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Performers Of The Month - Readers' Choice Most Outstanding Performer of May - Tom Ellis



The article was written by Aimee Hicks, Ellys Cartin, Jamie Coudeville, Prpleight, and Zandarl. Article edited by Donna Cromeans (@DJRiter). Article prepared for publication by Aimee Hicks.

Tom Ellis being cast as Lucifer Morningstar was a divine gift to fans. To be successful, Lucifer needed a lead that could embody the devilish charms of the Devil himself while also being able to exude vulnerability. The show found that in Ellis and so much more. He is not only extremely gifted but one of the most charismatic leads around. Perhaps, most importantly, he is passionate about the series, his co-stars, and the fans. He is the sort of man that any production should be proud to have at the top as its face. Ellis may play the Devil, but he is one of the most generous and giving stars around. The series was saved thanks to the outcry from the fans and Ellis not only embraces that fact, but he honors it at every turn. His talent is only outshone by his giving nature. But make no mistake, he has a never-ending well of talent, from his gift of song to his natural acting talent, this show has yet to find the limit of his abilities. The writers have thrown one wild scenario after another at him and he always delivers on their brilliant writing. They really challenged him in Season Four going to some dark and intense places with Lucifer, and Ellis delivered some of his best performances to date. That is why he was named SpoilerTV's May Readers' Choice Performer of the Month for his impeccable performance in the season finale.

The opening scene has Lucifer for want of a better word preening like a peacock, strutting his stuff and dancing to Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright". He certainly seems to be feeling it that's for sure. He's quite the chipper devil and Ellis has stated he loved this little routine so much he would consider doing a musical episode next season. One of the most endearing things about Ellis' portrayal of Lucifer is that he never really takes himself too seriously. This was a perfect example of that fact. However, not everyone is a fan. Chloe (Lauren German) is far from impressed by his little song and dance number and sudden change of heart and sends him away. While he states he may have forgiven himself there is doubt lingering in his eyes.

In the scene where Lucifer meets his nephew, Ellis' body language is very telling. He holds the baby for as long as is required and visibly can't wait to hand him back over. His legs are already walking away while he's still partly holding the baby. When his brother tries to talk to him, he shows how distracted Lucifer is. He's barely listening and hands off some advice very quickly so that he can leave. He's so desperate to get out of the room that he doesn't see the deeper meaning of the conversation. Ellis portrays a much calmer Lucifer in the scene with Linda. He's almost bursting with glee over his present and news. Once Linda (Rachael Harris) starts to question his decision to quit therapy, he's quick with the answers but sees it as his cue to leave. Her skepticism kind of falls right off him as he just ignores it.

A routine visit to question a suspect gives Ellis a chance to delve further into Lucifer's playful side. He emerges from the car's passenger seat with an air of inquisitive dignity, straightening his suit jacket and cuffs. Observing the suspect's expensive house with a locked gate, he criticizes the excess with melodramatic bewilderment, a display that Ellis shows is for Chloe's benefit by having Lucifer stoop slightly to make eye contact with her. He is narrating their adventure. This attitude carries through to his overlong examination of the gate's lock, which prompts an inquiry from Chloe. At that point, Lucifer turns back to his audience to metaphorically take a bow by knocking the gate open. He grins at her as he does. The fact they must take cover seconds later doesn't dampen his spirits. An important bit of information the suspect shares is instantly converted into a play on words, and Ellis delights with the mischievous glow of self-appreciation Lucifer dons when he looks to Chloe to make sure she caught what he did there. Lucifer also remains respectfully placed a couple steps behind Chloe here, deferring to her authority as she questions their suspect.

Lucifer's celebratory mode is cut short by the arrival of some demons, and Ellis brings in frustration and fear to his character's reactions. He freezes when Dromos (Graham McTavish) calls his name out, almost unwilling to turn around. The way he stiffens from head to foot conveys how Lucifer is rattled, trying to determine what is happening and how it is happening. His command for Dromos to put him down is delivered through gritted teeth. He takes a step away as if he has been threatened. When he pulls Dromos upright and recognizes him, there's a wariness in his eyes, indicating that he's grasping to understand the scope of the challenge before him. That cautious skepticism dissipates when he learns Dromos and Squee's (Cleveland Berto) arrival was due to Father Kinley. Ellis shakes out his coiled frame, loosening his shoulders so we know that Lucifer is no longer concerned. He is almost giddy when he delivers Lucifer's denouncement of hell as being no fun. This creates a superb foil for McTavish's performance in the scene; as Dromos's good humor drains away and his smile shrinks, Lucifer throws out his chest with an exhale of relief. Ellis demonstrates that Lucifer is not unaware of the danger but is trying to deflect it. Dromos's carefully spoken suggestion he might torture a human can't be ignored though. Ellis drops the friendly jesting and lunges at his taller costar, giving Lucifer's warnings an unearthly growl that authenticates this intimidation, and yet his pupils widen slightly, fearfully, as he commands the demon to return to Hell. The incident leaves him shaken, and Chloe and Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) find him sleeping in his penthouse. Though he tries to brush off the loose demons, fears on another level are awakened when Chloe reveals she was investigating without him. Lucifer's devastated reaction of turning his head away after Chloe reveals she's worried about what inside him might be triggered is an emotional and acting highlight of the episode.

