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The more I think about it, the more I stand by my belief that the majority of season four is among the very best episodes the Lucifer has to offer.

I still consider “Off The Record” to be the series’ greatest episodic achievement, but that episode was so against format (and a bonus episode) that it’s difficult to compare it to the rest. Lucifer season four doesn’t have bonus episodes, and because of its story, it can’t play with the format that way. But within the standard format of the show, you really can’t get much better than these episodes. On Twitter, I compared Lucifer season two to Buffy season two and this season to Buffy season three. While season two of Lucifer was the first to really nail those major emotional beats and prove what the show could look like as a well-oiled machine, season four has perfected all the lessons the cast and crew have learned since then. It also has the added bonus of trimming the fat and just telling the story.

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So let’s talk about that opening scene and the fact that Lucifer has been keeping us from having Drew Carey Show-esque opening numbers. Opening with a musical number set to Kenny Loggins’ “I’m Alright” promises a grand season finale, and “Who’s Da New King Of Hell?” keeps that promise. While season four opened with Lucifer singing “Creep” on a loop, it ends with him dancing for joy that he’s not the monster (or creep) he’s felt like all this time. The number is another moment of Lucifer assuming he’s “cured” of a larger issue, but it’s also kind of a victory lap for the season and the series.

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(Also: Tom Ellis is one of the most unsung leading men on television today.)

The opening number is an interesting choice to begin things too, considering how dark this episode is and how quickly it turns to that. It’s also the antithesis of how the episode ends, with Lucifer back in Hell, atop his lonely throne. A massacre occurs as a result of demons coming to Earth. A newborn baby is kidnapped from its home and surrounded by all that death. Eve stabs her giant heel through someone’s eye. There’s a lot of casual stabbing with the demons, too.

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This is also the first episode where we really see Lucifer as the King of Hell. Not just literally on the throne but the way he speaks to his subjects when he’s not just trying to get rid of them so he can drink in peace—when he speaks to them like the lower creatures they are. Because that’s the point: Lucifer, as an angel, is above these demons. And while he has a certain shtick on Earth, that’s not how he was in Hell. There was something scary about Lucifer when he decided to embrace his punisher side in “Devil Is As Devil Does,” but this is different. This isn’t just Lucifer acting out or trying to be someone he’s not, it’s a side of him we technically knew existed but never saw. But we get to see it here, first at LUX and then in front of dozens of Demons—in full-on Devil Mode, finally able to control that part of himself—banishing them all back to Hell.

After “Save Lucifer,” Chloe is worried about Lucifer and his Devil “flare-ups,” which Lucifer considers another example of Chloe not accepting him. Only, enough has happened this season that’s it’s not that cut and dry, and Chloe is actually worried about Lucifer leaving her behind. Which is, unfortunately, what happens here. Lucifer choosing to return back to Hell is perhaps the most mature choice he’s ever made. In fact, it’s his biggest breakthrough yet, and Linda’s not even a part of it.

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Lucifer’s kind of always been a procedural first and a supernatural series second, which has required the writers to come at the series’ mythology differently than expected. We get a Devil, an angel, and a demon, and while sometimes we get other angels, typically, one is all you get. But this episode has a whole demon uprising, something I couldn’t imagine ever seeing on the series until now, even though it’s not a matter of elaborate make-up or visual effects. (It was most likely a matter of FOX.) Season four has been great for making these larger-than-life characters actually feel that way, especially Lucifer. Because it takes those three seasons of established mythology and characterization and focuses specifically on them, with the cases even more in service of those specific masters than before. This episode makes demons seem like the scariest thing in the world, boldly killing people left and right, swarming on the team and Chloe like zombies, living only for destruction. They’re violent, but they can also be flashy, and they’re the actual monsters. Them holding Chloe back from Lucifer is one of the best visuals of the episode. It’s chilling, really. That’s the best way I can describe them and this episode. Director Eagle Egilsson goes for chills in more human moments too, like post-Charlie kidnapping, when the idea that Amenadiel did it lingers in the air.

