Lucifer: Favorite Son Review
Some much-needed personal drama finally raises the stakes and brings tensions to a boil on Lucifer.
This Lucifer review contains spoilers.
Lucifer: Season 2, Episode 6
Finally, finally, Lucifer is becoming the show it was meant to be, one that’s darkly humorous without being needlessly snarky, a show that fully embraces the spiritual aspects of its titular character. In “Favorite Son,” we come face to face with a brooding son, tasked with terrible responsibilities and the kind of reputation he never asked for or wanted. Lucifer Morningstar, née Samael Lightbringer, is tired of being a scapegoat for humanity’s atrocities. He has become a man undone, an angel still in his dark, guarded heart of hearts, out of place among mortals and condemned to a cage of regret. The catalyst for this important change is the theft of something very near and dear to Lucifer, a gift from his heavenly Father. The item in question is wisely teased throughout the episode until its true nature is finally revealed at the end of the hour. But more on that in just a bit.
Yes, Lucifer is finally coming into his own; by acknowledging an important loss, he reclaims his identity. It’s an important step toward healing for the character, and it’s a major development for a show that otherwise bills itself as a comedy. Gravitas goes a long way toward generating genuine sympathy for the Devil. It also goes a long way toward drawing the other characters out of their shells as they feel compelled to help Lucifer — and not just because the plot compels them to do so. Whether it’s Chloe or Dr. Martin or brother Amenadiel, those closest to him are all doing what they feel is in Lucifer’s best interests.
As for the crime of the week, in this case, Lucifer’s stolen property actually matters to the story and drives the plot forward in the way that hasn’t happened yet in the series. Considering we’re halfway through the season, it’s about time for Lucifer to delve into some real drama. And in doing so, the writers have given Tom Ellis something to sink his teeth into; his performance in this episode is the best of the season so far. Ellis gives us a devil faced with unexpected despair and true flashes of anger we haven’t yet witnessed. But his wrath isn’t directed at criminals, as it’s been so far this season. No, this time, his anger is directed at a higher authority, at the one responsible for turning his favorite son into a torturer of sinners.
Ellis makes us believe this is an unenviable task for anyone to bear — even the Devil himself. Normally Lucifer’s therapy sessions with Dr. Martin are thinly veiled info dumps, dropping important bits of character development into our laps. But this time, Martin is on a mission to save the man who considers himself to be the Lucifer Morningstar. With Amenadiel’s sage behind-the-scenes guidance, she’s able to zero in on the wounded persona behind what she thinks is a façade. The results are chilling with a scene-ending hole punched through her office wall that I didn’t see coming.
But he’s not the only one with problems, as we see Chloe and Dan trying to reconcile despite their separation. Sure, this storyline succumbs to the trope of a working parent missing a special day with his kid, but this conflict adds some much-needed depth to Dan. It also helps us place him more firmly in the show as a whole. Until now, he was rather one-dimensional (as many of Lucifer’s characters were until this episode). But now we realize that Dan wants to be a good dad, that he wants Chloe to succeed as both a detective and as a mom. It’s impossible to escape dysfunction when it comes to family, but their problems made their broken home feel more fleshed out, and real. I started out the season disliking Dan, but after tonight, I found myself quietly rooting for his success in making things right.
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As for Chloe, what I found most interesting about her tonight was her obvious fear that Lucifer wasn’t being completely honest with her. Despite her misgivings, she has come to care for him. This is just as much a surprise to him as it is to her. He’s grown on her, through sheer dint of will and nothing else. Which makes her all the more upset that he might be engaged in criminal activity. She wants to help him recover his stolen property, not arrest him because of what she thinks he may be hiding.
Which brings us to the contents of the missing container. Stolen by a member of the Los Diablos biker gang, the container is eventually recovered. But instead of the Russian nesting dolls he claims are the container’s only contents, what Lucifer has behind a hidden panel are his wings. Or, at least he used to have them kept in there. These wings represent a former divinity before his fall, a reminder of the grace that was once his before they were so cruelly revoked. And now, someone, somewhere, has the only evidence of the Devil’s lost potential.
Some closing thoughts:
Maze takes out Dan with a jump-cut blow to the head that reminded me of Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller’s penchant for trimming frames from a scene to accentuate violent impact. It’s effective in Fury Road, and it works well here to bolster Maze’s otherworldly strength.
And while we’re on the subject of Maze, seeing her come on to Dan wasn’t fun, it was uncomfortable. But that was the point. It showed that not only is Dan a good cop, he’s still committed to Chloe.