In the winter finale, this week’s Lucifer was the final installment of an epic episode trilogy that last week ended with Detective Chloe Decker being lethally poisoned, with no cure in sight as the antidote maker (and poison administer-er) was already dead. A Good Day To Die saw all major characters in the show finally team up and work together towards a common cause – saving Chloe. The detective herself bravely insisted on working the case until her symptoms made it impossible, and after collapsing into Lucifer’s arms she spent the majority of the rest of the episode in a hospital bed. But that’s not to say that star Lauren German didn’t have more acting to do. She was thoroughly convincing when it came to the severity of her poisoning and how weak it was making Chloe, and she showed real vulnerability in the heartfelt moments between her and Lucifer. For a character that’s usually a headstrong, practical, no-nonsense sort of person, those qualities were sidelined this episode in favour of fear, trust, and emotional intimacy.
The entire episode, Lucifer is of course still reeling from finding out that Chloe’s very existence is the work of intervention by God and Amenadiel, which throws a bit of a spanner in the works of their budding relationship. Initially, Lucifer’s heartbreak over this revelation is set aside in order to focus on saving Chloe’s life, but the emotional consequences of all the manipulation surrounding them end up bleeding into the story as heart-wrenchingly as the sight of Chloe’s bleeding nose.
Lucifer’s return to Hell was inevitably going to happen at some point, and to see it happen in such crucial circumstances was a great choice on behalf of the writers, not to mention it being a really interesting way of capitalising on his Chloe-induced mortality. As Lucifer went to go see the dear departed professor about getting the formula for Chloe’s cure, we gained a little more insight as to how Hell as a whole functions. As both Professor Carlisle and Lucifer himself demonstrate, it seems like each person’s Hell is created based on their own internal conflict. Professor Carlisle had to relive letting a student die in a burning car and being taunted for his cowardice over and over again, and poor Lucifer was faced with an eternity of repeatedly killing his brother Uriel (which we’ll discuss in a moment). Clearly this method of torture is extremely efficient, but it begs the question: where does this leave Lucifer and Maze (and any other demons residing down there)? Did they help to construct the personalised torture scenarios, or was their wrath reserved for Hell-goers that have no guilt to exploit? When Lucifer ruled, was everyone simply tortured in the medieval fashion you’d expect, and this guilt-based system is simply how Hell works on automatic mode, or with both Luci and Amenadiel running around in the human world, is someone else pulling the strings underneath now? Personally I’m thirsty for more details on the logistics of Hell administration.
As for the whole scene where Lucifer came face to face with his guilt over Uriel… wow. Tom Ellis gave a showstopping performance as an utterly devastated Lucifer that couldn’t control his actions, but deep down didn’t believe he could justify them either. The result was pure emotion as Lucifer forgot about the reason he was down there and became trapped in his own devastation and despair, killing his brother over and over again and absolutely hating himself for it, until Charlotte, of all people, saved the day. It was Tricia Helfer’s strongest performance of the season so far as Charlotte’s words managed to break the cycle Lucifer was stuck in, only for her to almost take his place as she finally accepted responsibility for her actions and succumbed to Hell’s pull, wanting to stay there with the faux-Uriel. Lucifer dragging her away while she desperately screamed about how she wanted to stay was a raw and powerful scene, the like of which I can’t image being pulled off in quite the same way by any other pair of actors.