Dromos (the demon that possesses Kinley) is a fully-realized demon (and possibly a leather daddy) with motivations and plans, a perfect representative for how the demons must feel about Lucifer and one of their own living on Earth, getting soft with humans. His plan to mold Charlie into the ruler he wants is a good one, and Graham McTavish playing the eerily sweet Uncle Dromos to Charlie is enough to make you say, “Father Kinley, who?” Dromos really is the demon version of Kinley, a zealot who stands by his beliefs and follows that code. (He also eats communion wafers and drinks sacramental wine. For fun.) Lucifer is his God, and he’s truly excited to see him in for the first time in ages at LUX. The worst thing Lucifer does—besides bringing up his newborn nephew—is insult Dromos, the demons, and Hell in general (in favor of Earth and humans) immediately. That’s not what anyone would want from their king, and a loss of faith in the king is what inspires this attempted overthrow. Lucifer’s flippant way of offering Dromos the throne—just for Dromos to remind him only angels can reign—is disrespectful to his position and Hell. But it shows how Lucifer treats humans as opposed to his own subjects.

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As for someone else who tried to force Lucifer into a certain role this season, let’s talk about Eve and how, finally, something in these 10 episodes feels rushed. It’s not even what the episode shows with Eve as it is what it doesn’t show. It makes sense that Eve would finally tell the truth after realizing that Dromos double-crossed her (and that he’s got nefarious plans for a baby). But something happens in between her telling Lucifer and Chloe the truth and showing up at The Mayan, because all of a sudden Eve has reached enlightenment about herself and about how wrong she and Lucifer were for each other (as the people they both are now). Post-fight, she’s also very much aware of Maze’s feelings and implies the feelings are somewhat mutual, even though she has to figure out herself first. Those are all great realizations.

Now, where did they come from? What happened between Lucifer’s penthouse and The Mayan? Because while these are natural places for Eve to go, emotionally, something is missing. At the penthouse, Chloe calls Eve “selfish” and “naive,” and she’s right. Eve needs to confront that about herself. But even if she did in that short time, her legitimate realization that she and Lucifer are truly over and it’s for the best still comes out of nowhere. There’s a moment early on where Eve tells Maze she finally gets what she was saying and knows she needs to accept that Lucifer doesn’t have feelings for her... but that’s clearly a lie, as she’s still working with Dromos at this point. That scene ends with Eve having something to think about when Maze says she “was” on her side, but again, at this point, she still thinks Operation: Drag Lucifer To Hell is a go.

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Continuing the drug analogy from my “Devil Is As Devil Does” review, Eve basically gives up on her Lucifer addiction cold turkey here. And that is the last thing this season has been building to, even though it’s been building to her finally becoming her own person. She goes from spiraling due to withdrawal to impressively self-aware, and that just doesn’t work after “Save Lucifer.” And it’s not like Inbar Lavi isn’t crushing it. With Tricia Helfer gone, Lavi fits into the show just as effortlessly, yet with a completely different vibe. It’s impressive how this character has been written and played, subverting pretty much every expectation from the moment it was announced. Which is why it’s frustrating that this is where things finally don’t quite work, right at the end.

While Eve wises up—whether it’s earned or not—Amenadiel almost does the unthinkable (and unforgivable). In the beginning, he is still very much of the belief that the only way to keep Charlie (named after Charlotte) safe is to raise him in the Silver City. The possibility that he actually does it only adds to Lucifer’s guilt pile when he realizes a conversation he thought was about circumcision was actually about that. (Then even more guilt when he realizes the demons kidnapped Charlie because of him.) Amenadiel’s storyline this season has been an interesting journey, with him deciding to fully-immerse himself in humanity, only to have major second thoughts and almost retreat in a way that would turn him back into the angel he used to be. But he chooses humanity—choosing Linda and their baby—instead of going the easy route (that would devastate Linda). While I’ve praised D.B. Woodside a lot this season—especially for his comedic ability—these last episodes have put him right back into the drama box, and he continues to capture the proud warrior nature of Amenadiel in this fatherly crisis.

