Recaps

An Outsider’s Look at Lucifer is “Off the Record”

I’m a huge fan of ambitious, clever, and novel story-telling and this one-off, mind-bending script was solid entertainment from start to finish.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

We start with an unknown man waking from some sort of medical emergency with a new lease on life. He sets out to win back his estranged wife… only to discover she’s schtupping (or being schtupped by?) our very obliging Lucifer Morningstar.

This sets our temporary central character, Reese Getty (Patrick Fabian, Better Get Saul), on the road to revenge and although the adage is to dig two graves, he begins to realize killing the Devil is harder than you’d think.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

Getty is a bit of a hard character to like. He’s driven and smart and talented but he’s also obsessive, egotistical, and desperate. He comes across of more of a human train wreck that we just can’t take our eyes off of. Especially when he starts to go off the rails in big ways.

The real star of the show here is the plot twists. Not so much concerned with the police case that Decker and Lucifer are trying to solve, this story builds momentum with reveals about Getty and his involvement with our intrepid heroes.

The first reveal is subtle (and do I ever love that the writers respect their audience enough to risk that subtlety) when Lucifer mentions that he has JUST started consulting with the LAPD, establishing that Getty’s first meeting with him occurs near the beginning of the series.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

This gets us thinking right away. It’s almost a clips show in its nostalgic value. This timing means that Lucifer and Maze are still operating in their own hedonistic and self-absorbed arena. Decker, Espinoza, and Dr. Martin are still mortal acquaintances (with benefits, in the doctor’s case) and Ella and Charlotte-Mama aren’t even on the radar yet.

Wow, this show’s covered a lot of ground in two seasons.

Photo Credit: FOX

The next reveal is significantly more of a jaw-dropper. Getty’s estranged wife is none other than our good Dr. Linda Martin and his use of “estranged” understates the situation, which is a straight-up separation in her mind.

This is when we start to suspect that we may have an “unreliable narrator” since Getty’s obviously delusional about his marriage. After all, in all the time we’ve known Dr. Martin, she’s never seemed to be pining for an ex. And definitely not when Lucifer was paying for his therapy sessions with schtup-currency.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

His investigation into Mr. Morningstar is a neat way to access third-person testimonials about Lucifer. As he interviews the police and staff at the precinct, we get several person-on-the-street comments on him and can sort of understand Getty’s frustration as he gets nothing but glowing reviews of someone he thinks is a con.

Until he gets to Espinoza of course. Whose major gripe is that he thinks Lucifer is stealing his pudding… oh, and his (ex-)wife’s affections. It’s sort of amusing at first but then it turns a little dark when he tries to bond with Dan over the state of their respective marriages.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

The next reveal is dramatic. Having come to the conclusion that Lucifer is a benign but dapper (and slightly kinky) entrepreneur, Getty is ready to walk away from his investigative article when he catches a chance to observe Luci employing his game face in the interrogation room.

Seeing the face of the Devil sends him over the edge and he goes over in a big way. Obsessing as only a crazy person can, he passes a year of time tracking everything that Lucifer and the gang do on his office research board. This includes some pretty hilarious notes like “Charlotte Richards: Lover… Sister… Step-Mother… WTF?”

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

Bursting into a therapy session, he pulls a gun and shoots Lucifer point blank which ruins a very expensive suit. And that doesn’t even slow Getty’s descent a bit.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

He figures out Chloe’s mortality effect on Lucifer, tracks down a serial killer, Alvin (played by the DELIGHTFUL John Billingsley, Star Trek: Enterprise), and basically sets him up to murder Lucifer in LUX with Chloe close by. This all goes horribly wrong when a nameless Woo Girl gets killed by the poison instead.

Grabbing a knife, he tries to take one last stab (!) at Lucifer in his penthouse but ends up having a very revealing conversation instead. Blaming Lucifer for everything that has gone wrong, he is stunned by the idea that he is responsible for his own pain and guilt.

In total free fall at this point, he goes to Dr. Martin again, frantic to convince her to forgive him. When he admits to his part in the girl’s death, the doctor moves to call the cops and he assaults her to stop her. Seeing her with blood on her face seems to bring him to and he tells her to send Decker to his office and he’ll help her with the case.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

At his office, he takes a drink only to find it’s been poisoned by Alvin. This works out since the cops are already there and Alvin is arrested. Even as he dies, he says to Lucifer that maybe this will bring Linda around to loving him again.

The final reveal is brilliant. We watch as Getty seems to awaken in a replay of the opening scene again (very Westworld if you think about it). And this is when the camera pulls out and we see that this is Getty’s Hell, constantly replaying from that moment and forever seeking Linda’s love but never being worthy.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

As the final twist unfurls, we realize that there were sign posts along the way. Getty’s editor gives him multiple chances to choose a different path. Linda is direct and clear about how their relationship is over, offering him friendship and therapy. Even Lucifer explains that he doesn’t send people to Hell, people send themselves to Hell.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

This was an uncomfortable episode, one that tracks the descent of a man trapped in his own guilt, illustrating the dangers of getting too close to Lucifer without understanding how intense that exposure can be. Yes, there’s levity built in by offering us the outsider’s perspective of all the foibles we just accept as normal but those eccentricities are part of what drive Getty into his Hell.

So, a stand-alone episode, yes. It’s unlikely Getty’s tale will affect this season’s major arc. An episode with minimal Deckerstar, even less Ella, and absolutely no Trixie. But a really powerfully-shaped episode that put a real spin on the classic retro-episode and was genius in its reveals.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/FOX

Also, we get a glimpse into Dr. Martin’s backstory and a beautiful moment where Lucifer realizes that he has true friends. There might’ve even been a moment where Luci realizes that his schtupping might be a little irresponsible. Hmm… growth?

Lucifer airs Monday nights at 9pm ET/PT on FOX.

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