The thing about Lucifer in the Fox television program of the same name, is that he gives people permission to do what they really want to do–what they were really actually going to do in the first place.
In the opening scene of the premiere, we see Lucifer coaxing the police officer to take the money he offers as a bribe by getting him to admit that he breaks the law, too.
(Officer) “It’s against the law, sir.”
(Lucifer) “You people are funny about your laws, aren’t you? You break the law sometimes, don’t you?”
(Officer) “Sometimes, I put my siren on and drive really fast, for no reason at all, just ’cause I can.”
(Lucifer) “Right? And why wouldn’t you? It’s fun. It feels good to get away with something, doesn’t it?”
(Lucifer) “Uh, it’s okay, officer. People like to tell me things. Those deep, dark naughty little desires that are on their mind. Must be something about this face. You’re tempted to keep that aren’t you? Well, what are you waiting for, permission? Go on, take it, buy yourself something pretty. But if you don’t mind, I really must be on my way.”
(Officer) “Oh, yeah, of course. Hey, have a nice evening.”
(Lucifer) “You too, Officer. You too,”
At the end of this scene, he almost seems disappointed that the man took the money. It’s almost as if he were bored with humanity and their greed. Almost as if he’s waiting for a truly complex, challenging person to prove that he’s wrong about humanity. Enter Chloe Decker.
But that’s for later.
First, we resolve a few questions about the nature of Lucifer, the Devil and what he’s really all about.
Lucifer apparently abdicated Hell and came to earth for a small vacation. He landed in Los Angeles (for the weather, the porn stars and the Mexican food) and opens a piano bar called Lux.
We have a visit from his brother, Amenadiel (affectionately called Amenadude by Malcolm, the Big Bad for the first season).
Amenadude (sorry, Amenadiel) is assigned by his Father to retrieve Lucifer and bring him back to hell. Lucifer has other ideas.
(Amenadiel) “You are a mockery of everything divine.”
(Lucifer) “Thank you. Thank you, but lately I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking. Now, do you think I’m the devil because I’m inherently evil, or just because dear old Dad decided I was?”
The answer however, is answered in the next sequence where a former protege, an actor/singer named Delilah (and she does have fabulous hair) returns to ask him a question that, frankly, we’re all quite curious to know.
Delilah) “Did I sell my soul to the devil?”
(Lucifer) “Well, that would imply that the Devil’s actually interested in your soul. Look, all I did was to introduce you to a few key people who owed me favors, that’s all.”
(Delilah) “I mean, with all the good came a hell of a lot of bad.”
(Lucifer) “ Oh, right. So the devil made you do it, did he? The alcohol, and the drugs and the topless selfies? The choices are on you, my dear.”
(Delilah) “Oh, God, I’m a mess.”
(Lucifer) “God has nothing to do with your mess. Look, you didn’t sell your soul, Delilah. You do owe me a favor.
(Delilah) “I’m scared.”
(Lucifer) “You should be. Because what I’m about to ask you is going to be quite difficult. Pull yourself together. That’s it, that’s all I’m asking. ‘Cause you’re wasting your talent, your life.”
Apparently, he grants favors. A deal, of sorts with the Devil. More about that later. We’re trying to take this chronologically, so that we don’t leave anyone in the dust.
Sadly, Delilah is murdered shortly after, apparently by a her drug dealer for money that she owed him.
This starts Lucifer on a quest to find his protege’s murderer. He seems to be experiencing a bit of a conscience and an awareness that actions on this Earth do have consequences.
(Lucifer, about Delilah) “Look if I hadn’t meddled with her career, maybe she wouldn’t have died.”
And he meets Chloe Decker, the detective in charge of finding the culprit and bringing him to justice. And neither of their lives will ever be the same.
