This review contains spoilers.
4.2 Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno
“What if this is the biggest lie of all?”
What we suspected might be the case at the end of the season premiere has now come to fruition, and Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno lays out Chloe’s involvement in a treacherous scheme to remove Lucifer from the human equation. In a seismic narrative shift Lucifer now travels a path whose consequences may not only be felt worldwide but threaten to splinter the human/celestial relationships that form the basis of the story. How far will Chloe be willing to go?
Like any good detective, once Decker learns Lucifer’s truth, she endeavours to research as much as she can about her partner’s past, and though we don’t yet know the details behind her association with Father Kinley (Graham McTavish), it’s clear she feels blindsided and open to outside influences. Throughout their association, Lucifer adamantly contends that God placed Chloe in his path as a means to manipulate him, but Kinley’s knowledge of the effect each has on the other speaks to a wider ranging awareness of just what is taking place on Earth.
It’s clear from the beginning of the investigation into the murder of a reality television contestant that Chloe’s mind is somewhere other than the crime scene, and for once, Lucifer must act as the adult in the situation since his partner is clearly going off the rails with her approach to questioning the suspects. At this point it seems reasonable to accept the purity of Kinley’s motives in using Chloe to send the Devil back to Hell, but there’s still something nagging about his willingness to throw her alone into the front line. Is he aware that the angel Amenadiel is here on Earth and could presumably assist in this undertaking? And what kind of sedative capable of sending the Prince of Darkness back to his home does a Catholic priest possess?
Employing a reality show that requires its contestants to hide their true intentions blends perfectly into the core arc. “Nobody is what they seem to be around here.” Nevertheless, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that as Lucifer plans a conventional date with Chloe, she works to set him up for a return trip to Hell. Does she truly believe he’s evil as she interrogates him about the number of people he’s killed throughout millenia? Does she believe the Lucifer she’s come to know over the past few years embodies the Christian stereotype of Satan? She asks if he enjoys torturing and what it’s like in Hell, but it feels as if she’s merely stalling for time, unwilling or unsure whether to take the next step in Kinley’s plan.
Father Kinley suspects Chloe’s encountering second thoughts and suggests that the charismatic individual with whom she’s formed a deep personal connection may simply be playing an elaborate long con. However, she doesn’t see the monster in the man, further complicating her role in the “date” into which Lucifer has poured his heart and soul. The series has always relied on dramatic irony to heighten the compelling nature of individual relationships, and we’ve known for a long time that which Chloe only now learns. “I’m only vulnerable when I’m close to you,” Lucifer confides to his partner, a detail on which Kinley’s plot depends.
All police procedurals eventually resort to the “taking a bullet for your partner” trope, and Lucifer is no exception having employed it most recently with Marcus Pierce. Here, however, its use comes at a critical juncture and lays out plainly the fact that Lucifer is willing to give his life for Chloe. During his emotional appeal, the pieces fall together such that it will now be virtually impossible for her to accede to Kinley’s wishes. At first, the priest’s mention of an exorcism seems to imply that he may think Lucifer is merely delusional, but everything else points to the actuality that he knows he’s come face to face with the Devil. So much so that he goes to the penthouse and cryptically informs Lucifer that “there’s something you need to know about Chloe Decker.” So who is Father Kinley, how does he know so much about Lucifer and Chloe, and how long has she been on his radar? More to the point, who is the true villain here?
As the series does so well, these themes of self-worth and acceptance encompass the emotional stresses Dr Linda, Mazikeen, Amenadiel, and Dan cope with as they each decide how to proceed with their lives. Interestingly, the group dynamic now changes since Chloe knows the truth about the Celestials and could confide in Linda since both come at this situation from the same place, but Ella and Dan remain in the dark about what’s really going on here. We’ve watched Maze deal with a flood of emotions that don’t necessarily jibe with the personality of the demon whose initial purpose was to protect the Devil. She too is worried that she’s not accepted for who she is, and we’re treated to another peek inside the relationship she’s developed with Linda when the doctor exhibits health-related issues. Of course, the crucial takeaway here is that Linda’s pregnancy opens the door to the journey she and Amenadiel must take as they await the birth of a Celestial/human hybrid. Further complicating the issue are the doubts afflicting Amenadiel now that he’s determined to make Los Angeles his home.
Because so much is going on with the plot to take down Lucifer, the procedural aspect of the episode gets pushed into the background even though it’s a solid story that highlights the need we often feel to keep the truth about ourselves hidden from others. That said, watching Lucifer emerge unharmed from the cabin explosion serves multiple purposes not the least of which is providing an extremely cool visual image.
Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno finds Chloe traveling a path she may have jumped onto without really considering the consequences. Yet here we are, and now it’s up to the detective to make the next move.