Percy Jackson and the Olympians Ending Explained: Who is the Lightning Thief? (2024)


The epic season finale of Percy Jackson reveals who stole Zeus' master bolt and what comes next for the show's young heroes.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Ending Explained: Who is the Lightning Thief? (1)By Brynna Arens | |

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians Ending Explained: Who is the Lightning Thief? (2)

This article contains spoilers for Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

The first season of Percy Jackson and the Olympians has come to a close, and with it, the end of an epic quest to retrieve Zeus’ (Lance Reddick) missing master bolt and stop a war between the gods. The young heroes Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell), Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries), and Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) have been through a lot over the course of their cross-country journey, from fighting Medusa (Jessica Parker Kennedy) and the Mother of Monsters (Suzanne Cryer) to getting entangled in the gods’ petty squabbles.

Now that the bolt has been found, and the clues pointing to the true culprits are finally falling into place, it’s time for the trio to finish this quest, clear their names, and save Percy’s mom from the clutches of Hades (Jay Duplass).

Here’s a rundown of everything that went down in the epic season finale of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and what could be next for the young heroes.


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Does Percy Stop Zeus’ War Between the Gods?

After escaping the Underworld and finding himself once again on the shores of Montauk, New York, Percy comes face-to-face with Ares (Adam Copeland). This time, however, Ares is there to harm, not help, the young demigod and his friends. Recalling his training with Luke (Charlie Bushnell) at Camp Half-Blood and their discussions of the rules of the gods, Percy challenges Ares to single combat. Things aren’t looking great for the young demigod, but with some help from the nearby ocean, Percy gains the upper hand and draws first blood, making him the winner of the fight.

Even though Percy has already missed the Summer Solstice deadline, he still wants to return Zeus’ master bolt to Olympus in person in an effort to stop the war. He tries to explain to Zeus that the real enemy is Kronos, and that the gods should be directing their ire at him instead of each other, but Zeus insists on maintaining the war until he achieves victory. Percy argues with him, angering the god, but Poseidon (Toby Stephens) appears, surrendering to his brother to save his son.

Percy Meets Poseidon

Poseidon and Zeus agree to end the war amongst themselves and plan to call a family meeting to discuss the events that have transpired and whether or not Ares and Kronos are still a threat. Zeus leaves, giving Percy a chance to finally speak with his father face-to-face.

The two share a few words, and Percy asks Poseidon if he ever dreams about Sally. Poseidon responds by sending Percy back to camp, with a few tears in his eyes – his lack of a response speaking volumes.

Who is the Lightning Thief?

Percy returns to camp to celebratory cheers from his fellow demigods, but can’t relax until the demigod who donned Hades’ helm and helped Ares steal the bolt is caught. He and Annabeth pull Luke aside and ask him why Clarisse (Dior Goodjohn), a daughter of Ares and their top suspect, is still walking around camp like nothing happened. After all, they did inform Luke of their suspicions days ago. Luke insists that he kept their findings a secret from Chiron (Glynn Turman) in order to avoid escalating tensions in camp further – the war between their parents already had the young demigods ready to fight each other – but that he would accompany Percy to tell Chiron the truth during the camp’s big celebration later that night.

Percy and Luke find themselves in the woods later that evening, away from the festivities. It’s there that Percy realizes that Luke is the Lightning Thief and his friend fated to betray him. Luke insists that he never meant to hurt Percy, that he didn’t try to send Percy to Kronos to kill him, but rather to get him on their side. Luke has been working with Ares to resurrect Kronos and take down the gods this whole time.


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He and Percy duel again, with Luke trying his best to convince Percy that he’s the good guy in this scenario – that the gods don’t deserve their love or devotion since they rarely give it themselves.

Chatting about this scene with Den of Geek, Charlie Bushnell says that Luke “truly just believes that the world will be a much better place if Kronos was in charge” and that he’s kind of blinded by the possibilities of bringing back a “Golden Age” of civilization under Kronos.

It’s hard not to feel for Luke in this moment, knowing what he’s been through and how abandoned he’s felt. While Bushnell doesn’t necessarily agree with Luke’s methods, he definitely understands where his character is coming from. According to the young actor, “Luke’s felt abandoned his whole life by his father, and his mother essentially went crazy from the Oracle [so] he ran away from home at nine and had to fend for himself. And then he met Thalia, and then Thalia was turned into a tree. And like, he basically like just lost, all these people that he cared about. And there’s just one thing after another, like leading to this moment.”

