Lucifer season 6, episode 8 saw its main characters faced with skewed versions of themselves, much like Avatar’s “The Ember Island Players.”
A key, meta episode in Lucifer season 6 was inspired by a beloved installment of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Tom Ellis-starring Lucifer came to a close last week, and its final season was a special event for fans. Season 6 came as a surprise to many, since Fox cancelled the show after 3 seasons. When Netflix revived Lucifer, the plan was to only give it two additional runs. However, after Ellis renewed his deal with the streamer, Netflix greenlit the sixth and final season. Lucifer’s last 10 episodes were billed as the ultimate love letter for fans, and one episode in particular hammered that fact home.
Lucifer season 6, episode 8, “Save the Devil, Save the World,” found Lucifer (Ellis) ready to accept his new position as God. However, he’s unable to call forth his wings and return to heaven. To solve this crisis, Lucifer and his friends decide to go through the book Linda (Rachael Harris) has been writing about her therapy sessions with the Devil. The trip-down-memory-lane format allowed Lucifer to offer a meta look at all of its characters, making for a unique reflection on the show’s past.
It turns out that Lucifer’s deep dive into its characters was inspired by another fan favorite series. In an interview with Collider, co-showrunner Joe Henderson explained he’s quite fond of the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode “The Ember Island Players,” wherein the main characters watch a play depicting the entire show leading up to that point. His fascination with the Avatar episode grew into what then became “Save the Devil, Save the World.” He recalled, speaking first of “The Ember Island Players”:
All the characters go to a play and they watch themselves being dramatized onstage. And you get all of these in-jokes in the sense of how other people see them. [Executive story editor] Jen Imada and I in particular were obsessed with that. And then with Aiyana and Ildy and everyone else, we started to actually turn it into ‘what’s our version of it?’ How do we have a love letter to the show? How do we play with breaking the rules a bit, but also maintain the rules? And the answer was [Linda’s] book.
“The Ember Island Players” is often cited as an example of a filler television episode done right, since it allowed for both funny moments and reflection on what came before. Lucifer’s version of the meta episode is similar, and it also furthers its title character’s own journey. Lucifer spends much of season 6 grappling with his new placement as God, only to eventually take on a different job. Still, his brief decision to actually accept the position is a big moment for him.
Lucifer is no stranger to adopting unique formats for its episode; over the course of its 6 seasons, the show did a musical episode, a black and white noir, and, most recently, an animated installment. The meta story might’ve been one of the more tame twists, surprisingly. Nevertheless, it came at exactly the right time. Lucifer lived longer than many expected it to, and it managed to go out on a high note. That’s all a show can ask for.
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