Chloe is, so far, the only person who doesn’t succumb to Lucifer’s charms. In fact the more he speaks, the more repulsed she is by him. Chloe is, apparently, a pariah in her own precinct and no one wants to partner with her since she accused of a fellow police officer of being on the take. Malcolm Graham, the aforementioned Big Bad, was shot and is now in a coma.
Lucifer is intrigued by her immunity to his charms and convinces her to allow him to come along to find the murderer.
In the next episode, “Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil,” Lucifer encounters a street preacher, who, originally, is a fake.
(Williams) “Have you seen the face of the devil?”
(Lucifer) “Oh, Every morning in the mirror, pal.”
(Williams) “Look at this world! The sin! The lust! It is the devil’s touch.”
(Lucifer) “N-N-N-No, don’t give me credit for all that. You humans do plenty all on your own.”
(Williams) “Repent! The devil…”
(Lucifer) “…isn’t finished with you yet. You see what I hate more than anything is a liar, a charlatan, someone who doesn’t believe in what they say.”
(Williams) “So what are you gonna do about it?”
(Lucifer) “Why make you a believer, of course.”
(Williams) “You don’t understand! This isn’t a performance! He’s the Devil!
(Lucifer) “It’s true. It is true. Yes, thanks everyone. I’m, uh, here till, well, the end of time, actually.”
In “The Would-Be Prince of Darkness,” we see a little more of Lucifer’s pet peeve with inauthenticity as someone steals his identity, as well as the issue of the consequences of meddling with people’s lives. He explores these issues with the same therapist that Delilah used, Linda Martin. Oh, yeah. He’s also sleeping with her. At first.
Linda) “Sounds like this guy has really gotten under your skin.”
(Lucifer) “Typical in a town full of charlatans. This is a place built on lies where nothing is authentic or genuine.”
(Linda) “From everything you’ve told me it sounds like Ty had nothing to do with this murder. That he got himself into or someone helped him into a bad situation. And that bothers you.”
(Lucifer) “Because I punish the guilty and Ty’s not guilty.”
(Chloe) “Why are you so hellbent on proving Ty’s not the killer?”
(Lucifer) “Like I’ve been saying, I want to punish the real killer.”
(Chloe) “Why? Is it ’cause you pushed him toward Ali at the party?”
(Lucifer) “Well, I don’t see how that has to do with anything. And I think you’re starting to agree with me. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here, would you?
(Linda) “You know, you say people are phony here, but I think people come here to reinvent themselves. And I think that’s why you’re here. To reinvent yourself.”
(Lucifer) “Why would I mess with perfection?”
(Linda) “You like working with the detective, don’t you?”
(Lucifer) “I told you, I’m good at punishing people. Nay, I’m the best at punishing bad people. I didn’t enjoy it when my Father forced me to, but now that it’s on my terms, it’s downright delightful.”
(Linda) “Yeah, well, I don’t think you just enjoy punishing the bad guys. I think you like seeking justice for the good ones.”
(Lucifer) “Another reason to hate L.A. All this self-indulgent therapy. You should be ashamed.”
(Linda) “You’re doing it again.”
(Lucifer) “No, I’m not.”
(Linda) “And that’s denial.”
(Lucifer) “That’s a river in Africa.”
Lucifer is still puzzled by his inability to charm Chloe and decides to try to seduce her into having sex with him as they investigate the disappearance of a girl who catering an event by a life coach for geeks who can’t communicate with women.
Linda) “It’s not that you’re afraid that you don’t have power over Chloe; it’s that you’re afraid that she has power over you. But neither one is true—People don’t have power over us. We give it to them. You have to take your power back—You say she’s nothing special, but I think you’ve put her on a pedestal. You need to really get to know her, warts and all. I’m sure she has some. So, demystify her by bringing her back to your own level.”
(Lucifer) “You’re right. It’s not her, it’s me. I need to take back control. I need to behave like I always have.”
(Linda) ”Good. So, you understand.”
(Lucifer) “Yes! Yes, it seems obvious now, actually. I need to have sex with her.”
