Lucifer Season 5 Avoids a Troubling Mistaken-Identity Trope
Ian Cardona
WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Lucifer Season 5, Part 1, available now on Netflix.
At the end of Season 4 of Netflix's Lucifer, the title character had to put a halt to his burgeoning romance with Detective Decker to fly back down to Hell and resume his responsibilities as warden. While Season 5 seemingly reunites them in its premiere, the truth is Lucifer is still in Hell and that his twin brother, Michael, has assumed his identity on Earth.
Michael is out to get revenge on Lucifer, and to do that, he wants to dismantle the life his brother built for himself in Los Angeles -- starting with his relationship with Chloe. However, while the show initially seems to play into them, Lucifer finds ways to brilliantly subvert evil twin/mistaken identity tropes and some of the troubling situations that result from them.
The evil twin trope appears in all manner of genre television. Something bad happens to a fan-favorite heroic character, and they end up trapped or missing for an extended period of time because of it. But their friends and loved ones have no idea the heroic character is missing, because someone who looks just like them has taken their place. Of course, the intentions of this double are nefarious, and they attempt to ruin the life and the relationships of their doppelganger.
This trope appears in shows such as BuffyGrimmOnce Upon a Time and more recently on The Flash. However, the trope generally becomes particularly troublesome when the evil twin ends up sleeping with his doppelganger's partner. This creates a dark complication when considering that the partner hasn't given consent to sleep with this villainous double of the person they love.
And for a moment, it looks like this is exactly what will happen in the second episode of Lucifer's fifth season. In "Lucifer! Lucifer! Lucifer!" Michael starts getting close to Chloe, convincing her that despite some changes, he is still the same devil she loves. However, Michael's plan changes when he actually starts to appreciate the life his twin brother has built for himself. Over the course of the episode, Michael then makes it his intention to sleep with Chloe to secure his revenge.
But the problem for the evil angel is that it just doesn't work. Chloe reveals that the very first time she kissed Michael after his seeming return, she knew it wasn't him. Therefore, despite Michael's best efforts to fool her, Chloe has been playing him from the very start.
This turn is incredibly refreshing for the series. While Lucifer looked like it would fall into the mistaken-identity trope and its more troubling elements, Season 5 subverted expectations by breaking that pattern. Instead of making Chloe a victim, the Netflix series allowed the character to prove how smart and strong she is. It's unmistakably a win for Lucifer, and a perfect show of force for Chloe Decker.
Lucifer stars Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, Lauren German as Det. Chloe Decker, D.B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin, Kevin Alejandro as Det. Dan Espinoza, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen Smith and Aimee Garcia as Ella Lopez. Season 5, Part 1 is available on Netflix now.