, I’m sick of this major media and cultural narrative that human rights are “red tape” to be cast aside. I’m sick of this constantly pushed meme that the ends justifies the means, the police are infallible and anyone thinking police should face accountability is a terrible person. This is dangerous. This is damaging. This is the message we send to the public at large and countless juries across the world.

Accused is not guilty. Charged is not guilty. Trials are not dramatic wastes of time because everyone in that accused box is always guilty all the time. People the police fixate on are not always guilty. Defence is not a ridiculous barrier that protects criminals. The police are not justified in using all methods in taking down their chosen target. Stop this

Now to go from annoyed to a whole lot more: Charlotte has decided ultimately to be the good guy and not team evil any more by joining the DA’s office. From evil defence to the good heroic side of prosecution

She’s becoming “good” by joining the prosecution not the defence.

Ok, let’s even pretend for a moment Charlotte is getting vast amounts of money as a private criminal defence lawyer, because, hey, it can happen but it’s way more likely she’s corporate. But let’s assume.

She wants to take a big paycut and do some genuine good  then don’t join the DA’s, especially in TVlandia where they already have the untouchable police on their side. Prosecution is vastly over funded than defence, has access to more and better experts, has a working relationship with those experts, has more lawyers who in turn have more time to work on the cases.

You want to be selfless? Become a public defender. Fraction of the wages, ridiculously high case loads and working for some of the most vulnerable, desperate and helpless people in the country with the least resources at hand. And that goes double for TVlandia and its toxic tropes. Hey you want to go any good as a lawyer? Go do pro bono, there are charities that would cry for your help. Help the poor about to be evicted, file injunctions for environmental groups trying to stop all kinds of fuckery, take on a fraction of the civil rights law suits that could keep you busy for a millennium. You want to play hero lawyer? YOU HAVE OPTIONS

But deciding to join the DA’s office? You’ve dropped a few notches down the career ladder, and yes you’re doing a very necessary job, certainly: but you’re not a hero joining the “good guys” in the fight against evil

Or at least don’t count this as joining the “good side” with the implication that defence is evil. This kind of demonisation is toxic and dangerous for anything resembling justice