[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 5 finale of Lucifer. Read at your risk!]
Lucifer's co-showrunner Joe Henderson wasn't kidding when he told TV Guide: "Season 5 is our big, crazy spectacle season." In the hefty second half of a 16 episode order, Lucifer Season 5B plunged deep into the darkness to unearth the traumas of a usually happy-go-lucky Devil. The latest episodes had Lucifer's (Tom Ellis) traumatic reconciliation with his father; Lucifer running a campaign as God (Godcifer); Michael being responsible for Dan's death and killing Chloe (Lauren German) as a twisted hellish gift for Lucifer -- and then Lucifer dying in order to give Chloe a second chance at life.
As they say, the road to Hell (or Heaven, in Lucifer's case) is paved with good intentions, but even the Devil wasn't impervious to death or protecting those he loves most from dying. Through the finale's epic battle, and the ultimate sacrifice of both Lucifer and Chloe, we learned that with death also comes rebirth and second chances for redemption.
"We decided that he was going to save [Chloe], and put himself at risk by going to Heaven, where he was supposed to burn up if he ever re-entered," co-showrunner Ildy Modrovich told TV Guide. "And by loving somebody, finally, more than himself, officially, [Lucifer] earned the right to be in Hell and in Heaven."
Lucifer dying to save Chloe was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this jam-packed season. TV Guide sat down with both Lucifer showrunners to talk about Michael's path of villainy, Lucifer's maturation, the long-awaited "I love you," the epic battle to become God, and what's in store for Season 6.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Lucifer Morningstar is a serial self-sabotager.
"Lucifer's the kind of person who doesn't realize something until he actually does it," Henderson laughed. "Sometimes his heart is in front of his head."
It's undeniable that Chloe and Lucifer love each other in one form or another through various stolen glances, soft and curious kisses, and the inevitable case of "BlueBallz," which finally ended with the consummation of their relationship. Everyone alive, or otherwise, knows that Lucifer is in love with Chloe, but it took his own death for him to realize it.
"It was the combo of saying it and showing it," Modrovich explained. "He was willing to sacrifice himself for her, and that act was showing her he loved her even more than saying it."
In the last remaining moments before he combusted into flames, Lucifer realized not only that he has always loved Chloe, but that a world without her would be much worse than his own death. And so with his last breath, he saved her with his immortality ring and succumbed to the ashes.
"So much it was sort of chicken and the egg [for Lucifer]. When can you realize that you are capable of love and do love someone, but you have this denial? The answer was that he had to show it. So that was always a big part of how we structured Season 5," Henderson said. "I think the way it happened probably shifted here and there, but it was always the plan to end Season 5 with him finally saying those three words."
In the season cliffhangers to end all cliffhangers (never mind The Sopranos), Lucifer ascended. Modrovich and Henderson spearheaded what was initially a relatively light-hearted, fantasy-crime procedural into new territory going where no Devil has gone before; God. Now the question is what does this new job have in store for Lucifer and how will it affect his relationships with those around him.
"That sounds like a great question and exactly what we will explore in Season 6." Henderson quipped. "Lucifer's greatest enemy is always himself." Meanwhile, Modorovich teased, "[Becoming God] is more than Lucifer bargains for, I'll say that."
Oh and about that fantastic line that the show ends with, "Oh my Me"? Unscripted. It turns out the triumphant flaming sword moment as Lucifer stood proudly while his siblings bowed down to his holiness at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was courtesy of Modrovich, Henderson, and an adlibbing Ellis.
"That's what's so great about being on set sometimes, you're like 'Ooh, let's do that!'" Modrovich recalled. "I think Tom did like a 'Holy Sh--' or 'Bloody Hell' kind of thing. We threw some alternatives at him, and he tried them. Tom [Ellis] is so good at finding those lines in those key moments that are reflective. And we often keep them in there," Henderson added.
After God announced his retirement and left Earth to live in another dimension with The Goddess (Tricia Helfer), it was not entirely surprising that Lucifer's twin Michael revealed secret plan is to take up the mantle of The Almighty just to spite his brother. The twist was the second part of the plan -- sending Chloe to Hell.
"In 5B, one of the things we wanted to do is peel back [Michael]'s heart, understand his pain, understand his rivalry towards Lucifer," Henderson said.
It was surprising is just how deep the rot is behind the unpeeling of Michael's unhinged plans: to give Chloe guilt so that when she died her soul would go to Hell, further solidifying Lucifer as the underworld's leader so she could stay with him for eternity.
"Michael was given multiple opportunities to redeem himself and he just [continuously] chooses the wrong path," Henderson explained. "You see his regret and his pain, but he thinks he's right. And that was what we wanted to build towards."
The decision to have Lucifer -- imbued with God's powers at the end of the season -- spare Michael's life was controversial. Why didn't Lucifer kill Michael, banish him from Earth, or trap him in Hell for a millennia or two?
"I don't think that [storyline] is a done deal," Modrovich said. "But we can say this about Season 6 [is] we don't like to tread the same ground. We like to explore different things and put our characters through new obstacles."
