Halfway through Lucifer’s “Candy Morningstar,” the show’s first new episode in three months, the titular devil reminds Detective Decker (and us) just why we’ve missed him during his prolonged absence: he’s so damn charming.
For us, he’s been gone for three months, but for Decker it’s been two weeks. No notes. No calls. No trackable cell phone activity. Nothing. As far as she knows, he’s dead in a ditch somewhere. So, when he shows back up eager to resume their partnership, him playing the Castle to her Beckett, she’s relieved to see he’s okay, but then instantly mortified to discover that not only he is completely unapologetic about his disappearance he’s also come back with a bit of arm candy in the form of a bubbly, bosomy new wife named, um, Candy. She’s an exotic dancer who really wants to open a juice bar or a tanning salon or a juice bar that also has a tanning salon, and her presence is a direct insult to the friendship and potentially romantic relationship Decker thought she had with Lucifer.
It’s enough to drive a woman mad, and Decker understandably attempts to end their partnership, setting up an episode-long arc in which Lucifer desperately tries to win back her favor. He has to prove how truly indispensable he is to her work, and does so by continually interfering in her case of the week involving the dead lead singer of a band. Decker tells Lucifer to get lost. He pops back up when she least expects it and helps her make a new discovery in the case. Rinse. Repeat. That’s the whole episode.
The moment I alluded to earlier happens when the latest twist in the case identifies the band’s bassist as the new lead suspect. Decker tracks her down to a club, but can’t find her in the crowd. Then Lucifer, who is a bit of a local celebrity and known to play the piano from time to time, appears on stage and dedicates a song to the woman who recently broke up with him, saying she didn’t him anymore. The song is piano-led 90s jam he knows she loves, and the crowd responds by hoisting their lighters in the air and slowly swaying in unison to the beat.
Decker wants to be mad at him. Nay, she is still mad at him. He’s disrespected their partnership. Given her, at best, seriously mixed signals about the possibility of them becoming more than partners. And he doesn’t even seem to realize how much he’s hurt her. But the longer the song goes on the harder it is for her to fight back a smile. There he is up on stage begging for forgiveness while singing a song she knows he hates given the disdain he previously showed for her love of 90s jams. For the briefest of moments, Decker’s scowl turns into a full-blown smile.
Then Lucifer shows his true intentions by tricking the crowd into thinking he was actually singing about the bassist, effectively turning them into a mob who pushes the completely confused woman up on stage for what they believe to be a romantic reunion but is instead a citizen’s arrest.
See. He is indispensable.
It’s the kind of moment which might have earned some viewers’ ire back during the early days of Lucifer’s first season. For however perfectly cast Tom Ellis was as the, ahem, devilishly handsome and effortlessly entertaining Lucifer, the show itself played like an unwitting parody of the tried-and-true cop show procedural with the hot, funny guy getting all the best lines and the hot girl getting a steady dose of eye-roll reactions before graduating to “but he’s just so charming” smirks which eventually leads to full-on will-they-won’t-they. Here’s Lauren German’s Decker playing that out exactly.
However, as Julianne argued last year, “Lucifer’s second season could make it eligible for some sort of TV Most Improved Award. Yes, it’s still breezy and funny and yes, the cast is one of television’s most photogenic, but it’s more than that. It’s become one of tv’s most effortlessly entertaining genre shows.”
It is still a police procedural. The cases-of-the-week remains afterthoughts to the fun character interactions. But in season 2 the mythology (currently revolving around Tricia Helfer as Lucifer’s mom and her efforts to get back into heaven) is richer, relationships deeper and jokes funnier. In a clever meta moment in “Candy,” Lucifer uses a confiscated bass guitar to provide lyrics to the show’s short theme song: “Crime-solving devil. It makes sense. Don’t overthink it.” When I tweeted those lyrics out while watching the episode, the show’s official Twitter handle actually liked and replied, “Exactly.”
Point being, the primary goal of this show is to have fun. We’re supposed to be as impossibly charmed by Lucifer as Decker, or tweet out our overjoyed reactions when Lucifer and Decker go undercover as a newlywed couple and she does a blistering impression of Candy. And, yeah, we’re supposed to root for these two crazy kids to finally get together.
Back in January, Lucifer abandoned his love for Decker for fear that it had all been based on an elaborate lie orchestrated by his father. It made a certain amount of sense given the mythology of the show and psyche of its lead character. After all, Lucifer’s ongoing therapy sessions often revolve around his daddy issues. However, in the wider view of things it made sense given where we are in the history of the show. Just this morning Scorpion’s co-showrunners penned an op-ed for THR describing the creative process which led them to finally pair a will-they-won’t-they after four seasons, and the steps they laid out are the same exact ones Lucifer is currently following:
The rules we adhered to were simple but followed closely: 1) Do not bring them together too soon; 2) Although they cannot be together, make sure you bring them closer in incremental steps; 3) After bringing them closer, make sure you sometimes have them take a step back after a few steps forward; and 4) when you do finally bring them together, do it in a big way and fully go for it.
Lucifer is at step 3, taking a step back right as it seemed Lucifer and Decker were going to become a thing. It’s a dance we’ve seen before on countless procedurals, but it’s a dance worth entering into when the hot, funny guy truly is this charming and the hot girl so capable of calling him on his shit even if he does occasionally transcend criticism by melting hearts from a stage while crooning out a sweet 90s jam.
Oh, Lucifer. How could I ever stay mad at you? Welcome back.
What do you think of Lucifer and its will-they-won’t-they? What did you think of “Candy Morningstar”? Or do you not even watch Lucifer? If so, might I ask why? Let me know in the comments.