4YE Reviews: Lucifer Season 4 Retains Its Devilish Charm While Exploring Some Fascinating Character Growth

Credit: Netflix

Some light spoilers for season four ahead. (Up to episode two.) 

Lucifer is one of the shows that sneaks up on you when you watch it. On the surface, it sounds like an inherently silly premise: the Devil solves crimes in L.A. Maybe it is. For those DC fans expecting something like the comics, I’m sure they were sorely disappointed. At the same time, though, I hope that they stuck around. Like I said, Lucifer is a show that sneaks up on you. It lures you in with a silly sounding premise and then locks a vice around your heart.

Lucifer surprises you with how it can be meditative on such subjects like self-loathing, faith, trying to figure out your place in the world. It’s hard enough for the humans watching it deal with it, but there’s something strangely comforting to see the Devil himself struggle with his own identity. Lucifer (Tom Ellis) has always been a character of contradictions, who embraces yet reject the label that the world has given him. He wants to be seen on his own terms, live his own life, but is paranoid by if it is really him living it or manipulations by God.

Part of it, I guess, comes down to faith. Faith in your partner, faith in your friends, faith in yourself, you have to believe in something, anything, in order to live in the world. On the past three seasons on Fox, the characters have been tested and bonds have been broken and mended. Going into the fourth season, on Netflix, it looks like that holding onto that faith may be harder than we thought.

The show doesn’t flinch from how season three ended. Lucifer killed Cain (Tom Welling). Chloe (Lauren German) saw his devil face. Dan (Kevin Alejandro) blames Lucifer for the death of Charlotte Richards (Tricia Helfer). Ella (Aimee Garcia) was on the outs with “the Big Guy”. Amenadiel (DB Woodside) had his wings returned. The only characters to get out relatively unscathed were Maze (Lesley Ann Brandt) and Linda (Rachael Harris).

The thing about this season – no one’s okay. Not by a long shot. Chloe’s not dealing well with learning that her partner (and something more) is the actual Devil. Lucifer feels like everyone’s lives are worse with him in it. Ella has a major crisis of faith and tries to fill the void left in her life after turning her back on God. Dan has a taste for blood and a desire to see Lucifer hurt (dude straight up needs therapy). Amenadiel doesn’t see Earth, humans, and even Lucifer the same way that his siblings in the Silver City do. Maze longs for a connection. Linda, well, Linda worries about being a good parent to her half-angel baby.

No one’s okay. (Well, maybe Trixie.) And that’s okay? It feels like part of the growing process. At times, despite the adult cast, Lucifer feels more like a series about growing up than anything else on television. We don’t know what our place is in the world. We don’t know who we are. We are changing and evolving in ways that scare us sometimes while also longing for the days when everything felt simpler. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a part of life.

The Lucifer writers’ room just does such a good job with that. Season four feels like such a natural extension of the show. Even with the move from cable to streaming, the show still has that cheeky charm. It will have you giggling one minute and reaching for your tissues the next and genuinely a little freaked out at times. It doesn’t miss a beat, not really. The 10-episode fourth season just nails it. It moves along at a nice pace, the overarching story bubbles in the background, and the character stuff remains some of the best on television.

Speaking of “best on television”, Tom Ellis’ performance as Lucifer remains one of the best, most captivating, most heartbreaking, most fun performances currently on television. It’s nuanced and layered, watching as he flitters from near breakdown to sweetheart to, well, the Devil is a masterclass. It just is. Ellis does some of his best work of the series this season. In the last couple of episodes of the season, he will make you cry. Just accept it, buy your tissues, and emotionally prepare yourself. Ellis as Lucifer is honestly what makes the series. Without a performance this strong, then everything just falls apart.

German remains a great co-lead for the series. While we may disagree with some of Chloe’s choices, it does feel like it comes from a place rooted in the character. German just sells it. She sells all of it on her rocky journey to, well, believe in Lucifer again. She needs to have faith in her partner, believe in the person that he’s becoming. It is not smooth sailing. Because she doesn’t have that ignorance she once did. It sucks, but I think things are better and stronger for it.

If I got into detail about the rest of our regulars and how they consistently provide amazing performances, then we would be here all day. Garcia, Alejandro, Woodside, Brandt, and Harris are all just as amazing as they’ve ever been in their roles. It’s great to see them branch out in different ways during the season. Maybe it’s a backslide into “douchedom” or the nervous joy of impending parenthood, it all feels rooted into their characters. This is a cast who clearly love their material and radiate passion in their performances.

Even the additions to the cast are great. The biggest one is Inbar Lavi as Eve, the first woman. She’s sweet and outgoing, desperately wanting something more for the role. She just ties it up in the identity of others rather than herself. Lavi is a lot of fun to watch as the character, though toward the end of the season, when she makes some really bad decisions, you just want to shake her. Even in the end, it does seem clear that Eve is just as lost as the rest of us.

The other two additions are Graham McTavish as Father Kinley and Remiel (Vinessa Vidotto). McTavish does great hiding something sinister under his kindly priest exterior. It definitely shows how easy fanaticism can slip into your life. He’s definitely a very bad priest, whose calm just makes him all the more menacing. McTavish is just excellent. Vidotto is good, but the weakest of the new additions. Not that it’s her fault, Remiel just feels rather one note. (Honestly, when are we getting Michael?)

Overall, the season was great. I hope Netflix renews the show for season five. I hope Lucifer has found new fans. I hope you watch it because it really is something special.

Season Grade: A-

(And, because I know you’ll ask, Tom Ellis shows his butt multiple times throughout the season. Yes, it is a cute butt. Five stars.)

Bec Heim