They pulled it off.
The writers of Lucifer accomplished in the show’s final season what I had been wanting to see from Supernatural‘s end times last year: a satisfying final arc, and more importantly, a meaningful last episode. And I’m still thinking about it, almost two months later.
What makes this significant aside from the general plotlines of both shows dealing directly with all things heaven and hell? The fact that their final seasons are practically mirror images of each other—only one was good, and one…wasn’t.
Anyone who watched the end of Supernatural will probably recall what was going on at the end (or maybe you don’t, and that’s fine). Long story short: there is some indecision about what was going to happen with Chuck and his narrative direction in the lives of the Winchesters; Jack ultimately becomes the new God; and after a very weird hunting trip, Dean dies and goes to Heaven to be joined by Sam many years later.
In a strikingly similar vein, Lucifer saw the titular character facing indecision about what was going to happen with God’s throne in heaven and the issues of love and free will; his brother Amenadiel ultimately becomes the new God; and after a very weird story arc involving time travel and a not-yet-born daughter, Lucifer goes back to Hell to be joined by Chloe many years later.
See what I mean?
There are, of course, the key differences that made the end of Lucifer a greater success, especially when compared to the dumpster fire at the end of Supernatural. What stood out to me weren’t the plot similarities, but the very different ways in which the story was told.
Supernatural never fully addressed Chuck being stripped of power or what happened with Castiel’s sacrifice to save Dean—Lucifer showed us what happened to God and allowed Lucifer’s sacrifice for Chloe at the end of season five to be a catalyst for their relationship’s progress.
Supernatural never explored Jack as the new God—Lucifer showed us glimpses of Amenadiel’s Silver City and how he included the angels in a new “Round Table” vibe that gave them agency over themselves, as well as a voice in how the universe is run.
Supernatural ripped Dean away from his loved ones because of a random piece of metal—Lucifer showed us how the protagonist chose a harder, different path in order to help damned souls deal with their guilt and ultimately change and grow.
Ultimately, both shows were centered around the concept of free will. Dean, Sam, and Castiel (and later, Jack) struggled for years trying to make their own way in the world, to break free from the constraints of heaven and the “authorship” of God/Chuck. And yet, after everything they went through as Team Free Will, Dean is reduced to a passive character in the last episode, with not a single thing that is his choice (other than eating some pie and going on that hunt in the first place). Meanwhile, Lucifer actively decides to complete the cycle of his daughter’s time travel, even though he knows it will result in a painful time away from his family and the love of his life—his daughter and Chloe are also key factors in the decision, encouraging him to do what’s right for the souls in Hell who need his guidance.
While Supernatural will always have a special place in my little fangirl heart, it is plain that the last act of free will is Cas’s confession of his love for Dean, and his ultimate sacrifice at great personal cost. At the end of the day, Lucifer stole the show and created something memorable in the best way, despite how much I cried.
It’s a better ending than Chuck could ever write.