The Devil We Know: Lucifer’s Resurrection on Netflix and What Went Right
(Spoilers if you haven’t finished watching the Netflix season yet. So, if you haven’t, stop reading and GO WATCH IT.)
Oh, they should know that the Devil’s a hard one to shake.
When Fox cancelled the comic-book-sourced procedural in 2018, the outpouring of love from the fans was a wonderous sight to behold.
Then Netflix stepped in to play the savior and Lucifans worldwide breathed a sigh of relief that the show wouldn’t fall into that sad category of series that died on a cliffhanger. (Looking at you, The Glades.)
Almost exactly a year after its network cancellation — May 8, 2019 — Netflix dropped a ten-episode fourth season which dealt with — among other things — Chloe’s reaction to seeing Lucifer’s Devil-face, Maze’s reconciliation with Trixie, and Amendiel’s change of heart regarding where he truly belongs.
So was it everything we were praying for?
Basically, yeah. The transfer over from network to streaming platform was pretty, darn-tootin’ smooth.
There were only a few scenes where I was jolted into thinking,”Oh, yeah, that would NEVER have gotten past the Fox censors.” Luci’s bum shots and that self-impaling scene in Episode 3 “O, Ye of Little Faith, Father” come to mind.
Oh, and the nudist colony. OMG. That was great.
The showrunners had said that, before the cancellation, they had planned for the next season to address Chloe’s reaction to the truth of Lucifer’s identity.
Honestly, that didn’t actually interest me a lot. Mostly because Chloe character has been well-established as a giant stick-in-the-mud. And by “well-established” I mean that they’ve really done it well. Take it how you will, Chloe Decker is one of the most dependable and consistent and PREDICTABLE characters on television.
Well, until the whole Marcus Pierce thing.
However, my less-than-love of Decker doesn’t mean I was ready to say good-bye to this cast of characters.
True to their word, the season revolved around Chloe’s understanding of her feelings for the man she now knows is the Devil.
Being Chloe, she’s frustratingly freaked-out by the reveal and runs to total strangers for answers instead of trusting what she already knows. Her emotional flailing brings the fanatical Father Kinley (Graham McTavish, Outlander) into their lives and that’s just a mess.
Thank God (!) there were other, more fun developments in the season.
First up, there’s Amenadiel and Dr. Linda’s pregnancy. It’s an interesting twist to Big Brother Amenadiel’s mythology because in the source comics, all angels were infertile except for the Arch-Angel Michael.
(Note Amenadiel’s reaction to Linda’s suggestion that they name the baby “Michael” — hilarious.)
Keen observers will note that when Chloe’s origins were explored, it was revealed that Amenadiel was sent to Penelope on God’s orders to grant her a child. Does that make his Chloe’s spiritual father? Hmm…
I can’t miss the opportunity to give kudos to the most difficult (and most socially relevant) narrative to watch which was Amenadiel’s relationship with teen Caleb Mayfield (Denny Love, Empire).
What starts out as a dry-run of fatherhood turns into Amenadiel’s own Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil episode where he learns what racism looks like and realizes that his son will face the same dangers.
That his love for Linda overcomes that fear for his child’s well-being was a brilliant move. Even if it did put Baby Charlie in the hands of a bunch of demons.
Speaking of demons, Maze is awesome as usual and her preparation to become Auntie Maze to Linda’s baby is in turns amusing and touching.
Chloe’s insecurity spills into messing with Maze and Trixie and that doesn’t score any points with her resident demon (or with me for that matter) and loses her a roommate. This feels like a continuity hole because I seem to recall Chloe couldn’t afford the rent on that beach house without Maze’s contribution.
But despite Chloe’s delusional mama-bear routine, Maze and Trixie reconnect and for a brief instant, all was right in the world.
More fabulous than any of her bounty hunts is Maze’s hunt for a long-term relationship.
And that brings us to the most delightful addition to the season: Eve (Inbar Lavi, Imposters) who was “the original party girl” AND Luci’s first mortal relationship. Well, duh, since she was the first mortal woman.
Initially, I wasn’t sure about her wide-eyed, excitement-craving, tag-along puppy routine. But then they started slipping in elements of her backstory.
It’s a well-known one, after all. And it really fleshed out the character and made for some thought-provoking moments.
My favorite was Amenadiel pointing out that Lucifer killed her son, Cain. The sad little pause she took before mentioning that she had met Charlotte Richards, Cain’s last victim, in Heaven spoke volumes about the pain a mother feels when admitting her child was not a good person.
Her way of relating to all the characters was such a breath of fresh air. To steal from The Big Bang Theory‘s vocab lessons, Eve is probably the original satisficer, choosing the options that please those she cares about most, trying to make everyone happy.
It makes her miserable in Heaven with Adam and eventually becomes an issue with Lucifer as well. It’s with Maze that she is encouraged to choose herself. She’s pretty blind to the demon’s affections for a while while fixated on Lucifer but it’s pretty awesome when she figures it out.
I know we’re supposed to root for Deckerstar but… really? I like Lucifer on his own, figuring stuff out. Declaring himself cured to Dr. Linda when he regained his human form was so perfectly on brand that I really wanted it to be true.
I particularly liked how Remial’s arrival demonstrates exactly how much Amenadiel has changed since he first arrived on Earth.
In much the same way, Lucifer bringing Tiernan in to the police station for legal prosecution instead of carrying out his King of Hell vigilante justice was the sign of growth that Chloe needed.
It wasn’t a season completely without flaw. Dan played the emo-angry card a few too many times and without any real pay-off. Ella’s dilemma of faith was kind of all over the place. I was really hoping for another Ray-Ray visit.
And Dan + Ella? Yeah, no. Hell, no.
The weirdest bit of pacing for me was Decker’s heart-felt spew about her acceptance of Lucifer’s true nature right when demons are literally EVERYWHERE. Seriously, could she have picked ANY better time for that?
There’s also the issue that when Ella confessed that she sees ghosts, Chloe was pretty amazingly calm about the whole thing. Mind you, she wasn’t seeing ghosts herself so maybe the Lucifer reveal warranted a more dramatic reaction. Still, it’ll always bother me that she’d go from partner to means-to-an-end assassin (and then back again, I guess) that quick.
With the welcome news that Netflix will back a fifth and final season, it’ll be fantastic to see how Lucifer’s ultimate sacrifice plays out. There are elements to the source literature that fans have theorized about for years that may still get worked into the final chapter.
The only drawback I project is that the series’ procedural format may stumble a bit with half the team sitting on that giant throne in Hell.
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