If you’d asked me a year ago if I would be watching Lucifer season 4 — much less if I’d be so inspired as to need to write something about it — I would have called you crazy. In fact, after a messy third season, when the series looked like it was doomed for cancellation, I actively called for it to be sent straight to Hell. And then FOX did exactly that, making me wonder if I’d ever be able to repent for my sins against the hottest devil that ever deviled. As we know, though, Netflix saved Lucifer. Thank Hades.
For a show to be reborn in this way, for the new season to be better than ever, is no small feat. But that’s what Lucifer season 4 has done. Besides being completely overwhelmed by just how well-done the shorter, bingeable season was, I couldn’t get one thing out of my mind: Despite all the series has overcome, the message that Lucifer‘s fourth season sends about self-acceptance is far more powerful than all of its previous struggles combined.
It might just even be more powerful than the Devil Himself.
Lucifer season 4 opens with what should be a 100% welcome sight and sound: Tom Ellis as the titular character, sitting down to the piano to create some music with his positively celestial voice.
But no matter how exciting it is to see Lucifer Morningstar back at Lux after nearly never getting to see him again, and no matter how good of a singer is, the scene is utterly depressing. Lucifer is singing a downright chilling version of Radiohead’s “Creep,” and we quickly learn that, after learning that her partner truly was the devil, Chloe Decker skipped town and hasn’t been heard from in what feels like an eternity.
Having been rejected by the woman he loves after seeing his most hidden self, Lucifer is at one of his lowest points; and all of his long-masked self-hatred is suddenly too much to handle. All the parties in the world won’t fix this one. As the song says, Lucifer doesn’t belong here. He’s convinced he’s not worthy; he’s an outcast, and he’s just downright rotten to his very core.
And such is Mr. Morningstar’s dilemma in Lucifer season 4: His carefully-crafted self-identity is shattered. All of that bravado that’s saved him from himself for God knows how long is suddenly no longer enough, and he’s sent down a path of trying to figure out who — or maybe what — he really wants to be, all with the knowledge that Chloe can’t stand to look at his true face.
Enter Eve, someone who at least seems to love Lucifer for who he really is. She immediately accepts his devil face and encourages his worst behavior. Eve is in love with the Devil with a capital D, and more than ever, Lucifer is certain that that’s all he’ll ever be. He throws himself into the role, putting the worst of himself on the most garish display possible, and he tries very hard to prove to anyone who will listen that he’s totally happy with all of it.
But then something changes. Something important.
In a season filled with the good angst, one of its most shining moments is when Lucifer admits that he hated the person he was with Eve; but he doesn’t exactly like how he feels around Chloe these days either. It’s a loaded statement: Lucifer could mean that he doesn’t like the way Chloe’s unease makes him feel about himself; he could hate that he’s trying so hard to be good but not really finding enough “goodness” — not for himself and certainly not for Chloe; Lucifer may even find an extra source of self-loathing in the way that Chloe spends a good chunk of Lucifer season 4 trying to make him do good to make up for all of his sins; or it could be some complicated entanglement of the all of the above.
I’m going with the final option here.
Walking away from both the easy choice (Eve) and the difficult, yet worthy one (Chloe, obviously, come on) has an even darker effect on Lucifer: Suddenly, his utterly thirst-worthy look is overtaken by the perceived monster within. It’s as if the Devil will finally have his due, even from himself, and the perfect punishment for Lucifer — of all people (of all demons?) — is to have all of that hated and usually-hidden ugliness out on full and total display.
The Earth loves our fallen angel. We love his good looks and his ability to grant our deepest, darkest wishes; we love his parties and the absolute fun he inspires. But with a face like that, the very face that Chloe had to run all the way to Europe to avoid, can we still love him? Lucifer is convinced that the answer is no; he certainly doesn’t, at the very least, accept his own face or his own role in the world’s balance of good and evil. It is, after all, a major reason why he came to Earth in the first place.
He hates being blamed for everything we do wrong; he has no desire to return to Hell, and he has rebelled against his father’s role for him since day one.
…until he can’t anymore. Until someone who loves Lucifer reminds him that, yes, he may be the Devil, but he’s also an angel (something he’s also rebelled against, time and again, even cutting off his own angel wings). Chloe gets Lucifer to see that the burden on his shoulders might not be his alone to bear; and no matter his mistakes, he may even be able to do some good. Lucifer season 4 promises that, once we stop demonizing ourselves — quite literally, in Lucifer’s case — we can be our best selves, too. But it also reminds us that we have to accept the bad with the good.
It’s not long after Lucifer is his usual, beautiful self again, having found a way to tamp down his lack of self-love just enough to feel some temporary security, that all hell breaks loose. Demons find their way to the land of the living, using the recently-deceased as vessels. Lucifer orders them back home; but finding their King lacking, the demons plot to create a new one by stealing Lucifer’s newly-born nephew. By not fully embracing his own identity, Lucifer lacks the ability to give direct orders to those who once worshiped him.
Just as it seems that all is lost, and with Chloe about to become a demon snack, Lucifer finally does what he’s had it in him to do all along: accept what he is, embrace his power, and save the day. Fully realizing that, yes, he has a dark side — and yes, it’s ok! — Lucifer goes full Devil and commands the demons do to as they’re told. Unlike when they defied his direct orders against possession, then once again rejected his instruction to go the hell back to Hell, the King of Hell’s subjects are, once again, fully under his control.
Because in fully becoming who you really are, you are at your most powerful; your voice is at its strongest. For everything good about Lucifer season 4 — and there’s a lot, not the least of which is series leads Tom Ellis’ and Lauren German’s performances — the clear message that Lucifer’s journey sends is by far the best part of the entire narrative. For anyone who’s ever felt that they’re an outcast for being a little bit different, for anyone who’s ever beaten themselves up over their perceived flaws, for anyone who can’t get past their many mistakes, or for anyone who’s taken someone else’s rejection a little too hard, watching Lucifer come to realize that he is who he is and he’s worthy of love just like that…this season is for you.
Or maybe I should be a little more honest here and say it’s for us.
Lucifer season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.