Episode Analysis – Lucifer 1×01: Pilot

I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time now.  Lucifer is a much deeper show than people might give it credit for and every time I watch the show I just see layers and layers of theme and great characterization and I love every second of it.  I’ve marathoned the first season multiple times (4-5 or more all the way through) and now I’m gonna do it again, but this time I’m going to look deeply at each episode and see what I can get out of it and then post it here.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

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Synopsis
This episode starts off with a little intro screen talking about how the angel Lucifer fell from heaven and ruled over hell until he decided to take a vacation (an intro that will be on every episode up until the season’s mid-way point).  We’re then introduced to our main character driving with the song Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked playing loudly in his car.  A cop pulls him over for speeding and we’re given a little taste of Lucifer’s power which he uses most often: getting people to tell him what they most desire.  He gets the cop to accept a bribe and drives away to his night club.

At the night club we’re introduced to Maze, Lucifer’s demon bodyguard who is most displeased to be on earth working as the bartender in his club.  Then once time seems to stop entirely we’re introduced to Lucifer’s brother, Amenadiel, an angel who was sent there to make Lucifer go back to hell, saying that without him there to rule over it, all hell will break loose (pun totally intended).  Lucifer tells Amenadiel he’s never going back and that’s that.

Lucifer quietly angsts outside his club until a car pulls up with a woman who appears to be an old friend of Lucifer’s.  It’s revealed that he helped her make it big in Hollywood but since then she’s gotten into drugs and sleeping with a lot of different people and her life is falling apart and she’s wondering if she made the wrong choice in making the deal with him, at which point he tells her her life is only messed up because of the choices she made along the way to her path of fame, not because of anything he did.  We then see a gentler side of Lucifer as he seems to care deeply for her and wants her to get her life back together.  And just as they’re leaving and she says she’ll do just that, someone drives by and shoots both of them dead.  Except while she dies, Lucifer gets back up and confronts the shooter before he dies too after a car accident.

It’s at this point we’re introduced to our other main character, Detective Chloe Decker.  She comes to investigate the shooting, but another detective – Dan Espinoza, who we later find out is Chloe’s ex-husband – is pressuring her to close the case, saying it was nothing but a drug dealer who wanted the woman dead, but Chloe thinks there’s something more to it.  Apparently she’s not too popular in her precinct, but she wants to solve this case to help make her reputation a little bit better hopefully.  That’s when she goes into the night club and meets Lucifer, seeing as he was a witness.

Lucifer, who is usually able to make any and every woman fall for him when he talks to them, is somewhat vexed by Detective Decker because she won’t fall for any of his BS.  He flirts with her and makes innuendos but she just brushes it off and leaves without telling him anything he wants to know about the case, and as a result he begins investigating things on his own.  Eventually their paths cross again in the investigation and Lucifer absolutely begs Chloe to let him investigate with her, finally convincing her by saying he has valuable information for the case.  They go off on a chase for a killer and we see Lucifer using his powers of desire some more to get information out of people.

Eventually they find the killer and confront him.  The killer pulls a gun on them and nearly shoots Lucifer, but Chloe shoots him first.  Lucifer is upset by this because he wanted to punish the killer, and also because he wouldn’t have been hurt by the bullets, not that Chloe believes that.  Chloe ends up getting shot and Lucifer says he’ll save her.  He then goes to confront the killer and we’re given a split-second look at Lucifer’s true face.

Chloe wakes up in the hospital to Lucifer smirking triumphantly over the fact he saved her life.  He claims to have saved her because he finds her “interesting”.  Back at his club, Maze is annoyed at him because he’s supposed to be the devil; why would he save a human life?  Why would he care?  Amenadiel comes back and delivers an ultimatum, but Lucifer thinks he’s full of crap and not necessarily there on behalf of their Father but rather there of his own accord.  We’re left with Lucifer going to see a psychiatrist they had gone to earlier in the episode for the case, only he begins seeing her as a patient, wanting to talk about a few existential crises he’s having (he’s also seeing her in other capacities, but we’ll get to that later).

