Lucifer season 4 spoiler-free review: as smart and sassy as ever

Lucifer returns for its Netflix debut with some new characters, fresh plot twists, and a hell of a lot of fun...

After what felt like an eternity of near misses, the Prince of Darkness finally reveals his true physical appearance to Chloe in the Lucifer season three finale setting up a potential paradigm shift heading into the critically acclaimed, supernatural crime drama’s much anticipated season four.

And even though a renewal seemed a foregone conclusion, series’ star Tom Ellis suddenly found himself fighting to keep alive one of genre television’s most imaginative offerings. Perhaps buoyed by the successful #SaveLucifer campaign and a wildly passionate fan base, Netflix came to the rescue, and viewers now have ten episodes to learn how the detective handles the news she previously dismissed as another of her egocentric partner’s fantasies. So let’s take a spoiler-free peek at the first six episodes released early to reviewers.

One couldn’t help but wonder whether the show’s tone would change markedly with the shift to an outlet not beholden to a set of sensibilities traditional network television requires. However, the first episode seamlessly transitions back into the world of Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), Detective Chloe Decker (Laura German) and the LAPD. Other than a naked backside early in the season premiere, Everything’s Okay features a familiar arena for Lucifer and Chloe to investigate the murder of a local beekeeper while awkwardly navigating the fact that she’s now seen his devil face. It won’t be the last backside we see, but don’t get your hopes up too high if nudity’s your thing.

Long time Lucifer viewers will find little has changed in the procedural aspect of the show, and for the most part, the case of the week continues to mirror issues the core characters face in their personal and professional lives. The murder of former crime family enforcer Bob the Knob while in witness protection allows Lucifer and the detective to fall comfortably back into a routine both know so well. But much has changed, and Chloe seems more focused on gaining religious and historical perspective than on solving crimes. Despite the pull this aspect of her new life has on her, the detective’s playful side still remains. “Maybe it is kind of fun being in the know,” she tells Lucifer.

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While there’s certainly a sense of familiarity, there’s also more of a cinematic quality to the show’s structure which becomes apparent as each episode flows flawlessly into the next despite a new murder to investigate. Nevertheless, this season homes in on the theme that people are not really who they purport to be, and while that’s certainly been true of the Celestials in their relationships with everybody save Dr Linda, Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno takes the narrative down a fresh and dangerous path. While new relationships form within the world inhabited by the LAPD and the Celestials, some old ones face the strain that the job and the knowledge force upon them.

Chloe’s struggle to understand Lucifer’s revelation leads her to an association with Father Kinley (Grant McTavish/Outlander; Preacher), a man whose true motives are not initially clear. Though her character receives an appropriately emotional sendoff in season three, Tricia Helfer’s multi-layered portrayal of lawyer Charlotte Richards will be sorely missed. However, McTavish’s addition and commanding presence make significant headway toward filling the void left behind after Amenadiel carries Charlotte to Heaven at the end of last season.

On the heels of the turmoil generated by the deaths of Charlotte and Marcus Pierce, both humans and Celestials reflect on their life choices and in some cases set out to make amends for past actions. Ella’s (Aimee Garcia) crisis of faith continues, and Detective Daniel Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro) faces life without Charlotte after she was so cruelly taken away. Daniel’s attitude toward and relationship with Lucifer also sports a new look, as the two continue their verbal sparring.

Lucifer’s brother, the angel Amenadiel, decides to make his home on Earth among the human race, and though his charming naivete briefly causes him to momentarily rethink this decision, his relationship with Dr Linda remains one of the most delightful aspects of the series. Even Mazikeen has begun taking on human characteristics, and her drive to repair her relationships with Chloe, and more importantly Trixie, shows another side of the demon from Hell. The meeting she has with Linda, however, produces the quintessential Maze line. “I really don’t want to accidentally kill my best friend,” she tells the therapist at the conclusion of one of their sessions.

Nevertheless, it’s the base storyline in the second episode Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno that connects this investigation into the murder of one of the contestants on a reality television show. Clearly an homage to reality juggernaut Survivor, using the set of “The Cabin” lays bare the perceived need to obscure one’s true feelings as a means of self preservation. “Nobody is what they seem to be around here.” 

There’s no question that the addition of Inbar Lavi (Imposters; Prison Break) to the cast as Eve (Yes, that Eve) opens the door to a wealth of narrative possibilities, but like Father Kinley, her true motivations remain concealed. Why has she returned to Earth, and why has she conveniently ended up on Lucifer’s doorstep in Los Angeles? Still, her beauty, charm, and naive nature go a long way toward setting Eve up as a convenient foil to the detective.

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We’ve known for a while now that Lucifer becomes vulnerable when he’s in close physical proximity to Chloe, and that idiosyncrasy leads to one of the most difficult decisions the detective’s had to make in the time she’s known him. Nonetheless, each of the characters’ sole desire is only to be accepted for who they are, and Lucifer continues to explore the dualities both humans and Celestials struggle with day to day.

Given the nature of Lucifer’s backstory, religion has always played a role in the development of both characters and story arcs, but this new season takes that aspect to a new and potentially dangerous level. In the end, though, Lucifer’s journey with Netflix picks up where the series left off and continues to give viewers the intellectually challenging show they’ve come to love. And yes, it’s still retains its sass!

Lucifer season four arrives on Netflix on Wednesday the 8th of May.