Musical specials are tough to get right. So often when I’ve gotten excited and looked forward to one, it’s been a flop instead. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been bad before per se, but you either feel the very clear disconnect from story or its somehow too over the top.
“Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam” however, gets it right–written by Ildy Modrovich and directed by Sherwin Shilati, it’s a work of art from beginning to end. The musical works with the story without feeling as though it’s just using its incredibly talented cast for the sake of a random episode. Which, don’t get us wrong, sometimes those random musicals work, but there’s something about this one that’s unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years and it’s because of how beautifully it progresses the story along too.
The first and last are magic and the middle hits just right with the emotional beats while it contributes to a fun bop fest with songs I didn’t think would work so well. And that’s largely what makes it so great because each of the chosen songs are downright accurate to evoke whatever necessary including, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” used to breakdown a crime scene. And no, we didn’t need a high school field showcase with the detectives led by Aimee Garcia’s Ella, but we’re glad we got it. It’s always the things you think you don’t need that work so well.
As did the mashup we also didn’t know we needed with TLC’s “No Scrubs” and George Thorogood and The Destroyers’ “Bad to the Bone” performed by Aimee Garcia and Lesley-Ann Brandt. I screamed yes, get it, ladies! out loud to my TV and I’m sure you all did too, right?
And then I gazed with deep longing when Grover Washington’s “Just the Two of Us” the moment I realized that’s what Rachael Harris’ Linda was about to sing, which then made my heart fill with so much joy once D.B. Woodside joined in as Amenadiel. The two of them and their baby is always enough to evoke the heart eyes, but there could not have been a more perfect song for the message they were meant to convey.
And what I definitely didn’t think I needed or expected we’d get? Scarlett Estevez getting a solo and holy celestials, what talent! Estevez has floored me all throughout this season, more so towards the final few episodes, but the decision to give Nat King Cole’s “Smile” to Trixie as she sang the song to a dazed Chloe shattered me. Estevez’ performance was so raw and unfiltered while full of such innocent desire to see her mother happy. It broke me. As did Lauren German’s expressiveness though disconnected from the number and in her own headspace. (It. My. Just give me a moment to wipe these tears.)
It was the most surprising number from the musical to get to me, and I cannot process how heartwarming it is. Bold of me to assume I could handle any of this in the first place, but that’s a whole other story.
There’s also The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” which was so very meta in an interrogation room, but oddly, it worked, and I’m not even mad.
But, let’s talk about the first and the last song, and the emotional wreck that I’m sure we all are now. Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” in my book, has always been one of those songs that covers are incredibly hard to listen to. There’s something so haunting and harrowing about it that it’d take a very specific voice, a very specific style for it to really work.
Tom Ellis’ rendition of it for Lucifer’s “Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam” is masterful and so moving, it’s hard to even write about. You think about it in the context of the episode and it’s brilliant in and of itself, you think about it on its own, it’s just pure magic.
For a song like this, the performance matters just as much, and Ellis’ fervor coupled with the haunting vulnerability in his physicality is impossible to find words for. There are a thousand words that can be said about his voice alone and a thousand more about his expressions as he loses himself in the number. His rise from the piano, the chair kick, and Lucifer’s memories dancing along in the spiritual transportation to celestial planes full of his love for Chloe made for one of the most enamoring TV numbers I’ve ever seen. It made this version of the song one that I now want to keep on replay just as much as I do with the original.
And that’s just it, there have been great versions of this song before, but I’ve not wanted to replay them for hours on end the way I do with this version. Whether you watch Netflix’s Lucifer or not, this is a rendition of the song that demands to be heard. It’s an absolute marvel of a number, and the series giving it to us alongside a montage was the best way to open this episode up.
That said, “Bloody Celestial Musical Jam” works because in the midst of everything, it’s still telling a concrete story that’s focused on the characters as opposed to the plot. This is all dealing with Lucifer’s inability to love because he’s so jaded by the lack of love that was given from God. It’s dealing with his inability to work through what’s inside of him while showcasing the fact that he’s focusing on all the wrong things. (Like, who cares if Dad makes better coffee? But, we get it.) And thereby, to then end the episode with “I Dreamed a Dream” was downright immaculate. Dennis Haysbert is so perfect as God, it’s insane.
Ellis and Haysbert voices together? Something else entirely. Pure, celestial magic if you will. And a song like this especially requires heart above all things to bring it to life with prodigious depth, which both actors did so masterfully. The tearful, painfully evocative rendition of the song to exhibit the fact that their broken relationship can and will be restored was a work of art.
The orange smokey haze engulfing as both of them went from darkness to light to find middle ground, to find warmth and understanding shattered me because you could immediately telling it was leading up to something beautiful, then Lucifer fell to his knees weeping, and God placed his hand on his back, and I lost it. Because without words, this was an evocative way to tell us that God never abandoned Lucifer. He’s here, by his side, and he always will be even if his present isn’t felt as it is in this moment.
“So full of light that it blinds even you sometimes.” This was God’s way of telling Lucifer that all that he has ever wanted and needed has been inside of him all along. The dreams can become a reality, he can come out of the hell he’s living in.
God loves Lucifer—he might not have been great at showing it, he might not have understood how, but it doesn’t change the fact that this moment solidifies the fact that father loves son, and he loves him with every part of him. He isn’t trying to rub it in that his coffee tastes better, but more so that he wants to get to know his son even now that his powers are going away. Or as we’ll learn later, he’s being manipulated by Michael.
Ultimately, the episode works because the performances work. This could have easily been too cheesy, too over the top, and it could’ve felt like fan service, but instead it was a gorgeous display of the fact that people, celestials even choose the route they want to take and that everything they need is inside of them all along, including music, even if God puppeteers it. That’s the whole premise of this season and the arc that is being set up through song.
“Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam” is a treasure chest full of beautifully moving moments that matter tremendously for a larger story, like the showcase of Chloe’s unwavering faith in Lucifer along with the belief that there’s nothing he cannot fix if he doesn’t work at it. It’s that very faith that’s tirelessly brought Lucifer back from whatever darkness he’s found himself in and it’s that very faith that’s broken down walls and crossed through bridges.
It’s hilarious, it’s painful, and much like this entire season, “Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam” is a love letter to parents and their children, ending the episode with the final word being “Dad” was excellent for both storytelling and character development. It’s an episode full of some of the best performances, literally in song and through emotional exhibitions with dialogue, and it’s an episode that is going to be remembered for a long, long time.