Lucifer season 1 was at its best when the story focused on its titular character and his relationship with Detective Chloe Decker.
In fact, as much as I love the show, by mid-season I was often becoming frustrated with Lucifer’s lack of growth. Each week he would show up uninvited to a crime scene, say something awful, make the case all about him, and then go about doing something wrong that, ultimately, solved the case and provided some much-needed insight into his character — insight which he promptly ignored.
I don’t dislike this theme; in fact, it’s what makes Lucifer so intriguing. He’s not a great person on the surface, but deep down he truly does want to do the right thing. This makes him a charming and enigmatic anti-hero, someone we want to champion on his journey to becoming a better person.
But if each week finds him making the same mistakes in a systematic way, it’s easy to grow frustrated. We can only take our hero being awful so many times before we write them off as a lost cause. We must see glimmers of that heroism in each episode in order to continue rooting for him. (And if you’re looking for another show that should ditch the case-of-the-week storytelling, look no further than The Catch.)
The procedural aspect of the show makes this particularly difficult. With every case, Lucifer works on another aspect of himself. Paralleling his journey with that of each episode’s mystery is a clever way to tie the two stories together, and I would be totally fine with the show continuing down this path if they hadn’t already proven to be much, much better at writing longer arcs and season-long mysteries.
The back half of Lucifer felt like a completely different show, especially in the final few episodes. The Palmetto case had been a talking point since episode 1, but it wasn’t until Malcolm was resurrected at the end of episode 7 that the show hit an important turning point.
Lucifer no longer put the cases of the week at the forefront of the episode, but had rather decided to focus on the divine battle of wills happening between the Devil and his brother Amenadiel. The archangel’s only goal was to bring Luci back to Hell, by any means necessary. Enter Malcolm Graham. From here on out, the show felt less episodic and more cohesive as a season-long unit.
In fact, the penultimate episode’s case of the week had been perpetrated by Malcolm for the sole intent of gaining Lucifer’s attention. In the final episode, there wasn’t a case of the week because everyone’s focus was on the Devil, in one form or another. It was more about whether or not Lucifer would return to Hell than which poor soul had died that day.
I can only hope Lucifer season 2 continues this new found tradition of focusing more on Lucifer’s story than a case of the week. Procedurals are a dime a dozen these days, and though Lucifer shakes things up a bit with a supernatural twist, the case of the week is easily the least interesting part of any given episode.
Lucifer could also easily adopt a less episodic structure while still maintaining elements of the detective work that makes Chloe and Lucifer’s friendship so engaging and unique.
We know season 2 will be introducing Lucifer’s mother, who had been locked up in Hell until Amenadiel (literally) fell asleep on the job, allowing her to escape. If she’s been loosed upon the Earth, imagine how many strange cases will be popping up in her wake. If the show decided to tackle one long string of connected mysteries over the course of an entire season, we would still have the benefit of Chloe leading an investigation, as well as a more prominent focus on Lucifer’s background. Each week can be used to explore another facet of Lucifer’s personality while constantly working toward the impending confrontation with his mother.
Besides, with so many questions still left unanswered by the end of season 1, it would be nice to spend less time on one-off characters and more time getting to know the main players.
Check back with Hypable as more information about Lucifer season 2 becomes available.