This Lucifer review contains spoilers. We have a spoiler free review here if you prefer.
Lucifer Season 5 Episode 1
It’s been over a year since the endearing Prince of Darkness last graced the small screen, but the fifth season premiere of Netflix’s Lucifer quickly reminds fans of the fantasy police procedural why they’re so inexorably drawn to the show. After last season’s devastatingly emotional conclusion, “Really Sad Devil Guy” brings back an old foe whose presence allows the Devil and the detective to take the first steps toward what viewers hope will be a short-lived separation.
Lee (Jeremiah Birkett) returns as the thief with a heart of gold, and some gold bars, money, and jewels to go along with it, thanks to Lucifer’s prior willingness to give the small-time criminal a second chance in life. It remains comforting to see Hell’s gatekeeper wearing his familiar designer suit as the two contemplate Lucifer’s revelation that “you are in your very own Hell-loop” which includes Lee’s murder repeating itself. Fortunately, the writers don’t take the bait and avoid a groundhog’s day scenario, and when Lucifer (Tom Ellis) grudgingly tells Lee to “enjoy your eternity of suffering,” the time-loop reference starts to make sense.
The writers also don’t dwell on Lucifer’s decision to return to Hell as a means of protecting the human race from renegade demons, but it’s clear from the start that this is a story that revolves around individuals who bear the emotional scars from feelings of abandonment. After witnessing the cold open with Lee’s escapades on his luxury yacht, watching Chloe (Lauren German) and Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) get their groove on at Lux provides a nice counterpoint to Lucifer’s current circumstance and sets up the clever storytelling technique that forms the basis of “Really Sad Devil Guy.”
It doesn’t take long to understand that as Chloe and her new partner Maze investigate Lee’s murder on Earth, Lucifer takes his charge in Hell through a journey of self-discovery as he too works the case without his beloved detective at his side. The parallel inquiries drive the episode, and though we’re fairly certain they’ll eventually intersect, it’s the gaping emotional holes that both Chloe and Lucifer carry around that so obviously dominate the story. As we watch the now dark-haired detective self-medicate and Maze begin to display feelings for her new partner, it’s clear these are two women struggling in the aftermath of their friend’s disappearance two months prior. Watching the two dance suggestively at Lux, the sexual tension is unmistakable, but not unexpectedly, the attraction turns out to be one sided and Maze leaves frustrated and disappointed yet again.
It’s always fascinating to watch these two interact, and it’s difficult to ignore Chloe’s new look, subtle though it may be. Does the change from blonde to brunette reflect a darkness she feels after losing the man (okay, I know he’s not really a man) for whom her feelings have finally risen to the surface? It’s always difficult to read Mazikeen’s moods, and the fact that she allows so few people to get close to her makes Chloe’s decision to end their two month partnership incredibly painful. Not surprisingly, Maze doesn’t take the news well, and watching her destroy Lucifer’s piano in reaction is positively soul crushing.
Still, watching the partners concoct and then execute a plan to force Dirty Doug’s hand enhances the overall arc because their approach is just so Lucifer. They tease each other about their wardrobe choices, but in the end, succeed because they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so well.
Even though the time-loop narrative device plays a minimal role, the mini-multiverse approach works perfectly. While Chloe sets out to solve Lee’s murder in the real world, Lucifer’s approach with him ends up being as much about himself as it is with the victim. Like Lee, Lucifer suffers from self-esteem issues, and while the considerable irony attached to that statement may end up seeming a bit ludicrous, it’s all about how we’re perceived in the eyes of those we care about. And if Lucifer’s attempts to get Lee to confront the thief’s feelings of regret fall short, Dan’s (Kevin Alejandro) comic obsession with self-improvement drives home the underlying issue with which most of the characters grapple.
While Lucifer, Chloe, and Mazikeen struggle in their new situations, Amenadiel (D. B. Woodside) and Dr. Linda (Rachael Harris) simply shine as he sets out to make the world a better place for his young son by putting drug dealers in jail, and she ensures that their child is provided every learning experience humanly possible. While mom obsesses over Charlie’s impending science education, leave it to the ever adorable Trixie (Scarlett Estevez) to reduce the situation to its core. He just likes funny faces.
In the end, however, Lee’s confession that he’s afraid he’ll screw up hits a bit too close to home. “Sooner or later you are going to disappoint them,” Lucifer tells Lee, though at this point he’s speaking as much about himself as he is the man whose murder they’re ostensibly investigating. “Whose Hell is this anyway?” Lee asks just before the episode takes a dramatic narrative turn. Of course, Lee and Lucifer have a somewhat complicated history, and the moving exchange about their tendencies to avoid being with people they care for initiates the expected response.
As a fantasy police procedural, Lucifer affords itself a certain amount of leeway, and once we establish early in the episode that Lucifer and Chloe are investigating the same crime, albeit in different planes of reality, it seems only a matter of time until the former partners reunite. Using demons as messengers via the bodies of the recently dead adds a touch of the macabre, but that’s just what gets Chloe’s attention. Or does it? “Hello, bad guys.” And here’s where things get complicated.
It certainly appears, at first, that Lucifer has left Lee in Hell and joined Chloe in Marina Del Rey. Never one to leave a quality quip unsaid, “Thought you could use a hand,” he tells her noting Lee’s severed limb on the table, “but I see you’ve already got one.” Shippers don’t have to wait long for the two to kiss, and we learn that their timelines have been radically different. Two months have elapsed on Earth while thousands of years passed in Hell leaving open the possibility that the consequences of Lucifer’s absence are more far reaching than Chloe’s. But were they physically together?
As the two men stand outside his family home, Lee suggests that Lucifer may have missed his chance to reconnect with his family. Messengers appear with news that the detective is in trouble, and the next thing we know, Lucifer finds himself in the middle of an intense gun battle. When the smoke clears and the bad guys have been dispensed, Lucifer tenderly admits to Chloe that “The only thing that kept me going was thinking of you.” One thing that is clear in this vision is that Chloe initiates the kiss, and whether thIs is Lucifer’s fantasy or hers remains in question.
That we don’t get a solid answer only adds to the mystique of their relationship.. “So you’re not going to go up there and help out your lady friend?” Lee asks Lucifer as they still stand outside in the street, implying that the reunion we just witnessed did not, in fact, take place. She’s capable of taking care of herself. “I’m exactly where I belong. She’ll be just fine without me.” Bittersweet to be sure.
“Really Sad Devil Guy” gets the split-season off to a flying start and sets up a number of questions outside the Lucifer/Chloe arc. Can Maze put aside her feelings of betrayal, will Charlie’s parents learn to back off a bit, and did Miss Lopez really sleep with Dirty Doug? It’s no surprise that we’re in for a hell of a ride.