Lucifer: “Favorite Son” finally lives up to some of this show’s potential

Lucifer has struggled for weeks now to bring its world to life, but with “Favorite Son” the show finally seems to be realizing some of its potential. It’s still not a perfect episode, but it is the first episode of the show that is actually unequivocally good. At the very least, it’s enough of an improvement over the first few episodes to make it worth coming back to see what happens next week.

While “Favorite Son” still adheres somewhat to the case of the week format, there’s almost no attention actually paid to the murder mystery. Most importantly, there’s a minimal amount of Chloe and Lucifer interrogating people, which means a minimal amount of Lucifer smirking at folks and creepily asking about their desires. This only happens once this week, actually, and it’s been toned down a good deal. It was nice to not feel like I needed to take a shower after the scene in question, to be honest. In any case, this tempering of some of Lucifer’s signature moves (he also manages to go a whole hour without propositioning Chloe once) is indicative of a broader shift in tone that seems to take place this week. Things took a darker turn, for sure, and it’s a hopeful sign that the show is maturing enough to be watchable.

Shoving the murder mystery to the back burner leaves plenty of room for actual themes to be developed, and “Favorite Son” is by far the most thematically compelling episode yet. Lucifer’s issues with his father have been simmering just under the surface since day one, so it’s nice to see them finally being articulated. Lucifer’s problems are cleverly highlighted by showing them in contrast to Dan—a flawed human who is at least trying to be a good father—and to the head of a criminal biker gang who has an eye on retirement but has to deal with his own rebellious subordinates. It’s a level of sophistication that I wouldn’t have expected from this show, but it’s exactly what has been needed all these weeks, and this episode was overall well-conceived and nicely executed.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  • I would definitely watch a straight hour of Tom Ellis just playing piano and singing.
  • I hated when Dan called Maze Lucifer’s “pet on a leash.” It was a really casually degrading and dehumanizing thing to say and that meanness wasn’t really warranted by the situation.
  • I’m still not sold on Dr. Martin, though her character worked better this week than she has previously.
  • D.B. Woodside is ridiculously good-looking. That smile!
  • I also don’t love Lucifer’s violence. He seems to have increasingly abusive tendencies the more he digs into things during his therapy sessions. It might be realistic for him to have these sorts of outbursts as he works through his issues and processes things, but when he’s menacing a woman half his size it’s actually frightening and I could see it becoming very difficult to watch if that behavior continues too long.

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