Date Posted: 08/03/20
As far as I am aware Lucifer was originally aired on Fox (and Amazon Prime) which was cancelled after its third season but due to a fan campaign was picked up for a fourth season by Netflix, a fifth and final season is due to be aired (I think) later this year. The ensemble and supporting cast include Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, Lauren German as Detective Chloe Decker, Kevin Alejandro as Detective Daniel "Dan" Espinoza, D. B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen, and Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin. The series was based on a DC Comic which began life in a series called The Sandman before it was given its own spin-off series.
The premise of the show is that the fallen angel Lucifer Morningstar grew bored of ruling over Hell and decided to take a vacation in Los Angeles. That was five years ago and during that time he has established a nightclub called Lux, and basically spends his time doing whatever the Hell (pun intended) he wants. He has the ability to draw out people's desires and grants favours to those who ask. He is also not coy about the fact that he is the Devil, freely telling most people he meets, naturally no one believes him and assume it is either a metaphor or he is just a bit of a weirdo.
Things change when a woman that Lucifer grants a favour to is murdered before his eyes and a police detective Chloe Decker is assigned to the case. Seeking to find the person responsible Lucifer joins the investigation much to Decker's chagrin. It turns out that Lucifer's ability to draw out someone's desires makes him quite useful when it comes to catching the killer and feeds into his desire to see the wicked punished for their crimes.
So begins the unlikely partnership of Lucifer and Decker.
Working in Lux is Mazikeen or Maze, Hell's most sadistic torturer, and Lucifer's most trusted ally whose job it is to keep him safe. Lucifer's angelic brother, literally his brother is an angel, Amenadiel keeps trying to get his wayward sibling to return to his role as the King of Hell
(Slight Spoiler coming up...)
Being the Devil Lucifer is immune to harm, bullets can't penetrate his flesh, and his immortality grants him strength, endurance and so on. But he discovers that when he is around Decker he becomes vulnerable. Bullets can tear through his flesh and whilst he is capable of being wounded, the effect only lasts if he is around Decker. Exactly why he is vulnerable around the Detective no one knows, plus his ability to draw out a person's desires also doesn't have any effect on her, and again it is not really revealed exactly why.
Chloe has a child with Detective Dan Espinoza; the two are separated but still work closely together. Lucifer also begins therapy with Dr Linda ... in an attempt to figure out exactly why he is starting to want to help the Police find criminals and why he seems to be changing...
I was recommended Lucifer by a friend of my skin-sack and I guess I was expecting it to be a Dexter-kind of premise with Lucifer helping the Police but exacting punishment on the criminals before sending them to Hell. However, it does not work like that. Lucifer is more complex than simply wanting to punish and do harm to wrongdoers. The concept that he doesn't actually like being condemned to rule Hell come up very early and remains as a theme throughout the show's current four season run. Generally each episode is a self-enclosed story with a general over arching plot that gains a bit of momentum towards the season finale.
In Season One we learn that a hero cop was shot on duty but Chloe had accused him of corruption. As a result she is generally disliked/distrusted by her colleagues. Dan sticks up for her but by and large she stays away from other cops as much as possible. During the season the hero cop is awakened from his coma after being dead for a few seconds, his return is met with cheers from the other officers but as he returns to his duties he may have a more sinister motive than anyone anticipates...
In Season Two, Lucifer and Amenadiel are tracking down the prisoner that escaped from Hell in the season finale of Season One. They are able to track the individual down, or more accurately the individual tracks them down, but Lucifer defies the deal he made with his Father to return them to Hell. Amenadiel loses his powers, his wings die and he seems trapped as a mortal. He is convinced it is some kind of test from his Father and suspects he will only get his wings back if Lucifer returns the prisoner to Hell. But with Lucifer refusing to return the prisoner to where they belong, Chloe's life being put in the balance and an ancient power awakening that could destroy all of creation things look bleak.
By Season Three, Lucifer is where he was at the end of Season Two, abandoned in the desert with his Angel Wings back (he cut them off when he abandoned Hell). He returns to LA only to find that his Devil-Face has also gone. The Police Precinct is welcoming a new Lieutenant named Pierce (played by Smallville's Tom Welling) and a sinister figure working in the background named the "Sinner-Man" may know how and why Lucifer's wings are back, and whilst they keep returning even after he cuts them off. Amenadiel is still trying to determine what is happening after he is able to use his thought-lost powers at the end of Season Two. Amenadiel and Linda also grow closer as she continued to struggling with what happened to her at the end of the last season.
Season Four picks up a month after the end of Season Three with Chloe still reeling from finally accepting the truth about who and what Lucifer really is. This time around a Priest is attempting to stop a prophecy coming to pass regarding evil being unleashed upon the Earth after Lucifer finds his first love. With Chloe avoiding Lucifer, a very old frame from Lucifer's past arrives in LA keen to rekindle the fire.