Sending Lucifer to Hell came with a lot of very real suspense. It was less about whether he’d “die” (as obviously in this show characters can still exist in afterlife planes), but about whether or not he’d be able to get back. Amenadiel trying to stop Chloe from being moved while Lucifer and Charlotte were leaving Hell agonisingly slowly was expertly done to create the perfect level of tension. His determinedly blocking the door, security guards trying to wrestle him away as he desperately tried to fulfil his promise to Lucifer, was the perfect culmination of the evolution of their brotherly relationship that we’ve seen so far this season. Amenadiel is a character that still feels like he hasn’t yet been fleshed out to his full potential, and I’m excited to see where his moral conflict will lead him in episodes to come, and whether we’ll find out the exact reason why his powers are failing and his wings moulting.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the episode and the fact that everyone was teaming up was that we once again had our screens graced by the unlikely friendship between Mazikeen and Dr Linda. The dynamic of their relationship is as refreshing as ever and this is the first time we’ve seen them be there for each other in such dire circumstances. Linda, while still getting used to the whole being a therapist to actual celestial beings thing, is taking it in her stride for the most part, and in a touching moment volunteered to go to Hell herself after learning that Maze couldn’t. For one heart-stopping moment it seemed she was about to be killed off in a self-sacrificial death that undoubtedly would’ve been devastating, but thankfully she was spared this time by the reluctant appearance of Charlotte (who Maze was happy to kill on the spot). I don’t think anyone is ready to say goodbye to Dr Linda just yet, especially now she’s hinted at a dark past that I’m all too keen to hear more about.
Some of the major themes in this episode were family and redemption, and once it became apparent that Chloe was going to be okay, things finally boiled over between Lucifer and his manipulative mother in a confrontation outside the hospital. Everything she’s done has seriously damaged his ability to trust people and believe their actions are genuine, and even though she proved she really did love him by willingly going back to Hell to save him, he rightfully told her it was too little too late. Charlotte perfectly illustrates the fact that people that hurt you can still love you, but just because someone loves you, that doesn’t mean you have to forgive them their sins at your own expense. Lucifer is hurting, and is well within his rights to put his own well-being first.
Other noteworthy moments this episode included Lucifer once again teaming up with Dan in a visit to a shady art dealer that turned out to be one of the most comedic and lighthearted scenes of the episode, Amenadiel and Trixie sharing a touching moment in the hospital that seems like it may be a turning point for his character, and Ella continuing to make audiences smile with the cavalier way she speaks about her history of carjacking.
Finally, Chloe. Lucifer is heartbroken. He’s vacated Lux and gone God knows where in an attempt to distance himself, without saying so much as a goodbye. His last interaction with her at the hospital is bittersweet as she says she wants to pick up where they left off, but he can’t seem to reconcile himself with the idea that though the circumstances of their meeting may have been orchestrated, that doesn’t mean their entire relationship since hasn’t been organic and real. He has low self-esteem, as indicated by the simultaneously sad and adorable moments throughout recent episodes where he’s been convinced Chloe can’t really love him for real, and it’s incredibly frustrating to watch. Over the course of this show, Lucifer has proven that though he may be the personification of ‘devilish,’ he doesn’t deserve his evil reputation. He’s a literal angel that’s just trying to do his own thing and break out of the box he’s been put in and he deserves to be happy. Hopefully he’ll be back soon and Chloe can talk some sense into him. Once he’s been reminded that she’s her own person that makes her own decisions, maybe he’ll finally open up to her. It feels like sooner or later the whole situation is going to climax and there’ll be a reveal similar to when Linda saw who he really was; God knows we’ve all been waiting for it since the show began. It’s like we’re still on the brink of that confrontation he almost had with Chloe at the end of the last episode, before getting sidetracked by the whole poisoning palava. Either way, Lux can’t remain empty for long. It’s not the same without him.
One of the greatest things about Lucifer is the soundtrack, once again demonstrated this week by how well the music choices complemented crucial moments to elicit a powerful emotional reaction in the viewer. This episode managed to pull off an exciting conclusion to the current story while ending on a cliffhanger that leaves things wide open for any number of possible directions the show could go next. A Good Day To Die was basically everything good about Lucifer wrapped up in one episode. Watchable as ever, the lighthearted and funny moments sprinkled in perfectly balanced out the more raw and emotional scenes to create an episode you wouldn’t want to miss a moment of. There was stellar acting from the whole cast, but it has to be said that this time Tom Ellis really was the star of the show. From tenderness and sensitivity with Chloe to pain and anger with Charlotte, Ellis’ performances were stirring and special, and felt like just a teaser for what may be to come in the second half of the season. We may have to wait until May to see it, but I have no doubt that when the time comes, the writers and cast will deliver once again, and it will be worth the wait.