Review – Lucifer S03E26: Once Upon a Time

Everything is Topsy-Turvy in This Week’s Lucifer

Here we are at the second bonus episode for Lucifer. I apologize for the lateness but I was trying to find the words to describe it and, well, they weren’t coming. There’s been a lot of talk surrounding this episode and a lot of anticipation. First, we learned it was going to be directed by our very own Kevin Alejandro. If you’ve kept up with my reviews you know I’m a big fan of his. The images from set basically had the fans asking a million questions and then came the crown jewel…the episode is narrated by the legendary Neil Gaiman. This sort of episode shouldn’t be possible, right? But it was and it was glorious.

Alternate Universe episodes are a bit like musical episodes, you either love them or you don’t. This episode was definitely a hit. Before I get into the nitty-gritty of it all I want to give a shout-out to writer Rick Lopez Jr. because he did an amazing job writing this episode and all the different nuances of the characters. And of course major props to Kevin Alejandro for one hell of a directing job. Not only was he fantastic in this episode in front of the camera but this was a monster episode to direct, and he deserves all the praise.

The Butterfly Effect 

The butterfly effect is such an interesting concept.  Movies, video games, etc. have been made about it. How is it that one seemingly tiny change can change our lives? That is one of the themes of this episode. And boy does it deliver. How could it be that saving John Decker can change the lives of characters so dramatically? What unfolds in the episode is a very interesting way of looking at what could have been.

LUCIFER S03E26 - Boo Normal/Once Upon a Time - FOX - Lesley-Ann Brandt - photo credit FOX
Lesley-Ann Brandt in the “Boo Normal/Once Upon a Time” two-hour bonus episode of LUCIFER on FOX. CR: FOX

One of the things I found most intriguing about this episode is how a lot of the characters we love still manage to meet. Linda is Chloe’s therapist rather than Lucifer’s but Lucifer himself still has a relationship with Ella. Since John Decker never dies, Chloe never becomes a detective, so she never marries Dan and has Trixie. This makes Dan a lot less moral and more likely to lean on his darker impulses. He still meets Charlotte, who is Lucifer’s lawyer. So it would seem that some people are destined to be in each other’s lives. It’s just the circumstances that change.

Some of the changes are sad. For example, poor Delilah gets no justice and like I mentioned earlier, there’s no Trixie. Here we see the impact the family has had on each other’s lives. Some of them went on darker paths, like Maze. Since she doesn’t have Linda, Trixie, or Chloe, she never finds her humanity. Dan and Charlotte go on a darker or rather more immoral path since they don’t have the impulse to be good. Others took different jobs but are the same at their core, like Ella and Linda. Well, mostly the same in Linda’s case since we know she does feel guilty but doesn’t do much about it.

Amenadiel feels like he’s a mix of his season 2 and season 3 self. He’s not the enlightened Amenadiel we saw in his last episode of season 3 but he’s also not the hardened angel from season 1. But in this world, he’s definitely lonelier, which is sad.

It’s crazy when you think about how one little change in Chloe Decker’s life caused all this.  But that’s how important she is to everyone around her.

Parenting the Godly Way

The other main theme of this episode is the topic of parenthood. We see two very different yet similar relationships and get answers to a question we’ve had since the beginning. Does God care about his son? The answer is that, yes, he cares a lot. We had suspected this and even our Lucifer came to a realization of his own in “A Devil of my Word”, but it’s always nice to get confirmation.

LUCIFER S03E26 - Boo Normal/Once Upon a Time - FOX - Tom Ellis (a) - photo credit FOX
LUCIFER: Tom Ellis in the “Boo Normal/Once Upon a Time” two-hour bonus episode on FOX. CR: FOX

Lucifer’s father is none other than Neil Gaiman as God. Let that sink in for a minute. Neil Gaiman, the brilliant mind behind Lucifer himself and a million other wonderful characters, is God. How truly ingenious is that? He did a truly stellar job and made us fall in love with the complicated relationship even more. Lucifer was clearly singing “My Way” looking at the sky as kind of a look at his dad.

