Jess Thomas reviews the two bonus episodes of Lucifer, released following the show’s cancellation.
After the news of Lucifer’s cancellation, Fox decided to air the final two episodes of the show (originally planned for a now defunct fourth season). These episodes aren’t set after the season finale but could be placed at any point in the narrative as stand alone stories.
The first, Boo Normal, centres on Ella. If you cast your minds way back to last autumn, to episode six of this season Vegas With Some Radish, then you might remember that Ella not so subtly mentioned that she used to hear voices. That dropped plot point finally comes to fruition in Boo Normal.
It turns out Ella has been seeing a ‘ghost’ ever since she was in a car accident at the age of eight. This lead to me thinking that she had some sort of mental health problem, something which has obviously come up in Ella’s life before the show, as she mentions being put on drugs. But, at the end of the episode, it is revealed that her ‘ghost’ friend is actually Azriel, the angel of death and Lucifer’s younger sister.
I was honestly on the fence about this episode as I wasn’t sure if I was comfortable with its portrayal of mental health. But I must admit I liked the reveal at the end. I have always wanted Lucifer to go more in depth with the celestial lore of the universe, but so far we haven’t really gotten any. I have also been waiting for there to be a female angel. In this episode I got both.
Though large amounts of Lucifer’s behaviour on the show is predictable and formulaic, he is also known for being surprisingly sensitive or intuitive on occasion. This fluctuating behaviour is sort of explained away by Lucifer’s past. But the truth is, a large part of Lucifer’s past that isn’t spoken about, and that his life before he was sent to hell. So it was exciting to see Lucifer interact with someone from before his time in Hell. To see Lucifer as a caring older brother rather than the reckless younger brother that Amenadiel sees him as.
However, it also felt odd experience watching the episode. While I understand that it could be placed anywhere within the narrative of season three, this transient nature made it feel somewhat out of place. Add this to the fact that it was originally un-aired and it just feels like, while Lucifer as a concept has great potential, the show suffered from trying to do too much at once rather than just having one focused story line. This often happens on shows with large ensemble casts, so Lucifer isn’t alone in this. But it is just sad that what could have been such an interesting plot line, and could have introduced a whole host of other angelic characters, was passed by for a love triangle.
The second episode aired this week was Once Upon A Time, in which we are shown an alternate universe where Chloe’s father didn’t die. This leads to a butterfly effect of Chloe continuing her acting career rather than going into the police force. The episode shows how the main characters are different in this time line and how sometimes people will always end up in the same place. All of which is book ended by the narration of Neil Gaiman, the voice of God. Getting Gaiman to be God was a nice touch and it was one of the things that made the episode for me.
Of the two episodes this week I preferred Once Upon A Time because, where Boo Normal was vaguely connected to a previous episode, the former was completely separate. Instead of feeling like a plot line that deserved to be further investigated, it was actually a self contained story and also felt like a fitting end for the show. Where the past two seasons have had episodes being moved here, there and everywhere,it was nice for the last episode to have an actual ending. It is certainly a more satisfying ending than the cliffhanger of Chloe finally seeing Lucifer’s devil face.
Another fascinating aspect of the use of God as a narrator was that it gave us an actual characterisation for him. Before this episode, any time that the show has spoken about God has been through the lens of either someone who hates him, (Lucifer and his mother) or someone who is desperate for his approval (Amenadiel). So to finally have God actually be present in the show means that for the first time the audience can gauge their opinion of him on his actions rather than the opinions of others. Even though God is only a voice, you can get a lot from a voice performance, and Gaiman’s performance is a good one.
The God he portrays is meddlesome; the premise of the entire episode is that God just wanted to see what the world would be like if Chloe’s father hadn’t died. But he isn’t as malicious as Lucifer makes him out to be. From God’s dialogue it genuinely seems that he cares for all his children, and he just wants what is best for them. Of course what a parent thinks is best for their child and what is actually best for them can be different things.
Overall, the addition of the narration gave an interesting impression of God; I’m sad that they won’t get to elaborate on further because of the show’s cancellation.
It was a nice gesture from Fox to air these episodes after canceling Lucifer, and I did enjoy watching them. But it was a bittersweet send off because these episodes spoke of what Lucifer could have been, but will not get a chance to be.
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