THEN:
 
We see Lucifer caged by Michael in Alt World, his grace being extracted, and then him escaping through the rift.  We're reminded that he called Asmodeus his weakest creation and that Asmodeus has power to shape shift.  We also see Mary in the cage, catch up on Sam and Dean's conversation from last episode, and see Lucifer asking Cas for his grace:  Lucifer wants to be trusted.  Cas just smiles.  
 
NOW:
 
As the scene opens, the camera focuses on someone's feet stumbling through the woods.  A glimpse of a trench coat:  it's Cas.  He's staggering, coughing up blood.  There are swift, sepia-toned flashbacks of an altercation between Cas and Lucifer.  Cas stabbed Lucifer!  So why is he walking alone and hurt through the woods?  He falls to his knees as the scene fades.
 
Feet again - this time it's two kids, exciting over finding a dead body.  They approach Cas's seemingly lifeless body and poke him with a stick, then run away screaming when he opens his eyes.  He stands up, looking confused and concerned.  Then we see him approaching front steps of the dilapidated, old white building where Asmodeus had imprisoned them.  "Lucifer?  Where are you?"  he yells.
 
Cheerful music sounds as we focus on a young woman roller-blading down the sidewalk.  She appears happy yet somewhat hapless.  Oh, no!  Like a scene from a cartoon, there's a man with a huge cake in her path.  CRASH!!!  The cake goes flying, the bride and groom on the top falling to the sidewalk, but the young man catches the roller-blader in his arms.  They stare into each other's eyes; "I fell for you!" she giggles.  It's very cute and cliche, but suddenly creepy when we see a balding man watching them and smiling.  Wait!  It's OK.  It's a Cupid.  He must have set up this whole "meet-cute."  But the sweet turns sinister:  Lucifer is there.  "Nice job!" he says.  He slices into him and takes some grace, but doesn't kill him.  Instead he asks where more angels are.  The terrified Cupid says that he doesn't know; there aren't many angels left.  Then Lucifer thrusts his fist all the way through the helpless Cupid who collapses, dead.  "Accidents can happen . . . like that," says Lucifer and walks away.
 
We're in the bunker for a catch-up scene:  Cas has made it there and is telling Dean that every time he talked to him on the phone, he'd been talking to Asmodeus.  Even worse, Lucifer is back on earth and Michael, who engineered the apocalypse on "Earth Two" now wants to invade and conquer our world.  Dean isn't happy that Cas worked with Lucifer:  "I told you not to do anything stupid."  Can defends his choices, adding that Lucifer was scared.  Dean and Sam don't think Lucifer will be helpful against Michael; he's a danger not an asset.  Sam asks about Mary, and Cas says that all he knows is that she's alive.
 
We see feet again - it's Lucifer walking down a crowded sidewalk.  His vision is blurring in and out.  He is frustrated to be surrounded by people yet no angels.  He yells at a man with a bagel who was eyeing him, then shivers.  A coat in a nearby shop window catches his eye.  Then he sees a waitress serving food to a couple sitting at an outdoor table (despite the supposed chill).  He realizes he's hungry and is disgusted by that.  The next thing he sees is a homeless guy begging.
 
Asmodeus, in his trademark white is angry that Lucifer and Cas have escaped.  He's in his headquarters talking to an impeccably and darkly dressed Ketch.   Asmodeus had been gone on an important errand.  Ketch says that keeping Lucifer captive was stupid, and Asmodeus approaches him menacingly.  Ketch doesn't flinch, and Asmodeus, despite his initially threatening demeanor, agrees with him, adding that he wants Ketch to kill Lucifer.  The only problem:  he has to do it quickly, before Lucifer powers up with more grace.  Otherwise, they're all dead.
 
We're back in town.  Lucifer is now begging a few feet from the first man.  He holds out a coffee cup, asking brusquely for money.  People pass him by, yet still occasionally drop coins and bills into the other guy's box.  Lucifer is annoyed by his failure; generously, the first man offers some insight:  "It's your vibe . . . it's off-putting."  "Being human sucks!" gripes Lucifer.  The panhandler asks Lucifer if he's hungry and invites him to come with him.  On crutches, he leads the way down the sidewalk, right past a restaurant.  Lucifer doesn't understand and is disgusted as the friendly guy leads him to a dumpster.  He assures the fallen archangel that the food is still delicious, even better on the second day (a fact always true of my mom's lasagna too!). As he hands Lucifer a styrofoam container, there is the faint sound of flies buzzing.  Lucifer doesn't understand why the man doesn't use the money he'd gotten that day to buy a fresh meal.  The man explains that he's saving that for Sister Jo to heal his leg.  She's a faith healer that really heals people, at least people who can pay.  Lucifer says it's fake and that his leg is beyond salvaging, but the man insists that she is for real; when she lays her hands on someone, there's a white glow and they are healed.  Lucifer looks contemplative.  
 
