March 6th, 2021


TV Lately But It's Just Lucifer

Looks like monthly resolution check-ins are just not a thing this year, since I keep forgetting that I even have creative projects to work on. Maybe I'll get back to it once a few hanging real life responsibilities are taken care of and I've set myself a routine.

At the moment, though, I'm visiting my sister in Missouri (on Earth), and that comes with legitimate reasons I can't do things, except for late at night when I usually just want to be watching TV. Since I have a hankering for fandom I think I'm just going to talk about said TV for a little bit.

You know how there's a difference between shows on the air that you love so much it feels like torture to wait for the new content to come out, and shows on the air that you love so much that you actually can't wait for the new content and you turn to fandom to get some kind of fix? I've had a lot of the former lately - The Mandalorian, The Boys, What We Do in the Shadows - but I can't remember the last time I felt the need to search for fanfiction and YouTube clips, until I discovered Lucifer.

Okay, so we all know I'm not a DC person except for Sandman, but Sandman alone opens you up to a lot of other Vertigo material. I haven't read any of John Constantine or Lucifer's comics, but I was aware of the characters. Lucifer's arc in Sandman explains how and why he abdicated from Hell, and it's good stuff, but I was never interested in him as a main character for the same reasons I was wary of American Gods (later validated, thank you very much). The show seemed like an easy skip too. Satan, but like, he's just misunderstood? Edgy, man.

Then I heard a couple things that made me think I might have the wrong impression, so I added it to my list and within a few episodes I'd committed to the whole thing. The premise as laid out in the beginning dispelled a lot of my suspicions: Lucifer considers himself both the offspring and the enemy of God, but it's not because he believes that he himself is good and God is evil -- or vice versa. In fact, he's not concerned about good and evil at all, as he's simply a narcissistic hedonist out to enjoy himself.

That's enough to take genuine Judeo-Christian theology out of the picture and let me view it as just a fantasy universe which shares a lot of themes and names with the Bible. Better yet, it makes the lead into a complete bastard in a way that's entirely human, meaning he's redeemable.

As far as I know, the comics never go in that direction, and Lucifer is still self-serving and amoral. Comics seem to be able to get away with that more than TV shows can, though I don't see the appeal. Even the redeemable bastard is a pretty difficult sell for a main character, and Lucifer really doesn't rush his epiphanies. Fortunately, he's incredibly charismatic, so you can enjoy him long before you start to get attached to him.

So, questions of earthly morality set against divine consequence? This is my jam. Lucifer is offended when anyone blames the Devil for their own actions or assumes the ruler of Hell must be evil, and he's got a point. Punishing the guilty is supposed to be justice, he's never sadistic about it, he doesn't kill or lie, and to top it all off, he himself was sent to Hell as punishment. The only reason given for his fall is "rebellion," and that's a really nebulous crime to pin on someone when it's not foregone that God is infinitely wise and loving.

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Lucifer has no reason to listen to everyone demanding he goes back to his sucky job, unless he acknowledges a need and a personal responsibility for it. Getting to that point takes four entire seasons, and even though some of that could be the work of plot holes, it's a fascinating emotional journey. Lucifer's already been on Earth for five years when the show begins, so it's implied that he only begins to change through the events we see from thereon in. How does an immortal, powerful celestial being with a vendetta against God become a decent person? Apparently, he goes to therapy. And he solves murders. Also, of course, he falls in love.

Okay but no seriously, the therapy sessions start out funny and then make all kinds of sense. Granted, the murders are pretty dull and I feel like the show would improve a lot if we could just skip them sometimes. Seems like everyone thinks that so it's not just because I don't like procedurals.

As for the love story...

I've gradually realized that my favorite romantic dynamic is the couple with such enormous obstacles between them that it doesn't even seem possible for them to live happily ever after. My least favorite is probably the couple who keeps changing their minds about each other just to keep the audience watching. Thing is, it's surprisingly hard to tell those apart in the early stages, but for this one I have a feeling that if I went back to the beginning and started over, everything that I thought was "will they won't they" would suddenly start to feel like "slow burn."

Sloooowwww buuuuurn. By the time Chloe finds out Lucifer really is the Devil, they've already had the Big Damn Kiss, she's shown a supernatural immunity to his power, he's made major sacrifices to rescue or protect her, there's a clear danger that she's being steered by destiny into loving him, and (well obviously) every other character knows they're meant for each other.

That revelation was a cliffhanger at the end of S3 and then the show was cancelled until Netflix picked it up. I have no idea if I'd be shipping them now if that had been the end, but I'm glad I don't have to find out. The way the next season deals with the fallout is really what makes it for me, quite aside from how I think this might be that rare show that starts out pretty good but gets better with every season.

With Buffy/Angel still somewhat of a subconscious model I have for every ship, the comparison of Buffy's reaction to Angel's true face with Chloe's reaction to Lucifer's true face was right there, and they couldn't be more different. Chloe being unable to accept it was a major heartbreaker, but I was also so impressed with her. Researching at the Vatican is actually quite a logical move, fit for a detective, since she only had one other source for the true history of the universe and she couldn't ask him. (Although, my first thought was that she should have gone to Amenadiel. I guess she thought that if Lucifer turned out to be evil, so would his brother-angel?) The conclusions she left with were logical too, and spending the entire season getting over them was the only thing that made sense.

And then, reconciliation....but there's more obstacles! She took his mojo! He won't say the words "I love you!" She's bound for Heaven when she dies but he'll be stuck on Earth or in Hell! She has a daughter who's her first priority! They have radically different lifestyles and he won't want to give his up! He's still an immortal manchild!

This is long enough, but I probably have more to say about this show, I just can't access it until someone else says something, so I hope someone says something. Have some bulletpoints, though:

• Angels have feathered wings that materialize when needed regardless of clothing. Lucifer's are white. Hot guys with white feathered wings was kind of my thing when I was a teenager aaand I never really grow out of anything so yeah, I am being played like a fiddle.

• Another fantasy, much more commonplace, is a man who's both a sex god and completely loyal. These traits rarely coincide in real life, because loyal men don't get a lot of practice in the sack, but once Chloe and Lucifer start getting it on...hoo boy.

• Lucifer's uneven friendship with Mazikeen is fantastic. Mazikeen herself is fantastic, but the juxtaposition of her extreme attachment to him and her repeated betrayals gets me every time, especially when he shrugs it off because demon is as demon does.

• I really hope Eve returns and she and Maze live happily ever after, though. I also hope that Maze succeeds in her quest for a soul, but even if she doesn't I love it that we can compare her arc with Spike and she'll almost definitely come out of it looking better than him.

• Trixie sets the show apart. She's so much more than a cute kid. All my opinions on all the other characters are just based on what Trixie thinks about them.