“Lucifer” builds up its black heart in season 5

Lucifer Season 5 Photo: Netflix

The fan-favorite show celebrates its second season on Netflix with a stronger sense of self, and devilish wit.

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(Editor’s note: this review encompasses the entirety of season five, and may contain some spoilers.)

Audiences languishing in the quarantine may be starved for new content these days, but that certainly doesn’t mean the new season of Lucifer isn’t well worth the wait. 

While season four might have felt uneven—perhaps growing pains as the show adjusted to life at its new home on Netflix—season five sees the show hitting its stride in a way that wouldn’t have been doable at Fox. Under the care of showrunner Tom Kapinos, Lucifer is darker, bloodier, and sexier than ever before, with more emotional range than we’ve seen from the Prince of Darkness before. 

Still cooling his heels in Hell after season 4’s dramatic finale, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) finds himself hanging out in the hells of damned souls for just a glimpse of his beloved Los Angeles. Up on Earth, Chloe Decker (Lauren German) and Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt) attempt to move on in a world without their favorite Devil. 

Lucifer Season 5
LUCIFER (L to R) LAUREN GERMAN as CHLOE DECKER and TOM ELLIS as LUCIFER MORNINGSTAR in episode 504 of LUCIFER Cr. JOHN P. FLEENOR/NETFLIX © 2020

Maze is still dealing with the loss of Eve and their relationship, and it’s Maze, Ella (Aimee Garcia), and Linda (Rachel Harris) who feel all the gut punches this season offers them. Maze is still learning how to live in a world she wasn’t born to, and while earlier seasons have seen her learning things like love, selflessness, and sacrifice, her current arc is putting her on a course for something more nuanced: forgiveness and grace. 

One of Lucifer’s strengths has always been the portrayal of its female characters and their relationships with one another. The backbone of the show has always been these women supporting and caring for one another—even delivering tough love when it’s called for—without them, the show would have collapsed like an undercooked souffle in the first season. It’s a rare delight to have a procedural dramedy like Lucifer offers up characters like Chloe, Maze, Linda, and Ella, imperfect women who do all of the dramatic heavy lifting while Lucifer and Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) are off doing their celestial vamping. 

As for Lucifer, all it takes for him to finagle his way back to earth is the appearance of his twin brother, Archangel Michael, who is looking for payback??? For something???? No matter his purpose, he slips into the role of Lucifer long enough to catch feelings for Chloe. Maybe it runs in the family? Ellis occupies both roles well, from Lucifer’s trademark swagger to Michael’s sniveling petulance—and of course, Michael would be American. 

Lucifer is darker, bloodier, and sexier than ever before, with more emotional range than we’ve seen from the Prince of Darkness before.

Most of the fun of the series has been watching Lucifer stand out in the crowd, always blatantly refusing to pass for normal, declaring himself The Devil to anyone who would listen. But now that Chloe knows all, Lucifer has to find his footing as both a celestial entity and a lover. There are a few frustrating misunderstandings that could be cleared up with an honest conversation, but whoever tuned into Lucifer for a clear-cut, A-to-B plot? 

While there is plenty of starcrossed melodrama in season 5, there is still plenty of irreverence and self-referential humor, including a meta episode where Chloe and Lucifer investigate the death of a showrunner of a show (called ¡Diablo!, because of course) wherein the devil works with the LAPD to solve crimes. There’s also a flashback episode, a 1940’s black and white love letter to film noir that features Chloe as the hard-nosed PI and has Brandt playing both Maze and Maze’s mother, Lilith. 

Family, always a central theme to Lucifer, is what season five all boils down to. With Lucifer dealing with his troublesome twin, Maze looking to connect to her mother, and Linda dealing with an unresolved moment from her past, the importance of family, both given and chosen, has never been stronger than it is here. 

Lucifer Season 5
LUCIFER (L to R) D.B. WOODSIDE as AMENADIEL in episode 105 of LUCIFER Cr. JOHN P. FLEENOR/NETFLIX © 2020

And with the surprise of Dad (aka God, aka Dennis Haysbert) showing up just in time for a pandemic hiatus, it seems as though the boys from the Silver City are finally going to get their chance to work through all of their family issues. 

So yes, Lucifer season 5 is still a corny murder-of-the-week procedural with a somewhat bloated love story at its center. But if you’re still breathing and able to experience a modicum of joy in the middle of *gestures vaguely*, then let it be here, where the humor is ribald and the tushes are firm. Because whatever else it may be, Lucifer is still a show with a lot of heart that never takes itself too seriously. 

Lucifer premieres on Netflix Friday, August 21. 

Lucifer Season 5 Trailer:

Beau North
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