I have been as vague as possible because I haven't dropped my usual Spoiler warning yet, but also because I do want to encourage you to watch this for yourself, especially if you have Amazon Prime and Netflix.
The show is suitably tongue-in-cheek with Tom Ellis clearly enjoying himself as Lucifer and the Devil, when he adopts his Devil-face I am honestly not sure if it is Ellis under the make-up or not, however we rarely get to see more than a glimpse of his true face here and there. I like all of the characters and crucially they all actually go through arcs whilst the will-they-won't-they between Chloe and Lucifer is always present and milked to oblivion the other characters for attachments in their own right. My favourite of which, is probably the unlikely friendship between Linda and Maze with Chloe's daughter Trixie and Lucifer's reaction to her always a highlight. Aimee Garcia (who I was familiar with from Dexter) joins the cast from Season Two onward as a quirky forensic lab tech whose remorseless enthusiasm for her job is always a joy to watch. Sadly unlike in Dexter when she did flash her bum or a bit of boob during the occasional sex scene she doesn't show any flesh here, but that was just a bonus is Dexter rather than a reason to tune in. However, there is one character that I didn't like and I will discuss them after my spoiler drop in a bit.
I also love the fact that despite the fact Lucifer is very vocal about being the Devil, of course no one believe him, because who would?? There is a fantastic moment when he reveals his devil-face to someone for the first time and the reaction is naturally one of terror, confusion, and the burden that Heaven, Hell, demons, Angels is all actually true. The reaction to such a reveal are also suitable for the situation with characters not just taking it in their stride but coming to terms with knowing the truth.
I also adore the sound track and spent a lot of time looking up and subsequently downloading them to add to my music collection. They always fit superbly over what is happening on the screen, so much so that when I am playing the song later, I am thinking about what was happening in the scene it played over regardless of whether I watched the actual music video.
After Season Two it wasn't just Aimee Garcia that got added to things, the Station itself also changed from a more "traditional" Police station to one that looks like a converted nightclub or something. I have no problem with the revamp, I never really believed the Daily Planet set in New Adventures of Superman was the bustling heart of a thriving newspaper, but I did believe it was in Superman The Movie, but I digress. Strangely though it is one of those things that is done but never referenced in any way, there are even flashbacks set before Season One that take place in the revamped set and not the original. Admittedly most seasons take place one after another without a significant gap, but it wouldn't have hurt to have someone reference the new station.
Having said that there are times when characters acknowledge inconsistency or have almost forth wall breaking moments. Generally Lucifer will say the name of the episode in spoken dialogue, and if he doesn't then someone else will. However, one of the biggest inconsistencies regards Lucifer's penthouse.
So from what I understand Lux is on the ground floor of a small high-rise building with his penthouse naturally on the top floor. We don't see it often but occasionally we will see a queue of people waiting to get in to the nightclub with a bouncer or two on duty. Typical stuff for a nightclub really. Inside the club, on one of the club's upper floors is an elevator that leads to Lucifer's penthouse. An elevator that has no key, code lock or security of any kind. Throughout the seasons so many people managed to wander into the penthouse without Lucifer's knowledge, so security is not something that the Devil worries about. Yet there are frequent occasions when undesirables or mood-killers get in, including, but not limited to, hit men, various scantily clad women, Lucifer's own friends, pizza guys and even Trixie (who is eight I think) manages to get up there without difficulty. I could understand bouncers letting Lucifer’s friends in without queuing or his causal fuck-buddies but hit-men?? Children?? It becomes a running joke and one that Lucifer does finally acknowledge being a bit strange when one too many guests drops in unannounced.
Right that's about all I can say without this...
Okay so whilst I am a fan of the majority of the cast I was really not taken with Tricia Helfer's character of Goddess. So at the end of Season One Lucifer returns to Hell and sees that one of the cells is open. He deduces that someone has escaped and need to be returned, that person being his Mother. As in the Mother of all Creation. I assumed that he would spend the majority of the Season looking for her, but no she rocks up at the end of the first episode of Season Two, and deciding to stick a middle finger up at his Dad Lucifer decides that her punishment will not be being returned to Hell but being forced to live amongst humans. So for the majority of the Season that is just what she does, which is to say, not a lot. She possessed the body of Charlotte Richards, a lawyer that was killed by criminals or whatever, so has to fill in the role of wife to Charlotte's husband and mother to her children. Her underlying goal is to find The Flaming Sword, a weapon that is powerful enough to slice open the Gates of Heaven in order to return home. As the series progresses it turns out that Charlotte's mortal body can't handle having the Goddess inside it, as a result it is likely that she will explode and take all of Creation with her if she doesn't return to Heaven. The plot of the season spends most of its time just treading water without really going anywhere until the last few episodes and I know quite a few people who turned the show off during Season Two. Truthfully I can understand why because nothing really happens, I am a fan of Stargate SG-1 and the first three episodes of Season Nine (after Richard Dean Anderson bowed out for good following his role reduction in Season Eight) were awful to the point where I nearly abandoned the whole series. I didn't though and the show picked up again. The same is true of Lucifer with the acceptation that the poor run lasts for pretty much the whole of the second season. If you are like me and are invested enough in the characters to keep watching regardless of the weak overarching plot then things to pick up in Season Three and turn awesome for Season Four. But I get the argument that anything you have to sit through to get to the good stuff may not be worth sticking with, just like Season Six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran over Season Two of Angel, which was by far the better show with Buffy not really having much to do for most of the season.