Season 5B picked up right after the end of an epic celestial blowout interrupted by the surprise appearance of God at the precinct. As fans know, Lucifer has always had a complicated relationship with his all-knowing, all-absent omniscient father. Upon his arrival, God revealed that he had come down to Earth in order to reconnect with his son, retire, and to find a successor to the kingdom of Heaven. But while God was trying to make amends with his rebellious son, Lucifer was projecting his feelings of parental neglect onto his relationship with Chloe.
"So much of the story of Lucifer is one step forward, two steps back. Or two steps forward, and one step back. In this case, he was so close, but his father's arrival coming at the exact wrong time for his arc forced him to take that step backwards." Henderson said.
A big cliffhanger from the first half of Season 5 was God's arrival and the fact the Lucifer couldn't say "I love you" to Chloe. In the first episode of the new batch, "Family Dinner," Lucifer dealt with his father's mysterious arrival, but then Lucifer admitted to himself and Chloe that he believed he doesn't love her because his father never loved him. Therefore he didn't think he can love anyone, at least not until his father expressed his love for Lucifer (which he didn't do).
"The biggest thing was really channeling the idea of a character who finally is face-to-face with his dad for the first time, really almost ever in the physical form on Earth, and channeling that idea that when we're with our parents, we regress." Henderson explained. "On top of that, when we're with our parents, we see ourselves in them. Combining those two things was really the heart of it because it was the idea that here is Lucifer, he finally gets to confront his father. And unfortunately in 'Family Dinner,' he sees himself in his father more than he likes and projects it onto his relationship with a woman he loves."
Though Lucifer can't see it fully until the last moments of the season before earning his godliness, this confrontation and resolve pushed him on the path to ultimate growth and maturity.
"The point was for him to regress and to devolve." Modrovich added.
Now that Season 5B is out, the wait for the final Season 6 begins. What can fans expect to get out of these last 10 episodes?
"With a character as rich as Lucifer, there's a lot of places you can build a good ending, but I do think that where we end in Season 6 is the best ending," Henderson explained. "What I love about our show is that we entertain while also trying to sneak up with emotional insight. We're trying to all have a great time, but we also hope you walk away surprised at how much you cried or had a great time watching a devil solve crimes in Los Angeles. It's fun to be a stealth bomber for feels and emotional insight. I hope people feel fulfilled."
As Lucifer unfurls its wings, propelling us to the sixth and final season, the Lucifer creative team felt a responsibility to address the ongoing discussion about police and the Black Lives Matter movement. With America continuing to reckon with policing and racial inequalities, Henderson and Modrovich felt the series, which centers around police detectives, should dive deep by addressing the Black Lives Matter movement in the show.
"Speaking personally, it was something that I really reckoned with as someone who wrote a show that glorified the police for six seasons. And you know, there's a lot of looks into how 'copaganda' affects how people see the police and the sense of us having to reckon with our place in it. We felt like we wanted to tell a story that also grappled with that, and there is an episode that focuses on it, but also permeates Season 6," Henderson explained.
While Season 6 aims to permeate the BLM movement, this won't be the show's first foray into racial profiling. Season 4's "Super Bad Boyfriend" launched the show from the religious to the political zeitgeist to talk about societal and police profiling of Black males. When Season 6 digs back into the topic, the optics of Amenadiel being an angel in Heaven but having to tackle being viewed as a Black man on Earth will be further explored.
"That's a large part of Season 6. It also goes hand in hand with our BLM episode." Modrovich said of the Season 4 connection to the final season. "We were on Zoom just a few weeks after George Floyd had been killed, and it was in our minds. We're a show about cops. We're solving crimes, and we felt that none of us should ignore that. Even though we're this escapist show, we didn't want to shy away from it. We do it from an emotional standpoint through a character's eyes, and through our emotions and care that's the [storyline] we found."
Though Season 5B was supposed to be the final arc for Lucifer, some loose threads remain. After a run-in with a serial killer boyfriend, and "a close encounter with an emu," Ella (Aimee Garcia) is the only one that has yet to discover Lucifer's true identity. Henderson and Modrovich promise that something "big, adventurous and cool" is in store for Ella.
Of course, the biggest questions going into Season 6 are whether Chloe is officially immortal now that she's in possession of Lilth's soul ring that brought her back to life? Does her staying alive depend on whether or not she wears it? Can fans suspect that Chloe can now live forever with Lucifer in harmony? Henderson was quick to set the record straight.
"The idea is that the last remaining [magic of Lilith's immortality] brought her back to life. And now that it's spent she does not need [the ring to survive] it. One of the things that's important to us is always wrapping up a season arc, and so much of that was planting that seed in the first half of Season 5 so that it could pay off [in the finale]. That story has been told, and now it's just a beautiful ring."
In regards to having an impact on the fantasy pop-culture zeitgeist, the executive producers are hoping the show's journey is symbolic of its message.
"If people take something away from having watched all six seasons of Lucifer, it's that none of us are perfect and that we are all worthy of love and forgiveness," Modrovich adds. "I think that's what people connect within our show. We're all broken, we're all fallen angels. That's been the heart of our show. Who doesn't want to be loved despite all of our flaws?"
We all know that when angels fall, they also rise. And though our time is coming to an end, we can't wait to see the final ascension for all of our beloved characters in Season 6.
Lucifer Seasons 1-5 are now streaming on Netflix.