Lucifer recap: 'High School Poppycock'
The Olympics are over, so it’s back to our regularly scheduled lineup, including this week’s busy episode of Lucifer. “High School Poppycock” almost feels like a Stefon sketch because this episode has everything: wigs, improv, mopping, a bad blind date, a breakup, a dead author, a hot YA series, youthful regrets, a high school reunion, a neon party, a two-person prom, and nitrogen-cooled ice cream.
Honestly, any three of those in combination would’ve made for an outstanding episode, but this week, we get them all in portions almost too small to truly savor.
We open on Lucifer filling in Dr. Linda on a dream where the sight of his out-of-control wings sends Chloe hurtling off his balcony to her death. He’s worried about what else God might take from him and explains his “help Pierce die to spite my Father” plan. He then asks Linda to hypnotize him the way you would someone wanting to quit smoking so he can get over his mental block about how to help Pierce. But she tells him that’s not how hypnotism works, so he storms out.
He’s still brooding on the way to the newest crime scene, creeping Chloe out with his silence, and he asks Dan of all people for advice. Dan suggests Lucifer embrace the “yes and” improv approach.
This leads to Lucifer clumsily “yes and”-ing through the murder scene of Kathleen Pike, best-selling YA author of the Class of 3001 series who was bludgeoned with her own typewriter.
Kathleen’s body is surrounded by a white fluid, prompting Ella to make a truly excellent joke about Synthetics from the Alien series, although the heathens she works with don’t appreciate it. The substance is actually melted ice cream, and I’m struck anew by the tragedy of a death — specifically death that occurs before you finish dessert.
Kathleen’s editor Vincent Green found her body when he stopped to pick up the finished manuscript that morning. She’d been battling writer’s block for five years and was thrilled to have finally broken through. In fact, Green had already tweeted the good news to her fans, hinting at a huge action-packed robot rebellion, and he worries that a zealous fan showed up for a sneak peek. Then he worries even more because Kathleen’s lone typewritten copy of the final book is missing. (Seriously, I cannot with those “my muse only responds to the clacking of typewriter keys” writer types. Get a laptop, ya weirdo!)
When Vincent mentions that Kathleen’s afterword explained how she overcame her writer’s block, Lucifer reasons that if she can solve her writer’s block, it might help him get rid of his, so he’s eager to locate the manuscript and, incidentally, Kathleen’s killer, too.
To better understand Kathleen’s work, Lucifer struggles through the first Class of 3001 book despite the lack of sex and drugs. Chloe can’t relate to the high school dramas it described because her life as a child actor was mostly auditioning and being tutored on set. She missed out on all the teenage angst as well as the teenage fun. In fact, she didn’t even go to her prom.
An online spat that Kathleen had with a poster on a 3001 fan forum sends Chloe and Lucifer to a futuristic ice cream shop, where Ashely the angry commenter works. He created a flavor of ice cream just for Kathleen and delivered it to her home the night of her death but says he didn’t kill her. He’s a 3001 fanfic writer, and Kathleen asked for his help in finishing the series. Although she didn’t embrace his suggestions, it inspired her to return to her original inspiration, he says.
That inspiration? Her L.A. high school. Kathleen based her characters on real-life classmates, simply changing their last names and adding sci-fi twists. Her high school reunion’s the next night, and the police speculate that one of the reunion-goers might have killed her before she could expose any real-life secrets.
Charlotte declares this insufficient for probable cause, so Ella proposes sending Lucifer to the reunion undercover as the class mega-dork with no social media presence, with Chloe as his plus one. Unfortunately, said mega-dork, Todd Cornwell, actually RSVP’ed. Charlotte mutters something about distracting Todd with a bounty hunter, then exits the room before she overhears any lawbreaking.
Okay, let’s check in on said bounty hunter. Happy couple Linda and Amenadiel have been happily kissing and and guiltily avoiding Maze, who, unbeknownst to them, is fully aware of what’s going down. When Trixie (correctly) suggests that the pair might be scared to tell Maze the truth, Maze muses that helping people tell the truth is her specialty.
Plan in place, Maze strolls into Linda’s office and asks about her dating life. The good doctor stammers that she’s “so, sooo single,” so Maze bullies her into a blind date the following night. Naturally, Linda shows up at the restaurant and finds Amenadiel waiting there. But twist! Maze arrives with high school loser Todd in tow for Linda, crowing about what a fun double date this will be: Linda with Todd, and her with a visibly uncomfortable Amenadiel.
