Whilst I prefer mid-season breaks to weekly episodes, I'm still annoyed that classically "binge-focused" services like Netflix have started utilising them. As a result, we're only halfway through season five, but without any further episodes in the immediate future I may as well write down some thoughts whilst I can still remember them. At the close of the previous season, I was a little unsure how the cliffhanger was going to work; well, the answer was to basically just ignore it. Almost. Like, 80% ignored.
Yes, the first episode sees Lucifer firmly back in Hell, ruling his kingdom as God intended, whilst Chloe deals with the fact that a month ago the person she has recently realised that she loves has left for an indeterminate amount of time. We also (re)learn that time in Hell is out of sync with reality, so Lucifer has actually been away for thousands of years. On the one hand, that could be a neat trick to allow him to come and go with relative frequency, preventing demon uprisings by just popping back for a day our time, a few millennia his. Of course, if a day is several thousand years in Hell, that's still plenty of time for the demons to get miffed and start plotting again, so I guess that plot point wouldn't really have stood up to scrutiny.
Instead, we see Lucifer choosing his duty over his love for Chloe. It's a fun first episode with some poignant moments (and a surprisingly great single-shot character in the murdered person that Lucifer is tormenting/rediscovering his feelings for the surface world alongside) and sets up a very confusing plot thread, as we see someone who looks exactly like Lucifer step into his shoes and taking on his life. That gives the real Lucifer plenty of reasons to need to go back up top. That said, the show rapidly answers all of its own questions and slightly ruins the suspense in doing so: Chloe works it out (yay), then everyone else does, in doing so giving us the backstory to Lucifer's (never previously mentioned) twin brother, who happens to currently also be the most highly ranked angel in Heaven, hence why he can seemingly just play havoc on Earth without oversight from the rest of the heavenly host. It's a bit irritatingly neat, but I will say it gives Tom Ellis a fantastic opportunity to really flex his acting muscles and as the season progressed I warmed to the meddling increasingly, particularly when Michael tricks Dan into (finally) finding out the truth about Lucifer. I think that only leaves Trixie as a "main" character (though her role appears to be increasingly downsized) that isn't actually aware that their friend is the literal devil, which is fun.
In fact, season five seems hell-bent (heh) on wrapping up loose threads. Michael's skills in manipulation are a clever device to unearth so many secrets so rapidly, but it does move a little too fast at times. Still, it's refreshing for a show to burn through so many potential snags and I'm glad they've done so whilst allowing Chloe and Lucifer to continue growing together (even with quite a lot of interim drama). She knows about her divine intervention, Maze finally learns about her mother, even the reality of baby Charlie's divinity (or lack thereof) comes out. That it all leads to a big reveal of, well, actually God this time around is pretty huge, but also feels like they may be wrapping the story up.
I mean, on the one hand, Michael feels like he's a character set up to fail and take over Hell, giving Lucifer the final moment in his aeons-long redemption arc. It's even possible that the opening gambit – that Hell is really Lucifer's torture, nothing else – could be true, and as he finally comes to realise that he (and all the demons, lost souls etc.) can find peace. After all, they're going hard on the whole "angels self-actualise their fate" thing this season. But I hope they don't. For one thing, whilst this feels like a weaker season than we've had for a while, it's also still a really fun show and one where each of the characters keep going from strength-to-strength. I've already mentioned how much fun Ellis remains, but all of the core cast seem to have stepped up their game this season and it's been a lot of fun to watch. Plus, the black and white episode to learn of Lillith's story was some great world-building and I feel like there's a lot more potential there. But more importantly, the core element of Lucifer that I've always enjoyed is the way it pokes holes in Christian theology. Giving it all a neat little bow at the end just feels like a disservice to that theme. I guess we'll find out in part two of season five, whenever that happens.
And we're back! I think I'll just leave this as a review with a break in the middle, but it's interesting to see which clues I picked up on in the first half – and what I no longer agree with (I also originally rated the season at a 3/5, which I definitely no longer agree with). For starters, the second half of the season was considerably stronger, bringing the season overall back to the quality I've come to expect for the show. They dealt with the introduction of God particularly well, and the whole "God forgets his powers; wait, actually, it's Michael manipulating things again" plot was really quite fun. That it also gave them an excuse for a musical episode (oh, just God warping reality for his own amusement) was a neat trick.
I liked Lucifer's descent into "I'm not worthy" a little less, feeling like it was just a lazy way to put a wedge between Chloe and himself yet again. Ditto the whole "what happens to Hell, oh God has just 'dealt with it'" single sentence reveal that makes some of the last season and first half of this season a little moot.
All of this, though, was neatly balanced in the final few episodes, which ended the season with more than a little bang. It's now incredibly clear (and has been confirmed by Netflix) that season six will be the final one, and I think that's okay. I'd definitely like to see more of the show, but I'd rather it goes out on a high, and it's certainly set up to do so. Everything from God retiring, to Dan's death (😲), to the political race between Michael and Lucifer, to the ultimate showdown (of ultimate destiny) – I thought it was all really interesting, well-written stuff. It kept the audience on their toes, it continued to drive home key plot points, and it managed to tie things together really well whilst delivering some excellent one-off moments.
Bringing back Eve was a nice touch, as was getting to see the Goddess once again, and God messing with Dan was just a huge amount of fun. I also really appreciated the way they brought back the Goddess of Death. But above all, the evolution of Lucifer and Hell itself had some really interesting implications that I'm excited to explore. I think it's clear that they're moving towards a Good Place style finale where angels can help lost souls reach heaven over time (the throwback to the character from the first episode was a nice touch), but quite what that looks like for the angels themselves is unclear. I slightly hope Chloe doesn't actually quit her day job to become a House Goddess, but if they do it well then fair enough. I'm also intrigued as to what they have in store for Ella; she definitely feels like she's being set up for greater things.
Overall, it was just a thoroughly enjoyable ending to the season and leaves the show in a whole new place. Lucifer is God – what on heaven and earth (and hell) is going to happen next?