Review- Lucifer S03E20 – The Angel of San Bernadino

Lucifer Shows Us the Effects of Sleep Deprivation

We finally get the show back after another damn hiatus! We’re in for a ride in these final five episodes of the Lucifer season. The Angel of San Bernadino, written by Jason Ning, had its highs and its very low lows. It featured what was truly a show-stopping performance from Tom Ellis, and a wonderful scene by Tricia Helfer. We got hilarity with Dan and Charlotte, a lot of Bones references, one of the best montages on television, and then that plot. I mean, I’m personally not a fan of messing with my female lead’s characterization, but I just review this show I don’t write it. Without further ado let’s get on with the show, we’ve got a lot to cover.

Flirting & Realizations

Lucifer S03 Ep20: The Angel of San Bernardino - Photo Credit: Fox Official Website
Lucifer S03 Ep20: The Angel of San Bernardino – Photo Credit: Fox Official Website

Charlotte and Dan were the best part of the episode. Their scenes were a breath of fresh air in a truly stressful episode. Following Charlotte’s revelation, she thinks that she can do whatever she’d like because after all, she’s friends with two angels. What follows is a lot of hilariousness.

Charlotte delights in telling people what she really thinks of them, their crappy stories or their cooking. Then she gets to Ella and it’s hilariously endearing because she cannot find a single negative thing to say about her. She tells Ella she thinks the latter is actually pretty incredible, and she’s not wrong.

We’re also treated to one of the greatest Charlotte and Dan scenes. Tricia Helfer and Kevin Alejandro have such an easy chemistry, it’s impossible not to root for them. They’re being flirty while drinking a lot of martinis and shots, and it’s adorable. Especially the part where she’s like, I can get you an in with the big guy and he’s just trying to guess who the big guy is. Like I mentioned, it’s a very necessary reprieve from the rest of the episode.

They are truly acting like flirty teenagers, and I love it. Even if poor Dan got stuck naked alone in the closet. And in typical Tricia Helfer fashion, she manages to turn a funny scene into a heartbreaking one. Amenadiel comes to see her and explains everything even further, and we see her realization. She relapsed the moment she thought she was off the hook. I do still believe there’s hope for Charlotte, it’s normal for any of us to have relapses. And she’s only human, after all.

It might take something larger to clear out her ledger so to speak. Maybe she’ll help in taking down Cain? I surely hope so. 

Frazzled and Sleep-Deprived 

If Tom Ellis wanted to submit for an Emmy, this would be the episode I’d choose. His performance in it is truly masterful, a true work of art. He’s mentioned in multiple interviews how much he enjoyed filming this episode and he should be very proud of what he brought to the table. Just as Lesley-Ann killed it last episode, Tom Ellis was the clear MVP in the one.

This cast is superbly talented, but holy hell, sometimes Ellis is just on another plane of existence. The way he started off as his regular self and slowly went off the rails was magnificent. It wasn’t just the clothes, it was his mannerisms, the way his eyes looked unhinged and bloodshot, and how his hair was ruffled. That montage was both hilarious and heartbreaking and one of the best montages I’ve seen. All I wanted was to hug him throughout the episode. His worst fears are coming true, that his father is taking away his free will and making him do things he doesn’t remember.

It all culminates in that pivotal scene with Lauren German. It’s the most frazzled he’s been and he pleads with her to believe him. It’s heartbreaking because he’s telling her the truth, Marcus is Cain and he shouldn’t be trusted. But considering how he’s been for this season, it’s no wonder she doesn’t believe him.

We find out that this entire episode has been a plot by Maze. You see true heartbreak on his face as she recounts how she tortured him, and it breaks my heart. He hasn’t always been great to her, but he didn’t deserve this; you should never gaslight your friends. And I fear there might be no coming back from this for either of them. 

Chloe Decker Deserves Better

I just spoke about what might truly be one of Tom Ellis’ best performances to date, but the other side of that coin is we see Chloe in a deeply disturbing abusive relationship. I’m not throwing the word around, I mean it. Chloe Decker has barely had any agency this season; she’s been a prop to pass amongst the immortals in a horrible game of hot potato.

People aren’t against Marclo because of Deckerstar. If you asked most Deckerstar fans, they’d tell you they have full confidence in their ship. There were so many ways to do this triangle, and yet, the writers chose to go for the one that puts our leading lady in an abusive relationship.

