In many ways, last night’s Lucifer was a continuation of the previous episode where Lucifer revealed his true identity. Now, he’s realized, “Being me seems to be a problem, doesn’t it? Everywhere I go, someone gets hurt.” His answer, then, is simplicity. “I need to be not me, instead, someone better, more helpful, more … boring.” But who is the true Lucifer he’s trying to escape from? For that, we have to look at the phrase “devil’s advocate.”
The phrase means to take the opposing viewpoint, usually for the sake of argument. However, the true origins of the phrase depend on the Bible. The book of Job gives us our first coherent look at Satan, who has frequently been synonymous with Lucifer. Satan is a Hebrew word that has been translated in many ways, most commonly as adversary, but also accuser and, more rarely, advocate. So, in truth, devil’s advocate is redundant because the devil is the advocate.
But the advocate of what or whom? The same can be asked for adversary and accuser.
From the series, we’ve seen that Lucifer is a punisher. He finds those who have sinned and metes out what the person deserves according to their crime. It is the book of Job that actually gives us this Satan, as he famously torments Job so that “he will curse [God] to [his] face” (Job 1:11).
At first glance, it appears that Satan, then, is the accuser and adversary of Job—and, by extension, humanity. What about the advocate? In fact, from the book of Job, his position as adversary actually advocates one that will purify humanity. How can Job be pure when God has “put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” Satan is challenging the man’s intentions because he has the good life. It’s a philosophical challenge that claims it’s easy to do what is right when “[God has] blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” Satan’s advocacy, then, is that humanity can only truly be purified by adversity—by being tested, even punished to reveal their true nature.
This is similar to the Lucifer we have seen in the series. But while the Satan in Job purifies through pain, it is intended as a means for humanity to respect and worship God without being bribed to do so. However, Lucifer (and Maze) seems to have lost sight of this, as the punishment becomes its own end instead of a means to make people better. Lucifer and Maze tempt Chloe to “order off menu for once” and give out “so much punishment” to the Deputy Warden, who killed Chloe’s father in cold blood. The temptation is even accompanied by “Maze and I certainly won’t judge,” so that she knows she can get away with her revenge.
Lucifer has only known punishment and comes to see humanity as deserving it. Maze is much the same. Her attempts at finding employment are comical, ludicrous, and ultimately sad—her self-discovery is not going well. In the end, she can only make herself happy by positing that “hunting humans is a job.” But will she rediscover the greater purpose to the punishment and torture she’s always inflicted?
Lucifer has his own epiphany because of Dan’s impression of him. Their buddy moment makes Lucifer realize that even humans do not have a simple life—that they all do “things they’re not proud of.” The very effort Lucifer has been making the entire episode to not be himself is mirrored by Dan who is looking for “perspective, a way to step out of [his] own skin for a bit.”
Linda is actually dealing with Lucifer’s revelation better than I expected. A perfectly healthy reaction to discovering that the devil, demons, and angels are literally real would be to pack up and get as far away as possible. She opted to instead lock herself in her office under extreme paranoia of her friend and now-former patient. For Linda, her identity problem is how she reconciles maintaining relationships with a demon and the devil.
Chloe’s identity crisis has to do with her father’s murderer, and while she goes through an emotional upheaval, she never has a doubt about who she is. Even the moment where Lucifer and Maze tempt her, she metes out a just punishment instead of embracing vengeance for the sake of making the deputy warden suffer.
Curiously—and disturbingly—absent from this episode are Mum and Amenadiel. Given that Amenadiel had just renounced God, this can only mean that something big is coming involving a mother-son outing.
Finally, Lucifer and Chloe have a true bonding moment when Lucifer reveals his feelings for his father and stretches his damaged, emotional wings to tell Chloe that her father would be proud of her. This also reveals that while Lucifer understands sin and all manner of vice very well, he has trouble with the emotional complexity of humanity. He’s convinced that tears can only be the result of hurting someone.
He will continue to wrestle with humanity’s emotional complexity and his own identity as the adversary, the accuser, and the advocate, all of which are the meanings of Satan and not the angel’s true names—more of a title, a job description. It is the role that he must play and includes that of punisher, tormenter, and many others (Maze is part of that same dynamic and trying to discover herself as well). But will Lucifer ever be able to advocate for his own identity instead of being the adversarial viewpoint to God?
Andy Adams is an adjunct professor of English at various colleges in the Phoenix area. He has an affectation for fedoras as they complement his villainous goatee. He’s been known to poke his head onto Twitter @A3Writer, but he’s never been big into birds. He blogs at A3writer.comabout writing, teaching, and the conquest of fictional worlds—they’re more fun than the real world.
Read all posts by Andy Adams for Criminal Element.