This Lucifer review contains spoilers.
Lucifer Season 6 Episode 9
“Where’s a goddamn celestial when you need one.”
In its series’ penultimate episode, “Goodbye, Lucifer,” Lucifer presents a powerful examination of the fate vs free will debate as Lucifer does his best to avoid abandoning Chloe and their unborn daughter Rory. Time travel, time loops, body jumping, end-of-the-world apocalypse – it’s all here as the series eschews its traditional witty one-liners for some resolute reflection in a moment of existential crisis. It doesn’t get much better than this.
There’s a certain irony in the fact that Lucifer is more concerned with preventing his own disappearance than assisting with the imminent apocalypse foreseen by Ella and Amenadiel. It would be easy to dismiss this as another one of his egocentric decisions, but his motives here are pure. He desires to be a better Devil, though maybe it’s time to start referring to him as an angel. Still, it’s the passionate revelation that being God is not his calling that shifts the narrative in a direction many anticipated from the start. Didn’t we all feel Amenadiel would be perfect for the job?
Interestingly, it’s the angelic siblings’ decision to start answering human prayers that causes the unnatural environmental changes when they show no predilection towards considering the consequences of their actions. “You’re not the God of us,” they tell Amenadiel, but it’s his later suggestion that all the siblings get involved that speaks to his grasp of a rapidly changing situation. Lucifer gives Amenadiel his full blessing in his pursuit of the top job, nonetheless, in an episode full of emotional exchanges, Lucifer’s distress while dancing around his fear of abandoning Chloe and Rory is positively heartbreaking.
Ordinarily time loop tales force the characters to figure out a way to break the loop and return things to normal. Lucifer doesn’t spend much time getting caught up in the narrative complications these plot lines necessarily generate, but the basics are addressed succinctly. The fact that Rory’s still here proves the loop is already in motion, and they’re all stuck in the time loop which is apparently inevitable and unbreakable. We know the where and when, but the why remains elusive.
This is a transformed Lucifer, and he meets Linda’s suggestion to spend time with those he loves with understanding and compassion rather than flippancy. “It’s less about what we do with our final hours and more about who we spend them with.” Lucifer’s apology tour provides opportunities for him to convey how he really feels, but also offers a level of reciprocity that’s just as important and meaningful. Though she’ll carry the hurt from being left out of the inner circle for a while longer, Lucifer’s sponsorship of a STEM foundation in her name at least shows he’s been paying more attention than we sometimes credit him. That he sees her as an inspiration for young women can’t help but assuage some of her pain.
To say Lucifer’s relationship with Mazikeen has been fraught with conflict would be an understatement of epic proportions, but here, the two allow themselves a level of vulnerability rarely glimpsed. Though she suspects there’s more to Lucifer’s situation than he’s letting on, it’s her gift of a treasured blade that resonates most profoundly. “You will always have a piece of me,” she tells him, aware that their relationship appears headed for a new phase that may find them apart more than together.
Chloe’s perspective, however, produces challenges that Lucifer finds difficult to navigate. He certainly gets points for effort, and the construction of his panic room allows for a bit of visual humor thanks to his handyman persona and Rory’s amusement at the project. Chloe doesn’t see it in the same way, and supports Lucifer’s intention to shut himself away from danger. But it’s still a complicated situation. “Why don’t you trust yourself enough not to make the choice to abandon us?” she asks. It’s a fair question, though it seems obvious that something out of Lucifer’s control will be at the heart of his disappearance which makes her follow up even more unfair. “Let me know when you choose us.” Ouch.
Of course, events occur that soften Chloe’s stance, not the least of which is the revelation that she’s pregnant with Rory who just happens to overhear her parents’ conversation. Fittingly, it’s Rory who puts things in perspective acknowledging that, while future events can’t be changed, her father’s leaving can’t possibly be his choice. It’s a nice touch when he returns home with a box of Charlie’s unneeded baby clothes, reinforcing his commitment to being an involved dad during Rory’s formative years.
We get a lot of wonderful exchanges in “Goodbye, Lucifer,” but the culmination of Dan’s tortured journey certainly makes it difficult to avoid a tear or two. I’m not a fan of bringing back the dead, but I must admit that Dan’s recurring presence has been handled brilliantly. I’m even less of a fan of body jumping as a narrative tool, so the Dan/Le Mec consciousness transfer had me a bit on edge. Nevertheless, the writers used this twist to good effect, and his interaction with Trixie is priceless. “Stranger danger!” Dan’s daughter cries, but it’s her grasp on her father’s true nature and worth that drives the scene that culminates in his long awaited and beautifully executed trip to Heaven.
Even though Lucifer convinces himself that he’s changed the future in which he abandons his daughter and Chloe, we know it’s not going to turn out to be that simple. Does everything he’s worked for come down to the whims of a killer? Slow dancing to “Unchained Melody” gives hope that Rory’s trip to the past actually changes things for her family, but Le Mec’s kidnapping of the adult Rory unexpectedly provides the catalyst for Lucifer’s disappearance.
Suddenly, time travel and time loops stand at the forefront of “Goodbye, Lucifer,” setting up the Lucifer series finale in which we presumably learn the fates of Lucifer, Chloe, Trixie, and Rory. Is a traditional happy ending too much to ask? Probably, so I’ll settle for bittersweet.