I was late in coming to watch Lucifer. Indeed, I was actively opposed to the show’s existence when it was first announced. As a fan of the original utterly brilliant comic by Mike Carey (which was itself based on the remarkable The Sandman comics written by Neil Gaiman) I had no desire to patronize the bastardization of one of my favorite comics of all time.
For those who haven’t read it, the Lucifer of the comics is drastically different than the charming devil portrayed by Tom Ellis. The only thing they have in common is their base concept; The Devil, who does not lie and always honors his promises, quits his job running Hell and goes to Los Angeles to open a nightclub and play the piano. The Lucifer of the comics looks like a young David Bowie and is an aloof, distant figure who would never sully himself by mating with a mortal. The Lucifer on TV, on the other hand, loves debauchery like nobody else and lives a life of excess. Or rather, he did, until he became a consultant for the LAPD and began using his power to make people confess their desires to help punish the wicked, all while trying to solve the mystery behind Chloe Decker – a detective who is oddly immune to his powers.
I’m not much for police procedural series, so even beyond my fandom-based purity test I had no interest in Lucifer. I didn’t give the show a chance until after the Crisis on Infinite Earths event and then only because so many people were asking me, as an expert on all things relating to John Constantine and Vertigo Comics, just what WAS the favor John Constantine did for Maze that made Lucifer feel indebted to him? So I watched the first four seasons of Lucifer seeking answers.
To my surprise, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.
Yes, it does evoke all the worst sins of “will they/won’t they” dramas, superhero stories with secret identities and police procedural series. Yes, the third season does drag on a bit. But generally I liked it for what it was and not what I feared it would be.
This brings us to Lucifer Season 5, Part 1.
As the new season opens, Lucifer is still in Hell, literally and metaphorically, bored out of his mind having resumed his job as the Warden of Hell because without an angel minding the store all Hell would break loose. Back on Earth, Chloe and Maze have been working out their abandonment issues by partnering up. Amenadiel has taken over running Lux in Lucifer’s absence and tried to help the police as best he can while helping Linda in raising their child. And Ella remains Ella; cheerful and adorakable as ever. Their new routine is thrown into sharp relief, however, when Lucifer suddenly returns.
Sadly, the commercials for the new season already spoiled that this Lucifer is not really Lucifer but is actually Michael; Lucifer’s twin brother with the American accent, come to spread chaos and ruin his brother’s life on Earth. Thankfully, this contrivance doesn’t last long and the real Lucifer is soon back on Earth and trying to figure out where he and Chloe stand in their relationship.
The writing and direction on these eight episodes is fast and furious. Miraculously, these episodes do manage to give all of the ensemble cast a bit of time in the sun as they either try to bring about a change in their life or cope with the changes thrust upon them. This ranges from Ella trying to overcome her love of bad boys to Dan embracing self-help.
For my money, the best of the new batch is 504, the long awaited Noir episode in which Lucifer tells Trixie the story of how he got his trademark ring. This involves a black-and-white flashback to New York in 1946 and the first time Lucifer ever played detective. The cast all pull double-duty here, some of them playing against type, with Lesley-Ann Brandt getting a chance to show off her singing skills with a splendid cover of that Eartha Kitt standard “I Want To Be Evil.”
Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of Lucifer, you’ll love this new batch of episodes. And if you aren’t a fan, you might consider giving it a try. It’s a damned good show, pun very much intended.