WARNING: The following review contains minor spoilers for Lucifer's fourth season, arriving May 8 on Netflix.
The Devil walking the Earth, helping a detective solve murders -- admittedly, it's difficult to explain Lucifer's premise without inducing a little laughter. But the truth is, the show -- loosely based on the character introduced by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg in DC's The Sandman comic -- has been able to explore the human condition in a way that other procedural dramas can't. That, and the devilish charm of its stars, are the reasons why Lucifer has built such an enormously loyal fanbase.
As soon as it was announced that Fox had canceled the series, Lucifer fans kicked off multiple, passionate campaigns to save the show. The future looked bleak for a while, but before long, prayers were answered and Netflix announced that the devil would return. Making things even more interesting was the producers assuring Lucifans that the show would be darker and sexier than ever before -- and when Season 4 is released, fans will see that they weren't kidding.
On Netflix, the show is nowhere near as restricted in its violence or sexual themes, though that's not immediately obvious in the first couple of episodes -- which is a good thing. Longtime fans won't have to worry about any dramatic shifts in tone or cinematography between the last season and this one. There is graphic violence; you'll see plenty of corpses and one or two gruesome deaths, but that's it. As for the rumored nudity, for the most part it's just a lot of shots of Tom Ellis' surprisingly toned backside.
The one visual aspect of the show that fans will certainly notice is the vastly improved quality of visual effects on the show. The look of Lucifer's devil face, for example, is vastly superior to the '90s-video-game-like CGI of the first season and because of that, the show is more willing to flaunt the supernatural qualities of its characters, that means devil faces, devil eyes, angel wings, you name it, especially in the first episode, which seems to have been written for newcomers to the series. We are reminded of who Lucifer is and what he and the people around him are all about.
Aside from that -- without giving too much away -- throughout the season, fans are provided with every hint they need to rest assured that the show is still very much the procedural cop drama adorned with supernatural elements and existential questions they know and love, the cast is back and as charming and fun as ever, the only difference being that this season is considerably shorter than its predecessors, but that just means that all the fat has been trimmed away.
With no filler episodes and no requirement to extend plotlines any more than necessary, the journey of each character over the course of the season seems to carry a lot more weight and the murder case that supports each episode is always pertinent to the struggles of the characters. No one is forced into the background until their story is ready to continue. A prime example being the story of Lucifer and Detective Decker.
Not counting the two bonus episodes attached to the end of the last season, the last time we saw Lucifer, he had unintentionally revealed his devil face to Chloe after murdering Lieutenant Pierce. Season 4 finally reveals Chloe's reaction to seeing Lucifer's true appearance and the revelation that everything her partner had been telling her about being the devil and about heaven and hell was true.
Interestingly, Season 4 doesn't begin directly after that cliffhanger ending. The season begins one month after that epic showdown between Pierce and Lucifer, unveiling the emotional impact of Chloe's discovery at a steady pace. The show doesn't spend much time exploring the horror Decker is said to have felt after seeing her friend's hellish face, opting instead to use her newfound awareness to dive into the major theme of acceptance that pervades almost every episode. To that end, the show introduces several new characters to the series, namely Father Kinley and Eve, played by Graham McTavish (The Hobbit trilogy) and Inbar Lavi (Prison Break: Resurrection), respectively.
As the first human woman, Eve has known Lucifer since the early days, when he was a rebellious devil that hadn't yet met Chloe Decker or begun his quest for redemption. That's the Lucifer she's left heaven to join this season: The hedonistic devil that showed her the excitement beyond the boundaries set by God or man. Her inclusion in the series is far from a gimmick; through her, the show is able to discuss what acceptance means, and how the perspectives of others comes into play.
Eve is a wisely included character, though not without her flaws. Inbar plays the character with the kind of twisted innocence you'd expect, but, unfortunately, it doesn't always work. Eve shines when other characters like Ella or Chloe are involved, but she doesn't always blend well with Ellis' portrayal of Lucifer, where it's arguably most important.
As for Father Kinley, one of this season's antagonists, McTavish plays him with a quiet cunning unusual for the series' villains. It suits the character well, since we never really know what to expect from him during his first few appearances aside from the fact that his involvement disrupts the relationship between Lucifer and Decker. He also helps develop some of the supernatural elements of the show, which is exactly what it needs at this point. There's talk of prophecy and the beginnings of real exploration into the bond between Lucifer and Chloe, which was set up as far back as the first season.
The struggle of every major character is made clear, and there is never a dull moment as the show packs much more into its overarching plot. Between Lucifer's antics and the trappings of a police procedural, each character is given room to grow, and fans will undoubtedly be interested to see how they develop. The depth of everyone is far clearer now than it has ever been, and it'll be interesting to see where they go from here, how their relationships change and whether or not it all leads to a climax as explosive as the end of Season 3.
Fans of Lucifer will not be disappointed by what Season 4 has in store, and if you aren't already a Lucifan, now is probably a great time to start watching.
Helmed by Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich, Lucifer’s fourth season stars Tom Ellis as the Devil, Lauren German as Det. Chloe Decker, D.B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin, Kevin Alejandro as Det. Dan Espinoza, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen Smith, Aimee Garcia as Ella Lopez, and newcomer Inbar Lavi as Lucifer’s ex and Adam’s wife Eve. The show releases on Netflix on May 8.