Review: Final Season Of Lucifer Breaks The Mold To Bring Series Home
Before it was Lucifer on Netflix, this series was a pilot episode for a murder procedural based on a series of comics that had nothing to do with murder. Those of us who enjoyed Mike Carey’s Lucifer in the comics looked at the forthcoming series with dubiousness. Yet Lucifer the series, which just aired its final season on Netflix, became its own thing immediately. Sure, key elements of Lucifer’s lifestyle and the rules of Hell were pulled from the books. But everything else was this weird Hollywood version of life that shouldn’t have worked but did. For 83 episodes, the show mixed fantastical celestial family drama with the trappings of the “fun” murder procedurals like Castle or Bones. The formula worked both on network television and on streaming.
What makes the final season of Lucifer so interesting is that it mostly abandons the procedural elements of the show. Remember, season 5 of Lucifer was supposed to be the final one. Yet, because of a dedicated fanbase, Netflix gave the show 10 more episodes to wrap up the story. Now, there are still cop stories and murders solved, but they take a backseat to the character’s stories. It’s almost strange, at first, to be watching these characters as they step outside of their formulaic roles. Lucifer is one of those shows where the formula works, and they stick to it. The characters grow and change and all of them regress, but you basically know what you’re getting with this show.
This season takes a lot of chances, specifically with the ending which may leave some fans upset. The storytellers avoided the comic book tradition of always leaving room for more story. This ending is an ending, and a satisfying one at that.
Spoilers to follow.
Lucifer Meets Time-Travel Baby!
Forgive the pun above, but the lede from the final season of Lucifer is that his adult child from the future travels through time to the present day. Named Rory, short for Aurora, she’s played by Brianna Hildebrand, whom you may recognize as Negasonic Teenage Warhead from Deadpool. She traveled back to the past via angel’s ability to self-actualize powers in order to confront her father for abandoning her. Naturally, the father is Lucifer and he goes through many stages of denial before accepting the truth. See, Lucifer apparently abandoned both his daughter and Lauren German’s Chloe for the rest of the latter’s natural life. This storyline (and its resolution) might not sit well with #Lucifans, because it does present a kind of bleak picture for their future. However, the twist that what Lucifer does is because Rory begs him to do it is a fair way around it.
Honestly, when time travel is involved, the story can go off-the-rails quickly, though luckily this series avoids it. This story is coupled with last season’s, which left Lucifer the number-one contender to replace the Almighty. Dennis Haysbert’s God left our universe to join with Tricia Helfer’s goddess for another go at being a couple. Yet, Lucifer assuming the throne of heaven always seemed like the wrong choice. Luckily, the series knew this and gives the Devil a different calling. As the series ends, he will spend the rest of eternity helping humans break their “Hell loops” to work through the guilt that tortures them. Frankly, it’s a far more beautiful ending that I ever expected for such a silly show.
Yes, he does get to spend most of that eternity with Chloe Decker by his side, which should make the romance fans a little happier.
Dropping the Procedural Element for the Final Season of Lucifer was a Risk
So, the show ends with Tom Ellis’ Lucifer Morningstar being the savior of sinners and healer of the damned. It’s the biggest shift in how the Devil is represented in fiction since Milton’s Paradise Lost. Yet despite all the heavy moral themes, part of the fun of this series was the wacky murder investigations. These are almost wholly dropped in the season, save for the first few episodes. In fact, I thought this might happen when Lucifer first moved to Netflix. They didn’t “need” the procedural element to justify the series any longer like they did on Fox. Still, the final season of Lucifer trusted that their audience cared enough about these characters to let their emotional journeys drive the narrative.
Also, the lack of the murder procedural elements allowed the show to examine policing in a way relevant to the American national discourse around it. They built on a racism in policing moment from an earlier season for a new story. Amenadiel, before becoming the new God, spent some time as a beat cop. While not a very hard-hitting story and only a brief tertiary focus for the season, it is nice to see them addressing this issue. Luficer always focused on more moral storytelling than political. However, it both makes sense and serves the lighthearted nature of this show to have Chloe dedicate the rest of her police career to cleaning up the force. They commit to the ideal and don’t have to show the audience how they do it.
Still, the best thing about this final season is how they close out each character’s story, beyond just Lucifer and Chloe. Everyone gets their happy ending, and it is an ending. Rather than leaving the story open for possible returns, they bring it all to a close.
All seasons of Lucifer are currently streaming on Netflix.
What did you think of the final season of Lucifer? Are you happy with where the characters ended up? Do you think they could (or even should) revisit this series in the future? Share your thoughts, reactions, and hopes for the future in the comments below.
All images by John P. Fleenor via Netflix
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.