Just as Luke is about to strike at Percy, Annabeth reveals herself by throwing her dagger at him. Using her invisibility cap, she’s heard their entire conversation, and can’t believe that someone she thought of as family would betray her or the gods. Luke escapes through a portal, leaving no clues about where he’s gone or what he’ll do next.

Fans of the books will recognize this as a fairly drastic change from how this moment takes place in The Lightning Thief. In the book, Luke summons a monster into the camp to attack Percy and leaves him for dead, with Annabeth not learning of his betrayal until Luke is long gone from Camp. Adding her into this scene for the series, however, leads to a more heartbreaking moment — and Bushnell agrees.

“Even though there’s not much said, between Luke and Annabeth, I think, you know, a picture can say more than 1000 words,” Bushnell says of this important moment for his character, “And I think even just that look that they give each other is so powerful.”

While he doesn’t think that Luke necessarily feels any regret in this moment, he does feel the weight of their history and their sibling-like bond. “Annabeth is essentially one of the few people that he considers, like, his true family,” Bushnell says “I think it was a bit heartbreaking for him as well in that moment, because he knows that she’s feeling betrayed.”


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Sally Jackson, Free at Last

After Ares flees the fight on the beach, he leaves behind Hades’ Helm of Darkness. Percy delivers the Helm to Alecto (Megan Mullaly), who is waiting in a cabin nearby, hoping that Hades will hold up his end of the bargain they made in the Underworld.

And Hades does send Sally (Virginia Kull) back to the land of the living as promised. We don’t get to see their emotional reunion in real time, but instead through a dream Percy has before his first day of seventh grade. When he awakens, the two have clearly been back together for some time, and seem ready to take on whatever comes next. But Sally is not just free from the Underworld. A post-credit scene reveals that she will also be free from Gabe.

Sally began divorce proceedings soon after returning from the Underworld and changed the locks to their apartment, but that’s not the only way to get Gabe permanently out of the picture. Gabe happens to come by the apartment after a certain package with the head of Medusa inside of it is returned to Percy from Olympus. Gabe can’t help but look inside the box, and is immediately turned to stone. In the books, Sally sells this incredibly life-like sculpture for a high price that allows her to send Percy to a new school and also gives her enough money to return to college and pursue her dream of writing. What Sally chooses to do with the Gabe statue in the series, however, has yet to be revealed.

What’s Next for Percy, Annabeth, and Grover?

Even though they failed to stop Luke from escaping camp, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover leave camp in fairly high spirits. Grover has received his Searcher’s license and is off to search for Pan, the god of the wild, satyrs, and folk music. Pan has been missing and presumed dead for thousands of years, and all satyrs dream of being the one to find him and restore order to the natural world. Many satyrs have tried and failed throughout the years, but Grover is hopeful that his idea to search the seas rather than land for their elusive god will prove more fruitful.

Annabeth has been a year-round camper ever since she arrived five years ago. Being a magnet for monsters and danger caused a rift between her and her father, who chose his new wife and family over her. However, she has reached out to him in an effort to reconnect and is hoping to stay with him until next summer. Annabeth’s father seems excited at the opportunity, and according to her has already planned trips to New York City and Disney World. It’s an opportunity for her to finally be a kid again, at least for a little while.

Percy goes home to reunite with his mother, but insists that the young trio make a pact to meet back at Camp Half-Blood next year, no matter what happens. Some time later, we see that Kronos is still trying to reach Percy through his dreams, this time briefly appearing as his mother. Kronos promises that they’ll soon meet in the real world, if Percy survives what’s next. According to Kronos, Percy’s survival is the key to his return.


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Percy then wakes up on the first day of seventh grade to Sally making blue pancakes for breakfast. When he tells her that he didn’t sleep well, she shows up at his bedside with a notebook and pen, ready to catalog whatever cryptic message Kronos had for him this time. It seems like the fight is just beginning for Percy, but for now, at least, his biggest hurdle is surviving the seventh grade.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians Ending Explained: Who is the Lightning Thief? (3)

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Brynna Arens

Brynna Arens (she/her) is a freelance writer who studies movies, TV, and pop culture through an intersectional feminist lens. She'll watch almost anything tbh, but it's…

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