Lucifer recap: 'Off the Record'
A reporter’s attempted revenge against Lucifer ends up destroying his own life
The narrative driver of this week’s episode isn’t the ruler of Hell, but the tenaciously smart, obsessively twisted Reese Getty (Patrick Fabian). This character is packed with so many rich, snarled motivations that he would’ve been a standout even in a forgettable episode. Lucky for us, though, Reese’s journey happens in a wickedly clever episode that’s destined to be remembered as one of the show’s best when the final trumpet sounds.
We open on Reese waking up in a hospital to a cheerful nurse telling him he had a brush with death.
Determined to make the most of this second chance, he vows to fix his rocky relationship with his wife. But when he arrives at her house, Lucifer’s taking his leave following a “shag and run.”
Now Reese has a new mission: learn all about this interloper into his marriage. He follows Lucifer to his club, where Lucifer notices his greedy, observant stare. Lucifer thanks Reese but says he just doesn’t find him attractive. No, no, Reese correct him. The problem is his wife, who’s sleeping with a sleazy, arrogant piece of garbage. Lucifer blithely recommends that Reese destroy that guy’s life. “Spoons to his eye, ants inside his urethra — the Urethra Franklin, as I like to call it.”
Then Chloe arrives, and Lucifer explains to a shocked Reese that he’s been working with the police for a few weeks now (clue No. 1!). He offers a cheerful “Good luck with the punishing!” as he leaves.
Turns out Reese is a top investigative reporter at the L.A. Telegraph, so he sets out to expose Lucifer under the cover of researching a feature article on the nightclub owner-turned-police consultant. And bless Lucifer’s heart, he’s too arrogant to question this. In fact, his blithe narcissism keeps him blinded for most of his interactions with Reese.
Reese learns that everybody at the LAPD loves Lucifer…except Dan, who’s separated from Lucifer’s partner, a wildly attractive former B-movie actress. (But Dan and Chloe are now divorced, right? Clue No. 2!)
While Chloe wants nothing to do with Reese’s story, the top brass order her to cooperate, so she drags him to a murder scene where an organic cosmetic company owner’s been found surrounded by breast implants and syringes.
Chloe nervously tries to make it sound like Lucifer always follows proper evidentiary rules as he jokes and juggles the implants. Glaring at Lucifer, Reece suggests that the victim was a fraud who’d been using Botox, so the killer wanted to uncover her hypocrisy.
In fact, the victim was killed by the same poison used in the murders of a meat-eating vegan and a private jet-owning environmentalist. We’ve got us a serial killer of phonies, people!
Reese leaves a voicemail for his wife as he continues to tail Lucifer, and then Maze appears to rough him up for his nosiness. “I’ve been threatened by worse than you,” he blusters, but of course, she knows (and we know) he hasn’t.
Back to the paper, he finds his wife waiting for him in his office, and it. is. Dr. Linda. AAHHH!!! She demands to know why he hasn’t signed their divorce papers even though they’ve been separated for two years. Reese promises to sign the next day, once he’s finished up a project. But Lucifans, Lucifer stopped sleeping with Linda ages ago, right? (Clue No. 3!)
After she leaves, Reese sneaks into Lucifer’s penthouse (for real, Lucifer needs a keypad on his door) and hears muffled cries. There, he discovers a bound and gagged woman on Lucifer’s bed who, of course, is exactly where she wants to be.
Then Lucifer shows up with a suspicious duffel bag, which turns out to be full of rather intimidating-looking edible flavored sex toys. “I’m allergic to watermelon,” Reese says mournfully, slumping in defeat at being unable to expose Lucifer. Luci briskly says Reese was just doing his job and invites him to the scene of a new murder. They leave the bound woman behind, happily waiting for Lucifer’s return.
Then a series of dreamlike shots take us through the apprehension and interrogation of a suspect in the fraud murders, thanks in large part to Lucifer. In the end, Reese tells Chloe that other than being annoyingly charming and good at police work, Lucifer isn’t newsworthy.
One wrinkle, though: The suspect isn’t their killer. Once Chloe’s gone, Reese watches in shock as Lucifer puts on his Devil face and uses his inhuman strength to slam the suspect into the two-way glass. You know, for interrogation purposes. Wait, but Lucifer’s lost his demon face! (Clue No. 4!)
Panicked, Reese bursts into Linda’s office to reveal that the man she’s sleeping with is the actual Devil. She’s horrified that he invaded her privacy but says she knows exactly what she’s doing: enjoying herself with an attentive man who’s giving her the most liberating experience of her life. Get it, girl!
Pushed to the edge now, Reese hastily signs the divorce papers, ignoring Linda’s pleas to put his life in order. Once he’s back at the newspaper, he starts drinking and building a stalker shrine on his walls: a huge timeline with Dr. Canaan/Amenadiel, Maze, Malcolm Graham, Ella (“What’s her secret?”), Charlotte (“Lover? Sister? Step-mom? WTF?”), the Candy marriage license. It’s all there, with the kind of scrawled details that DVR pause buttons were designed for.
Then the words “One year later” flash across the screen. Ahhhhh, oooookay. That explains those inconsistencies!
