Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner” is a gut punch of an episode, a tremendous way to kick off the back half of season 5 – or as we’ve been calling it, season 5B. The hour has a bit of everything: relationship drama, family drama as well as the characters we know and love (plus Michael, who we only somewhat know and definitely don’t love) trying to cope with their place in the universe, and what that means not just for themselves, but for the people around them.
Oh, and did I mention God is here to make it all the more complicated? Because God is here, at last, and yes, that means some issues need to be faced head on. That’s not always a good thing for Lucifer, who always takes the wrong message from everything, or for the celestial beings around him who are, somehow, worse at figuring out emotions than the actual humans. But that’s okay. This is a journey. We can make it. They can make it.
I AM INCAPABLE OF LOVE
Oh, Lucifer. That this is the conclusion he reached after that horrendous family dinner is both entirely predictable and incredibly heartbreaking. At the beginning of the episode Lucifer, despite his feelings of inadequacy, has the words. He understands his feelings. He almost lets to words out in the middle of an argument with Michael and God. He seems genuinely upset Chloe thinks she’s the reason he ran out (though, dude, she can’t read minds… what else was she gonna think?). Hell, he would have just confessed right there in Lux, if Chloe had let him get a word in edgewise.
He loves her. He knows it. We know it. Hell, Chloe knows it. But then she provides him with an out he doesn’t really need – not this time – and he of the one-track-mind takes it because …well, because deep down he’d love for things with his father to be settled, at least in his mind, before he talks to Chloe.
And then they are, just not in the way he wanted.
For all of Lucifer’s intelligence, for all he’s learned, he’s still super emotionally immature in some respects, and never more so than when it comes to the relationship with his father. This is the one thing he hasn’t truly dealt with, hasn’t had to, in five seasons. We’ve seen him grow not just as a human, but as a partner, a lover, a friend, and even a brother …but we hadn’t seen him come to terms with what it means to be his father’s son.
He starts to in this hour, and as always, he starts at the wrong place. Linda isn’t wrong when she says that all Lucifer wants, all Amenadiel and even Michael want, is their father’s love. And the idea that he doesn’t love them, that he can’t love them …well, that colors everything they do. Every decision they make. It even colors everything they feel.
When Lucifer tells Chole that he will never be able to say those words to her, because he is his father’s son and therefore incapable of love, he isn’t taking into account his feelings, the time they’ve had together or the certainty he felt at the beginning of Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner,” he’s reacting out of pain, out of anger, out of this immense sense of loss that comes from feeling that you aren’t enough for the one person who’s supposed to love you above everyone else. He recognized one of his coping mechanisms in his father, and in his mind, that’s enough for him to extrapolate every one of his father’s perceived sins onto himself.
And no, he isn’t lying to Chloe, not truly. He isn’t even lying to himself. He’s just not giving himself enough credit, he’s no trusting in the man he’s become. Instead, he’s regressed to the man he was before Chloe, the man who always felt inferior, inconsequential, unloved. And that man, well …that man could have never conceived of what this Lucifer feels. That man didn’t understand. But he got there. And he’ll get there again. We just have to trust him.
LUCIFER WAS RIGHT
Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner” is a great episode for Amenadiel, even as he tries to straddle the fence between supporting his brother and giving his father the benefit of the doubt. Because a big part of Amenadiel still believes in his father, sees his flaws, yes, but wants to believe there’s not just a bigger plan in play, but good intentions behind it all. And yet Amenadiel has also come to understand his POV is very different from Lucifer, and that he doesn’t – shouldn’t – push his own opinions on his brother.
Which is why he acts like a big brother in every respect, taking the blame, trying to explain Lucifer’s side to their father, looking adorably done as he gulps wine during dinner. And Lucifer, despite how bad he is at doing it, also tries to stand up for Amenadiel during dinner, to compare his older brother to their father, using Amenadiel, not God, as the standard.