Even God himself admits the relationship is complicated. There are a lot of hurt emotions and not enough communication. God just wants to leave Lucifer to his life, leave him to make mistakes or make the right choices. Meanwhile, this Lucifer sees everything as a manipulation and thinks he has no free will.  But we know deep down he craves his father’s love and approval. Like we said, it’s complicated.

The most hilarious realization that comes from this episode though is how Lucifer takes after his dad. They are in conflict all the time because they are so similar.

Parenting the Godly Way Part 2

In Chloe and John’s relationship we see a very similar pattern. Chloe is an actress that just wants to make her dad proud. She knows there’s something “off” about the case and she thinks by solving it she’ll do that. It obviously doesn’t go as she expects. John calls her out on the fact that she’s out there impersonating a cop, and with a club-owner sidekick to boot! Lucifer defends her and her capabilities and we know he’s been where she is.

Lucifer S03E26 - Boo Normal/Once Upon a Time - FOX - Lauren German - photo credit FOX
LUCIFER: Lauren German in the “Boo Normal/Once Upon a Time” two-hour bonus episode on FOX. CR: FOX

John Decker arrives after they’ve caught the murderer and finally has a real talk with his daughter. Louis Herthum does a phenomenal job as the elder John Decker. It’s not that he underestimates her but rather that he’s scared for her. He doesn’t want to think of her in dangerous situations.  After all, he didn’t think he himself could handle it; and then he apologizes to her. Telling her the important lesson of the episode, “a parent just wants what is best for his child.”

Chloe tells Lucifer that he never knows, his dad might surprise him; he doubts it, but we know the truth. The montage that follows is incredible as a whole.  Both Rick Lopez Jr. and Neil Gaiman should be very proud of it. In it, we get a hint of how much God loves his children. Although he wants to give Amenadiel a push in the right direction he knows his son has to figure it out for himself. The monologue culminates in a scene that lets us know that Chloe and Lucifer always find their way to each other. So perhaps he shouldn’t have meddled with it, but God asks us a very important question: wouldn’t we do the same in his shoes?

Because after all, a parent just wants what is best for their child.

Soulmate Connection

There’s a joke going around that says that this episode is basically God writing fan-fiction about his OTP. And well, it’s not wrong, but that’s what makes it so much fun. This episode is very intriguing when it comes to character development because at their core it’s still the same Chloe and Lucifer but they’re also slightly different. After all, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

LUCIFER S03E26 - Boo Normal/Once Upon a Time - FOX - Lauren German and Tom Ellis - photo credit FOX
LUCIFER: L-R: Lauren German and Tom Ellis in the “Boo Normal/Once Upon a Time” two-hour bonus episode on FOX. CR: FOX

Lucifer has been in Los Angeles for longer and hasn’t really found anything to motivate him, hence the plan to move to Las Vegas. He’s basically the playboy devil we met back in the pilot. The only real change I saw was that he doesn’t remind people he’s the devil and even hides the gunshot wounds in his shirt so Chloe doesn’t see. He still doesn’t know how to play by the rules nor does he have any idea about teamwork.

Chloe is very different from when we met her. The biggest change is obviously her dad not dying. But there’s also the fact that since she was never a cop, she never met Dan so there’s no failed marriage and she was never ostracized. So this Chloe Decker is a lot more open than the one we know. She still has a few chips on her shoulder but they’re for other reasons.

Their first meeting is completely different as they both have a vague idea of who the other is, or, well, more than vague in Lucifer’s case since he’s quite the fanboy. This case is a first for both of them, not just Lucifer, so there’s a playfulness in it that Lauren German and Tom Ellis portray masterfully. They thrive on the competition yet remain enthralled by the other’s skills. It’s a true joy to watch. Not to mention this version of them is a lot flirtier from the start, I mean they almost let the bad guy get away because they were busy flirting.

