LUCIFER, STAY. GOOD DEVIL – 4.5/10
Lucifer’s premiere failed to make much of an impression, whilst not being a terrible piece of television it didn’t really stand up to the source text. It had the distinct feeling of an adaptation where someone had read the synopsis of DC’s Lucifer then decided to base an entire series on that one paragraph of text. Lucifer in name, but far removed from the Morningstar of the comics. But if you’re able to put aside your geek rage and forget that this is an adaptation then the show does have its moments, most specifically in the endless charm and charisma of its lead, Tom Ellis. The story is simple, having grown bored of life in Hell, Lucifer takes an extended vacation to L.A. where he opens a nightclub and has a devil of a time in the Hollywood party scene. Between orgies he encounters Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), an ex-movie star turned cop, who appears to be immune to his charms. Intrigued by her ability to resist him, Lucifer begins to assist Decker with her cases.
The first episode was very much about setting the scene, introducing us to both Lucifer and Decker whilst bring them together as a team of sorts. Episode 2 reunites them with both characters trying to understand the mystery of the other. Although as Lucifer keeps telling Decker, it’s not a mystery if he is telling her the answer. The case of the week concerns the death of a celebrity, the son of a Hollywood star seemingly chased to his death by an overzealous paparazzo named Nick Hofmeister (Justified’s Jeremy Davies). Despite having a very personal history with Hofmeister, or Dung Beatle as Lucifer nicknames him, Decker believes that he is covering for someone and she is determined to prove his innocence. Their search quickly uncovers Dung Beatle’s thoroughly corrupt protégé, Jason, who has taken to causing horrific celebrity deaths so that he can be the first to photograph them. After being goaded by his acolyte, Mazikeen, Lucifer decides to dish out some judgement on the repentant Hofmeister and his not so repentant apprentice.
As with the previous episode, the case of the week is the least interesting part of the story. Jeremy Davies is a fantastic character actor and it’s always a delight to see him in anything, but it was hard to invest in his story with such low stakes. Similarly, the evil protégé was little more than a sweaty caricature. There was no intrigue within the main narrative that followed a pattern of simple storytelling by numbers; Decker and Lucifer looked for clues, they followed the leads, they found the bad guy, roll credits. The real fun in this episode was to be found in Lucifer simply being Lucifer; every line of dialogue, every seductive interaction, every punishment dished out to a deserving soul is a joy. They say that villains get all the best lines and is there any greater villain than Lucifer Morningstar? Although the Lucifer presented here isn’t quite the personification evil you may expect. Lucifer is going through changes, humanity is beginning to affect him and he is starting to show empathy, much to the disgust of Mazikeen (Lesley Ann-Brandt).
Lucifer’s absence from Hell has not gone unnoticed by Heaven and the angel Amenadeil (D.B. Woodside) has a larger presence in this episode than he did in the first. Amenadeil wants Lucifer to return to Hell, although Lucifer suspects that this is mostly because he doesn’t want to have to take his place as the ruler of Hades. It seems likely that Amenadeil will play a huge part in the major narrative of the series as it unravels, his relationship with Lucifer is politely adversarial however readers of the comic know that it has the potential to develop into something far more deadly. Lucifer actually utilises Amenadeil’s ability to pause time in the closing moments of the episode. Staging a shoot-out between Hofmeister and Jason and then using the angel’s arrival to pluck the bullet from the air before the paparazzo can kill his protégé. Lucifer’s actions demonstrate both his developing humanity and his perpetual desire to manipulate and annoy his angelic nemesis. As the episode reaches its conclusion the highly sceptical Decker begins to accept that there are a lot of things about this charismatic and charming man that simply can’t be explained.
Like The Blacklist, Lucifer is an average show built around an extremely engaging lead character. Lauren German does a reasonable job of playing the straight man to Ellis’ loveable rogue but Decker isn’t an interesting enough character to carry her half of the story. The mystery surrounding her ability to resist Lucifer doesn’t really grip the viewer, at least not yet anyway. There was indignant rage from comic book fans when it was first announced that Fox would be developing Lucifer for TV. How could they? How dare they? Sacrilege! But as it turns out this show isn’t anywhere close to being the travesty that the naysayers predicted, but it’s nothing spectacular either. The show won’t win over any fans of the comic but can it draw in the all important casual viewers? Fox has a reputation for being brutal when it comes to pulling the plug on shows that underperform in the ratings (Firefly & Constantine… lest we forget), it will be interesting to see if Lucifer connects with audiences enough to survive an entire season.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Lucifer’s sexual prowess makes for some good comedy moments, not least his detailed explanation of the finer workings of an Eiffel Tower.
- Line of the night goes to…. “I’m back to my old devilish self. I’d kick a puppy if one waltzed by. Just joking, puppies don’t waltz.”
- Lesley Ann-Brandt’s Mazikeen is a joy, hopefully she gets a bit more to do in the very near future
- With Matt Ryan’s John Constantine appearing in Arrow is there a chance that he could ever show up in Lucifer? Any opportunity to see Ryan back in the trench coat is a definite plus.