Adaptability is a prerequisite for any crises. In these trying times, we are all doing our best to deal with the virus outbreak.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned: I have an unhealthy binge-watching addiction. It was inevitable: my New Year’s resolution to read more and discard the craze of watching shows has not been met. My fall was pretty severe. I have watched no less than 3 shows of 4 to 6 seasons each and a dozen of movies as a side-dish.
In the midst of all this, I felt completely incapable of writing. But, as it always happens, developing strong feelings for a piece of media did the trick. Whether it’s hate or adoration, getting riled up about something means that I will eventually vent (hence, write) about it.
And here we are now. I’ll talk about the devil. Are you intrigued or do you want to click away? Let’s hope a mixture of curiosity and aberration will lead you to my next lines.
As a disclaimer, I have to talk about my religious status.
I’m baptised as an orthodox and I’ve been to some religious summer camps but the entirety of my religious knowledge stems from me reading the whole Bible one time. Nowadays, I identify most with what is called agnosticism – a nicer way of saying ‘Meh…there might be some Deity out there, or not, I don’t know’.
You have now been warned. The basis of the show Lucifer is quite universal: boredom.
What to do when you’re the Lord of Hell? You have an inclination for the dramatic and you find yourself bored. What would you do? If you answered ‘take a vacation in Los Angeles’, you have guessed correctly. This is, according to the Netflix Original’s producers, the devil’s choice. Ironic, right? Los Angeles.
The show sets off with one-sided puns about hell, the devil, demons, God and so on. After the first episode, I continued watching just out of curiosity as to when the puns became stale. Season 4 rolled around and I’m still enjoying them. The story follows Lucifer Morningstar who makes no effort to hide that he’s the Lord of Darkness, and his angelic detective he has a vulnerability for, Chloe Decker. Together they solve crimes and bring those responsible to justice – in this world or the other.
Every episode features a crime and a narcissistic take on it from Lucifer, who does his best to make everything about himself. What ‘s not to love about an invincible diva, with a British accent, impeccable taste and a fondness for hedonistic pleasures?
The characters are lovable and multi-dimensional; even the soulless demon Maze is drawn out with depth and emotion. Ella, the devout Christian and forensic scientist, perpetually endearing; Dan Espinoza the dirty cop turned good and the butt of all the jokes; Trixie, my nightmare when I’m thinking that I might want to have children one day; and Doctor Linda Martin the one person that has her stuff together 99% of the time. They all make for entertaining episodes due in part to the good writing, and to the exquisite acting skills of the cast.
As the seasons go by, the ‘opposites attract’ slow-burn romance between Lucifer and the Detective is outshined by some ‘Good Place’ level philosophy and psychological discussions surrounding family issues. Here’s where the epiphanies start pouring.
The show has a very relativistic take on the afterlife, closely resembling Sartre’s conclusion from ‘No Exit’, that Hell is designed to fit each and every one of us, sinners. The Devil says it best:
Lucifer: I take no part in who goes to hell.
Q: Then who does?
Lucifer: You humans. You send yourselves. Driven down by your own guilt. Forcing yourselves to relive your sins over and over. And the best part… the doors aren’t locked. You could leave anytime. It says something that no one ever does, doesn’t it?
All characters’ evolutions fit nicely with the transition from determinism to existentialism in philosophy. Much like children, Lucifer and his brother, Amenadiel, begin believing that their Father is the one that sets the course of their lives and manipulates (in Morningstar’s perspective) or guides (in Amenadiel’s) their decisions and actions.
As the series progresses, so is their taking responsibility for their own actions, which is mirrored in every other character as well.
The show sings its praise further. It’s worth a watch.
If you want a series with a charismatic lead, some existentialism, determinism, daddy issues, Bible references and epiphanies concerning reflections about your personal life, be sure to watch Lucifer.
Don’t take my word for it, but The Rolling Stones surely knew what they’re singing about when taking Sympathy for the Devil.