It's easy to talk about Ellis' performance when Lucifer the story is all about Lucifer having a personal crisis. But Ellis also shines in those moments where he's called upon to support the performances of his fellow cast members. As everyone rushes to Linda's side, in the wake of Charlie's disappearance, the scenes are about Linda. It's Rachel Harris' time to shine. Ellis walks Lucifer along a tightrope as he offers one of his few real friends hope and despair in a single revelation. Ellis lets the audience see Lucifer's concern for his friend, his guilt for missing the signals Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) was giving off and compassion for Linda's pain without stealing the scene's focus from Harris.

Even while he leads the charge to recover Charlie, Lucifer feels more uncertain of himself than ever. He finds his penthouse torn apart, with his things smashed and tossed askew. He declares it pointless destruction, but the waver in his voice shows that he is hurt. Ellis seamlessly transitions moments later to Lucifer's stupefied reaction to Eve's confession about her role in Dromos's arrival. He goes perfectly still, but he also must reckon with the fact that Chloe has vital information about the ritual. The reason she has that knowledge is that she once feared him enough to banish him to Hell. Ellis does a superb job of making it clear this near betrayal is at the front of Lucifer's mind, there's bitterness in his chilly tone when he tells Chloe she can't be anywhere near the Mayan. The pain in his voice when he reminds Chloe that she makes him vulnerable is unmistakably referring to something other than physical weakness. He is afraid he won't be able to do what's necessary because the thought of driving her further away is his worst imaginable fear.

Throughout Lucifer's fight against the demons and Dromos, there's a reserve to Ellis' motions that's less about being in control and more about holding back. Indeed, he backs off from slaying Dromos when Chloe enters. Lucifer reels himself back and hurries to persuade her to leave. When he confesses he knows his devil side makes her afraid, Ellis projects a sudden wistful plea in the King of Hell's eyes. He can't speak it out loud, but she gives him the answer he could only hope for. She isn't afraid. He doesn't believe it at first, stammering out questions and trying to figure out if this is real. His whole frame vibrates slightly as if he's trying to contain his heartbeat. A crowd of demons swarms them, pulling Chloe away, and he reacts by transforming into his full devil appearance. He commands the demons to stand down and looks to Chloe to make sure she is alright. She smiles at him, and Lucifer's returning nod to her is packed with proud, happy emotion.

There's something besides joy in that look that Lucifer exchanges with Chloe, something that Ellis conveys with the length of the look. It's melancholy. When Chloe visits him later in his penthouse, Lucifer stands with his back to her, making some effort to keep his face calm. His eyes though are held rigidly open, and he doesn't let himself blink. He speaks quickly, explaining the situation in Hell and the challenges that remain unresolved. He shows that Lucifer doesn't quite trust himself to stop and listen to Chloe speak because he knows what she will say. Every word takes more of an effort, as they dance around speaking the truth, and he catches himself starting to move towards her, holding back instead. As Chloe's apologies mix with her tears, the sad image of Lucifer trying to not react to what she's saying dominates the screen. He winces visibly when she talks about her love for him, gasping slightly and trying to smile but forming only a fiendish part smile that is more a grimace. Finally, Lucifer does step toward Chloe to embrace her and tell her loves her too. Ellis makes the exchange truly heartbreaking by relinquishing all control of his expressions. Lucifer's eyes fill with tears, he caresses her cheek for a fleeting second then looks away when he launches himself away. The season ends with Lucifer taking his seat on hell's throne, once again straightening his cuffs, but he grips the armrests briefly to steady himself. Ellis has no trouble bringing levity and spark to his performances on Lucifer, yet even in quiet scenes, he is impeccable when it comes to balancing notes of tragedy and longing.

This article could only scratch at the surface of the brilliant performance Tom Ellis delivered throughout the season finale. He is a force to be reckoned with and he blew away all expectations. In a single episode, he showed Lucifer's charming side, his protective side, and his loving side. He had to cover a lot of emotional ground in this single episode and through his powerhouse performances, he took the audience along for the ride. He made the audience root for Lucifer during the fight, cheer him on when he beat down the rebellion, and stand with him in solidarity as he had to make the hardest decision of his immortal life to leave Chloe and all of his makeshift family behind in order to save them. It was a rollercoaster ride and Ellis made sure the audience felt every twist, turn, and heartbreak. All these reasons and many more are why Tom Ellis was so incredibly deserving of this title of SpoilerTV Readers' Choice Performer of the Month for May, bestowed upon him by the fans.

Please feel free to use the comments section to discuss anything that this article didn't cover.

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