Lucifer: Pilot

"I can't read people's minds. I'm not a Jedi. People just like to tell me things."

The Devil is here, and he looks rather a lot like Gary from Miranda.

One of the things I appreciate about Lucifer is that it is both a procedural, but also not a procedural. Things seen or heard in one episode will become important enough down the track that you need to pay attention. You can’t really just switch on an episode and be completely clued in from the get go, such as with basically every Dick Wolf TV show that has been created since the early ‘90s. However, while Lucifer does go by a Case of the Week format for the most part, it is also highly character driven.

And for a character driven show, you need to have believable and interesting enough characters to keep the show afloat, and Lucifer has a few of those, with a few minor setbacks as is the usual with pilots.

Straight from the get-go, you can see that Lucifer has Issues. Lucifer has a big enough chip on his shoulder regarding his father that he could pretty much pour a bottle of salsa on it and still have half a chip left. One thing that sunbunny pointed out to me a while ago was that only in LA can someone call themselves Lucifer Morningstar and have very few people bat an eyelid. One of the draws for me when it came to watching this show was to see how Tom Ellis could handle a lead role, and not a supporting character like in Miranda, or simply shunted to the side and forgotten about entirely for the sake of getting two other characters together, like what happened in Doctor Who (Seriously, Martha and Mickey? Really?)

For the most part, Lucifer is essentially an extremely charming bratty lothario with an accent and a nice smile. He’s basically given God and his responsibilities ruling Hell a big middle finger, which will surely not come back to bite him in some form or another, she says with no trace of sarcasm. While he makes deals with people, he doesn’t consider himself responsible for anything that happens to the person once a deal has been made. Which is essentially what kicks off the events of the pilot and brings all the other characters into Lucifer’s radar. He does, however, show some form of accountability for his role in Delilah’s death by trying to find out who wanted her dead, and why. Which leads us to Chloe. And her eyebrows.

Chloe, for me at least, is one of the weaker aspects of the pilot. This has nothing to do with Lauren German, who portrayed one of my favourite characters on Chicago Fire, but rather to do with the fact that the straight man in procedural shows always has a tendency be reactionary to the more outrageous stylings of the comical or morally ambiguous characters. The only show that I personally watch that counteracts this is Elementary, but even then Joan started as reactionary in the first season until she came out from under Sherlock’s shadow. Chloe’s trying to climb her way back into the good graces of the LAPD after an incident an undetermined amount of time before the start of the series; she’s also had to deal with the mockery of her colleagues and others for starring in a low-budget film Hot Tub High School, in which she appears topless, when she was younger and before she joined the LAPD.

Anyway, getting back to the general plot of the pilot. A lot of it was setting up the Bigger Picture of the series, such as Lucifer’s intrigue as to why Chloe can’t be compelled to tell him her deepest, darkest desires, as well as Lucifer going to see Dr. Linda about his issues and trading session time for sexual favours and giving Amenadiel and Mazikeen stress headaches while he runs around with Chloe solving crimes and trying to get into Chloe’s knickers. There are a lot of interesting characters who don’t necessary play a huge role in the pilot (Amenadiel, Maz, Dan, Trixie and Linda), but who get more things to do as the season progresses, so I will talk more about them in other episodes.

I didn’t really care for the Case of the Week; young, trouble singer who had made a deal with Lucifer is gunned down right next to him. Despite being told that the case is open-and-shut, Chloe continues to investigate Delilah’s murder, which repeatedly brings her back into Lucifer’s radar, and he hers. After multiple red herrings (the abusive ex-boyfriend, the married actor she was having an affair with, Dr. Linda) it all came back to Jimmy Barnes, who sadly was not the actual Jimmy Barnes but the producer ex-fiancĂ©. The only relevant things to come out of the CotW were that Lucifer can’t be injured for the most part, he has the ability to scare people into madness and he’s growing rather attached to Chloe.