Back in the bunker, Cas tells Dean that their plan is a long shot (like a lot of their plans).  Dean apologizes for not knowing that it wasn't Cas talking on the phone to him and asks if he's all right.  Can doesn't actually answer, saying instead that all that matters is getting Jack and Mary back.  Sam arrives with Donatello the prophet who says he's bewildered.  Their plan is to nab Lucifer, control him with the angel cuffs which should work if he's still weak, use his grace to open up a rift to get Jack and Mary back, and then close the rift again before Alt!Michael can get through.  They need an angel tablet, which no longer exists in our world, but they do have the demon tablet.  It's going to be a difficult task:  Donatello asks for chicken wings.  Then Cas hunches over with the staticky interruption of angel radio:  someone's been killing angels.
 
People are walking into a simple church.  There's a sign asking for donations, $300 minimum.  A slim young woman in jeans and heels puts her hands on an old woman.  There's a white glow.  The lady throw down her walker and straightens joyfully:  she can walk unaided!  Sister Jo, the faith healer, smiles sweetly.  Next, a young man with a scarred face approaches her; his eyes are wary and wounded.  She tenderly cradles his face.  White light suffuses his features, smoothing them.  She shows him his now flawless face in a mirror; he is awed and grateful.  Again she smiles serenely and compassionately.  The people lined up waiting clap.  Behind them, Lucifer watches with a gloating smile.
 
Having been notified of the death on angel radio, Sam, Dean, and Cas in their federal agent suits stand by the chain-link fence looking down at the dead Cupid.  Lucifer is powering back up and, in their own words, they are epically boned.  
 
Sister Jo is alone in the church counting her money.  Lucifer approaches and reveals that she is Anael, an angel (thus her healing powers and the white light).  She knows who he is too.  He's surprised that she's not cowering in terror.  He mocks her supposed humanitarianism;  she IS healing for money, after all.  She reveals that, unlike the other angels who were lost when they fell, she had a plan:  She listened to the humans around her.  She heard a woman begging for the life of her ill husband and offered the wife a deal:  His life for allowing her to use her as a vessel.  The woman agreed and was grateful.  Humans are so desperate for life that they will do almost anything; they will pay almost anything.  She's a business woman.  Lucifer holds an angel blade to her throat, backing her up, but his menace doesn't intimidate her.  Instead, she suggests that he take SOME of her grace, then let her recuperate; then he can "rinse and repeat."  
 
Still investigating the Cupid's death, Sam talks to the panhandler and finds out that he has directed Lucifer to the faith healer, Sister Jo.
 
Back in the old church, Lucifer leans suggestively into Sister Jo, but he isn't romancing her.  He is inhaling her glowing grace from a slice in her neck. He steps away, almost staggering with the heady influence of the powerful grace recharging him.  Behind him is a large, perhaps hand-painted picture of a road heading straight off into the distance.  Instead of a bucolic path through the woods, something rustic or biblical, it's a black top road with yellow lines down the middle, like the sort of roads the Winchesters have been on all their lives.  Sister Jo realizes that Lucifer is the one who killed the angel they'd been talking about on angel radio.  Now, she's worried that someone is coming. 
 
The Impala pulls up with its familiar growl.  Sam, Dean, and Cas smash through the doors into the dark church only to find - Ketch!  
 
Ketch wants them to help him kill Lucifer, but Sam wisely wants to know whom he's working for.  "Would you believe the good of humanity?"  They wouldn't.  Ketch insists that he's not a monster, that they have to find Lucifer and stop him and the best way to do that is to team up, but Cas is done listening:  with a two-finger touch to the forehead, he collapses Ketch and the Winchesters load him into the trunk.  They'll get more information from him, then kill him, burn him, and flush the ashes.  
 
As they are driving, Sam gets an alert on his phone:  Sister Jo has used one of her credit cards.  
 
Our scene changes to the neon lights of a tacky motel.  We can see Anael through the blinds.  Lucifer is with her in the room.  He wants more grace.  "We can do this slowly!" she suggestively suggests.  He slices and drinks, leaning in like a lover; he steps back, heals her, then slices her neck again sensually sucking in her grace that gently wafts from the wound.  Next, we see them collapsing side by side on their backs on the bed, both rather drained. Anael says that it's strange when she's almost human:  She feels emotions, the things humans must feel.  She seems intrigued, but Lucifer is more repelled at the thought:  he's felt those things and didn't like it, things like hunger, cold, and loneliness.  "I don't know how they keep going,"  Aniel says that there is pain in humanity but also hope and love, echoing Cas's words to Sam when he was giving Dean the demon cure.  She says that she envies humans because they can be anything.  In heaven, all she did was push a button as a soul entered heaven.   No one - not Michael not Raphael, not Naomi - listened to her.  She was relegated to the button pushing until the fall which didn't devastate her the way it did other angels; instead it liberated her.  Lucifer can't relate; he wanted to fit in; he wanted to please his dad.  Now HE'S a dad himself and he'll probably fail at being a father the way his own father failed.  Anael looks at him with compassion and understanding.  Suddenly, he stops, shocked at what he just revealed.  He's not sure why he's being emotional; he'll be back soon, once he powers up with some more grace.  Then he'll his find his son.  That's when the fun will start.
 