And that is, in many ways, what we have seen, what the show is telling us. Amenadiel is the best parts of God and the Goddess of all Creation, put into one celestial being. And he isn’t that just because he was born to be so, no. He’s that because he has chosen to become that, because he’s made mistakes, he’s doubted, he’s suffered, and he’s persevered. He’s learned. And if Amenadiel can, then …what’s our excuse again?
WE’RE STRONG ENOUGH TO GET THROUGH THIS
Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner” is also a really strong hour for Chloe, who spends the entire episode trying, really hard, to be empathetic, to give Lucifer space, to let him deal in the way he needs to. This points to a greater understanding on her part not just of who Lucifer is, but what he feels for her. As Chloe tells Dan early on in this hour, she’s got faith that Lucifer will figure it out. He might be a mess at times, but he’s spent five seasons proving to her not just how much he cares, but what he’d be willing to do for her. Her time for doubts is over.
Which doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy going forward. It doesn’t mean Lucifer’s not gonna be, you know, Lucifer. It just means that Chloe, well, she’s got this. She knows he loves her. He literally went to hell for her, what is there to doubt?
I mean, maybe there is a little doubt, because at the end of Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner” he’s literally standing there going, I am incapable of love. But those are Lucifer issues, projected onto their relationship. Chloe’s issues are not the same as his, and as I said before …her time for doubts is over. Chloe knows Lucifer better than he knows himself, and though she just stood there and let him get it out, something tells me she’s not going to put up with his spiral, just as she’s not going to put up with God making him doubt himself.
PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
Maze’s issues with self-worth are in full display in Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner,” as the show takes her decisions to betray Lucifer, and her friends, to the only conclusion possible …her confronting God and asking for the one thing she thinks she needs, the one thing that will make her able to feel: a soul. Now, we’ve discussed before how it has always been my belief that Maze didn’t need a soul, or at least didn’t need God to give her one, but of course, this being God, he can’t exactly give Maze a straight answer.
What he gives her, though, isn’t that bad, it’s just not what she expects, or wants to hear. When we get kindness and love that we feel we don’t deserve, we lash out, and Maze’s reaction to God telling her “You are …you. And I’d never change that,” is to lash out, because …that’s exactly what she wants to change. She doesn’t love herself, so she cannot comprehend of anyone loving her. She thinks the only way to find love, to be worthy of it …is to change herself.
But Maze is absolutely wrong about that. Eve didn’t leave because of Maze, she left because of Eve. Lucifer’s decisions have never been about her …they’re about him. Maze cannot start making decisions for Maze until she understands that the person she is now, warts and all, is worth it. That’s not something God can fix, not something Lucifer or Eve can make her see. This is something Maze has to discover by herself.
IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU, THEN I REALLY HAVE FAILED
Family dinners can be hell, and Lucifer has already done his time in hell, as he said, so it’s understandable that he just wants to skip this one. But he ends up going, in the end, more because he feels he’s got a point to prove – and a question to ask his father – than anything else. The fact that his only company is a souffle is proof of this. If Lucifer had been approaching this dinner with anything remotely resembling an open mind, he would have asked Chloe to come along.
But this dinner, this entire episode, is about what happens when you think you’ve reached the best you, the ultimate you, and then family issues come up. Because the truth is, your family, it can bring out the best in you, but it can also bring out the worst in you. And as we discussed before, if there’s one thing Lucifer has absolutely not done in all his time on this show is actually deal with his daddy issues.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who was hoping to see Chloe in the dinner, or that wanted her there, but it makes absolutely sense that she isn’t there, that Lucifer spends Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner” not actively pushing her away, but keeping her on the fringes of his issues. He’s spiraling, and his spiral is turning him back into the person he was before he met her, before he learned to care about others. And that person just …can’t let Chloe in.
He even admits to his issues in this episode, confessing that “we all regress in Dad’s presence,” but just because he says it doesn’t mean he actually sees the depths of his regression. We, however, see it clearly, if for no other reason that he continues to push Chloe away, the person who brings out the best in him.
Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner” stays on the Lucifer’ side of his issues with God, doesn’t really go deeply into what’s going on with Dad, or why he can’t just articulate his love for his sons, instead of saying cryptic things like “if I have to tell you, then I have really failed,” even as it attempts to compare God’s parenting with Amenadiel’s, to God’s detriment. This is obviously a deliberate choice, we are on Lucifer’s side, of course. We’ve been on his side all along. But we hadn’t seen his true chaotic dealing with Dad self before. Now we have. Which means the show can now pivot to God’s point of view, and hopefully, to some sort of middle ground.
It might take a while but it’s truly what Lucifer – and his relationships – need to be able to move forward.
Things I think I think:
- The way they all hide their wings and are like “hey, dad, fancy seeing you around!”
- Sibling dynamics are A+.
- Michael is THAT kid.
- Amenadiel’s face when Michael hugs him!!!
- Samael mention, less than two minutes in.
- The woman that you what, Lucifer? The woman that you ….?
- Come on, finish the thought. You can do it.
- Maze, come ooooooon.
- God doting over his grandson is kinda cute.
- I know you’ve got issues, Lucifer, my boy, but remembering Chloe would have been a good thing.
- “Or at least I thought I knew what you were about to say…”
- MY HEART.
- Lucifer, USE YOUR WORDS. USE. YOUR. WORDS.
- Miscommunication fics are my least favorite fics, so imagine how I feel about this.
- The God Johnson mention.
- Linda needs a drink and I DO NOT BLAME HER.
- “I’m guessing you handled it better. Or did you shoot him too?” / “I didn’t, but I did almost poison him with the help of an evil priest.”
- The Chloe and Dan friendship is on point this part of the season.
- Can someone just hug Ella and not let her go?
- “Whichever one I’m most attracted to, bam, that’s your killer.”
- “What are you going to say to her? Something romantic?” Awww, Dad’s a shipper!
- Of course God’s good at mini-golf.
- Signing your threats is a serve.
- Why do they always run? Why?
- Maybe it would help to play in the “Family War Zone,” Lucifer.
- But what IS the recipe?
- The whole bit with God and Maze’s favorite drink is HILARIOUS.
- To Florence to get truffles. Really?
- The way Maze remembers to say please.
- Obsessively cleaning to avoid emotions is a MOOD.
- This Dan and Ella convo hit me hard.
- “So many people wear masks, Ella. They hide who they really are. But not you.”
- When Dan talks about Ella putting so much love into the world …I cried, okay? I cried. I’ve always felt very connected to Ella, and this hit deep. I know an Ella. I’ve been an Ella.
- Ironic that Lucifer is uncomfortable when Chole projects his issues on the case, since that’s all he ever does.
- “Michael would never pretend to be Amenadiel. They look nothing alike.”
- What you should do, Lucifer, is communicate with your girlfriend. How hard is that?
- You were ALMOST free, Linda.
- I love the shorthand between Linda and Amenadiel.
- The chicken actually looks really good.
- OCEANS, okay. Napkins, I’m not sure. But yes to shoes, and especially yes to life, Linda.
- Amenadiel is a MOOD this entire dinner.
- The direction in the dinner scene! A+.
- Yes WHY does Hell not need a warden anymore?
- “Sure, I was King of Hell, but I was still in Hell.”
- Meh, I don’t care about Michael’s trauma.
- “You had a chip so big in yours you managed to self-actualize it.” LOL
- “I get it! It’s your favorite. That’s why everything tastes like chicken”
- The Charlie being mortal thing feels way too easy. Or maybe I’m just conditioned to wait for a catch.
- Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, Michael. See you for the finale, when you come back to be a pain or something.
- I can’t imagine God sleeping on a futon. Or maybe I just don’t want to?
- Lucifer always takes the worst lessons out of the cases. The WORST ones.
- This whole Maze and Michael plot line felt like it was good for absolutely nothing.
- Super fun to have such a visually amazing scene with a Christmas tree, and everything, as this show breaks my heart in a million pieces. Just what I wanted! </ sarcasm>
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Lucifer 5×09 “Family Dinner”? Share with us in the comments below!