By Chris B
Our family of dysfunctional divines open the evening musing over the revelation that Azrael’s blade is actually the flaming sword, despite the fact that it is “so little and so not flaming.” Charlotte swears that God hid the sword in plain sight as the blade, and only Lucifer can ignite it. But how? It senses his emotional state in such a more dramatic way than “a groovy mood ring.” If Lucifer can get angry enough, they just might have a shot at that Heaven Takeover.
Thus, the control of emotions becomes the theme of the evening.
The corpse du jour is Debbie Lang, an admissions employee at a prestigious private elementary school. She’s been stabbed in the back by a pair of commemorative scissors, and Lucifer is quick to take a stab at her psychology degree that apparently had no effect on the victim interpreting human emotion properly.
A visit to the school reveals that its focus is on emotional self-control. Lucifer is overjoyed to hear that, and despite the “weird” policy against cell phones, he most emphatically decides, “Let the schooling begin!”
Sentio Ergo Sum is the Starford motto: “I feel; therefore, I am.” Children and adults here, when in a conflict, present hand-made gifts to one another. I’m sure the Unabomber would’ve been all over this idea, but alas, as Debbie’s desk is free of macramé, she apparently had no outstanding beefs. A small amount of pressing of the school’s headmaster revealed a recent altercation between the deceased and parents whose child had been denied admission. The parents claim Debbie implied that a heavy donation would increase their son’s chance of admission but later said the donation had never been received despite the check clearing. Both husbands claimed they were dealing with the situation “the civilized way”—by suing—but this seems less likely when the murder weapon turns up in their pool house.
Dan and Chloe meet again with the headmaster about the missing donation, and he promptly dissolves into tears and confesses to taking the money so that he could keep up the appearances at the private school when, in reality, his salary barely pays his rent. He feels responsible for Debbie’s death, though he claims he’s not the one who killed her.
Mommy Morningstar has given her boy another grand idea—he needs a child! Lucifer then magically appears at Chloe’s and volunteers to take Trixie to school. However, he doesn’t specify which school; the two later show up at Starford Academy for their tour as father and daughter. They’re given a stumbling intro to the place by the PE teacher—excuse me, Wellness Mentor—a man who is “as dumb as a box of hair.” For emotional training, he directs them to the library and Madison’s class.
While basically drivel, Madison’s artistic channeling advice seems to be somewhat revealing when, in a convenient turn of events, the little blonde kid scribbling away next to Lucifer shows his picture—it’s one of his mom stabbing Debbie. Eureka!
Joy Sherman, the boy’s mother, pleads that she, in another stellar display of parenting, merely said that she wanted to kill Debbie and didn’t know her son was listening. Apparently, Debbie made Joy feel bad about herself because she worked and didn’t make muffins that were gluten and dairy free. When Debbie was dispatched, she claimed to have been with Mr. Taylor, decidedly not discussing the Pythagorean theorem or French impressionism.
Chloe attends the Grieving Gathering in Debbie’s memory, both to check out suspects and to scout the place as a possible school for her own daughter. Maze surprises her by showing up as Trixie’s other mom. Maze wastes no time in bragging what “a pistol” Decker is in the sack, and she makes Chloe realize that the crowd there thrives on gossip, so she plans to use that to their advantage. They spread the rumor of an impending arrest as a means to flush out the killer. Who takes the bait? Madison, whose bugger-eating son happens to be the offspring of the ever-popular Mr. Taylor, and Debbie had been prepared to reveal it.
Maze, shocked by her lack of ready-made breakfast, asks Chloe how she’s feeling; while Chloe drones on about Lucifer, Maze pops in an earbud and nods away. That’s the only way she can deal with human emotions on an empty stomach. Good call, Maze.
Charlotte, darling mom that she is, tries to arrange a little sex sandwich for her son (as all good mothers do); she speculates that if anger didn’t work, she’d “incite a different emotion, see if that would get the sword fired up.” Unfortunately, Lucifer must beg off: “It’s hard for me to enjoy a triple-decker with my mum’s hands all over it.” Lucifer’s sword remains dormant.
Chloe discovers that Lucifer and Trixie are in the library in Madison’s feelings roundtable. The detective saunters in, just in time to hear her daughter claim she feels sad because her mother nearly died: “Her job is scary, but she has to help so many other people with their problems, I don’t want her to worry about mine. So I pretend I’m ok.” What to do with the negative emotion? The instructor’s candy-coated advice? Write a poem! Lucifer is less than impressed: “I came her to learn how to turn emotions into energy, not to become Dr. Seuss.”
You will not learn it in a school.
You will not learn it playing cool.
You will not win with emotional sham.
Why not try green eggs and ham?
Lucifer returns for a session with Dr. Linda to ruminate on his dilemma. While she tries to wrap her head around the Gates of Heaven concept, he tries to grasp the idea that her function is not to tell him how to control his emotions, but to understand his own emotions, to help him “become aware of what it is [he’s] feeling or trying to avoid feeling.” She accuses Lucifer of marrying Candy “to hide something or from something.” In the end, her diagnosis: bring down the emotional walls or the Gates of Heaven will stay intact.
Lucifer arrives home to be approached by a dark figure that he assumes, somewhat amusedly, is a mugger. However, his laughter fades when the figure lays him flat with a right cross. Turns out it was just another scheme by Charlotte to get Lucifer riled up, figuring that fighting for his life would be just the inspiration he needs. However, he is not the desperate one. Charlotte is looking more and more unhinged by the time factor.
A resigned Lucifer returns to Dr. Linda, acknowledging that there is no way to control one’s emotions. He decides to be more forthcoming about his real plan: use the flaming sword to cut through the gates of Heaven, shove Mom inside, and close the gates quickly before she can escape. The doctor gets him to realize that he needs to stop squelching it and actually feel the pain and heartbreak over what has happened with his mother and Chloe.
Of course, no one bothers to point out that if Lucifer cannot force himself to feel something currently, it means he couldn’t have been forced to feel something previously; hence, his feelings for Decker are genuine, and hers for him. Oh, well. I sure hope they’ll at least cover the transitive property in Starford’s math classes.
Lucifer makes another attempt with the sword, and while his pain flows, it lights briefly, then extinguishes. Charlotte is frantic, soon flouncing out of the room; she pulls back a Band-aid to reveal that her human shell is cracking. There may be time for Lucifer and Amenadiel to figure out their issues, but Charlotte’s time on Earth seems to be ticking down.