Were you ever hoping there was an entire episode where Lucifer did nothing but badger Chloe to sleep with him? So much that he would do it to her while she’s working, in her home, and publicly, calling her out and pointing at her in a room packed full of people? If you did, “Manly Whatnots” is the Lucifer episode of your dreams – but for the rest of us, suffering through the 42 minutes of drivel that is “Manly Whatnots” is a disastrously empty affair.
What’s worst is how Lucifer’s rampant misogyny is awarded; by the end of this episode, Chloe’s swooning over Lucifer Morningstar, a man who has nearly destroyed her career, has broken into her home while she was in the shower, and propositioned her at least 50 times in four episodes. Doesn’t that just sound like a dreamboat? All it took was for him to bleed a little, make a crappy omelette, and show her his scars (and genitals, which she stares and giggles at, like a twelve year old), and she’s right there with the rest of them – and this is AFTER she sees a glimpse of who he really is in mirror of a warehouse, right before he’s about to punish a different woman.
(oh yeah, there’s a whole crime-of-the-week story about a guy who teaches ‘nerds’ how to get laid, then gets swindled by the girl he fell in love with – who turns out to not be the kidnapped girl we thought she was the whole time, instead a scorned lover who employed her brother to rip off The Player. Yeah, it’s as horrible – and pointless – as it sounds. Moving on.)
This episode is all about the big, beating heart inside Lucifer’s chest (and pants), and how Chloe is somehow becoming attracted to him, even though he ridicules her in front of a hundred people for not wanting to get in bed with him. Forget that it makes Lucifer an absolutely unwatchable character; it makes Chloe a thoroughly unlikable human being, a woman who lets herself get scolded by her ex-husband (and boss, let’s not forget) and then starts becoming attracted to the guy who undermines her position as a police officer, a woman, and a regular human being. And we’re supposed to find it “charming”, “hilarious”, and “romantic”? You gotta be kidding me.
“Manly Whatnots” is an absolute mess of a television episode, wasting any opportunity it had with last week’s brief existentialist bent, with a whole lot of plot hooks and character reveals that ultimately, only reveal how hollow Lucifer is. There’s the angel who can’t be defeated by any weapon or fighter, but falls apart and cries when a woman licks his cheek (WTF is going on, Amenadiel? You can slow time, but not your tears?), and then Lucifer bleeds when he tells Chloe to shoot him (thus springing empathy from her, of course), two plot twists I could really care less about, at this point. Lucifer‘s formulaic approach to storytelling defeats any intrigue we might garner about any of its ridiculously overwrought “big” moments; there’s going to be an Amenadiel scene, they’ll be a scene where Lucifer grows more ‘human’, and then Chloe will go home to have an awkward conversation with her daughter, who is just obsessed with Mommy’s feelings about Lucifer.
When the formula is revealed on a show so early, it often proves there’s nothing of substance to be found; instead of taking the approach of something like LOST‘s first season (where character stories served as entry ways to plot twists, which were then explored in character-based stories in the next episode), Lucifer tries to follow plot with plot, never finding moments to tie them into their characters in interesting ways, instead shoving them into the neat outline it clearly follows for each and every episode. And that’s just boring television, especially when there’s no interesting characters to support it: Lucifer’s horny (but horn-less) attitude mixed with Chloe’s seeming inability to be an effective cop or present mother (or judge of character, considering her sudden attraction to Lucifer) is not pleasant, two dissonant, repetitive notes Lucifer hits over and over and over in horribly ineffective, shallow fashion.
Lucifer Season 1 Episode 4 Review:
Lucifer harasses Chloe throughout another painfully unpleasant episode of television.