REVIEW: Lucifer, S3E15 – High School Poppycock

Lucifer explores everyone’s insecurities in “High School Poppycock,” and it uses the one place teeming with both to do so: a high school reunion. While Lucifer (Tom Ellis) desperately tries to solve the crime of the week as a way to eliminate his Cain-related writer’s block, Chloe (Lauren German) starts to fall for the high school drama she missed out on as a “responsible adult” child star. At the same time, the love triangle between Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), Linda (Rachael Harris) and Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt) reaches new and emotional heights.

Chloe just wants to have fun.

The fear of losing what he loves to his father’s machinations grips Lucifer so tightly that he’s even dreaming about Chloe falling to her death, but he refuses to acknowledge how important she is to him during his sessions with Linda. Instead, he’s looking for a way to generate more ideas on how to kill Cain and therefore beat one of God’s curses. Seeing as Linda won’t play along with some good old-fashioned hypnosis, he must resort to twisting the week’s case – a YA novelist who took inspiration from her high school classmates and was killed by her own typewriter – to suit his needs.

Watching Lucifer go through various techniques to break his block is quite an enjoyable exercise, especially when he tries to incorporate Dan’s (Kevin Alejandro) “Yes, and…” improv technique into his everyday conversation. But even as the murder mystery gets more convoluted, Lucifer keeps coming up empty on ideas to solve his own problem until he’s got no choice but to find the killer and recover the manuscript so that a dead author can impart her last words of wisdom. On the flipside, Chloe becomes so engrossed in the novels – which reflect the fabulous life she missed out on as a teenager – that she starts to see the murder suspects as nothing more than her favorite characters. She even winds up inserting herself into their drama at the high school reunion in lieu of questioning their whereabouts the night of the murder.

The high school reunion itself is a lot of fun for both characters, even if it doesn’t prove fruitful for either the case or Lucifer’s larger quest. It’s a great role reversal, in which Chloe is actually the one derailing the case with her personal desires while Lucifer stays on task if only for his selfish reasons. The one clue that they do uncover at the event dovetails nicely with the other major storyline in “High School Poppycock”, so structurally the episode is sound.

Don’t lie to someone who tortures for a living.

Linda and Amenadiel continue to keep their relationship secret from Maze, but Linda’s guilt is eating at her so Amenadiel offers to check on their mutual friend. While Maze doesn’t want to see him, she does take Trixie’s (Scarlett Estevez) advice: if people are too scared to tell the truth, why not help them do it? Except in Maze’s case, “help” looks more like torture. So when she’s asked to babysit a high school reunion attendee so that Lucifer can go in his place, she takes the opportunity to set up a double date from hell for her so-called best friend.

After going through the motions in the most awkward dinner known to man, Maze and Linda finally break and speak their respective truths in a powerful scene that lays their insecurities bare. It’s a rare instance in which lying makes sense, because everyone knows how unpredictable Maze can get when she’s hurt or angry. But at the same time, Maze deserves to be treated with respect and honesty if they really consider themselves her friends – no matter how many times she threatens to skewer them with knives. The argument ends with hurt feelings on all sides, and afterwards Linda breaks up with Amenadiel because she can’t stand to cause Maze more pain. It’s a choice which he respects even if it leaves us with three unhappy people rather than one, and hopefully all the friendships in question can survive this mess.

As for bed-wetting blind date Todd? His connection to the murder seems to be that he was set to be the hero of Kathleen’s final novel. But the ending he describes is the opposite of what Kathleen’s editor claimed, focusing on finding peace and acceptance rather than high-stakes drama and explosions. Now that her mind is clear of her own high school drama, Chloe puts her thinking cap back on and traps the editor into confessing to the murder. Unfortunately for Lucifer, though, the only copy of the final manuscript was destroyed.

Chloe learns that doesn’t need any “High School Poppycock” thanks to the case of the week, but Lucifer still gives her a little prom of her own complete with a sweet dance to cap off the night. She returns the favor by telling him to move forward rather than rewrite history, which he of course takes as a license to do the literal opposite. Looks like he’s about to try to change the past to dissolve the curse, which can’t end well for anyone.

While the episode was more filler than anything, it did shine a light on what the rest of the season will look like and gave Linda and Maze a lot of emotional material to work with. It’s also important to note that we find out Ella (Aimee Garcia) is writing a novel of her own and, true to form, she actually has too many ideas.

Lucifer airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.

Tags: ,