Thoughts
As far as a pilot goes, this is a really good start for a show.  We’re given an interesting premise (the devil takes a vacation to LA and opens a nightclub), introduced to all the major characters and see how they relate to one another and how the devil and the detective end up working together.  It’s interesting, it’s entertaining, it’s freaking hilarious (so many puns, man).  This show also puts a new spin on the procedural crime drama genre, giving the normal setup of person with great abilities starts helping a police detective to solve cases and is somehow more competent than the police, except in the case of this show, when you would full expect that to be the case considering who he is, Detective Decker is more than capable and honestly half the time Lucifer is just along for the ride and is only helpful on occasion, which is really clever if you ask me.

This show also challenges your expectations, giving you a setup where you’re basically expected to come in with your preconceived notions of the devil and then slowly have them proven wrong as his character unfolds.  Morally dubious? Yes.  A tempter? Yes. The incarnation and personification of pure evil?  That’s the image that he’s trying so hard to get away from, but since everyone sees the devil as that – whether or not they actually believe the devil exists – it’s how they will end up seeing him.  So, essentially, he’s a misunderstood character.  I would peg him as chaotic neutral, as he does quite enjoy watching chaos and dealing out harsh punishments to those he sees as bad, to those who thinks deserve it.

By contrast we have Detective Decker who is somewhat of an outcast in her precinct at the moment due to a case she was working on.  As she put it, a cop got shot and she saw it differently than everyone else.  While everyone saw that cop who got shot and hospitalized as a hero, she thinks he was a dirty cop and no one is happy about that and basically want her gone (this will come up later in the season).  So, Chloe is not well-liked because of the way people perceive her.  Lucifer is in the same boat, though the only difference is that no humans believe that he is actually the devil, but it’s still something he’s fighting against – both from the people around him and for himself.  He often struggles with his identity, which is exactly the reason he ends up going to see a psychiatrist in the end of this episode.

Also, to briefly touch on the character of Amenadiel, the expectations of him are played with as well.  He’s an angel, and angels are supposed to be good, right?  But he’s presented as sort of an antagonist, at least for Lucifer.  He also seems rather bloodthirsty to some extent, saying how he would love it if war broke out between him and Lucifer.  Are we then meant to think that angels are evil?  Well no, not necessarily if Lucifer is the devil, wouldn’t it make sense that angels would be against him?  Except then Amenadiel keeps up his antagonistic act even when he sees Lucifer saved a human life.  So what’s his deal, anyway?  That will unfold more throughout the show, but it is safe to conclude in his episode that he is not acting on God’s will, but rather his own.

The pilot is a wonderful introduction to the show and I think it’s a great hook to keep on watching.  If you like either procedural crime dramas or things to do with the supernatural, angels, demons, or the devil – or if you just want something entertaining and funny as hell (pun intended) in general, I think this episode has enough to make you want to keep watching.  Or maybe that’s just me, since I love this show so much.

Fun Facts
There are actually two versions of the pilot, one that I assume was filmed as a pitch for networks, and the other “official” version that was used for subsequent airings.  There are a few changes between the two versions, not all that many, but I’ve seen both versions enough to spot a couple differences.  One difference is the first scene with Amenadiel, in the pitch version he had his wings showing the entire scene whereas in the official version his wings didn’t appear until he threatened Lucifer.  Another difference I noticed which I almost didn’t catch was that in the pitch version Chloe was actually Detective Dancer rather than Detective Decker.

The biggest difference of all, though, is the actor who played Dan Espinoza, aka Detective Douche.  In the pitch version he was played by someone completely different than for the rest of the series, which was incredibly distracting when I was marathoning the show for a second time and ended up seeing this version of the pilot without realizing it and suddenly who’s this guy? That’s not Dan!  Also another thing I found amusing is that, even in the official version of the pilot, Dan is wearing a suit and tie whereas in the rest of the series is wears much more casual clothes which honestly looks way better, so either they were just trying to emulate his dress from the pitch version by giving him a suit, or they gave him the suit and then later decided it didn’t work on him.

detective_douche

Dan Espinoza, “Detective Douche”

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