Jess Thomas looks back at the high and lows of three seasons of Lucifer.
After three years and fifty seven episodes, Lucifer has now left our screens for good. The show has seen its ups, its downs, and its just plain ‘eh’ episodes. This article aims to take a look at how the show has developed as well as some of the points that I thought had room for improvement.
Way back in season one we were introduced to the suave, charismatic playboy that is Lucifer Morningstar. Now, three years later, we are saying goodbye, to almost exactly the same character. I have written about this in previous episode reviews, but Lucifer really hasn’t developed all that much in three seasons. He is still impulsive and rude, inconsiderate and somewhat chauvinistic. Sure he gives the occasional heartfelt gesture, mainly to Chloe. But this is only ever shown to happen after he is not-so-subtly prompted to do so, either by the circumstances of the episode or by a character.
This lack of development was put into even starker contrast when I recently re-watched the first few episodes of Brooklyn Nine Nine. I had forgotten just how much of a child Jake Peralta was that far back in the show, and just how far he has come in terms of both maturity and emotional competency. Whilst these are two very different shows, and Lucifer has canonically had a lot longer to get set in his ways than Peralta, it still re-emphases just how much wasn’t done with his character over three seasons of the show.
Something else that I noticed when watching Brooklyn Nine Nine was something that both shows do well. That is their female characters. Both shows have a diverse range of female characters, each with their own backgrounds and motivations. My only gripe is that Lucifer didn’t use these characters more. Now that the show is cancelled we are never going to completely see Maze grow to be more human. We are never going to know if she could, in fact, become human.
Her and Linda’s relationship was one of my favourite parts of the show throughout season two. And though it hit a rough patch in season three courtesy of Amenadiel, by the end of the season things were looking up. There is immense power in seeing women being friends without the interference or facilitation of men. The relationships between the women of Lucifer had that power, and I am going to miss it.
Another point of criticism I have made about Lucifer in the past is that it took too long to say what it wanted to. This is made evident by the way that both the second and third seasons had episodes that were moved to a different season or originally planned to go unaired. This reshuffling meant that season three had far too much filler. Sure each of the filler episodes were interesting in and of itself, but not so much so that it made up for how slow moving it made the main story line.
It might just be because I am British, and therefore used to a series being four to ten episodes in length, but I think Lucifer would have benefited from sticking to the thirteen episodes of its first season. This may have meant that we wouldn’t have seen some of the episodes that fleshed out character backgrounds, but if that had meant that the plot would have gotten to the point faster then I would have been fine with that.
Speaking of getting to the point, season three ended with Chloe finally finding out that Lucifer is really the devil. Which was a relief to see, because it had been a long time coming. But it is also one of the points that makes the cancellation so disappointing, because I feel like things were just about to get interesting. Chloe has always been characterised as a very practical person who cares about the facts. But now she is presented with facts that seem impossible. I would have loved to be able to see her reaction to the knowledge of Lucifer’s true identity. How would such a pragmatic person reconcile a knowledge of the celestial with her world? Unfortunately we will now never know.
I think this reveal is the main reason I wish the plot of Lucifer had moved a bit faster. I always knew that Chloe was going to eventually find out, and that Chloe and Lucifer being together was going to be end game, so why couldn’t they have moved past the ‘will they, won’t they’ and gotten to the interesting bit; Chloe’s reaction to the existence of celestials, and the inevitable ensuing chaos.
I know that much of this article has been me criticising Lucifer for what it did wrong, and believe me I could do that until the cows come home. Especially when you consider all the queer baiting that has happened over the past season. However, as much as I recognise that Lucifer is a flawed show, I am still sad to see it go. I love the characters – yes even Lucifer – and want to be able to watch them develop. I am also disappointed that we aren’t going to get to see more angels and learn more about the celestial lore of the Lucifer universe.
Do I think that this show deserved better? Yes, but I also understand that it was given a chance to do better, and didn’t perform. So, whilst I am sad to see it go, I understand why it was cancelled, and look forward to everything else that this autumn’s season of television has to offer.