(Linda) “uh…no, that’s not what I said.”
(Lucifer) “No, no, no, no, you’re a genius. I mean, that’s the best way to lose interest, right? Right. Good-o. Hmm. Thanks love, payment next time, OK?”
The scene where he tries to seduce Chloe and appears naked before is one of beauty and grace. Obviously, the creators, writers, producers took a lesson from the Master Joss Whedon and created a scene where the emotional energy turns on a dime. Lucifer appears naked before Chloe. As he turns around, she sees the scars where Mazikeen, his faithful demon, cut his wings. This is the moment where the relationship starts to turn into a friendship that is much more solid than Lucifer has been accustomed to in his brief five years on Earth. It does not do to describe the scene. You must watch it. I own nothing.
It is a moment of beauty and grace and the first time we see Lucifer emotionally vulnerable in front of Chloe. At the end of the episode, we see Chloe shoot Lucifer at his goading and he actually bleeds, something that never happened before. It isn’t until “St. Lucifer” (1.11), that we actually understand that only Chloe has this power over him.
In “Sweet Kicks” (1.5), Lucifer learns a bit more about the long-term consequences of his favors.
(Chloe) “You know, I’ve been thinking about that favor you gave Benny. Did it also involve getting him off on that B & E charge that put Viper in prison instead?”
(Lucifer) “I may have pulled a few strings, why?”
(Chloe) “Well, if Viper hadn’t have gone to prison, he wouldn’t have targeted Benny and shot up his show, which means Paola Cortez would still be alive.”
(Lucifer) “You’re not seriously blaming me for that girl’s death?”
(Chloe) “Just stating fact. Cause and effect, intended or not.”
(Lucifer) “No, no. I can’t be held responsible for what happens after I give someone a favor. I mean, if there’s one thing the Devil knows, it’s that people need to take responsibility or their own bad behavior.”
(Chloe) “Yes, people do need to take responsibility for their own bad behavior.”
(Lucifer) “I just said that. Are you hearing impaired?”
(Lucifer) “Yes, my favor really did pay off for you, didn’t it, Benny. You’re a huge star. But if there’s one thing the Devil abhors, it’s a fake.”
(Benny) “What are you talking about? I’m all about authenticity.”
(Lucifer) “Sure. Except for the lying. You failed to inform me that in getting you off the B & E charge, suspicion would immediately fall to your best friend.”
(Benny) “I had no control over that.”
(Viper) “Didn’t you?”
(Benny) Oh. Hey, it’s good to see you. I missed you, bro.”
(Viper) “That why you never came to visit me in prison?”
(Benny) “I wish you could have done more.”
(Lucifer) “Framing him for shooting up your fashion show surely didn’t help.”
(Chloe) “Viper was always the real talent. When you heard he was getting released, you tried to take down the competition before he could take down you. Planned a simple frame job. Parole violation that would send Viper back to prison.”
(Lucifer) “But when Paola died, you had to improvise, didn’t you?”
(Viper) “You knew pointing the fingers at the Latin Kings would eventually get back to me.”
(Benny) “You were never good as me, man! Never!”
(Lucifer) “I don’t think so, Sonny G. I’m no expert on L.A. street art, but it’s funny. This piece seems a lot more authentic to me now. I think I’ll keep it.”
In “Favorite Son,” (1.6), we see a little more of Lucifer’s origin story played out as the container holding Lucifer’s wings turns missing. This brings up the issue of Lucifer’s identity, his pet peeve with inauthentic people and his (understandable) anger at being blamed for all of the evil on earth.
Lucifer) “How can you presume to know God’s intentions?”
(Linda) “Oh, I don’t. I can’t.”
(Lucifer) “Then maybe stick within the limits of your intellectual capacity.”
(Linda) “Or maybe my simplicity offers me a different perspective. God cast you out because he needed you to do the most difficult of jobs. It was a gift.”
