This review contains some mild spoilers for Lucifer season 5.
The fifth season of Lucifer holds nothing back in terms of diving into some of its more complicated themes and mythologies. The season picks up a few months/millennia (depending on your plane of existence) after the momentous season 4 finale where Chloe (Lauren German) told Lucifer (Tom Ellis) she loved him right before he was forced to return back to Hell in order to prevent a total demon uprising.
As trailers have revealed, this season introduces a new character with a familiar face. The angel Michael, who just happens to be Lucifer’s twin and therefore played by Tom Ellis. In a season heavy with themes of identity, Michael is the perfect character to bring in.
Instead of turning his arrival into a “gotcha!” moment where we might spend the whole season tediously asking ourselves when our faves are going to realize that he’s not Lucifer, Michael’s arrival actually that propels the narrative forward for nearly all of the characters. His ability to unearth someone’s deepest fears acts as a catalyst in the season. It is absolutely delightful watching Tom Ellis embody Michael, who immediately has defining differences from our beloved Lucifer. And, of course, meeting another member of the celestial family is always a treat.
One drawback of the season lies with its reliance on the procedural style. Although it’s a lot looser in format, the formulaic “bad guy of the week” feels like it’s holding the show back instead of helping it to evolve. With this only being the first part of season 5 and a final sixth season to boot, I don’t think anyone would complain if they were to ditch the police procedural format altogether.
Despite this, the highlights of the season far outweigh this drawback. The season wrestles with gargantuan themes of choice and free will, faith, sacrifice, and self-discovery. These are always themes that have been present in Lucifer, but they doubled down this season. Previous seasons have always been hindered by Chloe’s disbelief in Lucifer’s true identity or wrestling with it and her feelings for him, but season 5 finally puts them on equal footing.
She knows the truth about him and now they have to figure out how to navigate their relationship together. It’s hardly a smooth ride, but who expected it would be? Things are never easy when you’re in love with a celestial, even less so when that celestial happens to be the literal devil. For fans of Chloe and Lucifer, buckle up. This is about to be a WILD ride.
Like many of the conflicts in the show, nothing is as easy as it seems. After the events of the last four seasons, every character faces the baggage of the past. Both Dan (Kevin Alejandro) and Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) struggle in a path of self-discovery and loss. Dan is struggling with self-improvement and grieving the loss of Charlotte (Tricia Helfer). Maze is dealing with abandonment, feeling left behind by Lucifer and Eve.
In fact, both Dan and Maze have two of the most interesting storylines this season, though often felt a little sidelined. Again, this is where I feel like abandoning the procedural would allow for these characters to grow. While Maze certainly has her moments to shine and Lesley-Ann Brandt is absolutely mesmerizing, it never feels like we dig deep enough and it’s such a shame. Similarly, it feels like we’re just figuring out the multiple layers to Dan’s character, and then the season is over.
Some of the best team-ups of the season actually involve Maze, who starts the season working with Chloe as her new partner. Watching the two work together and seeing their rapport almost makes me wish we could get just a few more episodes seeing Maze and Chloe solve crimes together (I know I just said I was done with procedurals, but the banter between these two!) And seeing Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) befriend Dan and bond with him over being a father is absolutely heartwarming. It gives Kevin Alejandro loads to work with and we get to see him as more than just Detective Douche.
Of course, new team-ups don’t mean we don’t get our favorite pairings. Obviously Lucifer and Chloe take center stage (and there is so much of them, it was fantastic and shippers will love it), but we also get more scenes of Linda (Rachael Harris) and Maze working out their own issues together, along with Ella (Aimee Garcia) and Lucifer partnering up.
Some other highlights of the season include a noir episode, seeing Tricia Helfer back on the screen, seeing a mock Lucifer show exist in-universe, watching the guys take care of Baby Charlie, and hearing Lesley-Ann Brandt sing. Again, she is a marvel in this season.
In many ways, this season fosters and nurtures a more evolved version of the show. It has come such a long way and managed to do it without losing any of its humor, snark, and creativity. Every episode is a treat to watch, with iconic quotes, gifable moments, and just enough angst to pull at your heartstrings.
As someone who froths at the mouth at any mention of the mythology behind the story, meeting Michael and seeing the show truly dive into topics like faith and mortality vs immortality is totally exciting. It’s amazing to see the potential that this show has and not worry that the creators will shy away from it.
As the official first half of the fifth season of Lucifer, the last episodes acts strongly like a bridge between this first half and the second. If the final moment of the season is any indication, the second part of this season is going to be massive. I can not wait to see what else Lucifer has in store after a season so full of twists and turns.
Lucifer season 5 streams this Friday, August 21 on Netflix.