There’s a lot to talk about with Lucifer Season 6, and we’ve definitely already done a lot of it. We’ll probably do a lot more, and won’t regret a second of it. But what I personally never expected to talk about was how a show about the actual, literal devil finding love and finding his calling saw me in a way that I’m not sure other shows ever have.
I just…didn’t expect to spill my guts like this. I also didn’t expect to feel so much guilt about doing it because, well, it happens to be in “A Lot Dirtier Than That,” the sixth episode of the series’ final season. You know, the one with the very real, very powerful message on race and policing.
My story isn’t about that. It’s about a daughter covering up hurt with anger. And a father, trying desperately to get back all the time he’s lost with her, even though that was never possible.
The story didn’t start in this episode; it kind of started in the Lucifer Season 6 finale (time travel is confusing, okay?). But it also sort of began in 6×03, when we learned that “crazy knife-wing girl,” as I originally called her in my notes, was Lucifer’s daughter. Then, we heard her backstory, which was also her future story…(again with the timey-wimey stuff!) The guy with the big heart and feelings of inadequacy, thanks to his own daddy issues? Well, he disappeared before his own child was even born. And never showed up, not once, for her.
I wasn’t completely cut off at birth. I remember, very vividly, being Daddy’s Little Girl when I was super young. Then, one day, he moved across the country and made a bunch of promises about sending for the rest of the family.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t happen.
No, Lucifer didn’t 100% nail my life story with Rory. (Although, wouldn’t it be cool if I, too, had crazy knife-wings and could travel through time?) But what it did do was remind me of the times when I’d been hurt enough to wish I could just cut my own father right out. It made me think about one year, when I was a teenager, and I refused to take his calls.
Thankfully, my story doesn’t end there. Neither does Rory’s.
For most of Lucifer 6×06, we see a man who still doesn’t know why he left his loved ones behind—he doesn’t learn that until later and doesn’t even begin to accept it as any kind of real possibility until the very last minute. That same man, however, does all the wrong things for all the right reasons: He’s trying, so hard, to make up for everything he’s missed. All he wants to do is prove to his little girl, who isn’t willing to trust him with her heart, that he really does love her and would never willingly do anything to hurt her.
He just…doesn’t know how to show her anything at all. And I’ve been there, done that.
There were all the gifts, aimed at making up for all the holidays and birthdays Lucifer had missed with Rory. But you can’t make for something up that, and Rory probably felt like he was trying to buy her forgiveness and affection. Even then, the gifts Daddy Devil chose showed more about how much he didn’t know his “little,” now grown, girl than what was in his heart. He also made a giant, cringeworthy spectacle of himself with the terrible dad dancing, threw a massive party that Rory wasn’t interested in, and just overall didn’t get it.
None of it really worked and only kept pushing her away. Because, to be honest? When you are Rory, when you’ve been left behind like that—no matter how good the reason was and no matter how much the person trying to make amends really, truly meant it—trying too hard is way worse than not trying at all. It’s smothering.
And if you’re someone like Rory, someone like me…You’ve guarded yourself so much that all this sudden affection is suffocating. It makes your skin crawl. It’s just…not…you.
Sometimes, when it comes right down to it, what you actually want—no, need—from that loved one who hurt you is for them to see you for you. To choose you, not because they feel like they have to or because they care about an idealized version of you. But because of who you are.
And there it was, right at the end of the episode.
When Rory was playing Bridge Over Troubled Water, Lucifer saw her. It wasn’t “Oh, I found out I was your dad, and I refuse to consider for a second that I would have left you like that, so I’m going to put on a big show.” He fell in love with who Rory was, not the concept of her—the reality. And when he accompanied her on his piano? He met her, on her terms, where she was at.
It was kind of perfect, the way father and daughter harmonized together, not just because Tom Ellis and Brianna Hildebrand made some actually gorgeous harmony, but because that’s what building a relationship like theirs should really be about. You take a piece of me, add a piece of you, and find out what mixes well.
That look, right there at the end that Rory gave her dad? That was hope. That was believing “Hey, maybe we can make this work after all.” The moment of quiet, of in-between, right as the episode was ending? That was quality time, worth more than any extravagant gift or huge gesture.
And yeah, thankfully, my adult self has gotten what my younger one didn’t always have—maybe sometimes felt like she never would. With my dad, there’s not going to be a literal duet, but we do alright in the silence. Sometimes, the greatest peace I know is when my dad and I are doing nothing, sitting in front of a TV on our respective devices, or grabbing an ice cream at the Mister Softee when I get to visit.
You just can’t go back, but you can go forward. We did. Lucifer and Rory did, too.
So, yeah…I didn’t expect for this, of all shows, to make me feel so seen. But it did. I’m both extremely grateful and moderately terrified to be able to say so.
Lucifer Season 6 is now streaming on Netflix.