‘Lucifer’ Puts Dan Through Hell (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Lucifer Season 5, Episode 12 “Daniel Espinoza: Naked and Afraid.”]
In “Daniel Espinoza: Naked and Afraid,” Detective Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro) has quite a rough day, including a car accident, getting chased by a dog, and staring down the barrel of a gun multiple times. But by the end … he’s actually grateful for it?
Alejandro truly shines in this episode, as the detective continues to adjust to his knowledge that celestial beings (Tom Ellis’ Lucifer, D.B. Woodside’s angel Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt’s demon Maze, Dennis Haysbert’s God) are part of his everyday life and reconnects with someone from his past who makes things complicated, to say the least.
It all begins with Dan comparing Lucifer to Darth Vader and ends with the two sharing a drink at Lux.
Not Exactly a Vacation
Eager to get away and use the drive to think, Dan readily agrees to pick up a Los X gang member and transport her across the border from Mexico, much to Detective Chloe Decker’s (Lauren German) surprise. She’s worried, since the last time Dan worked with the processing officer, Luis Nevaro, he was a very different cop, one headed down a slippery slope to being a criminal. He’ll be fine, Dan insists.
He’s not. Once he’s in Mexico, Luis tells him the prisoner won’t be ready until the next day and talks him into having a drink … or several. Luis tries to convince him to join his business venture — bringing holistic crystals up to housewives in Los Angeles — but the truth about that doesn’t come out until the next day, after Dan wakes up, naked in the back room, next to Luis’ partner’s dead body.
Luis wanted Dan to replace the Russians helping him in L.A. and he owes them $200,000. He manages to talk Dan into bringing them the money (“please, for my family”), and the detective has the box in the passenger seat as he drives back, with the prisoner for extradition in the backseat. She thinks he’s corrupt (and doing cocaine) and recommends he do what she did and find God. “I found God, and he exploded my entire body for sleeping with his wife, so I don’t think he’s quite the guy you think he is,” he tells her before a truck T-bones them.
They’ll Do It His Way
When Dan regains consciousness, Los X has been spray-painted across the side of his car (and his face), and luckily for him, two people from his improv class just so happen to be driving home from a gig. They give him a ride back to L.A., where he promptly goes to see Lucifer and spills everything to him. He needs the devil to be his muscle and beat up the Los X gang members while he gets the box of cash. But Lucifer refuses to be a hired goon and instead wants to do this his way: by letting money (and himself) do the talking.
So while Dan sneaks into the back of the Los X’s bike shop, Lucifer waltzes in the front (and is surprised they sell regular bikes, not motorcycles). He starts talking to the people inside (including the woman Dan was transporting) about his dad’s recent announcement that he’s retiring, while Dan ends up cuffing a guy trying to take his box of cash. The detective encounters a dog on his way off the property and runs inside the shop. The prisoner recognizes him, and all hell breaks loose. Lucifer sends Dan on his way (on one of the bikes) as he begins to advance on the gang members with his glowing red eyes.
But as Dan’s biking away, he notices something red leaking out of the box, crashes, and falls right before Luis’ partner’s head lands next to him. “You never look in the box,” Luis admonishes as he picks up the body part.
A Ticking Clock
Yes, Luis is in L.A., and after he brings Dan back to his apartment, he reveals the truth: His partner kept his books for him and betrayed him to the Russians. The Russians are his competition, and he was sending his head as a message. Luis couldn’t risk his own guys, so he used Dan: If he was killed, he wouldn’t lose anything, and if he wasn’t, he’d be on the hook for transporting human remains across crime syndicates. That guy who was stealing the box? Also works for Luis and was going to kill the Russians’ bookkeeper for him. So now Dan must do it — if he wants the antidote to the poison Luis injected him with that will kill him 10 hours.
Refusing to actually kill someone, Dan turns to forensic scientist Ella Lopez (Aimee Garcia) in hopes that she can tell him how to fake a murder. She can. But when he drives out to the bookkeeper’s cabin and tries to explain to her what he’s going to do (he has pig’s blood and ground meat to make it look real), she knocks him out and takes off in his car. He calls Amenadiel for help. The angel’s offended: “Dan, I’m not an Uber.” But Dan had no other choice, and Amenadiel picks him up and flies him home.
Once there, he finds Maze waiting for him, and she has quite the laugh at his expense once he fills her in on his day. But she can fix it all, she says. She’ll set up a meet for him with the Russians (he’ll use the name Joe Stone), then set up a meet with Luis while the Russians are waiting. Meanwhile, Maze will take care of “killing” the bookkeeper. It’ll work, she promises.
Whatever Can Go Wrong Does Go Wrong
The first snag comes when Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris) recognizes Dan at the coffee shop while he’s meeting with the Russians. He has her slap him and tells the Russians he’s seeing her casually and didn’t give her his real name. They buy it, especially after she throws water in his face. Then comes Lucifer telling Dan he can’t be at the meet due to his history with the Russians, so who will be the detective’s backup? His improv class, thinking it’s just a gig.
Everything, of course, goes haywire at the meet: Maze brings the bookkeeper alive (so Luis can kill her himself), Luis calls Dan “Danimal” and the Russians realize he’s been lying, the Los Xers show up, and Dan’s improv friend gets too into the role. Everyone starts shooting and killing each other, Dan chases after the vial with the antidote, and Luis shoots it out of his hand once he gets it. Then Maze takes a bullet for Dan and dies in his arms. Wait, what?!
“Now you see that sometimes when you’re trying to do the right thing, other people who don’t deserve it end up getting shot,” Lucifer informs him as he makes his entrance.
That’s when everyone gets up — it was all an act (starting with Luis’s “dead” partner). Not everyone was in on it, Maze informs Dan; he should call Amenadiel, Linda, Ella, and Chloe and let them know he’s OK.
Lucifer, of course, was behind the prank. It only took countless hours of meticulous planning and dozens of favors called in and cost $5,004,157. In the devil’s mind, it was totally worth it. But how did he control everything? As Lucifer explains, Dan’s very predictable. He’ll never give up, and whenever he’s given a choice, he’ll always do the right thing.
To Lucifer’s surprise, Dan thanks him. He needed this crazy day to get through the weird place he’s been in lately. But that’s not why Lucifer did it. So why did he? “Because you f**king shot me, Daniel,” he reminds him, and they drink. A fitting ending for a wild, crazy (and fun) episode.
Lucifer, Season 5B, Streaming Now, Netflix