Lucifer S03E05 – Welcome Back Charlotte Richards
Welcome back, Tricia Helfer!
This week’s episode of Lucifer, written by Chris Rafferty, is titled “Welcome Back, Charlotte Richards.” And that’s pretty much what it’s about. Of course in typical Lucifer fashion the writers manage to combine the weird (death by pudding) with the emotional (Charlotte’s missing time) and as always they knock it out of the park. This might be one of my favorite episodes so far this season, because while I love the wackiness of a high Lucifer riding a horse and denying he was changing in last week’s episode, the emotional side of this one comes out on top.
Back from Hell
We all knew Tricia Helfer was going to be back, and we knew she wasn’t going to be Mom but rather just Charlotte Richards, but we didn’t know anything more than that. We didn’t know how she’d fit in with the characters, how the dynamics would change, or who exactly Charlotte Richards is. After all, the first time we see her in season two Mom has already taken a hold of her body. Well, after watching this episode I have to say Helfer fits right in.
Throughout season two no one really thought about what the real Charlotte was going through. It’s a sad yet very true fact. We were entertained by Mom’s antics, and other than a few references here and there you kind of forgot about what Mom’s actions would do to Charlotte’s life. Charlotte’s return this episode makes us, and Lucifer himself, realize how many consequences Mom’s time on earth really had.
Charlotte Richards is very clearly lost. She has no clue what happened to her over the months that Mom had her body, and there’s the fact that her soul apparently went to hell. Charlotte is trying to pretend that everything is okay and trying to work the case as she usually would. Of course, this proves to be difficult, because everyone in the precinct seems to have had a relationship with Mom, especially Dan and Lucifer.
She finds out from Dan that she and Lucifer were very close, and what comes next is a scene that is equally hilarious and heartbreaking. Charlotte assumes her relationship with Lucifer was a sexual one, so of course she kisses him, very clearly traumatizing him, as he still thinks of his mother when he sees her. Tom Ellis is truly a master at physical comedy: we see him climb over the piano and towards the bar in an attempt to get away from her.
This is, of course, where the scene goes from hilarious to heartbreaking as we see Charlotte break down over not knowing what is going on. Helfer gives a truly wonderful performance as Charlotte admits she doesn’t know where she stands or how her life ended up at this point. We see the gears move in Lucifer’s head and realize that he hadn’t exactly thought of Charlotte in all the time Mom was around. Charlotte also admits that she thinks she went to Hell, and tells Lucifer she doesn’t want to go back. So he advises her to turn her life around, try to wipe the red from her ledger, so to speak.
Change in Dynamics
One of the beautiful aspects of a show like Lucifer is the character dynamics. I could wax poetic about Chloe and Lucifer’s relationship and the chemistry between Lauren German and Tom Ellis, but I’ll save that for an episode more relevant to their dynamic. This episode was all about Charlotte Richards’ dynamics, and despite only being in the show one season, Mom pretty much had a set dynamic with each member of the team. But Charlotte is not Mom; she doesn’t even have Mom’s memories, so she has to start from zero with people who already know a version of her.
The one most affected by this is clearly Dan. Poor Dan can’t seem to catch a break this episode. First his pudding seems to be poisoning him, and then the woman he had a strange relationship with seems to pretend he doesn’t exist. Of course she has no clue of their prior relationship, but of course Dan doesn’t know that. Kevin Alejandro does a wonderful job portraying the broken-hearted Dan. We’ve all been there, our heart has been broken by some relationship not working out and we resort to eating our feelings and wondering what it is we did wrong. Dan is trying so hard to figure out what went wrong or what he could do, and I just feel like he deserves a million hugs.
Thankfully, this gives us the opportunity for more scenes between Dan and Ella, and their friendship is so pure and wonderful. Just like we’ve all probably been Dan at least once in our lives, a lot of us have been Ella as well: the friend who is in charge of making sure you stop eating your feelings and hype you up. We all need friends like Ella Lopez, who will not only tell us how great we are, but will also threaten to hurt the person who hurt us. Aimee Garcia was incredible as she went up to Charlotte Richards and told her off for how she treated Dan. I would not want to get on her bad side.
Lucifer and Mom had a very interesting dynamic. You knew they cared about each other, but they were also always trying to figure each other out. It was clear that Lucifer took after his mother, because they pretty much had the same MO (other than Mom’s aversion to humanity of course). Lucifer was convinced his mother was always playing an angle, and, to be fair, most of the time she was. Charlotte is different; Charlotte is a very confused woman, and he feels guilty about the hand he had in her situation.
The Truth of Accountability
Just like last week focused on change, this week focused on accountability. We are all responsible for our own actions, something Lucifer spent the episode trying to ignore and blaming it on his Father. The case of the week dealt with accountability. The pudding was poisoning it’s consumers, but it was obviously being kept secret, so the chemist had no other option than committing suicide by pudding in order to reveal this to the world. And yes, I just wrote the words “suicide by pudding.” Just another day on Lucifer.
Charlotte realized during the episode that it doesn’t matter if she herself wasn’t a terrible person; she still helped terrible people get away with doing terrible things to many people. She prided herself on finding loopholes for her clients, but there are no loopholes for her. If she wants to avoid hell she’s going to have to be better, which, as she finds out, is not as easy as it sounds. Not to mention, she has to answer the question of who exactly Charlotte Richards is now.
Another thing that stood out during this episode is how much Lucifer has grown as character. Despite claiming he has no accountability throughout the episode, in the end he realizes he is not exactly blameless. He does have a hand in Charlotte’s current situation. It’s a good sign that he came to the realization all by himself, as Dr. Linda was absent again this episode. He tells Charlotte that she has a second chance at life, a second chance to make things right.
Tom Ellis and Tricia Helfer shine in their last scene as he tells Charlotte he looks forward to getting to know the real her. What Lucifer doesn’t realize is that his words can apply to his own situation. After all, the wings can mean that this is his second chance, which is proof that, as far as he has come, Lucifer still has a long way to go.
Lucifer Morningstar: As of today I will no longer be affected by my father’s shenanigans
Chloe Decker: Really? Why do I doubt that?
Ella Lopez: Looks like the plus in Pudding Plus is poison
Lucifer: I can assure you that you and I have not or will not ever ever ever…sleep together
Charlotte Richards: “It’s like someone else was living my life. Ruining it. My work, my relationships, and— My family. I have no idea why my husband got custody of the kids. Why I’ve been denied visitation rights. But ever since I woke up on that beach, I’ve been pretending. Like I remember it all, because otherwise, everyone will think that— That I’m crazy. Maybe I am.
Lalo: You’d have to talk to the big man upstairs
Lucifer Morningstar: God?
Lalo: Uh no… The company’s owner
*This review is already slightly long so I couldn’t mention it more in depth but I love Chloe and Lucifer learning from each other, even when it’s small things. Lucifer took Chloe’s words about accountability to heart and Chloe listened to what Lucifer had to say about the swear jar.
*Lucifer claims that he won’t be affected by his Father’s actions any longer… and he doesn’t even last a full scene, which of course we all saw coming.
*Considering how Mom acted, I am not surprised that Charlotte doesn’t even have visitation rights, but I hope she gets to see her children soon.
*I loved Chloe and Trixie’s conversation at the end. I love that she explained why she wanted Trixie to stop cursing instead of just telling her to stop cursing. How much fun did the writers have coming up with the alternative swear words, though?
*I understand Charlotte because I’m also a rosé kind of girl.
*Speaking of, I don’t know what they plan to do with Dan and Charlotte’s relationship, but I really hope neither of them gets hurt. If it’s not going to be an equal relationship, please let the guy move on.