The titular crime-solving devil is back for season 4 of Lucifer, cast out of TV heaven by Fox and resurrected by Netflix thanks to the social media prayers of “Lucifans.”
If you’re wondering how much the show itself has changed with the switch to Netflix, the answer is… not much at all. Though it’s only 10 episodes as opposed to 22, the fourth season looks, sounds, and acts very much like the previous three. It’s still, at its core, a supernatural-police procedural with a campy, pun and double entendre-filled sense of humor. Though Netflix could have thrown it in, there’s not a lot of additional profanity, violence, or sex, though Tom Ellis’ bare butt makes its first appearance less than six minutes into episode 1, “Everything’s Okay.”
But is everything okay? We begin with Lucifer playing Radiohead’s “Creep” on the piano he keeps at Lux. As he continues to perform, we realize we’re jumping through time. Our sad devil has been playing this same song over and over again, night after night, most certainly killing the vibe at his own club. A month has passed since the conclusion of Lucifer Season 3 and, in that time, Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) has taken her daughter, Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), on an impromptu vacation to Europe while she deals with the knowledge that Lucifer has been telling the truth this entire time. He’s the actual devil and Heaven and Hell are real. Lucifer has taken to brooding and fretting over whether or not Chloe will ever be able to accept him for who he is now that she’s seen his “devil face.”
Meanwhile, Forensics’ Ella Lopez (Aimee Garcia) and Detective Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro) are both reeling from the death of bad-lawyer-turned-goddess-turned-good-lawyer Charlotte Richards (Tricia Helfer). Dan fluctuates between sorrow and reckless anger, while Ella is grappling with her belief in Lucifer’s father – God, that is – and suppressing her grief with booze and drugs. There is no mention of Ella’s ghost guardian angel, who appeared in “Boo Normal,” an unaired episode Fox had intended for Season 4 that’s now available as a bonus episode on Netflix. Perhaps that’s no longer a thing?
Elsewhere, Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) is contemplating his life in L.A. versus his role as an angel in Heaven, Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris) is about to receive some surprising news, and the ever-fierce demon bounty hunter Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt) is looking for a real connection of her own.
Adding to the season’s turbulence and putting a wrench in the endless will-they-won’t-they between Lucifer and Chloe are two new characters: Graham McTavish’s Father Kinley, a priest with news about an apocalyptic prophecy in which Lucifer plays a key role, and Eve (Inbar Lavi), Lucifer’s ex-girlfriend from, well, the Book of Genesis. Lavi brings a wide-eyed wonder to the role as the love-addled original sinner, while McTavish adds new mystery and mythology. But despite these overarching narratives, the LAPD still gets a fresh corpse every episode and Lucifer continues to, as Dr. Linda would say, project his own personal issues onto every case, which somehow all fit those issues in a very on-the-nose way. The returning characters retrace familiar steps, which is why Eve – a character whose naïveté and myopic love for Lucifer would be annoying if she weren’t so charming and fun – is a refreshing addition.
But why is orgy host bad? Of Lucifer’s many outlandish behaviors, it feels like repeatedly calling a grieving Dan a “douche” is more damaging. Sounds more like Lucifer needs to just focus on his work with Chloe during the week, then save his bacchanals for Saturday like the rest of us mortals.
Worse, Amenadiel spends one episode trying to figure out what makes a good father. He asks one of the go-go dancers at Lucifer’s club if she has a good relationship with her dad. “I’m dancing half-naked in a club for money, what do you think?” she answers. Sorry, tired cliche, but women can dance in nightclubs for money and still have a positive relationship with their male family members.
And for fans who were hoping certain characters’ inherent queerness – creators have defined both Lucifer and Mazikeen as pansexual – would be addressed on the network that gave us Sense8, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Orange is the New Black, that’s a resounding “meh.” Lucifer is tied up with Chloe and Eve, and while Mazikeen does fall in love, it’s not particularly satisfying. There are several episodes where women kiss one another, but it’s largely as either a ruse or for the benefit of a man. And even when it’s not, there seems to always be a man there to comment on how hot it was for him to see.