Fans of Netflix's Lucifer have had to wait almost a year for the second half of the fan-favorite series' fifth season, but when it returns on Friday, May 28th, those eight episodes will have been well worth the wait. Lucifer Season 5B takes the delightful, devilish, and engaging family drama that made up the first half of the season and not only expands on it but delivers a rich, moving experience. While parts of Lucifer Season 5B aren't perfect, the whole is easily a series-best and will make it hard to top with the upcoming final season.
Season 5B picks up exactly where the first half of the season left off, with Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), Lucifer (Tom Ellis), and Michael (also Tom Ellis) fighting one another when their father, God himself (Dennis Haysbert), shows up. The arrival of God creates an entirely new dynamic for the series that at times feels a little stiff and uncomfortable, but that's exactly what it should feel like. God's arrival creates an outlet for the family drama that Michael's arrival in the first half of the season created to be more further explored and, in doing so, offers up a mirror on the universal nature of complicated family dynamics. It also further humanizes Lucifer in a way the series never really has and, in turn, allows Ellis to shine. The Lucifer of Season 5B is a Lucifer out of his element and Ellis' portrayal really lets the viewer see the cracks in the Devil's facade.
Haysbert's God is also an incredible standout performance. The right mix of warm and fatherly, but also inscrutable, Haysbert's God is a treat and there's really not a way to say that without giving away some major spoilers about his arc. Suffice it to say that God brought down to Earth gives the season some unexpected humor, but it also offers a tenderness that the show doesn't always explore.
Continuing with what works well for Season 5B is that the episodes offer a tremendous amount of character growth for nearly every character on the series. It's obvious at certain moments that Season 5 was, at one point, meant to be the final season, as there are some major shifts and changes for these beloved characters, but that's not a bad thing. We finally see some massive growth for Chloe (Lauren German), a character whose fragility and insecurity in the first half of the series made her seem stunted. There is also some work with Mazikeen (Lesley Anne Brandt) that reverses what I previously felt was a weakness of the first part of the season, making her a more complex and fascinating character than ever. Brandt delivers performances in the final few episodes of the season that are absolutely heartbreaking in the best way.
What didn't work as well in Season 5B? The much-anticipated musical episode, "Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam." It's a fun episode with some fantastic performances, but the mechanism for which they incorporate things, while clever, seemed a bit awkward. It's also a little tonally out of step with the rest of the episodes. That said, the songs are great and it's a hoot to watch. Michael also continues to be a little too much on the side of caricature, leaving him perhaps a bit less menacing than he should be, but fortunately for the complete Season 5, Ellis is able to imbue the character with a cruelty that makes him feel like a worthy villain. One could also argue that, at times, some of the story of Season 5B feels a little weak, and it's only the performances and the larger direction when taking into account the first half of things that generally keeps it working.
The second half of Lucifer's fifth season continues what the first half started by offering up more of the same drama and comedy that fans are accustomed to, but these episodes double down on the emotional weight and give fans a truly meaty several hours of entertainment to dive into. There are some major twists and extremely unexpected turns in Season 5B and the ending may prompt some questions about where the series goes next for its sixth and final season, but Lucifer Season 5B is honestly better for all its imperfections. Supported by strong performances, deeply humanizing moments, and a lot of character development, the Devil has done it again with a great season.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Lucifer Season 5B debuts on Friday, May 28th on Netflix.