To hell and back: Rebirth of Lucifer on Netflix allowed the show to wreak heavenly havoc for two more seasons
The concluding part season of Lucifer is well-paced, well-written, and follows what the past one-and-a-half seasons have set up quite beautifully.
What is not to like about a slightly melodramatic, sarcastic devil who spends eternity mostly slacking off, mocking people around him, and making bad jokes? Lucifer Samael Morningstar is a character from the Sandman graphic novels (Vertigo/DC), co-created by Neil Gaiman (which almost explains all the freewheeling theology) along with Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg.
Lucifer is the King of Hell, the banished son of God, and he runs a piano bar called Lux in Los Angeles. When Fox decided to drop a show based on the character in 2016, it turned Lux into a nightclub, and paired Lucifer (Tom Ellis) with LAPD detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) to solve crimes.
A lot of critics back then wrote it off as a predictable crime-procedural with a gimmicky angle, but the charm of Lucifer never really lay in the whodunit abilities of its writers. A testament to the popularity of the show amongst those who ‘got it’ was the huge outpouring on social media when Fox decided to cancel the show after three seasons amid complaints from soccer moms who thought the show would corrupt their progeny. That actually might have been the best thing ever to happen to the show, because Netflix stood up and took notice. And when the streaming giant decided to renew the show, it came back without the rules of television.
There is a renewed focus on its central cast of characters in Season 4. Back stories are dug into, relationships are explored, and a larger story begins to take shape, beyond the customary episodic crimes.
And all of it is fairly ridiculous, which is what sucks you in, in the first place.
Lucifer’s therapist, Dr Linda Martin (Rachael Harris) pops a baby with his brother, the archangel Amanadiel (DB Woodside). The demon Mazikeen, torturer of damned souls and Lucifer’s Chief Lieutenant, possibly falls in love for the first time, and it is with Eve (Inbar Lavi); the very Eve who was the second human being, wife of Adam, who gets bored of Heaven and comes back to Earth as her youthful self. Lucifer himself begins to show more layers as he questions the nature of love. Chloe’s ex-husband Detective Dan Esponizo (Kevin Alejandro) shows signs of depression while forensic whiz-kid Ella Lopez (Aimee Garcia) explores her dark side.
Everything is suddenly king-sized as it should be in the realm of Satan but it is also a lot of chaos, the kind of good chaos that makes you rub your hands in anticipation of what is coming next. It is a massive shift from the pace of the first three seasons, but a welcome one because it addresses head-on the rut the show had slipped into. Season 4 signs off with Lucifer returning to Hell leaving behind a heartbroken Chloe.
When Netflix announced last year that the fifth and final season would be split into two parts, it disappointed many fans who were looking forward to a full season of viewing during the lockdown, but also because there had been some talk of a sixth season. Season 5a dropped last August, and seeded the idea of celestial politics and petty rivalries, even up there in the domain of God.
The first couple of episodes introduce Lucifer’s twin brother, the archangel Michael, trying to take his place on earth, at Lux, and at the LAPD, with Chloe, and enjoying every moment of it. When Lucifer gets to know, all hell breaks loose or rather Lucifer breaks free of Hell and makes a comeback to LA. The eight-episode part season then subtly uses its storytelling and episodic crime cases to navigate through the seven sins — gluttony, lust, greed, sloth, wrath, and envy, while saving the sin of pride for the final two episodes as you see Lucifer battling the loss of his mojo. There is a lot about the writing that is supposed to be allegorical but is pretty much in your face. Lucifer realises that Michael has been manipulating him since the beginning of time, and their worsening relationship culminates with them having a real go at each other in Episode 8, when God (Dennis Haysbert) makes his debut on the series.
And that is how they left us hanging back in August last year. With so many questions. Will God banish Lucifer to Hell again? Will he strip Lucifer of his powers? Would becoming human allow Lucifer and Chloe to live happily ever after? Or is God here to become an LAPD detective as well? God, so many burning questions.
Season 5b dropped late last week and shot straight to No 1 on Netflix (in India at least), evincing the following of the show. But do these last eight episodes match up to expectations? Let us see.
*Minor spoilers ahead*
We have God thinking he is slipping up, and therefore contemplating retirement, while the two brothers vie to take his place. The idea of celestial politics that was mooted in the first part of the season now gets amped up to take over the narrative, as we head for a final showdown. There is a new burning question now:
Can Lucifer actually become God?
This is where I would give an arm and a leg to see the faces of those ‘One Million Moms’ who boycotted Olive Garden for sponsoring the first season of Lucifer way back in 2016.
This concluding part season is well-paced, well-written, and follows what the past one-and-a-half seasons have set up quite beautifully. As we have come to expect, there are gimmicks designed to pleasantly surprise, and sometimes laugh out loud. And in this season, they are mostly musical. There is an entire episode that feels like an episode of Glee because the characters keep breaking out into song, even in the middle of a crime scene, corpse and all. You have angels and demons channelling their inner MC Hammer during the climax and it is all in keeping with what we have come to expect with Lucifer. Oh, it is clichéd all right but by now, you have realised that this is a show that embraces its cliches and corny lines, and somehow makes them cool. It is almost like this is the television equivalent of every B-grade action-thriller that achieved accidental cult status, except this one feels like someone intelligent designed it to be the way it is.
So, what next? Nothing, apparently. Earlier this year, Gaiman announced that the role of Lucifer in Netflix’s upcoming live action series The Sandman would be essayed by Gwendoline Christie. It sparked off online debates for, against, and about the gender fluidity of God’s ‘favourite’ son. Either way, this is a final goodbye to our annoying yet charming British accented devil, and it is a goodbye that has been made for and will mostly appeal to hardcore fans of the series.
Lucifer is streaming on Netflix.
Netflix releases teaser of Haseen Dillruba, featuring Taapsee Pannu, Vikrant Massey, Harshvardhan Rane
Directed by Vinil Mathew, Haseen Dillruba will release on Netflix on 2 July
Feel Good Season2 pulls off the impossible — humanising its vulnerable subjects so we can laugh at them as well as root for the things they believe in.
Netflix accused of 'provoking discrimination, racial hatred' over usage of Islamist slur in French action movie
A French man of North African origin accused Netflix of labelling him a radical Islamist in the movie Sentinelle, which used "barbus" — a derogatory term for ultraconservative Muslim men that means "the bearded ones" — in its French subtitle.