Lucifer season six opens with a bizarre scene in which Tom Ellis’ crime-solving devil is pulled over for speeding by a police officer he encountered briefly in the show’s very first episode. The cop is a “character” that no casual viewer will stand any chance of remembering, meaning it’s hard to muster more than a blank stare as he fills Lucifer in on what he’s been up to these past five years. Initially, I assumed this inclusion to be nothing more than the latest in a long line of unfathomable decisions from the Lucifer writers’ room. However, it soon dawned on me that with so few substantial story arcs or themes to draw from, an unnecessary cameo such as this is as close as the show can get to coming “full circle”.
But hey, tracking down that actor to reprise his role is – if nothing else – a sign that the producers are putting a modicum of effort into capping off the Lucifer saga. Indeed, if the first two episodes are any indication, this looks set to be a marked improvement on the truly woeful season 5B, but alas, Netflix‘s fantasy drama remains a long way from heavenly.
The first case of the season sees an unwelcome return for some of Lucifer’s most well-worn tropes. A quirky setting is once again expected to do a lot of the heavy lifting as we are whisked away to an exclusive club for magicians, where I kept expecting G.O.B Bluth to appear from a puff of smoke. Instead, we’re introduced to a gallery of two-dimensional suspects, one of which being a social media celebrity who goes by the name BroMagic69 (as any good screenwriter knows, referencing the number 69 in your script is guaranteed to have viewers in hysterics). Things wrap up neatly at the end with the customary distraught confession in which the entire case is explained beat-for-beat by the perp.
This is all to say that the team behind Lucifer are still indulging in a few bad habits, but overall this final season has been something of a pleasant surprise (so far). While not the miraculous turnaround I had genuinely hoped for after that insane trailer dropped, the show has rediscovered a sense of fun that was sorely lacking from the previous batch of episodes. The procedural crime component remains fairly uninspired, but there’s a renewed focus on developing the likeable core characters that makes the whole experience much more palatable.
The writers get the ball rolling on a number of arcs in the first two episodes, including Amenadiel joining the LAPD, Maze and Eve’s deepening relationship, Linda’s lack of fulfilment with non-celestial therapy and Ella’s “Pete-TSD” as she considers a new romantic interest. After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo last season, Friday Night Lights star Scott Porter finally gets his formal introduction as Detective Carol Corbett and proves to be a strong addition to the principal cast. He capably fills the void left by the late Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro), providing a new foil for Tom Ellis to bounce off.
Fellow newcomer Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) also makes a compelling first impression, with definite potential for her mysterious angel Rory to become one of Lucifer’s best villains to date. Granted, that isn’t a particularly competitive list following Ellis’ lacklustre evil twin shtick and the charisma vacuum that was Tom Welling’s Cain, but it does instil some hope for the remainder of this season.
After the second half of season five saw her do very little besides pine after Lucifer and then die (it didn’t stick), it’s also a relief to see Lauren German given some actual material to work with for her final turn as Chloe Decker. It’s too soon to say whether she has permanently discarded her wet blanket persona, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. As for her on-screen beau, Ellis is doing the same thing he always does – sadly, that includes the occasional song.
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Lucifer lost its way quite spectacularly in the second half of season five, but this victory lap feels like a real opportunity for the series to find some redemption. This show’s strongest and most under-utilised asset has always been its supporting cast, so it’s gratifying to see them given more opportunities to have fun before they bid farewell to their respective roles for good. While Lucifer continues to underwhelm in other areas, the first two episodes of season six are serviceable, unchallenging entertainment. Out of sheer relief, this sceptic briefly considered awarding three stars, but ultimately chose to deduct one after sitting through another Tom Ellis musical number.