Mum’s Manipulations: The Mythology behind Lucifer, Episode 2.02: “Liar, Liar, Slutty Dress on Fire”

The episode picks up right where the first one ended, with Lucifer’s Mum. This time, however, we get her point of view, as her celestial being inhabits various recently deceased bodies. This is actually our first stop on the episode’s mythologically packed tour.

Genesis is quite clear that man and woman are “[made] in the image of God.” Nowhere does it specify that God—or the Goddess—have any kind of flesh, though. She is completely incorporeal, an intelligence without physical substance, a divine soul. Maze corroborates this later in the episode by speculating that she “couldn’t hurt [Mum] because [she] [wasn’t] human.” But now, residing in human flesh, Mum is fully vulnerable to all of the weak spots in a human body—beginning with a head-butt, and ending with Lucifer stabbing her in the arm with a screwdriver.

This opens up a lot of possibilities, as Mum clearly states that “this body only heals once,” suggesting limitations to either her power or the durability of human flesh, despite her divine soul inhabiting it. Angelic flesh, however, is quite different, as Lucifer demonstrated last season by being able to take several bullets without injury … except when Chloe is around. Maze never does get to test out her theories, at least not in this episode.

Of course, after three days of searching LA, Mum finally comes to Lucifer. But he’s still wary, and checks her story to make sure she didn’t leave “a trail of bloodshed and carnage” in her wake. The reasons for this belief go beyond him thinking she still wants revenge, as he mentions “the plagues, the floods” sent against humanity. An accusation to which she shrugs her shoulders, gives a quick smirk, and says “Well. The flood would have to be the well-known story of Noah, while the plagues would have to be much later on.” Specifically, these would have to be the plagues sent against Egypt. 

This is interesting as this indicates an adversarial conflict, most likely with Mum playing the side of the one who “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (Exo 9:12). Various translations have always made God the responsible party for this act, which never made sense, but the show neatly solves this problem by pinning it on Mum. She and God argued. The fight was with one another, but the chosen battlefield was on Earth among the humans. Instead of taking out her anger against God, she punished humans, despite claiming “not to care about them.”

Meanwhile, Amenadiel is having bad reception, clearly down a few bars, and is not able to hear the prayers by Lucifer. The loss of a feather from his wings and the reveal of how broken and decaying they are is also a very not good sign. This is possibly an early indication that he is beginning to Fall … though Lucifer’s wings had been pristine. He admits to Linda that he “has a lot to atone for.” The methods he used to return Lucifer to Hell are beginning to catch up to him, and sleeping with Maze probably didn’t help any.

The episode downplays Chloe’s family life, but a single, important incident stands out with the doll Trixie mangled. Chloe and Dan realize Trixie is trying to manipulate them into getting a better doll, and Lucifer commends the manipulation. The manipulation is a subtle theme throughout the entire episode, as Mum constantly pulls on Lucifer’s heartstrings in small, subtle ways. She tells him that he’s not to blame for her being sent to hell. She constantly brings up wanting to be a mother to him throughout the episode. She attempts to make amends with “cheesy noodles. It’s what mothers make to bring their children joy.” But with every move she makes, Lucifer refuses to budge—until the end.

It’s the confession that she is responsible for sending him to Hell that finally moves him emotionally. At first, he’s angry, but when she claims God wanted to destroy everyone in the rebellion, he softens, just a little. Her surrender to his mercy by volunteering to go back to hell doesn’t hurt either, which is what pushes him over the edge, and he’s now willing to let her stay until he figures out what to do.

But can we trust her? We have to keep the manipulation in mind. Lucifer defaulted to extreme paranoia and caution around her, which may be the right impulse. Even though she sent floods and plagues against humanity, she claims ignorance to the ways of humanity, asking if humans are cannibals. 

However, she is able to judge that her body has “supreme hindquarters” asking Lucifer to feel them. If she were as inexperienced as she claims, how would she know to judge them? The naivety rings false again when she removes her clothing in public. Are we to believe that the goddess of all creation is truly unable to notice the simple reality of clothing? Surely, she would have seen clothing on the humans she sent floods and plagues against. 

She does have a very sincere moment with Lucifer, but it’s not one of her many pleas to be his mother and profess her love for him. Instead, it’s when she states “[she] wants what [Lucifer’s] father took from [her].” There’s an edge to her voice and expression, that revenge is part of her wish. And we can’t forget the parting smirk she casts heavenward when Lucifer agrees to let her stay.

See also: Lucifer’s Family Problems: The Mytholgy Behind Episode 2.01, “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer”

 

Andy Adams is an adjunct professor of English at various colleges in the Phoenix area. He has an affectation for fedoras as they complement his villainous goatee. He’s been known to poke his head onto Twitter @A3Writer, but he’s never been big into birds. He blogs at A3writer.comabout writing, teaching, and the conquest of fictional worlds—they’re more fun than the real world.

Read all posts by Andy Adams for Criminal Element.

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