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Season 3, 15 episodes in: ‘Lucifer’ and the Lost Book – An examination of pop culture’s need for violence and gore over peace

people standing beside black pickup truck

You never get to read the Kathleen Pike series in “Lucifer.” All you get to know is that it was a high school drama based on the real-life high school that the writer went to. There were teens, who while not engaged in explicit activities, were engaged in swapping boyfriends or girlfriends and petty jealousy. And there were robots, apparently. The last book in the series was finally finished, but the author was dead after completing the last novel with a robot uprising. At least that’s what the manager says, and it took five years to complete.

As the mystery unravels, it comes to light that the last novel in the teen drama sci-fi didn’t include a robot uprising. Instead, the author finished a novel that ended with peace and everyone brought together by the social outcast. The manager was furious, the author was going to kill the series with her ending, but the robot uprising existed, too, written by a fan who had shown it to the author. That was the ending the manager wanted, the one that would sell the most books and keep the franchise viable.

As in real life, violence and dystopia sell. They, along with sex, sell the “Lucifer” show. They sell “Game of Thrones.” They sell every police procedural on television, and almost everything is a police procedural. How many NCIS divisions do we really need? How many good cop, bad cops? How many ways are there to represent people dying? Those are rhetorical questions.

The real answer is that we need to bring balance to our shows. Charlie Brown, “Family Ties,” Mickey Mouse, “I Love Lucy,” “The Facts of Life…” We need more shows that focus on the good in life. Even though “M*A*S*H” was set in the Korean War, it focused on the relationships and the people trying to survive the horrors of war. What entertainment do we have now that’s helping us examine our best ourselves, rather than trying to solve the puzzles of our worst selves with violence and detail or skewering us with sarcasm, satire and rude jokes?

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Two episodes into the third season: Lucifer, Identity and the Human Condition

“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?