Lucifer is a show that has been on an upward streak. The premise is high concept enough – the devil, Lucifer Morningstar (played by Tom Ellis), is a charismatic nightclub owner taking a vacation from hell doling out favors for mortals. When he meets Chloe Decker (played by Lauren German), a detective who is immune to his ability to coax out people’s greatest desires and makes him vulnerable to harm, he decides to join the LAPD as a consultant and solve crimes with her. The first season had rocky footing, but as the characters have grown into themselves, so has the show.
The plot centers around Lucifer discovering himself as he works through his issues with a combination of therapy, relating his own life to the crimes he solves, and analyzing his changing supernatural abilities as a reflection of his mental state. Tom Ellis does the character as much justice as he has in previous seasons, bringing life to a complicated figure. He continues to impress by also performing as Lucifer’s twin brother, Michael, who is the opposite in disposition. While the latter performance seems sometimes overplayed, it’s not distracting and the two characters are believably distinct.
When Season 5 begins, Lucifer and Chloe are in a place they haven’t been before, completely understanding and accepting of each other fully. That makes the will they/won’t they dynamic all the more frustrating, but it eventually evolves into a captivating relationship the audience hasn’t seen before. The supporting characters’ journeys are given ample room to develop as well and they do so wonderfully. D. B. Woodside’s Amenadiel, one of Lucifer’s angelic brothers, is trying to find his place on earth and learn to be a father. Woodside embodies the role with a quiet powerfulness that brings a new angle of tangibility to the narrative. Lesley-Ann Brandt’s Mazikeen, a demon Lucifer brought with him, attempts to find fulfillment in finding love and questions her existence. Mazikeen’s arc is especially executed well and paced wonderfully throughout the episodes as she slowly works through her issues of abandonment and inadequacy. Ella Lopez, a forensic scientist; Dr. Linda Martin, Lucifer’s therapist; and Dan Espinoza, Chloe’s ex-husband and fellow detective, also have a chunk of the season dedicated to their own personal struggles. These arcs are not paced as well and are concluded briefly, but hopefully will be expanded on into the next half of the season. By far the strength of this season is in these character developments, although how the show chooses to bring about them is enjoyable in and of itself.
In such a psychologically centered narrative with a cast of equally compelling characters, it’s hard to care about the crimes they solve together, but they are lightheartedly absurd this season. While Lucifer is no stranger to the unconventional crime episode, the ones found in Season 5A are especially memorable, especially when a mystery goes unsolved for multiple episodes. Genre bending is always enjoyable and the season sets itself apart from the more monotonous crimes of its previous episodes by playing with the format. While episodes like these usually feel like mind-numbing filler, they actually serve a purpose in the narrative as a whole, which is appreciated.
The technical aspects of the show are solid. The dialogue serves the eccentric storytelling well and the special effects, while used sparsely, are apt and look good. Though it drags at times and could’ve benefited from pacing improvements, Season 5A of Lucifer is an enjoyable watch. It is a good setup for a very intriguing second half of the season and audiences shouldn’t expect it to stand on its own.