(Lucifer) “Gift? He shunned me. He vilified me. He made me a torturer .Can you even begin to fathom what it was like? Eons spent providing a space for dead mortals to punish themselves? I mean, why do they blame me for all their little failings? As if I spent my days sitting on their shoulder, forcing them to commit acts they’d otherwise find repulsive. ‘Oh, the devil made me do it.!’ I have never made any one of them do anything. Never!”
(Linda) “What happened to you is unfair.”
(Lucifer) “Unfair! This is unjust! For all eternity my name will be invoked to represent all their depravity. That is the gift my father gave me.”
(Linda) “It was an act of love.”
(Lucifer) “How do you know that?”
(Linda) “Because you are his favorite son, Samael.”
(Lucifer) “Do not call me that, please.”
(Linda) “You are his fallen Angel. But here’s the thing. When angels fall they also rise. All that you have to do is embrace all that you are.”
(Lucifer) “I can’t.”
(Linda) “Yes, you can. You just have to be open to the process.”
(Lucifer) “You don’t understand. I can’t.”
(Linda) “But why?”
(Lucifer) “Because they stole them from me!” (“Favorite Son,” 1.6)
We also see an incredible scene with Trixie, Chloe’s daughter manipulating her way into chocolate cake for a whole year after Mazikeen knocks out Dan, Chloe’s ex and the bane of Lucifer’s life, and sends him to Chloe’s bed…naked. And Trixie finds him in her room. Trixie, by the way, loves Lucifer because he terrified the girl who was bullying her. Lucifer, on the other hand despises all children, including Trixie, but, interestingly, will go to extreme lengths to protect her because she is Chloe’s daughter and he, despite himself, cares about Chloe.
Turns out Amenadiel arranged for them to be stolen as a way to emotionally manipulate Lucifer into wanting to go back to heaven. And it backfires big time as Lucifer destroys the wings.
Later, Chloe comes to Lux to work things out with Lucifer.
(Chloe) “I don’t…I don’t like how we left it at the auction.”
(Lucifer) “Yes. Yes, I..I agree. You definitely could have handled things better. An I suppose, you know, I—Sorry, what was I saying?”
(Chloe) “Look, I know how much it sucks being alone. And I can’t pretend to know understand why the wings meant so much to you. But if we’re really friends, it…it should be enough just knowing that they did.” (“Wing Man,” 1.7)
Next, we see Lucifer exploring the issues of betrayal and loneliness. As his therapist, Dr. Linda points out, one can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. And he considers, for once that Chloe may be more valuable as a friend. But he still tries to sleep with her.
And then the priest walks in. And Lucifer, inexplicably connects with him.
Father Frank’s assertion that no one is born a priest echoes the sentiment in Joss Whedon’s film Serenity, when Shepherd Book tells Mal that he wasn’t born a priest.
(Father Frank) “We may not always understand it, but God has a plan.”
(Lucifer) “Yes, I know. But why does everybody always think it’s a good plan?”
Later, Lucifer is stunned with grief by Father Frank’s death and has a word with his Father. Again, description doesn’t do the scene justice. And, again I own nothing.
When Malcolm, replying to Chloe’s text to Dan, breaks Chloe and Dan up, Chloe gets drunk and throws herself at Lucifer. Again, Lucifer acts totally against character and turns around and outright refuses her. Why? BECAUSE HE’S NOT A RAPIST. The women (and men, to be honest) approach Lucifer of their own free will. As he points out, until he met Chloe, he never had any problem getting anyone he desired into bed. Taking advantage of her while she was drunk would be in direct opposition to these principles.
And then we come to my favorite episode, “St. Lucifer,” (1.11)
Where Chloe wakes up in Lucifer’s bed. With a hangover. And Lucifer, being an angel not a saint (despite the title), toys with her a bit before telling her what really happened…or didn’t in this case. Again, watch the clip. I own nothing.