There’s nothing wrong with a woman in a relationship having sex but Chloe can’t consent to any of this. She doesn’t know everything, and she’s being gaslighted left and right by Marcus. She shouldn’t be put in this situation so that Lucifer can deal with his baggage? We don’t even know if she’ll even get a chance to process all of this when she does find out. Because she will find out and be in a world of pain.

Even without the abusive sides of it, the way Chloe is reacting to everything is just messy. She’s a damn good detective, so there’s no way she doesn’t know Lucifer’s feelings or that she’d hurt him like that.

Like my wonderful friend would say, a female character isn’t there to be a prop in order to advance someone else’s personal growth. We expect better from this show because we love it so much, and we all watched season 2, so we know you’re all wildly talented. Which is why this hurts so much. Please do better.

Speaking of Gaslighting

I am at a loss to explain how terrible this plot is? It’s not believable, and I hate saying this, but it’s really bad writing. Do the writers watch their own show? Because two episodes ago, Chloe didn’t want to go out with Pierce. It wasn’t until Lucifer pushed her away that she turned to him. In the last episode, she didn’t want to admit that she was in a relationship with him. Now, we’re supposed to believe she’s in love with him?

She’s supposedly in love with a man who’s manipulating her and gaslighting her every five seconds? He doesn’t even have a single redeeming quality. He’s just a racist manipulator. Chloe was still deeply in love with Lucifer literally three episodes ago? Are we supposed to believe she loves Marcus now?

Chloe is not that flighty. That’s not the Chloe Decker I know and love. She deserves better than to be manipulated and used. She deserves better than to be stuck in an abusive relationship with a sociopath. She’s being groomed, and there’s a clear unbalance of power. Is that really the message you want to send here?

I’ve spent most of this season trying to reassure people that the writers know what they are doing. This is the first time this season that I’m not sure of that. It’s a terrible feeling to have with your favorite show. They’ve got 4 episodes left in this season, and it could go either way. I sincerely hope this is just a slump, and we get back to the magic of season 2 (and a lot of season 3 episodes), but right now I’m emotionally spent.

I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.


*The scenes between Amenadiel and Lucifer were wonderful this episode. I love when we get to see the brothers being brothers. 

*Why didn’t Lucifer bring out the wings and show her that as proof? He’s been ready for her to find out since s2 after all. At least the devil eyes are back, and that excites me!

*Lucifer binge-watching all seasons of Bones? He’s never been more relatable.

*Linda is literally the friend that calls you out on all your bullshit, and we all need one of those in our lives.

*Is the Gabriel comment foreshadowing? Are we going to see the messenger angel any time soon?

*As someone who used to watch Bones, I enjoyed the Bones references a lot. Having Scott Allen Rinker playing Matt Kessman in Lucifer as an actor who was on Bones, and he really was on Bones was a beautiful reference in itself. That Miami Vice shoutout was pretty great too.

*Props to episode director Tara Nicole Weyr because she did a stellar job!

*I posted about my disappointment with how the writers are handling Chloe, but I didn’t mention Maze. What they did to Maze and Chloe’s friendship is truly despicable. Maze’s loyalty was always one of her best traits, and now we’re expected to believe she would do this. 

*Remember the Maze that blew up Amenadiel’s car and threatened to do a lot worse if anyone hurt Chloe? Where is she? I miss her. Remember how angry she was with Mum for using Chloe to get to Lucifer, and now she’s doing exactly that?

*This is not the path I would have taken, that much is clear. I still have a bit of faith the characters will actually deal with the fallout.There’s no sweeping this under a rug because Chloe will be in a lot of pain, being manipulated and gaslighted is not a good feeling. I hope she actually gets to process those emotions.


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About the author

Maii Trueba

Maii is a 27 year old writer, who can get emotional and protective over certain characters and their stories, also pandas. And don't get her started on A Song of Ice and Fire because you'll never hear the end of it. She graduated in film and has a certificate in Art History so the nerdiness comes out from time to time.

1 Comment

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  • She’s projecting her feelings for Lucifer into Cain because he’s there and he’s wearing a perfect boyfriend veneer with a hardened edge to keep her in line. Chloe is super confused because of Cain. I hate this so much. And it’s about to get more confusing for her…I am so sad that the writers are putting her through so much pain. And to have Maze turn on her? It’s unbelievable. They have ruined two female friendships for what purpose? It’s not okay and I am so disappointed.

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