A curse or a blessing when it comes to TV show pilots is that the show may make some very obvious changes before the next episode. Usually these can be very minor, almost irrelevant changes; however, one blaring change that the Lucifer PTB made was the recasting of Daniel Espinoza. In the original pilot, ‘Captain Douche’ was played by Nicholas Gonzalez, before ultimately being swapped out with Kevin Alejandro. As “research” for my review, I watched both versions, and whilst I love Gonzalez as Daniel, he did not come across as gruff and jaded as I think the producers wanted. Alejandro on the other hand, does seem to be able to be both somewhat sympathetic and also a bit of a dick (If anyone here has watched the first season of Ugly Betty, they’ll know what I mean). I also just felt the urge to put Gonzalez in my pocket and keep him safe from the world.

For a pilot, Lucifer does a good job of establishing the characters and their relationships with one another, as well as setting up both short-term story lines and season-length plots. Any gripes I may have with the pilot are minor and are ultimately forgiven due to how much I enjoy the show as a whole.

Three out of four not-really Jimmy Barnes.

Bits and pieces

-- Chloe has decided to investigate Lucifer and his history after having seen him get shot repeatedly by Jimmy Barnes and not appear to get hurt. I think her sleuthing may get her into some sort of trouble down the line.

-- Put your hand up if you think Trixie is one of the cutest people ever?

-- Lucifer was originally a guest-star in a comic book which I haven’t read, nor really knew anything about before the series started. Apparently in the comics Lucifer was blonde. I read a really ugly review where the reviewer complained that the downfall of Lucifer was that Tom Ellis wasn't blonde, among other things that felt trivial. To each their own, I guess.

-- Am I the only one who really hopes that they don’t go down the Lucifer/Chloe romantic relationship road? Please don't do that.

-- The one disappointing thing about the pilot is that they didn’t actually have Jimmy Barnes play Jimmy Barnes.

-- Most of the cast from Lucifer come from rather high profile Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows, such as Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, True Blood, Spartacus, etc.


Chloe: Lucifer… Morningstar. Is that a stage name or something?
Lucifer: God-given, I’m afraid.

Lucifer: People sometimes kill people with whom they’re in love, the heart’s mysterious… so I’m told.

Chloe: What planet are you from? London?

Amenadiel: You… Are a mockery of everything divine.
Lucifer: Thank you!
morgan india, who is wondering what sort of deal she has to make in order to get Chloe's eyebrows.


Billie Doux said...

Yay for Lucifer reviews! Welcome to the site, Morgan!

I've never seen Miranda, or actually anything else he's been in, so for me, Tom Ellis is a revelation, pun intended. I think he's absolutely marvelous. Or, okay, he gets more and more marvelous as the first season progresses, and I won't get into spoilers.

migmit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Billie Doux said...

My dear friend migmit, I have to delete your comment because it includes a spoiler. Please do feel free to repost without the spoiler?

morgan india said...

Billie, Miranda is a really good and light BBC comedy; it's somewhat sit-commy but Miranda Hart and the rest of the cast are brilliant. Tom Ellis plays the object of Miranda's affections.

migmit said...

Sorry, Billie, it's hard to phrase this in such a way that those who'd seen the series would understand my point without spoiling those who haven't.

Let's just say that later in the series there are some rules established regarding Lucifer's invincibility, and I think this particular scene violates them. They might offer a plausible explanation later, or just chalk it up as the First Installment Weirdness.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, migmit -- and I do know what you mean. :)

Morgan, when I first saw this series, I fell pretty hard for Tom Ellis and looked around for other stuff he's done. Unfortunately, most of his considerable resume doesn't appear to be available in the U.S. Sigh.

Diogo said...

That "Lucifer should be blonde!" thing is hilarious, not only because it's the LEAST of the show's unfaithfulness to the comics (not that I mind too much, I enjoy each on their own terms), but because in Lucifer's spin off series (which lasted as long as the comic it was spun off) Lucifer was changed to a red head...

sunbunny said...

I got a shout out!! <3

Maiden Aya said...

I am so happy to see a recap on here!! I found this site last year for Supernatural and Person of Interest and I adore it. Sorry I never left a comment before. I would binge watch and read the recaps between episodes. But this is one of the rare shows in years I'm watching as it airs so I am excited to see it on this site!

I love it here because even if someone is struggling with liking a show they used to love it isn't extremely hateful and negative. You all have your opinions but the way you express them is a joy and rarity online these days.

Finally, great recap! Eh, I was iffy on how I felt about Chloe first episode. But just like Olivia in Fringe (who I disliked in the beginning) I had a feeling she would grow on me and I kept watching.