The soundtrack by the way is amazing and worth watching just for the music alone. And Tom Ellis’ impersonation of a drunk American woman is hilarious.
And then the story starts to turn a bit darker as Lucifer has two attempts on his life and realizes that the only person he’s physically vulnerable to is Chloe at the same time she explains to him that she feels free to be emotionally vulnerable with him. Then we come to the Great Avoidance, a metaphor for when men become vulnerable to a woman in some form (physically, emotionally etc.) and then need space.
She finally comes to his penthouse when she has a case that she cannot solve without him.
It seems someone is killing Satanists and the finger seems to be pointing at Lucifer.
And he gives the Satanists the what for for not being authentic. By, the way, the girl in the shot with Chloe pops big time, just by watching and listening and not saying a word. Again, I own nothing.
Again, we see that Lucifer is not genuinely evil at all, but the scapegoat (God, he hates that rumor about him and the goat) for all of humanity’s worst traits.
(Malcolm) “So, what do you think of this? ‘Hail Lucifer’, the pentagram?
(Lucifer) “I think it’s a long time since I encountered genuine evil—You really think I’d do these vile things?! These kids were pretending to be bad, but they weren’t, they were innocent, so I would never hurt them. I’m not a monster.” (“#TeamLucifer,” 1.12)
When Lucifer is implicated in the murder of the priest that he had an encounter with earlier, Chloe convinces her ex that he’s being framed.
(Chloe) “I know this is gonna sound crazy, especially after just what happened, but I think Lucifer is innocent.”
(Dan) “Chloe, Lucifer got into a fight with the deceased just a couple of hours ago. We both saw it.”
(Chloe) “I know, just hear me out, okay? Just pretend you don’t know Lucifer.”
(Dan) “I like it already.”
(Chloe) “Our suspect is a club owner who likes to tell people he’s the Devil.”
(Dan) “You’re not really selling his innocence.”
(Chloe) “He’s a man who embraces desire, lives by his passion. Now think about the body. The guy was executed, single bullet to the head. There’s no passion behind this. This isn’t him.” (“Take Me Back To Hell,”1.13)
In the end, Lucifer begs Amenadiel to take him back to hell. Amenadiel refuses because he wants to put things right by bringing Malcolm to justice. Mazikeen shows that she, too is affected by the allure of humanity (we’re fascinating creatures, don’t you know) and saves a life and then disappears.
Detective Dan turns himself in for stealing a gun from evidence.
Lucifer is shot by Malcolm but asks his Father to protect Chloe and in return is assigned by Him to retrieve his mother, who escaped Hell.
Coda: In the first two episodes of the second season,we come across a lovely woman, Ella, a forensic scientist who is of the faith. She gives Lucifer a hug upon meeting him and starts to explain a bit of her faith.
(Lucifer) “You’re a newbie, aren’t you?”
(Ella) “Oh, hey, yeah, Ella Lopez. I just transferred in a couple of days ago. You must be Detective Decker’s civilian consultant.
(Lucifer) ”Lucifer Morningstar.”
(Lucifer) “I was expecting a different reaction considering your choice of bling.”
(Ella) “Oh. Dude, I had a friend named Adolf. Okay. Adolf. I didn’t hold it against him. And besides, I think the Devil gets a bad rap.”
(Lucifer) “You do, do you?”
(Ella) “Sure. I mean, what did he do that was so bad. What? Rebel against his dad? Ask some naked lady if she wanted an apple?”
(Lucifer) “Be still my heart. Do go on.”
(Ella) “I suppose he does run Hell. That’s not so great, you know with the torture and eternal damnation.”
(Lucifer) “I’m retired. And I didn’t create Hell. I just worked there.
(Ella) “And now you’re talking in the first person. Wait. Are you–
(Lucifer) “The Devil?”
(Ella) “A method actor?”
Later, she gives Chloe a more in-depth look at her faith.
(Chloe) “Hey, can I ask you a question?”