It is not to say that some of the episodes in the Season weren't good and entertaining, it just has the problem that personally I think affects a lot of American shows, that being the amount of episodes per season. Okay, now 24 needed twenty-four episodes, that was kind of the point, but there were episodes when you could only watch the last minute or two and know what was important. In the context of the show though there are going to be hours when not much is happening so that is far enough, they can't be all action packed without some downtime. But in other shows like Heroes, Buffy or Lost for example, episodes might be taking place days, weeks or even months apart. Some shows like Buffy were creative enough to have a weekly-monster with former enemies and allies popping up in later seasons. But in something like Heroes and Lost it meant that basically fuck-all was happening for the majority of the season. Lucifer suffers with the same problem, the first three seasons could have been cut down to twelve-episodes a piece and the show would only have benefited. Season Four was twelve episodes long and not an inch of those episodes was wasted. The focus remained tight throughout the season with no faffing about in between. Dexter was the same, twelve episodes means there isn't the time to have nothing happening, and keeps the story moving along whilst allowing the killer-of-the-week premise to remain but keeping the evolution of the characters going.
Post Season Three Tricia Helfer is still in the show but she is unaware of anything that happened to her whilst under Possession, but she is having reoccurring dreams that revolve being in Hell. She is terrified of returning to that place so is seeking redemption. One of the people she turns to is Linda who was tortured almost to death by Goddess for refusing to tell her that Lucifer was intending to cut open the gate of Heaven, kick her through then return to Earth whilst she and her ex-Husband worked out their issues. The Goddess was also using Dan for sex, but he felt they had a deeper connection which he is keen to renew with Charlotte. I liked the character much more because she is trying to be better, yes, she has a reason for doing it but she is at least attempting to make amends for the bad she has done.
I also really enjoyed the way that ideas are explored. People blame the Devil for their actions, the whole "[the] Devil made me do it" but naturally Lucifer didn't. He is simply used as a scapegoat by humanity. He is not someone that is evil, rather he is someone who punishes evil, yet there are times when he almost loses himself to the monster that he is expected to be. One of my favourite moments happens when someone accuses him to sending them to hell and Lucifer's reply is absolutely brilliant which I won't spoil but it does make you think about the nature of good and evil, who belongs in Hell and who doesn't.
Sadly there are themes which are brought up which seem important but don't crop up again, the most annoying of these for me was the episode in which the Goddess allows random humans to find Uriel's blade which causes them to go insanely violent stabbing anyone that looks at them funny. People under the blade's murderous rage are unaware of what is happening to them and are acting without conscious control of themselves. After tracking down the blade it ends up in Dan's hand. The blade destroys the soul of an Angel or Demon it stabs, meaning that they don't go to Heaven or Hell, they simply cease to exist. Lucifer confronts Dan when he has the blade and as a result of its power Lucifer is in actual danger. Dan attacks him, blaming Lucifer for his relationship with Chloe ending but as Lucifer avoids the attack, he sees that Dan is struggling against the influence the blade has over him. To the point where Lucifer talks him down whilst Dan is still holding it, something that Lucifer acknowledge suggests Dan has a lot more strength (inner-strength) than Lucifer either gave him credit for or believed a human could have. Dan was able to resist the murderous rage being forced upon him by a Divine blade yet thus far that fact has never been mentioned by anyone or explored since
On the subject of Dan, his character is also one of the most interesting as he is struggling against his own demons trying to be a good Dad to Trixie, having to work with Chloe and the that fact that Lucifer refers to him as Detective Douche most of the time. He walks a fine line between being the good guy but also being prepared to stretch the rules a little to get the job done. Unfortunately as above he doesn't get much screen time to really explore what he is going through or the struggles he is facing especially considering the heartbreak he suffers at the end of Season Three.
I am looking forward to Season Five, however, I do have some trepidation as Season Four ended on a rather bitter sweet note so I am not really sure how things are going to carry one and wrap up for the final season. Over all Lucifer gets a strong Thumbs Up because whilst Season Two is the weakest of the four thus far, Tom Ellis' Lucifer and the supporting cast are enough to carry the weaker plot lines whilst keeping you entertained.
8/10 - Admittedly if things had ended after Season Three I may not have marked the overall series so highly, however, Season Four left me eagerly awaiting Season Five. If you like your anti-heroes or anti-villains like Dexter then Lucifer is well worth your time just bear in mind that Season Two is not the jewel in the show's crown but don't worry because Season Four definitively is.