#2. Cadwallader in The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone has depicted Satan at least a dozen times throughout the years, casting him as everything from a bearded old man in a jail cell to a bobble-headed nickel machine in an episode starring William Shatner (seriously).
He's magnificently upstaged here. Shatner, not the bobble head.
But the first time he appeared on the show was in a famous episode called "Escape Clause," where Satan goes by the vaguely Hogwartsian name Cadwallader.
We bring this episode up because 1) this is another good example of the "Devil makes you a deal that seems too good to be true" trope, and 2) because it highlights how writers don't seem entirely sure what exactly the Devil does for a living, or why.
"'Being evil' makes for a terrible CV. Realty is where it's at, careerwise."
The story goes that Mr. Bedeker, an angry asshole and hypochondriac, sees Cadwallader appear in a puff of smoke in his bedroom asking for his soul. It takes around five minutes and three monologues for this dipshit to realize that, hang on, this just might be the Devil. Cadwallader tells Bedeker that he can manifest in any form he wants, which means the Devil has a hilarious sense of humor, since he chose to look like a sweaty, obese man in an ill-fitting business suit.
You try getting demons to measure your inside leg measurement with 7-inch talons.
Anyway, Cadwallader asks for Bedeker's soul in exchange for immortality and indestructibility. It sounds too good to be true, right? If Bedeker can live forever, what does he care if the Devil wants his soul after he's gone? If Bedeker ever becomes tired of eternal life and starts longing for death, he can always invoke the escape clause in the contract and the Devil will kill him quickly.
Why He's the Good Guy:
So Cadwallader gives this guy the perfect deal, and then offers him a chance to back out if he wants. We all know where this is going. Cadwallader is going to manipulate things so that Bedeker is in an impossible situation and has no choice but to invoke the escape clause.
"Ah ha! If I stay sitting quietly here for the next millennia, there's nothing you can do."
Nope. The Devil stands aside while Bedeker spends a glorious second act jumping in front of trains and buses in order to collect piles of money in lawsuit settlements. After a short while, he gets tired of the monotony and starts looking for bigger thrills. He spends every waking hour poisoning himself, leaping off of high buildings, even eventually killing his wife. And by eventually, we mean after about a month.
We'd have barely finished watching the box set of 24 by then.
He develops an ill-thought-out plan to purposely get sentenced to the electric chair just to see what it feels like. If you predict that he'll get a life sentence and thus have to invoke the escape clause, then congratulations, you understand how ironic punishment works.
Admittedly, this is not a happy ending for Mr. Bedeker. The problem is not the deal with the Devil, though, it's that Bedeker is an idiot. It's not clear what he intended to achieve by pursuing a death sentence from the courts. Even if he had experienced the electric chair and everyone had watched him survive it, did he think that people were just allowed to go home after something like that? He would either have been forced to live in prison the rest of his life anyway or have had to pretend to be killed by the chair and then forced to spend eternity buried in a casket.
"Alternatively, I suppose I could have just taken a bath with the toaster."
So ... back to our point from earlier: Is this how the Devil spends his time? Personally finding the dumbest people on earth and then setting elaborate supernatural traps for them? We're talking about a guy who would have almost certainly done something equally stupid/evil if left completely alone. From the Devil's point of view, it's like boasting about the fish you caught at Red Lobster.
At least with the "Devil Went Down to Georgia" example earlier you could say that maybe the Devil just needed a new fiddle player in hell.
While he's going to have to suffer this asshole for all eternity.
#1. Lucifer in The Prophecy
Viggo Mortensen plays a long-haired, posture-impaired Lucifer who likes to jump out at people and whisper creepy little threats into their ears; one of the first sentences out of his mouth is, "I can lay you out and fill your mouth with your mother's feces." In hell, that's how they say hello and goodbye. It's similar to "aloha" in that sense.
This whole "evil" thing is just some kind of cultural misunderstanding.
He doesn't pretend to be charming or compassionate and makes no secret about hating humans. He repeatedly refers to people as monkeys, making him both a bad conversationalist and a little speciesist. The only reason he even steps foot among humanity is because the archangel Gabriel is trying to steal a war-seasoned soul from earth to overthrow heaven. Gabriel is mad that humans are God's favorite and wants to punish God for it. While this might seem like a fight the Devil could get behind, in actuality he sort of likes everything the way it is and doesn't want to see heaven change.
Mortensen is a famous method actor. For this role, he bravely murdered 47 people.
Why He's the Good Guy:
We guess this comes down to the old dilemma: Who's your real enemy, the abrasive dick who doesn't actually hurt you, or the nice guy who makes your life miserable?
The Lucifer in this movie is the former. He's like your old racist grandma in that sense. He says awful things, he intimidates, he hangs out in spooky places and eats flowers for dramatic effect. But he also doesn't want souls or anything else from humanity. He just hates Gabriel.
"He stole my Pog collection a few eons back. I've never forgiven him."
So he shows up, saves the world as we know it and then just leaves without trying to bring about Armageddon, collect any extra souls or trick any musicians on his way out. Oh, and did we forget to mention that he also helps the main character, played by Elias Koteas, restore his faith in God?
"You've got to believe in him, otherwise I can't come and claim you when you inevitably mess up."
In other words, Viggo Mortensen's eight-and-a-half minutes of screen time as the Devil is more heroic than his entire experience in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He's just a dick while he does it.