The Reese we see now is a mess, locked in his office, drinking too much, hanging on to his job by a thread. Then Chloe and Lucifer knock on his door to ask for help in tracing the fraud killer, who’s gone dormant. All of the victims were featured in the Telegraph, and Chloe wants any archived comments on the stories, thinking some might belong to the killer. Reese promises to get her a list, which is hilarious because the senior investigative reporter is the last person at a newspaper who’ll know anything about archived website comments.
After Chloe leaves, Lucifer surveys Reese and guesses he hasn’t yet destroyed the man who was sleeping with his wife. Reese says the guy’s un-destroyable, but when Lucifer departs for his therapy session, saying he needs to be on time or “she’ll kill me,” the journalist gets an idea. (Next page: Reese learns the true consequences of guilt)
Yep, his brilliant plan is to shoot Lucifer, proving one way or another that he’s the Devil. Reese bursts into Linda’s office, and she introduces him to Lucifer as her ex-husband. Then he shoots Lucifer, who merely brushes it off and quips that if Chloe had been around, Linda would’ve had some blood to get out of her upholstery.
Linda yells that she already knows who Lucifer really is, while beautiful dummy Lucifer’s all, Dang, if you’re this mad at me, what are you gonna do to the guy sleeping with your wife rather than your ex? Ha!
Reese is beside himself that he’s spent a year digging into Lucifer’s evil ways when Linda knew all along and considers Lucifer her friend. Back at the newspaper, he trashes his office in rage and despair and then hatches another plan that springs from Lucifer’s offhand comment linking Chloe to his bullet immunity.
Yes, he’s in a self-destructive spiral, but don’t forget that Reese is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. He uses his skills (and the website comments) to track down the fraud killer. Alvin (John Billingsley) is on his meds and trying to be good, but Reese pulls a Wormtongue and mentions that Lucifer Morningstar is the biggest fraud ever, and gee, wouldn’t it be great if somebody would do something about that?
That night, Reese meets Chloe in the club to give her the website comments. As they talk, Alvin creeps around the fringes of the beautiful people and is eventually pulled into Lucifer’s happy, hedonistic orbit.
Chloe is more open with Reese this time around, telling him that somebody wronged Lucifer ages ago, and he uses police work to right those wrongs. As she’s talking, Alvin poisons Lucifer’s beverage, but it ends up in the hands of a young woman who drinks it and dies. So, uh, that’s a big oops.
Chloe is boggled that the killer happened to be there at that particular time, then apologizes to Reese for putting him in danger. Reese grimly says there’s only one person to blame for this.
Ah, but he’s too far gone to admit that he’s the guilty party. Instead, he heads to the penthouse and accuses Lucifer of ruining his life and making him a murderer. But Lucifer’s had it with humans blaming him for their sins, so he tells a story he’s never told any human: Lucifer doesn’t actually send anyone to Hell. Humans send themselves to relive their sins over and over. In fact, the doors in Hell aren’t even locked. The only thing trapping them is their guilt.
Reese starts to realize that he’s the one truly to blame, and when Lucifer asks for his deepest desire, he says it’s for his wife Linda to love him. Lucifer, super slow on the uptake, exclaims, “Hold on, that sleazy piece of garbage, that was me?” Oh, Luci!
Lucifer explains that Linda cares about him because he showed her his true self, so Reese crashes into Linda’s office to take the blame for ruining their marriage. Linda offers to shoulder some of that burden, too, saying they weren’t meant to be. This confuses Reese. “You forgave the Devil. Why can’t you forgive me?”
Then he tells her everything he’s done, including Alvin and the accidental poisoning. Horrified, Linda tries to call the police, but Reese knocks her down, bashing her head against a large potted plant. He’s immediately remorseful and tells her to call Chloe so he can hand over his notes and turn himself in.
Back at his office, he takes a swig from the mug of vodka on his desk and then is startled by Alvin, lurking in the corner. You see, Alvin decided that Lucifer’s an honest man, while Reese is a fraud who uses someone else to do his dirty work.
Then everything happens at once: Reese realizes the booze was poisoned and crumples to the floor as Chloe and Lucifer arrives. They arrest Alvin and call an ambulance for Reese, who didn’t drink the full dose. Reese’s last hope before everything goes black is that he can turn things around with Linda.
Then Reese wakes up in a hospital room with a cheerful nurse telling him he had a brush with death, and we pan out to see that he’s stuffed into a grim skyscraper in the endless expanse of Hell.
And so ends the pitiable, tragic tale of Reese Getty.
- What an outstanding episode! Eduardo Sánchez, who helmed The Blair Witch Project, directed this episode, and he’s welcome back on Lucifer any time.
- All hail Patrick Fabian for his incredible performance as an unraveling man setting fire to his life. And how tragic is this backstory for Dr. Linda? Although Fabian took center stage, Rachel Harris used every opportunity to demonstrate her character’s evolution over the run of the series.
- Line of the night goes to an LAPD officer explaining where Lucifer was before L.A.: “I heard he was somewhere terrible down south. Maybe Florida?”
- Yo, Hollywood: Divorce papers need to be witnessed by a notary public. None of this “Just sign them!” one-on-one business.
- “Off the Record” is one of the four season 2 episodes held for this season, as was last week’s “Vegas With Some Radish.” So tell me, were you as blown away by it as I was?