This recap contains spoilers for Lucifer seasons 1-4.
Right now, there are two types of Lucifans: those who watched since the series was still on FOX, viewers who discovered the charming Lucifer Morningstar and his merry band of miscreants (and angels) once the show was rescued and revived on Netflix. No matter how you met the devil, however, it’s impossible to escape his charm.
Lucifer was already a worldwide hit before the network change, but it’s clear the shift was a good one. It’s been the number one streaming show on its own network for weeks, is currently the number one streaming show, period, and more people are watching since the move to Netflix than ever did on FOX. Season five hasn’t been announced as of the writing of this piece, but with all this success, it feels imminent.
Season four is only ten episodes long, so it was clear we were going to have a tighter story arc no matter what. One of the greatest anticipations leading up to the relaunch was wondering what else would change. Would the show be grittier? Racier? Would the sets look the same? Would the episodes have a different focus? Would the changes make the show better, or simply a different show?
Episode one made everything clear within the opening sequence. The set was the same—or close enough only the intensely discerning would know the difference. Lucifer was still Lucifer. While he was intense and upset, having given himself back his devil face out of guilt at the end of season three, he immediately projected his own issues onto the thief trying to get revenge, deciding the man was “more than that” and handing him piles of cash—and a crown. He also tries to give the man his trousers, and we get one of the most welcome changes to the series: a shot of Tom Ellis’s bare backside.
The show really is the same, outside a tiny bit of gore and gratuitous shots of Ellis’s peach (nobody’s complaining). It’s a darker season, yes, but given that after three seasons Chloe has finally learned the truth about Lucifer, we were always going to head down a darker path. Initially I worried about the shorter season, fearing ten episodes would stifle things, but in fact the exact opposite happened. The story is tighter and somehow richer than any previous season, though we still have the same format of the murder-of-the-episode still mirrors the interpersonal conflicts of the characters featured. Without the filler installments to pad the season out, everything is distilled, concentrated, and allowed to bloom. That includes the characters…and the relationships.
There are in fact so many ships, romantic and otherwise, that I’m centering my recap from this angle, and we’ll start with the big kahuna.
Chloe and Lucifer
Whether you’ve been with the show from the beginning or sailed through four seasons on Netflix this spring, every Lucifan has a vested interest in Deckerstar, the will-they-won’t-they ship of Lucifer Morningstar, errant lord of hell and investigative consultant with questionable ethics, and Chloe Decker, straight arrow LAPD detective and the one human Lucifer can’t charm. As season four opens, Chloe is not handling the truth of who Lucifer truly is well. Of all the people who have been let in on Lucifer’s devilish secret, in fact, Chloe handles it the worst, and the first several episodes have her running to the actual Vatican for help, nearly plotting to help forcibly send him back to hell, and in general disappointing everyone, including Lucifer. She even extends her fear to Maze, who she now knows is a demon, and won’t let her see Trixie, telling Maze Trixie is still angry with her over her behavior at the end of season three. (Trixie, in fact, forgave Maze a long time ago.)
Though I watched seasons one to three alone, my family caught up and consumed four with me, and my daughter’s reaction to Chloe’s knee-jerk reaction summed it up best. She felt betrayed that we’d gone this long waiting for Deckerstar only to have Chloe reject Lucifer for who he is, and I’ll agree that the arc of her fear and rejection went on almost too long. At the same time, it was a very real, very Chloe reaction, and she does get her head right. Unfortunately, by the time she does, Chloe has a rival: Eve. Yes, that Eve. The first woman, created from Adam’s rib.
Eve and Lucifer
It turns out Eve wasn’t just tempted with an apple by Lucifer. They had a full-blown fling. Now Eve is back, bored with heaven and looking to have some adventures with her old flame. Lucifer is a little surprised to see her, but given that he’s reeling from Chloe’s betrayal, he dives right in. The problem is Eve wants the Lucifer she fell in love with, and he’s not entirely sure he’s that man anymore. He does his best, throwing orgies and ordering snake costumes for kinky roleplay. But especially when he and Chloe come to an understanding and resume working together, he’s a man torn in two, trying to be the man each of them wants him to be.
Eve, played by Inbar Lavi, is a wonderful addition to the cast. She’s impossible to hate, even when she’s leading Lucifer down a destructive path or flailing around with increasing desperation as she tries to hold onto their relationship. Eve’s reason for returning is to find herself, specifically outside her relationship with Adam. She reminds us, regularly, that she was literally created out of part of her husband. She’s having difficulty seeing herself outside of romantic relationships, though, because when Lucifer eventually drifts away from her, she breaks down and begins making some very bad decisions. Which is tragic, because not only is she highly sweet and loveable, even when championing murder, but she also has an actual potential, healing relationship in front of her: with Mazikeen.
