Lucifer and Michael face-off in the real world, and Dean makes a shocking decision

By Samantha Highfill
May 17, 2018 at 10:00 PM EDT
Dean Buscher/The CW
S13 E23
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You know the feeling when a show delivers something you didn’t realize you’d been wanting FOR YEARS? Because that’s a little bit of what I’m experiencing right now. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything when we didn’t get the Michael-Lucifer showdown in season 5. Heck, that season finale is what I consider the show’s greatest hour. And yet, watching this finale, it was as if I could feel years of anticipation building inside of me as Dean finally said yes to Michael. And although he was fighting actual Lucifer and not Lucifer-in-Sam’s-body, it had the same effect. And I LOVED it.

But before I ramble on about my personal experience with Apocalypse 2.0, let’s get into the hour. We start with Sam giving all of the Apocalypse World citizens a little “Real World 101,” otherwise known as an introductory course into this world, where, as Bobby puts it, the ice caps are melting, a movie where the girl goes all the way with a fish wins Best Picture, and that damn fool idjit from The Apprentice is president. “You call where we come from Apocalypse World?” Hard to argue with that.

But at least this world has Sam and Dean, and they’re currently working with Castiel and Jack to hunt down monsters. Right now, they’re about to take out some Kardashian-loving werewolves. (Dean himself is a Khloe man, which should surprise absolutely no one.) And with Jack in tow, killing just about anything is incredibly easy. Jack freezes them, and the boys shoot. Any questions?

In fact, hunting with Jack has Dean feeling pretty optimistic that maybe one day, they really can stop all the evil in the world and then retire to a beach somewhere. Sam questions whether Dean would ever actually want to retire, but if the world is safe, then that’s exactly what Dean would want to do. But here’s the thing: The world isn’t safe yet.

Out on a walk, Bobby — who likes it in this world!!! — and Mary come across the dead body of Maggie, who came over from Apocalypse World with them. They bring her back to the bunker, where Jack is already mid-crisis about how he can’t seem to save anyone. Dean finds him in the middle of a nightmare and explains that even when they’re strong, they’re going to make mistakes. But no matter what comes their way, they’ll figure it out together. Because as Dean tells him, “You’re family, kid. And we look after our own.” NO I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING!!

Of course finding out about Maggie quickly send Jack’s reeling. When Maggie’s friend reveals that she’d snuck out the night before to go see a boy who works at the nearby gas station, Jack is there before anyone can stop him. But thankfully, the Impala is fast, so Dean, Sam, and Castiel show up just in time for Dean to put a few bullets into Jack just to get his attention. It’s obvious this Nate kid didn’t kill Maggie, a fact that only makes Jack’s spiral further.

Freaking out Jack storms off through the woods, crying, and asking himself, “Why do you keep hurting people” when Lucifer shows up. Yep, he’s back, and he’s the first to tell Jack that everything Sam said was a lie: Michael didn’t kill Lucifer. Rather, it was Sam who left him behind. As Lucy explains, “Sam is a big, fat liar.” (He’s also freakishly tall, but we all knew that.) Now, Lucifer is here for his son. As he tells Jack, they’ll never be human, and considering how fragile humans are, they’re never going to mix well with them. Even when they want to help, the humans always end up hurt — and that’s a sentence that strikes a chord with Jack.

Jack asks what they do now, and Lucifer suggests they leave together, explore the galaxy, pretend they’re in Star Wars, if that’s what Jack wants. Lucy even promises to make him a lightsaber if he wants one. Or a Wookiee. “This is our second chance, kiddo,” Lucy tells his son. And Jack’s interested, but only after Lucy resurrects Maggie.

Jack brings Lucy back to the bunker, where he brings Maggie back to life before the two of them leave. Moments later, Sam, Dean, and Castiel return. They ran into a bit of a problem when Michael showed up at the gas station. Thankfully, Dean had some holy oil in the trunk that he used to hold him off…for now.

The boys instantly start thinking of every possible way to locate Jack. This is also when Sam sits down with Maggie and asks what she remembers about her killer. She says she remembers his eyes, but just then, the lights in the bunker start flickering. Someone powerful is at the door.

The boys send Mary, Bobby, and Maggie away and promise to hold off whoever it is. Spoiler: It’s Michael, who floats his way down into the action. Once there, he takes everyone out relatively easily, and it’s when he’s got Dean by the throat that Sam prays to Jack.