Among the differences in their relationship, there are also similarities, like his full belief in her despite having just met her. The pivotal scene is, of course, the last one. Chloe decides she’s going to enroll in the police academy and Lucifer tells her he’ll tag along. It’s a gorgeous scene, beautifully shot by Kevin Alejandro. It has phenomenal acting by both Ellis and German; you see two people who are still technically strangers but endlessly intrigued by each other, you can see it in their eyes.

We get Neil Gaiman narrating and telling us that no matter what scenario you place them in, if He has a hand of it or not, the end result is always going to be the same. Lucifer Morningstar and Chloe Jane Decker will always find each other and be drawn to each other. They are two halves of a whole, who will always be stronger together than they are apart. Because that’s what soulmates are.

Isn’t that just divine?


God: People accuse me of being controlling and yes, I may have put Chloe in Lucifer’s path. But what if I didn’t? Would they still get together? Normally it would be impossible to get an answer to that question, but I can. One of the benefits of being God.

Chloe Decker: Well I’d love to leave this in the no-doubt-capable hands of a boozy, half-in-the-bag club owner. I’ve got this…


Charlotte Richard: Because you’d miss me if I did.

Dan Espinoza: You know what? Maybe I would.


Lucifer Morningstar: How is the silver city?

Amenadiel: Still silver, still a city.


Lucifer Morningstar: Right, well from what I’ve seen, what you’ve raised is an intelligent, capable and frustratingly stubborn woman.


Lucifer Morningstar: Nice bit of improvisation there, Miss Decker; I don’t care what the critics say, you do have range.


God: Choice is a funny thing. Give someone different options, difference circumstances, will they themselves end up different? Sure, they might end up with a different job, find inspiration from different people. But will they still be the same person at their core?

Some might continue down a darker path, never knowing there was a different way. The potential buried deep down, but still there. Some make immoral choices instead of moral ones. But they’ll still have the same conscience. The question is, will they ever make the choice to listen to it?

Sometimes it isn’t the right moment in someone’s life to make a certain choice. And no matter how badly you want to nudge them in the right direction, you know they need to find it on their own. And some people find love in the strangest of situations, and are somehow happier for it.

And some, no matter how you shake things up, end up making the same choices, and drawn to the same people, the same passions. So all seems to have ended well. Does that mean I never should have manipulated things to begin with? I have a better question. Wouldn’t you do the same in my shoes? 

After all, a parent just wants what is best for their child.



Callbacks to the Pilot: The piano scene between Dan and Lucifer is reminiscent of Lucifer and Chloe’s first meeting. There’s, of course, the Jedi quote and Lucifer telling someone “you humans love your money.”

Series Callbacks: Top Meet (from this season’s “Chloe Does Lucifer“) is a NASCAR sponsor. Chloe is the star of the Weaponizer franchise (Dan and Lucifer fanboyed over the franchise back in s2). Kimo Van Zandt from that same episode, “Weaponizer,” is still the franchise. Lucifer still has his Pentecostal coin because he never went to Hell for Chloe. 666 is the deposit box code in “Vegas with Some Radish”; they try it but it doesn’t work.

*There were other kinds of nods which were incredible: Lucifer’s comment about Vancouver, since the show filmed there for its first two seasons; Chloe’s badge saying Warner Brothers, as that’s the company that owns the show.

*I loved that a version of Charlotte and Dan got a happy ending, even if it was a slightly immoral version of them.

*Ella fangirling over Chloe is pretty much one of the cutest scenes in the episode. These two episodes show how incredible Aimee Garcia is at what she does because between this and “Boo Normal” she portrays two very different versions of Ella Lopez while still keeping her heart intact.

*I want to give a shout-out to my darling Wolf because they helped me out with while writing this and I was unsure what to focus on.

*Not many shows can end an episode with a montage to Bowie’s “Heroes” with Neil Gaiman narrating in the background, but that is the beauty of Lucifer.

*I don’t want to think this is the end because I know in my heart that it’s not. I know there’s so much left to tell and it would be a pity if we didn’t get to see it. But if this was the last episode of the show? What a way to go out!

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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.

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