Eve and Mazikeen
In season four, Maze is committed to rebuilding her relationships, including being there for her best friend Linda as she faces some seriously trying challenges. However, she still feels like something is missing, and after she gets in trouble for becoming too invested in Linda’s life, Maze tries dating to find a relationship for herself. This goes about as well as you think it will…until she gets a pep talk from Eve and feels her first real spark.
The Eve/Maze ship is full of wondrous potential, but Eve’s obsession with Lucifer kills this connection before it can fully form. Maze is a loyal lover even when the relationship is one-sided, doing her best to help Eve get Lucifer back even though she’s clearly the right partner in this strange love triangle. Maze eventually finds enough self-respect to back away—an important bit of growth for her—but I hold out hope the first official bisexual women ship can sail in season five.
Dan and Ella
It’s amazing that there can be so many new relationships emerge in ten episodes, but we’re not yet done. We have to talk about Dan and Ella finding comfort in one another, and possibly setting up another connection for season five.
Dan isn’t recovering well from Charlotte’s death, and he spends the first half of this season blaming Lucifer and spiraling down a dark, angry path that ends with him nearly getting his own daughter killed. Ella has been struggling because she feels like God should have saved Charlotte and she hasn’t found anything to fill that space inside her that her faith once occupied. She and Dan explode when they come together in a dark moment, though Ella has guilt over her fling with her friend’s ex and they agree to write it off as a bad decision on a tough night. Dan tries to distract her with another round, though, when she comes too close to discovering his sins. Ella being Ella, she doesn’t let him, and she also eventually uncovers the truth about Dan on her own. She helps him cover things up, but she also gives him a stern talking to. She tells him he’s in pain and needs to get help. Though he walks out on her, he does see Dr. Linda and gets some long, long overdue therapy.
Linda and Amenadiel
Speaking of Linda: she and Amenadiel aren’t getting back together, but they do get a surprise during the early episodes of the season: Linda is pregnant with Amenadiel’s baby. Amenadiel is an angel again, but he fathered the child-to-be while he was mortal. This arc is a treasure and full of wild twists and turns. Maze and Amenadiel play overprotective support team, and Linda freaks out when she learns her baby might have wings, leading her to baby-proof her house (including ceilings). Watching Linda and Amenadiel responsibly prepare for the arrival of their child never disappoints. Their bond is different now, but it’s never been more intense.
Linda has a great arc this season with the whole potentially mothering an angel thing, but Amenadiel truly shines as he prepares to be a father. First he has to deal with his sibling, Remy, who comes down to claim the first angel born since creation, and then he wrestles with the joys and heartbreak of parenting as he helps Caleb, a human boy trying to escape entanglement with some unsavory friends. He also, through Caleb, gets his first real understanding of what it means to raise a Black child in LA, a danger he perceives as so great he considers taking his newborn child to heaven where it can be safe. As the prophecy we were teased with throughout the season finally comes true, baby Charlie’s greatest threat comes direct from hell and in a way no one could have foreseen.
Despite all these ships, the most satisfying one remains the connection between Chloe and Lucifer. Whether they’re pretending they can be nothing more than friends, dealing with the disappointment they provide for one another, or finally finding their way back to the love, they bring out the best in one another, help each other over hurdles, and remain invaluable partners. They have to part ways as this season comes to a close, but all we need is a renewal to bring them back together.
There are so many great highlights of this season: Lucifer and Eve’s barfight, more musical moments (including a solo by Maze!), Ella’s graphic tees, and of course the fantasy dance sequence in episode ten. Though the show does have a lot of moving arcs and flirts with more darkness than it has before, it remains overall light-hearted, hilarious, and warm at its heart. It also keeps to the tradition of making most of the show about Lucifer himself, growing and stumbling as he wrestles with his identity, his shortcomings, and his self-hatred. Lucifer finally not only accepting but forgiving himself—and finally squaring absolutely everything with Chloe—only to have to sacrifice himself and return to reign over hell to keep the errant demon residents from wreaking havoc on earth is a bittersweet but ultimately satisfying end.
Where will season five take us? Impossible to guess. What’s clear, however, is that wherever Lucifer makes its home, it will always give us what we truly desire.