‘Lucifer’ continues to be glorious white-hot trash
A procedural police drama featuring Neil Gaiman’s version of the world’s oldest villain as executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer may sound like a fever dream, but Lucifer, now streaming the first half of its fifth season on Netflix, is gloriously real. The premise is absurd. Lucifer Morningstar, the original bad boy, gets restless in Hell, so he and Maze, his favorite sexy demon, pop up to Los Angeles to open a decadently sexy TV-14 friendly night club. When the devil encounters Chloe, a former actress-turned-detective who does not find his charms irresistible, he becomes a police consultant to spend more time with her. As one does.
On Fox, Lucifer was white-hot trash, and I watched it religiously. When the show transitioned to Netflix for its fourth season, I was embarrassingly excited to see what happened next. The show was not, and is not, quality, but is eminently consumable. The fetching cast, lush scenery, and roller-coasterish storylines rival any telenovela. Everyone involved approaches their work with extreme seriousness, and that palpable buy-in is truly the secret sauce that makes Lucifer a delight. The jump to Netflix served the show well, as shorter seasons require more focused writing, while the lack of network restrictions provide ample leeway for tasteful shirtless shots and nude butt scenes of Lucifer. If the copious thirsty tweets are any indication, the audience is here for this above all else.
At the end of season four, Lucifer’s former therapist/sex partner gives birth to his angelic brother Amandiel’s baby, the demon Maze declares her love to Eve (yes, that one), and the detective finally admits she loves Lucifer, all before he rushes back to Hell to reclaim his throne to keep his rowdy demons in line. Season five rolls in on the aftermath. On Earth, it’s been a few months, while thousands of years passed in Hell. When Lucifer realizes his current torture victim hails from Los Angeles, he decides to solve his murder for old times’ sake, which coincidentally runs concurrently with Chloe’s investigation. It doesn’t even matter how that aligns, as questions pertaining to plot contrivances should always be avoided while ogling this show. We are not here to think.
Maybe the show improved, or my expectations lowered, but Lucifer certainly provides one hell of a satisfying distraction from all the unpleasantries out there in real life. In no particular order, Lucifer’s latest offers unironic club kid costumes, clinking key piano sex, godawful CGI, kidnappings, secret adoptions, mental breakdowns, endless devil puns, and, in its best move yet, the devil has an evil twin. Or, since the twin is Michael, an obedient angel, maybe the devil has a good twin who merely seems evil because Lucifer tricks us with his charm?
It doesn’t matter! Someone is definitely evil, and one has an accent, while the other does not, which is hammy good fun. This glorious plot twist even allows for vintage split screen action à la The Parent Trap, though sadly, nobody ever sings Let’s Get Together. It may be the best move Lucifer ever made, because nothing amps up the camp better than an evil twin. Everyone in this devoted cast is there for all of it, which gleefully pulls us along for the ride too.
The show attempts to develop its universe with varying levels of success. A black and white noir romp tells the tragic story of Maze’s mother, and things get meta when there’s murder on the set of a show called Diablo, which is, of course, based on Lucifer’s life. An ex-boyfriend of Chloe’s pops up, still into her after all these years, while a group of nuns fall in love with Amandiel. Lucifer endlessly mentions his mojo as though he’s auditioning for a new Austin Powers movie. Meanwhile, a rushed serial killer storyline lands with a thud, as twists meant to shock are predictable ho-hums. Every procedural eventually attempts this arc, and every single one fails, even here, with the devil on hand to investigate.
Side characters like Dan, Chloe’s ex-husband, have little to nothing to do, but I appreciate they’re still giving that guy a paycheck and trying to find a purpose for his character. Chloe and Dan’s daughter, Trixie, basically disappeared from the show, while the quirky forensic scientist Ella keeps getting more to do. Several seasons back, an episode revealed Ella’s friendship with Lucifer’s sister, only to never mention it again. Either the writers forgot all about that, or there’s entirely too much story bubbling in the pot for them to serve that random side dish up at this time. Of course the half-season cliffhanger was a doozy, throwing more twists into the mix while unveiling a major Must See Character. Like the devil himself, Lucifer honestly remains so bad it’s good.