See, this is what makes Maze so good at her job: She’s helping the police with an undercover operation and torturing her bestie and her exie, all in one neat maneuver. Truly, she’s an inspiration. (Next page: Lucifer becomes the responsible one)
Chloe, meanwhile, accidentally stayed up all night reading — nay, viscerally experiencing — the first three books of the Class of 3001 series (been there, sister friend), and when she and Lucifer roll into the reunion, she geeks out hard over the prospect of interacting with the people who inspired the rich, relatable characters in Kathleen’s surprisingly deep series. She giggles and floats off to meet — err, question — the suspects, although she’s mostly interested in who hooked up with whom on the laser ball field.
In the end, Lucifer’s begging Chloe to focus, and he’s the one who discovers that most of the class broke into the school pool for a pre-party the night of Kathleen’s murder. Not Todd and Kathleen, though; the two of them were hanging out that night. (Although one of the reunion-goers makes it clear that if she’d known about “Todd’s” glow-up and accent overhaul, he’d have definitely been invited to the pool party.) With a new lead in their sights, Chloe apologizes to Lucifer for going overboard at the reunion, explaining that she regrets missing out on a normal high school experience.
So poor Todd is now a suspect, as well as the extraneous fourth in the world’s worst blind/double date. Maze starts to get handsy with Amenadiel under the table, shouts about being lied to for weeks, and asks exactly how daddy’s boy is serving God’s divine purpose by sleeping with a selfish human. Linda hotly defends putting herself first for once, saying that what she and Amenadiel found was unexpected but “100 percent real.”
Maze bolts from the table in tears as Chloe and Lucifer arrive to take Todd in for questioning. He’s resigned to the fact that the weirdo outcast is getting blamed and says Kathleen tracked him down to discuss book four’s peaceful, grounded conclusion, with no insiders versus outcasts, just people finally understanding one other. Chloe points out that it’s a far cry from the action-packed robot ending editor Vincent talked about.
Time to set a trap! Chloe calls Vincent to ask if Kathleen mentioned working on book four with a ghostwriting fanfic author employed by a particular ice cream shop. Vincent says she didn’t.
But that night, the editor creeps into the closed ice cream parlor, lit only by Blade Runner-ish neon (an intentional homage, surely) and pulls a gun on a mopping, white-jacketed employee. When the man turns around, it’s not Ashley but Lucifer, proving there isn’t a lewk on Earth that Tom Ellis can’t pull off.
Realizing he’s caught, Vincent confesses that he’d waited five years for a dull money-pit of an ending, and when Kathleen refused to use Ashley’s robot-tastic conclusion, he threw her typewriter at her. Upon learning that Vincent destroyed the only copy of the manuscript, Lucifer hulk-rages out, but all Vincent can offer is that Kathleen realized she couldn’t go back and fix the past.
It’s a lesson that Linda and Amenadiel learn, too, as they sadly negotiate their breakup. No matter how intense their relationship was, lying and causing Maze pain was a betrayal of who they really are. “I can’t be with you anymore, not when it does this to her,” Linda concludes, even though Amenadiel points out it’s not fair of Maze to ask them to stop. Aww, sad! I dug this odd-couple pairing, with all the giddy happiness, tasty guilt, and angsty character conflict it entailed. Fingers crossed this isn’t really the end of the line for this duo.
Speaking of duos, is Deckerstar finally getting back on track? After basically ignoring the pair’s feelings toward one another all season, the writers seem to have remembered that, oh yeah, these two characters may actually like-like each other.
In a parallel to the nightmare that opens the episode, Lucifer summons Chloe to Lux, but instead of scaring her to death with his wings, he treats her to a one-on-one version of prom, pinning a corsage onto her sweater and cranking the Yazoo. Confetti showers them as they dance and dip, their lips perilously close.
Breaking the spell, Chloe asks what problem he was trying to solve during the case. Lucifer explains that he wants to prove his father isn’t all-powerful by breaking the curse he put on a friend. Chloe rolls with his “crazy metaphor” and advises him to be like Kathleen and move forward rather than staying in the past.
Naturally, Lucifer opts for the opposite: “All I need to do is go back and undo the reason it exists in the first place.” Oooooh, is Lucifer going to fix Pierce’s situation before it begins? I’m barely ABEL to wait until next week, if you catch my biblical drift.
- Sure, Ella looks good in her blue neon party wig, but wow, does Chloe looks goooooood in her pink one. And speaking of Ella, she’s writing a series about a forensic scientist who talks to ghosts, which I’m assuming CBS has already optioned.
- Think anybody else noticed Dan calling Charlotte “Charlotte” in the workplace? Seems harmless enough, but they both got so flustered that any detective worth her badge should know something’s up thanks to that adorable little micro-moment.
- Okay, Lucifer’s gesture at the end of the episode was incredibly sweet, but ladies, isn’t the dress at least half the fun of prom? Pick out a gown and give Chloe her Cinderella moment, Luci!