How long does it take for a not very good show to become a pretty damn enjoyable one? About a week as it turns out.
Lucifer debuted last week to almost no applause. It was nonsensical, lifeless, and really disappointing. The detective heavy storyline turned what could have been a highly enjoyable show into a bland, run of the mill one that everyone had seen before. The whole supernatural character teaming up with a cop angle could have been interesting if it weren’t for the fact that it had already been done better in Sleepy Hollow.
Add to this the weak supporting characters and general silliness of many of the scenarios and it’s not hard to see why many considered this show to be a flop already.
So how did it all change in just a week? Well, that is owed almost entirely to the fact that this episode focused largely on Lucifer himself. It seems that the show creators used the pilot to get all of the typical character introductions and starting relationships out of the way and free themselves up to look more at individuals in future episodes.
From the outset it is clear that this is going to be a much more enjoyable romp for the titular anti-hero as his darker side is explored a little more, as are the contradictions appearing in his personality. The opening segment sees him enjoying the ramblings of a Doomsday preacher but it becomes clear that the man is a charlatan and believes nothing of what he is saying, doing it instead for the tips. Lucifer takes exception to this and reveals his true, demonic appearance to the man causing him to flee in terror. It made for a genuinely funny scene and got the show off to a good, energetic start. It isn’t all basking in sin though as Lucifer spends much of this episode in a state of flux, he isn’t quite sure who he wants to be at this point in his journey and is now caught between the lure of his old devilish ways and the strange new empathy for humanity he is developing.
It could be said that this development is being rushed as the series is only two episodes in and already Lucifer is having significant changes in direction that may have been more effective if they had been held off until a little further down the line. Despite this it is still enjoyable to see a conflicted Devil try to strike a balance between his old ways and the new with forces pulling at him from both sides.
It is these forces which are making for a truly compelling plot as, on the one hand, Amenadiel and Mazikeen are trying to bring him back to his evil ways. Amenadiel conveys a message from God that Lucifer is to return to preside over Hell though it could have more to do with him not wanting to be made the new ruler of the Underworld than it does him caring for his brother. Mazikeen seems far less interested in a return to Hell but is shown to be increasingly irritated by Lucifer’s leaning to ‘good’ side. This actually leads to one of the shows best moments as she goads him into momentarily returning to his old ways, red eyes and all.
On the other hand, Detective Chloe Decker is trying to keep him in check. She isn’t overtly trying to make him into a hero as she doesn’t know that he is The Lord of Darkness and as such isn’t aware of the fact that he is predominantly evil. This balance is good and the character is starting to become a little more compelling than she was in the pilot but there are still some glaring issues with her. The biggest and most baffling of these is that she is going all undercover detective in an attempt to figure out who Lucifer is and how it is that bullets don’t harm him. The problem with that? He has already told her at every available opportunity that he is Satan! There is no mystery to be had and for the writers to continue to have her search out answers despite them being freely provided is asinine.
It may ultimately prove more intriguing for Lucifer to take a turn back closer to the dark side than it would for him to stray too far into the light. A character such as this works best when they occupy a grey area. They shouldn’t be entirely bad, save for a few typically delicious moments of screen time, but they shouldn’t ever be too goody goody either. Lucifer needs to always retain his edge, he needs to be smarmy and repugnant whilst also being sexy and charming else it just won’t work.
As far as the actual plot for this episode goes, it was as throw away as the last one. It had to do with a murderous paparazzi. The truth is you won’t be watching this episode for that story but rather for the character development and hints at a larger, more biblical battle to come. Really it seems that this series could be one where the overarching storyline is hugely entertaining and engaging but the ones contained within each episode are not in the least bit memorable. Still at least Chloe became a better rounded character as her backstory got more fleshed out.
If Lucifer continues to build upon its premise in this manner then it is entirely possible for this series to become a very enjoyable affair that, unlike most Fox train wrecks, actually gets a second season. It is heartening to see a noticeable jump in quality in just a week, here’s hoping it continues in this fashion.
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