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This has also been a great season for fight scenes, and it’s awesome to watch the Devil Dream Team go to battle together. It’s three different fighters (and Eve) coming together after each having their own fighting individual showcases this season. It shouldn’t be surprising to see such a physically capable cast show their physical capabilities, but fight scenes really weren’t the norm when the show was on FOX. Neither were regular displays of Lucifer’s power, one of the most important parts of this entire season. Lucifer hasn’t drastically changed on Netflix, but the things that have changed, have been for the better. The cast and crew have taken this second chance and run with it.

There’s no renewal news yet, and while this is a great season finale, it could also work as a series finale, as bittersweet as it is. Lucifer and Chloe say “I love you”—in one final scene for Tom Ellis and Lauren German to act their hearts out—but Lucifer knows he has to go back to Hell. (Oh, and Chloe was always his prophetic “first love,” not Eve.) Eve and Maze don’t end up together, but Eve’s saying there’s a chance. Ella finally makes good with God, while Dan finally got help. Amenadiel and Linda are new parents, and Amenadiel didn’t kidnap his child. The season ends the opposite of how it began, as Lucifer is the one who leaves L.A., this time with acceptance (and love) from the Detective. Lucifer also accepts who and what he is, as proven by the return of his angel wings in his final scene with Chloe. Lucifer has embraced both his light and his dark sides, in a way where he’s not trying to be something he’s not. Not a bad way to wrap this all up.

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Stray observations

  • Tom Ellis and Amy Garcia are amazing in the opening number—and nobody puts Kevin Alejandro in a corner—but if you want to know what it would’ve been like with Rachael Harris and Lesley-Ann Brandt, here you go. They clearly knew what it was supposed to look like.
  • In “Super Bad Boyfriend,” Chloe asked Lucifer if the prophecy meant demons would start walking around Earth. Lucifer said “nothing of the sort.” He was wrong, but that also falls in line with the ban.
  • Lucifer’s commentary on social media: As soon as Holla gets stabbed, all the live-streaming emojis turn to sad faces and thumbs downs.
  • This season could’ve been a mess and it would’ve been worth it for Dan and Ella rapping. It would’ve been worth it for Dan beatboxing. Also, Chloe’s music education ended in the ‘90s, so of course she only understands the Holla Bae/MoNopolize beef in Tupac/Biggie terms.
  • MoNopolize is clearly supposed to look Biggie-adjacent, but there are the Holla sightings around town making people think he faked his death (like Tupac, who’s not alive).
  • There are a couple of questions I have about Isaac, MoNopolize’s manager (license plate: “IKE DROP”). Was Seth Green not available to reprise his role from Can’t Hardly Wait? Why Hot Pockets?
  • Chloe: “Holla? Holla Bae?” First that scarf, now this line. What did Lauren German do to deserve this?
  • I wondered why everyone hates Squee so much, and then I saw him fist bump one of the new demons in the church.
  • Dromos: “Dude was boring. I mean, all he kept saying was, ‘Prophecy this, prophecy that. I’ve got a stupid accent. Makes me sound like a pirate.’”
  • Eve: “And then I kind of, sort of summoned a demon from Hell into his body. ... It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Now is not the time for Eve to try to soften the blow, but the way Inbar Lavi delivers these lines makes for a nice bit of levity in a time where there is seemingly no room for it. (As does her go-to move of “ball-smashing” during the big fight.)
  • Linda: “So, Amenadiel took our baby from me? To live in Heaven?”
    Maze: “I’ll kill him.” Honestly, the way Rachael Harris plays Linda’s reaction when Amenadiel returns with no baby, I imagine she would have killed him instead.
  • Every time they return to Linda’s house, I can’t help but laugh at the bubble wrap. It’s all over the place, and it’s hilarious there was never a point in those nine months that they figured they were being ridiculous and should just de-bubble wrap it all.

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