Question: Why would Lucifer resort to lame crap like megaphones and firecrackers?
To contextualize my thought process here, a snippet from a fic I am unlikely to ever finish. It was supposed to be about Sam and Lucifer, and the way Lucifer fucks Sam, but also keeps Sam from being able to touch down with Dean, who is also being fucked over by many things completely separate.
Dean looks at you like you're doing him a personal disservice by being the way you are.
And Lucifer, to you: "I pulled you from the fire, too."
You're standing in the middle of a goddamn crime scene, and Lucifer's walking the distance between your brother and you, arms curled around his chest. He rubs his flannel between his thumbs, a meaningless nervous--no, absent--tic that makes more sound than Dean does, speaking. You hate that.
Then he stops. "Or I guess, I pulled the fire out of you. You've got a real eye for nuance, Sam; I know you appreciate it when I do, too. So let me make this clear: I don't want to break you. I want to own you."
Dean flips you an Alcoholics Anonymous chip, right through Satan's skull. x weeks sober. (By the way, Dean's not really looking at you like that, the whole thing about personal disservice; at least, if he is it doesn't have anything to do with you. He just looks like that.)
When I wrote that--whenever the episode it mentions aired; I think it was 7x04 "Defending Your Life"?--I'd been thinking about ways Lucifer could possibly get to Sam, outside of fire and brimstone and physical pain and whatnot. Because these are very boring, and very mundane, and let's face it--if Meg can do better than that I'm pretty sure Lucifer can, too. Lucifer's always been the kind of dude who would dig his own holes (see: summoning Death, 5x10 "Abandon All Hope"). He's a ~personable~ guy. And I figure, why go with the fire and brimstone when all you need is a megaphone, right?
So I thought, well, clearly he'd try to fuck with Sam's relationship with Dean. Somehow. Draw parallels where there weren't any (or are there?). In 2005 (or I guess 1983, too) Dean pulls Sam from fire, saves him. In 2012, Lucifer keeps the fire and brimstone at bay, and ~talks~ to Sam instead. Saves him, more or less.
It made me think about 7x14 "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" and 7x17 "The Born-Again Identity" in conjunction with each other. 7x14 brings up the idea of childhood fears and childhood encounters with, well, what big brothers are wont to do. Things that are emotionally scarring on one hand, and hard to take seriously on the other.
I've seen people kind of side-eye Lucifer's alleged "torture"--why the King of Hell apparently only amounts to dollar store pranks and yelling into a megaphone. (I personally didn't mind it, the same way I did not mind the Apocalypse amounting to two people bitching at each other in the middle of a field in the middle of Kansas. We do have a history of these shenanigans. XD But anyway--)
7x14 and all its clowns made me think, well, what if Lucifer's tortures were all things Dean had done to Sam when they were children?
Not in an intentionally cruel, depraved kind of way--but in a brotherly, child's play kind of way. Setting off firecrackers and singing incessantly are tantamount to blaring Asia, sticking spoons in your brother's mouth, etc. It's on that level.
It could just be Lucifer being a fairly unimaginative, immature ass. But isn't it more interesting to think about what Lucifer could have culled from all that time in Sam's head? What childhood memories and relationships he could WHOLLY AND IRREVERSIBLY PROFANE just by fucking with Sam and giving those moments extra hellish connotations?
Hell is not about experiencing what is beyond the human threshold of, well, experience, or even imagination (which, let's face it, is not actually boundless). It's about twisting what's already there. Taking away the home you might find in memory and making it something to which you can never return.