REVIEW: Lucifer, S3E5 – Welcome Back, Charlotte Richards

Last night Lucifer brought Charlotte Richards (Tricia Helfer) back with a bang, exploring morality and accountability in an episode so well constructed that even the case of the week – suicide by pudding, no less! – was both compelling and important to the themes without becoming overbearing. The lack of Maze, Linda, and Amenadiel was keenly felt, but the hustle and bustle of the police department kept things entertaining throughout.

Favorite mother-son duo?

When she first walks into Chloe (Lauren German) and Lucifer’s (Tom Ellis) investigation at Pudding Plus to put a hold to any exchange of security footage, Charlotte Richards seem put together and in total control of herself. She’s so confident about how she carries herself, that she sends Lucifer’s paranoia spinning out of control and causes him to believe his mother might actually be back. Not only that, she even accidentally convinces herself that she’s been blowing Dan (Kevin Alejandro) off in favor of Lucifer – which leads to a hilariously awkward attempted seduction that may scar the poor devil for immortal life.

Instead of successfully beginning an uncomfortable new relationship for both Lucifer and the audience, Charlotte breaks down and confesses the time she’s been missing and how lost she feels in her skin ever since she almost died. Helfer brings new dimensions to a new Charlotte Richards in this excellent performance, and Ellis matches her with a sympathy that Lucifer finds rather new and overwhelming for him. While Charlotte is wrestling with the thought that she may have been in Hell for those months she can’t remember, Lucifer himself is dealing with his own accountability or lack thereof. He tries to rid himself of the guilt he feels for not protecting Chloe last episode, by deflecting everything onto his father and ignoring the case at hand to ogle pudding models. By the end of the hour, however, he fully admits the responsibility he feels towards Charlotte and takes her under his wing. It is a subtle yet effective character arc for both of them that is further highlighted by the crime of the week.

Don’t get between Dan and his pudding.

Charlotte’s story specifically intertwines with Pudding Plus and their antics, a crime which starts off rather humorously before revealing a more sinister undertone that speaks to corporate greed in real life. Her emotional breakdown in the back half of the episode isn’t the only highlight of the evil corporate merger storyline, seeing as we also learn how much Dan loves pudding. Alejandro has done a great job with the comedic bits he’s been given this season, though unfortunately he hasn’t gotten to delve into much serious material on Lucifer lately. At least this week gave him and Charlotte a heart-to-heart and a chance for him to start over with the human woman, even if he doesn’t know there’s a difference yet. And Ella (Aimee Garcia) was in his corner as always, staring down Charlotte on behalf of her friend’s broken heart, and literally saving his life by preventing him from eating poisonous pudding. Given how protective she is of him, I almost wonder if she’s got an unrequited crush. Hopefully not, though, because she’s way too cute to be rejected for a defense attorney… Even one as hot as Tricia Helfer.

Chloe also deals with her own minor moral dilemma when it comes to her daughter Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), who has begun using curse words to her heart’s content. When a swear jar doesn’t work, Chloe tries the revolutionary approach of explaining to Trixie why bad words hurt people. And so she and daughter reach a better understanding of themselves and of what is right, just as Lucifer is starting to understand the woman who is no longer his mother once more.

Lucifer airs on Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.

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