Jack shows up just in time to save Dean’s life and throw Michael across the room. Jack then channels all his anger toward Michael, who’s bleeding from his eyes and ears, so I’d say Jack’s winning? Even Lucy seems impressed with his son. But then it all takes a turn when Michael tells Lucifer “we had a deal.” Dean then explains that Lucifer and Michael’s deal was simple: Lucy got Jack, and Michael got to do to their world what he did to his. That’s why Lucy wanted the two of them to leave.

Lucy tries to explain why he’s “not currently the bad guy here” — love that line — but Sam’s got a surprise of his own: Maggie saw her killer’s eyes, and they were red. Ready for another surprise? Apparently Jack can force people to tell the truth, because he does it to Lucifer, who admits to killing Maggie after she spotted him scouting out the bunker! And furthermore, he liked killing her. (Next: Dean makes a life-changing decision)

“You’re not my father. You’re a monster,” Jack says, which results in Lucifer finally letting go of everything he’s been suppressing. He’s spent so long trying to appear like a not-too-bad guy to win Jack over, and now he is DONE. In a moment that gave me chills, Lucifer lets out a scream that reminds you exactly who he is. He’s the devil. And if he can’t remake the world with his son, then he doesn’t need his son. He just needs his power.

Lucifer uses the archangel blade to cut Jack’s neck and steal his grace, at which point Sam tries to step in, and all three of them disappear in a burst of light, leaving Dean and Castiel with a defeated Michael and no idea how to save Sam.

Dean reminds Michael that he’s no stranger to beating Lucifer, but that’s when he was stronger and Lucy was weaker. In his current state, Michael has no chance of winning. Lucifer now has enough power to kill Sam and destroy the whole universe. “What if you had your sword,” Dean says. GUYS, DEAN IS HIS SWORD.

Flashing back to what Zachariah and Gabriel explained to Dean in season 5, Dean is Michael’s perfect vessel in the same way that Sam was Lucifer’s perfect vessel. With Dean, Michael would be the strongest he’s ever been. Michael admits that Dean’s vessel would give them a chance, so Dean makes a one-time deal: Michael is the engine, but Dean is behind the wheel. Michael agrees.

Meanwhile, Lucifer is playing a game with Jack and Sam. He’s put an archangel blade between them and if one of them doesn’t kill the other, he’ll kill them both. So Sam does what he has to: He gives Jack the blade and tells him to use it. But Jack knows he can’t beat Lucifer…and he thinks Sam can. So with a final “I love you, I love all of you,” Jack starts to use the blade on himself, but he’s interrupted by the arrival of MICHAEL IN DEAN’S BODY!!! (I’m going to need a poster of that shot of Dean with his wings all spread out.)

Michael and Lucifer waste no time before starting the fight, and just as Lucifer is about to win, Sam tosses his brother the archangel blade, which he uses on Lucifer. (I love that Lucifer’s perfect vessel helped defeat him, a moment that will hopefully bring Sam some closure.) And Lucifer dies. Okay, I know this is ultimately the outcome we wanted, but can I just say how super bummed I am to lose Lucy?! Mark Pellegrino is so, so good, and that character has been such a joy this season. Ugh, I will miss those one-liners, Lucy.

The boys are able to experience a moment of joy — THEY FINALLY DID IT!!! — before Michael goes back on the deal he made with Dean. In other words, Dean’s not Dean anymore. He’s Michael now.

The season ends with Castiel, Mary, and Bobby waiting for Dean to return to the bunker, but he doesn’t. Instead, MICHAEL is walking the streets. Apparently, this archangel has a thing for suits and jaunty newsboy caps, and you know what? I’m good with it. The season ends with a shot of Dean/Michael and his glowing eyes. (What do you want to bet that guy can’t appreciate a bacon cheeseburger?)

And that brings us to the end of season 13. I can’t say enough how amazed I am that this show can still be this good 13 seasons into it. I loved the arc of the season, and somehow, it provided answers to things that we’ve been (possibly unknowingly) wanting for years. There were conversations and twists that have been seasons in the making, and as much as my instinct is to get my Dean back ASAP, I’m very excited about where this Michael twist will take us next season. (Plus, Bobby and Charlie are back in our world! Who can be mad about that?!)

Episode Recaps

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.
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