“We all have itchy butts.”
How long does it take for me to realize that the show “Lucifer” is about identity? Lucifer spends all of his time trying to convince his partner that he is, in fact, the devil. He does this without actually showing her is true face because somewhere inside of him, he’s afraid she won’t accept him. He wants her to see his identity, and it’s important for him to be identified as THE Lucifer. But he holds back from the detective for some reason unknown to him.
He reveals himself to the therapist. He reveals himself to countless bad guys. Maze, his two brothers, his mom and, for a time, God Johnson, know who he is. When someone punishes another person, he broods about how it’s his job to do the punishing. He gets his wings back and shouts that he decides who he is not his Father.
In season three, episode two, he confronts a comedian and says “the joke’s your identity.” She denies it telling him that everyone has an itchy butt, it’s what you do with it that counts. So, when Sinnerman shows up in the third season, Lucifer has found someone who has stolen his schtick. Sinnerman gives out favors for a price to be revealed at some unnamed time in the future. Sinnerman stole Lucifer’s identity, and he goes off about it until he realizes that everyone has an itchy butt.
Lucifer’s identity isn’t any less important to him than another person’s identity is to that person. People place value on who they think they are. It’s why some poor people won’t take government handouts. It’s why some religious people deny science. It’s why some people make choices that are seemingly set up to be bad for themselves. We cling to who we think we are rather than give up what we want to believe about ourselves, even when presented with incontrovertible truth that contradicts our beliefs. People will die to protect their identity, and if for some reason they survive the trauma of having their true identity revealed to themselves, they break. “Lucifer” makes it clear that identity is a powerful force. What identity are you protecting?