Lucifer season 6 brings the story of the devil, our devil, to a close, and if there’s one thing the show absolutely nails is the Lucifer of it all, the journey of an angel who fell much harder than any of us could have imagined, and who didn’t just get up, find redemption, reconcile with his family, but who also found it within himself to become the person others needed. The person the world needed.
In doing so, Lucifer’s final season mirrored one of the best finales in recent television history, The Good Place, which managed to convey a similar message coming from a very different place, and with very different characters at its disposal. For The Good Place, it was all about growth. Except that the show starts with everyone dead, so it was about the fact that there’s never an end to growing. Even when you think you’re done, when you think you’ve can’t get better (or worse), there are always lessons to be learned. Always things you can improve.
Lucifer takes a roundabout journey to pretty much the same destination. Because the last few moments of the finale, Lucifer’s decision, Rory’s plea, the final scene …they’re all about the same thing. Change. The possibility of it. If people couldn’t change, even after death, then Lucifer wouldn’t have given up everything to try to save them. Neither would Chloe, or Rory.
But people can change. Celestial beings can change! A know-it-all angel can learn compassion and a better sense of humanity by living among the people he always felt he could rule, but never truly understood. A demon can find love – real love – with all the vulnerability that entails, because she realizes that caring isn’t a weakness, instead opening yourself up to love is the ultimate test of strength. The literal devil can allow love to show him not what he could be, but what he always was and never let himself see.
And us humans, we can change too. We can confront our fears, find our calling and our family in a place that respects and celebrates our individuality, like Ella did. We can find joy in realizing that we are more than the ways we help other people, like Linda did. And we can get everything wrong, repeatedly, be consumed by the guilt of what we could have or should have done, and still find a way out of the darkness and into a better place, like Dan.
There isn’t an end to the lessons. Not an end to the kindness, or the love. There’s just the next discovery, the next lesson. And, though, in simple TV terms, that might feel like a grim future, in truth, I cannot think of anything more comforting than the idea that no matter how much we screw up, there’s always another chance. Always a tomorrow that we can shape in any way we can.
For The Good Place and for Lucifer both this meant the system had to be changed, because both shows understood that the idea of good and evil, of endings and beginnings we have all taken for granted for years, needs some reexamining. In The Good Place, however, the system was broken from the beginning. No one could get to the Good Place. On Lucifer, the system worked much better, but it was still too black and white. In the end, both shows arrived at the same conclusion: people deserved a chance to grow. Even after death.
This is a subversive and beautiful idea that goes against everything organized religion has taught us, and yet that feels so much closer to the spirit of what religion should be than anything else ever has. I was raised a Catholic and the idea of that Old Testament God, of the wrath and the anger, always seemed so far removed from the ideal. Lucifer tackled this notion head-on and came out on the other side with one message: no matter how much you mess up, there’s always a chance.
God didn’t give up on his most troublesome son, after all. God didn’t stop loving him. And the show introduces another idea to their dynamic – the notion that God – that whatever higher power one might believe in – isn’t perfect, just as we humans aren’t. The rules of the universe needed changing in both The Good Place and on Lucifer, and in the end, what we were left with was …a kinder, more forgiving world.
One that prizes growth, that encourages forgiveness and that celebrates the idea of never giving up – on you, on the people you love, and yes, even on the people who have done you wrong.
This is the legacy of Lucifer now, just as it was the legacy of The Good Place before. And if TV is going to be the thing pushing us towards a more humane world, then TV will have done so much more than we could have ever expected – and asked of it.
Lucifer season 6 is available to stream on Netflix.