After nearly a year-long wait, Lucifer returned on Friday with the back half of its fifth season. With the so-called Season 5B now streaming on Netflix, fans of the beloved series found out exactly how Lucifer Morningstar's (Tom Ellis) conflict with his brother, Michael (also Tom Ellis), resolved as well as exactly how their father, God (Dennis Haysbert) played into things. After some major twists and turns, the season finale ended up being one of the most game-changing episodes of Lucifer's story thus far, setting up the sixth and final season in a way that turns everything on its head and makes for a huge change in status quo for the Devil himself.
Warning! MAJOR spoilers for the second half of Lucifer's fifth season beyond this point. Do not read further if you really don't want to know. You've been warned!
At the heart of Lucifer's fifth season is family drama. Established in the first part of the fifth season, Lucifer and his brother Michael aren't exactly on the best of terms and it prompts God (Dennis Haysbert) to show up on Earth. During God's time on Earth it appears that the Almighty is losing his powers, making him a bit unstable and unpredictable -- he even becomes human by choice at one point, in an interesting turn, and then can't remember where he put his powers. It ultimately turns out that God's powers are just fine, but Michael has been gaslighting him, but even with God still, on his game, the Creator decides that he's ready to return and turn over the reigns of the Universe itself to one of his children. God doesn't choose that successor, though. He departs for his wife's universe (a special guest appearance by Tricia Helfer) leaving it up to his children to decide. Lucifer and Michael quickly establish themselves as the candidates.
But it turns out that, generally, this was all part of Michael's long game. Knowing that Lucifer is very unpopular with their siblings, he's convinced that he will be chosen as God and even has a plan for making that choice happen even by force when he assembles the Flaming Sword. Determined to stop Michael after his machinations included murdering Dan to ensure Chloe's sense of guilt would damn her to Hell as leverage to put Lucifer "in his place" as the Devil, Lucifer and his allies make one final play against Michael at the time of the vote, bringing all-out celestial war. Lucifer, aided by Chloe (Lauren German) manages to get the upper hand and get the sword away from Michael, but Michael then kills Chloe. She ends up going to Heaven where Lucifer cannot follow because he's been banished so he will never see her again.
No longer caring about himself, Lucifer goes to Heaven anyway and manages to survive -- thanks to his wearing Lilith's ring -- long enough to find Chloe and tell her that it's not her time and she has to return to Earth. He gives her the ring to save her, but there's not enough power in it to save them both. He dies in front of her after telling her he loves her. On Earth, a resurrected Chloe attacks Michael and is prepared to kill him when Lucifer suddenly appears, alive and well. Lucifer's survival is supposed to be impossible and everyone, including the other angels, is in awe. They all bow to him -- including Michael, even after Lucifer cuts off his wings. Lucifer has become God.
So, how exactly did Lucifer become God? The season finale doesn't exactly explain the mechanics of things, but it seems fairly safe to assume that Lucifer's selfless act of saving Chloe is behind it. Over the course of the entire series, Lucifer has been growing, changing, maturing, slowly becoming a being with more emotional depth and maturity. By sacrificing himself without hesitation for Chloe, he showed that he had finally moved beyond his selfish ways. That may be what allowed for him to become God instead of Michael who had a majority of "votes" but was not imbued with the powers of the Almighty. Michael still had selfish and self-serving aims. Lucifer had chosen to put others over himself.
With the Devil now God, it certainly sets up for an unexpected Season 6, though the addition of Season 6 -- Season 5 was originally intended to be the final season for the series -- didn't change where Season 5 went.
"One of the big things that we said when we agreed to Season 6 is that we did not want to change Season 5 because we loved Season 5," co-showrunner Joe Henderson previously said in an interview with Collider. "When the back half gets released from Season 5, when Season 5B gets released, I think people will see how much the whole season fits together like, I think, a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. I love it. We didn't want to change the ending, but what we did is we just ended Season 5. We basically lopped off the act six that Ildy was in the middle of writing, and these stories that we sort of were speeding through anyways, we realized, in retrospect, we were sort of moving really fast on some things and summarizing moments that could actually be stories."
Lucifer's complete fifth season is now streaming on Netflix.