A flunky tells Asmodeus that they've found the prophet.  Donatello is leaving a chicken joint, loaded with yummy, deep-fried goodness, when he is approached by Cas.  Donatello tells him how the work is progressing on the demon tablet, that he's the only one who can read it, and that he's trying to hurry because he's concerned about Jack and Mary and wants to get them back.  But he's not talking to Cas:  it's Asmodeus, who freezes him and commands his unconscious mind to report anything he translates.  As he frees oblivious Donatello, he snags some chicken for himself, but, sniffing at it decides he doesn't like it. Unlike Lucifer, he's not hungry for human food.
 
The next day has dawned, and the Impala pulls up outside the motel where Sam has been alerted of Sister Jo's presence.  The brothers and the angel head toward the building, ready to face Lucifer.  
 
Inside the room, Lucifer is flopped on the bed, reading the Gideon Bible and critiquing its accuracy.  The phone rings; it's ostensibly the front desk, asking about Sister Jo's card, but it's really Sam.  They now know she's still alive; to get her out of the room, they ask her to check her card at the registration desk again.  When she leaves the room, they approach her.  She says she needs help!  Lucifer is in her room, but he's still weak.  
 
She knocks back at her room door, saying she lost her key, but when Lucifer opens it, Sam and Dean are there instead.  They enter grimly determined, and Lucifer backs up, only to realize Cas is coming up behind him.  "I had no choice," says Aniel.  "I had to tell them how you're still weak."  Lucifer asks if they plan to kill him, and Dean gets closer, holding up the angel cuffs, but they've been played:  Lucifer is powerful enough to toss them all across the room, smashing into the furniture.  Then he proves his power by clenching his fists and leaving them gasping on the floor in agony.  Suddenly, Ketch bursts through the door and tosses something inside - there's a concussive blast.  But Lucifer disappeared just in time with Anael.  
 
"You helped Lucifer escape!" accuses Dean.
 
"I saved your lives!" replies Ketch, who'd gotten out of the trunk and used a demon bomb (seen a few seasons ago with Kevin, I think).  They realize that Lucifer's weakened state had been exaggerated and that Sister Jo is now Satan's gal pal.  Ketch again tells them that they should work together. "Why should we trust you?" asks Sam.  Ketch knows that's a good question.  As a matter of good faith, he tells them that he's actually working for Asmodeus.  That's not exactly reassuring, but Ketch says that he needs to stop Lucifer "for everyone."  Lucifer free and walking on the earth is the line that even Ketch will not cross.  He doesn't want Michael here either.  Ketch confidently says that he is the lesser of at least three evils and asks that, before they murder him, they at least let him prove himself useful.  
 
Lucifer and Anael are in a playground, the one with the sandbox entrance to heaven, facing three angels, clothed in soft gray and tense with distrust.  "You need me," he says.  They want to kill him, but he makes them an offer:  He can create more angels, if they make him the ruler of heaven.  At first they laugh, but he reiterates that they need him.  Then he sweetens the deal:  "How'd you like your wings back?"  And then there's the kicker,  they don't really want to run heaven; they're followers.  He'll be their leader.
 
The good guys are back in the bunker, Donatello munching chicken and getting intensely grumpy at his work, Dean cleaning a gun.  Sam says they do have a plan.  Cas looks concerned.
 
In a pure white room, angels are kneeling before Lucifer, seated in a modern, white, throne-like chair with Anael standing next to him, looking every bit the regal consort.  "Hail to the King baby," smugly says Lucifer as his eyes glow red.
 
Ketch tells Asmodeus that he missed Lucifer by seconds and says that they can't defeat a full-powered Lucifer.  Asmodeus has something special from that errand he'd run the other day:  it's an archangel sword.  Not too useful without an archangel to wield it, says Ketch.  Asmodeus isn't worried.  He leads Ketch to a cell revealing a ragged-looking prisoner slumped over inside.  He's tattered, sweaty, bloody.  He lifts his face, his lips are sewn shut. "I have Gabriel," says Asmodeus.
 
THE END
 
A lot happened in this episode!  Here are a few questions to get the discussion started:
 
  1. Did you expect Sister Jo to be an angel?  What do you think of her siding with Lucifer?
  2. What is going to happen in heaven now that Lucifer is enthroned there?  What implications will this have for humanity?
  3. Who is the greatest threat:  Lucifer, Asmodeus, or Michael?
  4. In an interview, Danneel Ackles who played Sister Jo said that her character is neither good nor bad but is just someone looking out for herself. Do you agree with that or did her actions in this episode identify her as one of the bad guys?
  5. What did you think of the revelation that Asmodeus has Gabriel imprisoned?  
 
We have a few weeks to keep this conversation going since the next episode isn't until March 1st!