Lucifer: Take Me Back to Hell Review
Lucifer saves the best for last in its tense, brisk season finale.
This Lucifer review contains spoilers.
Lucifer: Season 1, Episode 13
The mark of a good season finale is that it not only leaves viewers feeling satisfied, it leaves them wanting more. Lucifer succeeds in both regards, delivering a season-ending episode that serves up catharsis and closure in equal measure, and does so with the kind of glossy panache we’ve come to expect from this series. But there’s a degree of drama and grittiness to “Take Me Back to Hell” that’s befitting a show about a Devil who doubts himself and his place in the grander scheme of things.
There are no cheerful epiphanies here; every bit of Lucifer Morningstar’s newfound wisdom is bought and paid for in blood, whether it’s his own or the spilled blood of innocents. He’s not solely responsible for the carnage, though. His brother Amenadiel is equally culpable for using mortals as chess pieces in his pursuit of returning Lucifer to Hell. But even Amenadiel isn’t the big bad here. No, that dubious honor falls to Malcolm, a dirty cop with blood on his hands and an axe to grind with the world at large.
While the finale mainly revolves around finding Malcolm and bringing him to justice, a lot still happens along the way. First, Chloe finally learns the truth about Dan and the Palmetto case. This is an important moment, and Lauren German plays it well, showing us the vulnerability lurking just below Chloe’s outrage. German is likewise great when we see Chloe fighting to keep her cool even as she rushes through a station crawling with cops to single-handedly rescue Trixie.
Tom Ellis also delivers a strong performance tonight as well, whether it’s bringing his unholy rage to bear on Malcolm or gasping his last, painful breaths as he lays in a pool of his own blood. From beginning to end, Ellis kept me riveted throughout the finale. The betrayal he feels at Chloe’s turning on him is a palpable thing, played not for laughs, but for the actual drama such a moment deserves. His despair at being abandoned by her is so raw and so painful that he decides his time on Earth is finally at an end. Without Chloe in his corner, what’s the point in remaining among mortals?
Again, this is another earned dramatic moment, one that could only work because the entire season has slowly brought these two unlikely partners together. The concern they feel for one another is genuine, their friendship true. Which is why when Chloe initially suspects Lucifer of murdering the street preacher, this is a bridge too far even for the Devil himself.
Of course, as Lucifer so aptly explained in last week’s “Demons,” he’s not evil, he punishes evil. And there’s no one more evil than Malcolm. Indeed, “Take Me Back to Hell” more or less revolves around tracking down Malcolm to prove Lucifer’s innocence. Malcolm manages to stay one step of everybody, but this affords viewers a chance to see two great duos in action—namely Lucifer and Amenadiel, and Chloe and Maze. These both turn out to be pretty fun pairings, with Chloe and Maze exchanging barbed quips while the brothers have the time of their lives going up against a drug dealer’s henchmen. This fight in the warehouse is especially fun to watch, not just because Lucifer and Amenadiel are actually working together, but also because Lucifer is once again invulnerable to bullets.
Unlike the hapless henchmen, Malcolm’s no fool. The man who’s been to Hell and back understands exactly who and what he’s up against. He’s quick to take down Amenadiel with Maze’s demon blades before fleeing once again, albeit without the bag of cash he needs to start a new life. But Amenadiel’s stabbing leads to a scene with Maze that reminds us that the bond she shares with this angel is not purely carnal. Why else would she use her only means of returning to Hell to heal a man she has no business loving? Again, the show doesn’t play this moment for laughs, recognizing not only the importance of Maze’s sacrifice, but acknowledging the depth of her emotional bond with Amenadiel.
As for Malcolm, he cares only for himself and his continued survival. He is desperate, a man on the run from literal and figurative demons. He still has a few tricks up his sleeve, though. Kidnapping Trixie is one thing; killing Lucifer, however, is Malcolm’s true coup d’état. Which brings us to the most affecting (and effective) scene of the entire finale—Lucifer Morningstar using his dying breaths to pray for Chloe Decker’s protection. It’s a selfless act, one that’s accompanied by a heartfelt apology to a Father who may or may not be listening, who may or may not care about the son He banished to Hell all those millennia ago.
And what follows next is unexpected—we actually get a glimpse into the grey, ash-covered ruins that Lucifer calls home. In other words, we follow the Devil back to Hell. He seems at peace with this grim reality—until he notices that someone has escaped their bonds. But more on that in a bit.
It turns out that Lucifer’s pleas have not fallen on deaf ears. He’s returned to Earth, using the Pentecostal coin that he once bestowed to Malcolm. Which means Malcolm is headed back to the very place he doesn’t want to go, even if that’s exactly where he belongs. I will say that Malcolm was Lucifer’s saving grace, stepping in as the big bad and lifting up the latter half of the season. Kevin Rankin was fantastic, and he will certainly be missed (though I’m sure the writers could easily find a way to bring him back from the dead).
Obviously, the episode ends with the perfect setup for Lucifer’s second season—namely tracking down the fugitive from Hell—his dear old mom. And as I said earlier, it’s the hallmark of a good finale that leaves viewers wanting more. (And by more, I hope that includes Lucifer and Amenadiel working together again.)
In any case, yes, I can admit that I wasn’t a fan of the show in the beginning. But the Devil has a way of getting under your skin—and I’m definitely looking forward to another season of Lucifer.