'Lucifer' Is Back on Netflix, and Answering the God Question

The show, which returns to close out Season 5, is at its best when it gets theological.

lucifer season 5b
John P. Fleenor/Netflix

Whenever I explain to people that Netflix's Lucifer, the show about the Devil managing a nightclub in Los Angeles and flirting with a human woman, is actually an otherwise very normal cop show, they laugh. Yes, every episode of Lucifer revolves around a Law & Order–style L.A.-based murder involving street drugs or legal malpractice or wine importing, why do you ask?

After getting canceled by Fox due to declining ratings, the series was rescued by Netflix and renewed for a fourth, fifth, and, ultimately, sixth and final season, coming to us probably sometime in 2022. With the endgame in sight, the show, which stars Tom Ellis, is getting steadily more mystical, using its format to debate the kind of thorny theological issues that have kept philosophers and religious leaders stumped for millennia. Determined to figure those out once and for all, Netflix's Lucifer debuts the second half of its fifth season this weekend, adding in even more angels, one all-powerful deity, and an election season of biblical proportions.

With Lucifer's rival archangel Michael (also played by Ellis) causing trouble and the God reveal in the final seconds of the midseason finale (played by 24's Dennis Haysbert), it was clear that the show was preparing for bigger things as it moves closer to the end. The crime show aspect is still present—such as in the 5B episode that tracks the Job-esque Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro) as he takes down a Los Angeles street gang that rides on tricked-out bicycles rather than motorbikes—but the juicy stuff happens in between, as more and more celestial beings start showing up in the mortal realm, where the future of the universe will soon be decided.

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Without going into too much spoiler territory, it soon becomes clear that God is looking to retire and choose a worthy successor, which sets the world of the angels into uproar and sends Lucifer himself into yet another spiral. The bulk of the season explores Lucifer's obsession with his father, obsession with proving himself to his father, obsession with proving that he doesn't need to prove himself at all, and the total inability to reconcile any of that no matter how many visits to Dr. Linda he makes. The show retains its trademark over-the-top silliness and charm, but in its best moments, it lifts and expands on the biblical stories that inspired it in the first place. 

Like most shows that spend their energies season after season on a will-they-won't-they romantic plot, the relationship between Lucifer and Chloe (Lauren German) eventually grows a little stale, but by this point the show knows how to balance run of the mill relationship troubles between a human and a fallen angel with mystical elements that are just the right level of weird. The demon Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt) debates the pros and cons of growing herself a soul, forensic analyst Ella Lopez (Aimee Garcia) unknowingly shares some truly touching conversations with the Man Upstairs himself, and Lucifer and God continue the theological discourse about free will, destiny, damnation, and redemption you could only find in Paradise Lost. If anyone is determined enough to solve a question thousands of years old, it's Satan himself.

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.