LUCIFER: New Season & New Questions

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Season 2, Episode 1: “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer”

Written by Joe Henderson
Directed by Nathan Hope

Lucifer kinda frustrates me.

If you read or watched any of my reviews of the first season of Lucifer, then you got my opinions on the rather significant differences between the show and its source material on quite a few occasions. Thankfully, over the course of those first 13 episodes — even while throwing out the majority of the comic’s mythology and story themes — Lucifer found a tone and style of its own that was more fun than frustrating for this fan of the comic.

LUCIFER: Tom Elis in “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer” season premiere episode of LUCIFER airing Monday, Sept. 19 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Courtney/FOX.
LUCIFER: Tom Ellis (Michael Courtney/FOX)

 

Yes, I was often annoyed by the tendency of the show to make the Devil way too human in his flaws and actions, especially his tendency for utter self-obliviousness. Yes, there were far too many moments where Lucifer was the ultra-hedonist who mysteriously failed to understand the humanity that he had watched and punished for millennia, instead of the Fallen Angel whose complete understanding of human nature has been at the core of every story we have about the Devil, running back through Faust and Eve. Too many moments where the sex-crazed “hero” became more tiring than anything else.

Still, the show is fun, and Tom Ellis’ Lucifer, Lauren German’s Chloe, D.B. Woodside’s Amenadiel, Rachael Harris’ Dr. Martin and the rest are entertaining to watch. If I was wanting more than that, well, it is good to remind oneself that the audience is different here, and that the vast majority of that audience has never read the comic this show is based on. But it is a fun show, and there are moments of real horror and drama amongst the sex jokes and police procedural tropes, and really fine turns from everyone in the cast.

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FOX’s Lucifer returns with both the revelation that the Devil has a Mommy, and that both he and Amenadiel are terrified of her. Seems that she and God had a falling out a few thousand years ago, and the Almighty tasked Lucifer with punishing her in Hell, and considering that apparently “Mum” stood by and did nothing when God cast Lucifer out of Heaven, Lucifer was quite alright with that. We’ve seen ample evidence that Lucifer both holds a grudge and has a tendency to think the worst of everyone, so instead of asking his Mother about the whys of things, he sicced Maze (Lesley-Anne Brandt) on her.

Might be a problem then that she’s escaped from Hell.

Meanwhile, all is not well with Lucifer’s life in LA, as not only has Maze left his side and service after she’s decided that he’s not the devil she wants him to be — and has too much of an attachment to German’s Chloe — but that attachment actually makes Lucifer mortal when he’s in the presence of the detective. He has patched things up  – more or less – with his brother Amenadiel, but there again there are problems, since Amenadiel has started down his own dark path, by both seducing Maze and betraying the trust of Dr. Martin by pretending to be a mortal colleague and friend.

The there’s his increasing desire to convince Chloe that he is, in fact, the Devil himself, because it matters that she believes him, and that… whatever really lies between them (hint: The Lord of Hell is In Love), which is a bad-ish thing, as the method of proof in question is Lucifer’s blood, which really shouldn’t be something that humanity has its hands on. Chloe herself is questioning Lucifer’s claims, as she has seen him get shot and not die when he should have, throw rather sizable people through plate-glass windows, and other things that just don’t make sense if he’s just the kinda weird guy she keeps trying to tell herself he is.

LUCIFER: L-R: Lauren German and Tom Ellis in “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer” season premiere episode of LUCIFER airing Monday, Sept. 19 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Courtney/FOX.
LUCIFER: L-R: Lauren German and Tom Ellis (Michael Courtney/FOX)

As is the case with most of the police procedural aspects of this show, the details of this week’s case are the least interesting part of the story, with one notable exception. In brief, a stand-in on the Warner Brother’s lot is murdered, exposing the drug habit of a teen star, and revealing that the woman who acted much like a mother to the young stand-in is both a drug dealer and a murderer. The notable exception is the reaction Lucifer has to discovering that this woman betrayed this young woman, and the rage he feels that mirrors his own anger at his mother’s perceived betrayal.

This piggybacks on the growing series of moments throughout the show where Lucifer is facing his own hurt and loss in having both his parents turn against him and Maze leaving him, and wonder of wonders, we finally have some emotional growth of consequence in our demonic leading man. And that’s important, because it actually involves Lucifer taking some responsibility for his actions and his failings, instead of viewing himself as the constantly wronged noble hero he seemingly paints himself as. Lucifer has had a bad habit of blaming everyone around him for the state of his existence, and it’s costing him the faith and trust of the people he needs the most. His thanking Dr. Martin for helping him see that is actually a pretty big deal.

LUCIFER: L-R: Lesley-Ann Brandt and Tom Ellis in “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer” season premiere episode of LUCIFER airing Monday, Sept. 19 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Courtney/FOX.
LUCIFER: L-R: Lesley-Ann Brandt and Tom Ellis (Michael Courtney/FOX)

Seriously, there’s more actual character development in this episode than in about half of the episodes of season one. Maze left Lucifer because she doesn’t know who she is in this world her Lord has brought her to, and her feelings for Amenadiel are not at all what the feelings of a demon for an angel should be. She does return to Lucifer’s side, but she does it both because she has nowhere else to go, really, and also because she wants to be there and figure out her place in his new world. She needs some space from Amenadiel, and she tells him so, because she doesn’t know what she feels about him, but she does feel something, and that frightens her.

For his part, finding common ground and a kind of reconciliation with Lucifer is a good thing for Amenadiel, but it comes at a cost. His machinations to force Lucifer back to Hell have tainted his soul, and his angelic powers are failing and his once lustrous wings are decaying, even as he’s hurt by Maze’s pushing him away. His betrayal of Dr. Martin’s trust has cost him an actual friendship and his own relationship with his Father is in a questionable state.

Chloe, on the other hand, merely has to deal with her ex, Dan (Kevin Alejandro), being reinstated as a cop after being caught up in way too much corruption than is healthy for anyone in law enforcement, and dealing with her own conflicted feelings about the man she used to love and has a child with. She finds that however she feels about the mysteries that Lucifer poses for her, she trusts him with her life and as her partner, and needs him in her life, as frustrating and infuriating as he is.

All of this is really good character development for our primary cast, but it is the addition of a new cast member that intrigues me the most. Aimee Garcia’s Ella Lopez at first seems like just another manic-pixie-forensic-scientist – these are now actual things apparently – but there is clearly more to her than that. She shows up at the crime scene to do her forensic work and is bubbly and friendly, and wears a cross around her neck that isn’t just any old piece of jewelry. She’s a devout Catholic, and her faith — doubts and all — make her of interest for Chloe in her quest to figure out how she can both trust Lucifer and not believe him. Of course, she’s also of interest to Lucifer for quite different reasons, considering his conflicted feelings about his Father, but what intrigues me here is the addition of a character of faith in a show where the villain of that religion is the main character. Ella’s faith is presented as a powerful and reasoned thing, in a respectful and honest way, and it’s good to see the show — even as it plays fast and loose with the standard Christian model of the Devil and God — treat those who do have that honest and real faith as three-dimensional people as opposed to just targets for Lucifer’s scorn.

Lest one forget, we do have the question of Lucifer’s mother escaping Hell to deal with, and as the episode comes to an end, a beautiful woman covered in blood staggers into Lucifer’s apartment and calls his name… a woman he calls “Mum”.

Dun dun dunnnnnn!

 

Lucifer airs Mondays at 9 pm CST on Fox. For more information, visit the official website.

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Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror film "American Maniacs", and serves on the board of directors for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City and the Kansas City Film Commission.

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