Here we are at the penultimate episode of season thirteen and though it was wrought with emotion, it was somehow…quieter than I expected for the second-to-last episode. “Exodus” saw more focus on character’s emotional arcs and somewhat less on action in the thirty-one hours in the Apocalypse World, at least until the very end which was, umm…well let’s get on with the review!
Fathers and Sons
Okay, so Jack and Lucifer get right to the relationship building as he arrives in the camp, much to the protests of – well everyone really. Truly, Mary is the only one who understands how this works and she is the one who didn’t raise a teenager, so the irony is especially strong: the more you argue and insist on saying “no!”, the more the child will want to do the opposite. In this case, that means listen and engage in a relationship with the sperm-donor who happens to be the master of all evil, Lucifer.
For the most part Lucifer and Jack’s interactions were well done, if a little abrupt. Lucifer is a great manipulator and Jack is very naïve in most respects – particularly socially and emotionally – which make the perfect ingredients for this narrative Lucifer is spinning. Some of the other elements were a little rough and tumble for this viewer though: Dean was very aggressive in his demands to both Jack and Lucifer. And while this would have been in character with Lucifer, he offered nothing to Jack to substantiate his concerns. In fact, none of the characters did. Castiel and Sam, while softer in their approach with Jack still primarily swooped in to bark orders about what he couldn’t do, rather than offering valid warnings, which would have been more prudent. After all, there is a deep and rich history just in their own encounters with Lucifer as evidence to why anything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.
One battle/exchange worth highlighting is Lucifer convincing Jack to get on the bus, rather than fight Michael. This scene is both amusing and frustrating, since we know that Lucifer is manipulating words and smooth-talking Jack. And we can also read Sam’s face – stress and aggravation at Jack’s quick acquiescence to Lucifer, despite fighting him on the same points. Jared did a great job throughout this episode of selling the emotions he was feeling towards Lucifer in almost pure expression.
What the Jack-Lucifer relationship did offer was some further growth for Lucifer. As a master manipulator, it is hard to conceive that Lucifer is ever truly sincere in anything. However, it was very evident that the tête-à-tête with Gabriel struck a true chord. First let me say that we didn’t get enough moments between Richard and Mark – because this one short moment was so rich, I needed more! Second, this conversation really said it all. Gabriel has been around more than usual this season, but he hasn’t had the opportunity for much character development outside of his revenge mission. This was another peak at his true respect for humanity and the familial dynamics of the archangels:
“Oh, is this the part where you tell me that, uh, Dad made up all those so-called lies about you? Got it. Yeah! Yeah, Pop locked me up, okay? Don't you get it? Humans were innocent and beautiful. But you, you couldn't stand that the old man loved them more than he loved you. So you tempted them and you corrupted them just to prove how flawed they were…Dad saw that your evil was like the first few cells of cancer that it would spread like the disease unless He cut it out. That is why he locked you up, to stop the cancer. But it was too late then. And guess what? It's too late for you now.”
The real cap to this of course, was the tear on Lucifer’s face. Combined with the end moments as Lucifer makes a deal with AW Michael – unhappily by the expression – and maybe he really, sincerely wants to change. But the question is: can he?
Charlie and Ketch are kidnapped in a reverse-ambush scenario, apparently setup by one of their own who betrayed them to the angels. Okay. Charlie is interrogated by the Castiel of AW. Okay. Ostensibly, I have no issues with either of these things. I just can’t figure out how they serviced the main driving story; for all appearances these scenes function independently, which speaks to an overall issue with this episode (considering it is the next-to-last in the season): it felt content-lite. But, I digress.
We do get Charlie and Ketch pulled back into the main storyline (finally!) and in the process, are privy to yet another Castiel incarnation. This was a bit Nazi-interrogator in many respects; I’m not sure what the accent was though I give credit to Misha for again creating a distinct version of the same character. This was definitely not our Castiel – he was aggressive, vicious and had the necessary distaste for humanity. The quivering jaw and discoloured eyes, along with the precisely combed hair (as opposed to the charming slightly askew mess our Cas always) were nice touches too. And I don’t know about you, but I prefer the trench coat.
Now, because this was so short-lived of an encounter, I don’t know if this was meant to be a reminder and tease to the Empty with Cas’ reference to being “used to” seeing more than one of himself. Or simply a reference for fun. While interesting, this scene was an oddity in this episode. But maybe that was just me?
Also transitory, but fun, was Dean rescuing Ketch with the commentary. And of course – Sam bearhugging Charlie, to her confusion, but her taking it and offering him a big grin in return. While I found much of the kidnapped-interrogated-rescued scenes to be a bit of a (confusingly used) filler, these moments still offered some fun, so I’m not complaining.
Single-File Through the Rift
Admittedly, this is another plot point that has me a bit confused: did Sam and Dean take all the rebel leaders back with them through the Rift? That seems like bad strategy on the part of those leaders. But then, I also hope they have Archangel juice left to re-open that rift, unless they plan to tap Jack, because….everyone else they need they left behind. So, some of these points felt a bit sloppy to me.
I did enjoy the episode, overall. The character interactions were there. The developments were there in some places. We had some laughs. The problem – which isn’t really a problem per se – is that it felt so light in terms of plot. The goal was to get the people through the rift, while they decided if they would go, the primary conflict that popped up was the kidnapping of Charlie and Ketch. This resolved with very little effort. They got through the rift, again with little effort. Lucifer driving the bus with Cas as his co-pilot, well, I’m sure there is a dirty joke in there somewhere…
Seeing the boys and Bobby together again will never get old – and seeing Bobby in the bunker, well that was pretty incredible after all these years.
How Did We Think It Would End?
Okay, so the very end is where most of the intensity happened: this really ramped it up like a proper almost-finale. Everyone is through except Sam and Dean, Lucifer and Gabriel (and a few civilians) Michael crashes to the ground. Lucifer steps up, knocked down. Gabriel steps in like a true hero and tells Sam and Dean to run. Then – the unbelievable.
Dean makes it through the rift. Lucifer tries to get through. Sam shoves him back, with a great one-liner.
“How did you think this would end?”
Sam goes through. Rift closes on Lucifer and Michael.
The visuals of Gabriel and his wings were the most impactful moment of this episode, undoubtedly. Evocative and beautiful. Hands up if you were heartbroken and hoping Lucifer would resurrect him? This final exchange between Lucifer and Michael really says everything and marks a true shift: Lucifer is making a deal that he doesn’t want to make for once. You can see the disgust on his face. My guess is that Lucifer steps up in the end (fingers crossed!) to prove to Jack he’s better than everyone says he is. Thoughts?
“Exodus” was quieter than expected, and certainly simpler in its driving plot, though not lacking in interest. Gabriel’s heroic death was a pinnacle moment, changing things for everyone. But let’s hope it wasn’t a final death? Now that some many AW citizens are on the other side – what will it mean for the big boss battle? Do you think Lucifer can change in the end?
Share your thoughts below!