(Chloe) “Do you really believe in God?”
(Ella) “Whoa. I was expecting more like, ‘Hey, Ella, what’s it like moving from Detroit to L.A.?’, or ‘Hey, Ella, how’d you survive growing up with four brothers?’ But the big ‘G’ question right off the top, I did not see that coming.”
(Chloe) “Okay. Sorry, it’s inappropriate.”
(Ella) “Oh, no, no, no. I actually really like talking about my faith. It’s kind of a big part of my life. So, uh, yeah, sure. Hit me.”
(Chloe) “Okay. Do you believe that it all really exists?”
(Ella) “What do you mean?”
(Chloe) “Say, angels. Or the Devil. That sort of thing. That’s all a metaphor, right?
(Ella) “Maybe. Maybe not.”
(Chloe) “Oh, okay. That’s pretty…I just thought there would be more faith in your faith, I guess.
(Ella) “Oh. See, my aunt was a nun, okay? And she always taught me that doubt was really important. Right, I mean, if you don’t question something then what’s the point of believing it?”
(Ella) “I doubt so that I can believe.” (“Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer,” 2.1)
What she’s talking about here are what Annie Dillard calls “the gaps” in her book, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.”
“The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound. The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock—more than a maple—universe.”
So, is Lucifer really evil? Actually, he never really was depicted as evil until the Middle Ages, during (surprise!) the witch hunts in medieval Europe.
“It was also during the Medieval period that the concept of Satan, the Biblical Devil, began to develop into a more threatening form. Around the year 1000, when there were increasing fears that the end of the world would soon come in Christendom, the idea of the Devil had become prominent, with many believing that his activities on Earth would soon begin appearing. Whilst in earlier centuries there had been no set depiction of the Devil, it was also around this time that he began to develop the stereotypical image of being animal-like, or even in some cases an animal himself. In particular, he was often viewed as a goat, or as a human with goat-like features, such as horns, hooves and a tail. Equally, the concepts of demons began to become more prominent, in particular the idea that male demons known as incubi, and female ones known as succubi, would roam the Earth and have sexual intercourse with humans. As (Robert)Thurston (author of The Witch Hunts: A History of the Witch Persecutions in Europe and North America) noted, “By about 1200, it would have been difficult to be a Christian and not frequently hear of the devil … [and] by 1500 scenes of the devil were commonplace in the new cathedrals and small parish churches that had sprung up in many regions.” The field of demonology had emerged in Medieval Christendom as certain members of the clergy began to focus in particular on the actions of demons in the world.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the concept of the witch in Christendom underwent a relatively radical change. No longer were they viewed as sorcerers who had been deceived by the Devil into practicing magic that went against the powers of God, as earlier Church leaders like Saint Augustine of Hippo had stated. Instead they became the all-out malevolent Devil-worshiper, who had made a pact with him in which they had to renounce Christianity and devote themselves to Satanism. As a part of this, they gained, new, supernatural powers that enabled them to work magic, which they would use against Christians. It was believed that they would fly to their nocturnal meetings, known as the Witches’ Sabbath, where they would have sexual intercourse with demons. On their death, the witches’ souls, which then belonged to the Devil, subsequently went to Hell.”” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_trials_in_the_early_modern_period
So, uh, not really. Prideful, arrogant, yeah. But he always gets upset when a man calls a woman a bitch. He threw the athlete Ty’s manager through a plate glass window for calling the victim Ali a bitch. And as, Linda pointed out in the same episode he’s starting to enjoy getting justice for the victims.
All of these heavenly (and hellish) creatures: Amenadiel, Mazikeen, Lucifer-are finding what God finds so fascinating about humanity. We’re a big boiling pot of contradictions. As Lucifer, says, we humans are fascinating. And the more time these creatures spend with us, the more they seem to become human themselves. Which could cause interesting problems.
I’m looking forward to it.
How about you?