Tori Brazier reviews the seventh episode of Lucifer season 3…
‘Off the Record’ represents the best episode of Lucifer season 3 so far, with a neat and thought-provoking plot told almost-exclusively from the point of view of guest character Reese (Better Call Saul’s Patrick Fabian). He provides a nice link to Lucifer (Tom Ellis) when it is revealed that the wife he’s attempting to win back is none other than Lucifer’s beloved therapist Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris), which also shines a brighter light on Harris’ regularly excellent, low-key work as the sanest-character-in-the-room foil. There’s also a deliciously entertaining irony in Reese assuming Linda is sleeping with Lucifer, rather than her acting as his therapist, and storming into Lux with the intention of confronting him, only for Lucifer to leap in before his confession and offer consolation and motivation in seeking brutal revenge on – unknowingly – himself.
The reveal of his profession – Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist – is also deftly handled and a bright idea. Not only would it be of interest to the readers to hear about a local nightclub owner acting as special ‘consultant’ to the police, with zero previous experience, but it also feeds easily and naturally into the reactions expected of major players when Reese returns undercover to “write a story” on Lucifer for the Los Angeles Telegraph. Lucifer is flattered and therefore lacking in suspicion, whereas Chloe (Lauren German) is, understandably, quite actively hostile and mistrusting due to her previous experiences with the glare of media attention whilst a teenage actress. A predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable, set-up then follows with all the police officers interviewed by Reese who can’t speak highly enough of Lucifer, despite begin unsure of exactly what he brings to the LAPD – until we get to Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro).
The case to be cracked this week begins again with a nice LA-specific link, involving, as it does, the murder of an hypocritical healthy lifestyle guru, surrounded by plastic surgery paraphernalia. Lucifer is able to – naturally – not only identify the implants, but rate them as poor in quality and a cup size C. His prowess, once again, provides searing insight. There follows then a rather cack-handed case of editing in an attempt to move along the criminal elements of the plot to get back to Reese’s investigation. All is (mostly) forgiven, however, when Reese becomes privy to Lucifer’s ‘Devil’ face in the interrogation room, behind the mirrored glass and with Chloe out of the room. Any thoughts of Lucifer getting his ‘Devil’ back are then swiftly undercut with the revelation that Reese then goes away to work in cracking the Lucifer enigma for an entire year! Excitement ratchets up again almost immediately though, when he seemingly manages to accurately piece together so much of Lucifer’s existence on earth. A brief reappearance by Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt), in order to scare off a certain reporter from his Lucifer investigation, fails to deliver any more substantial scenes as of yet.
As the episode begins to catch up on the season in terms of the timeline and urgent storylines, Reese becomes more obsessed and unhinged, even setting the suspected serial murderer suspect from earlier on Lucifer after shooting him didn’t work. It’s safe to say that his plans to win Linda back are not going particularly smoothly at this point. Particularly when she can analyse his feelings and actions – and particularly when it takes him so long to realise that this damaged demon Lucifer may be engaging his estranged wife professionally as a therapist, rather than a lover.
The episode’s denouement is a clever one, where Reese, who is finally learning to take responsibility for his own actions, leads the serial killer to his office – swiftly pursued by the LAPD – and a trap. Lucifer has explained to him that despite common misconception he takes no responsibility over anyone’s residency or punishment in hell, as they all drive themselves there through their heavy sense of guilt over wrongdoing. As he points out: “The gates are open”… The Groundhog Day-esque finish to the episode, where Reese wakes up in hospital again and looks forward to a second chance at life, but outside his hospital room seems rather dark, chained and foreboding, suggesting that he is indeed already tormenting himself for the wrongs done in this life. Deep.