Good Omens Season-Premiere Recap: Something’s Going Down in the Up

Good Omens

The Arrival
Season 2 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

Good Omens

The Arrival
Season 2 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Courtesy of Prime Video/Courtesy of Prime Video

Hi, humanity! I’m Bethy, and I’ll be recapping this second season of Good Omens. I recapped Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and I’ve been reading Terry Pratchett since I was little, so Vulture thought I was the right fit for this task. What ineffable wisdom they have!

When I heard there would be a second season of Good Omens, I thought, “But wait, they did the whole book in season one? And Sir Terry’s dead, so … how will they pull this off?” Little did I know that Pratchett and Gaiman outlined a sequel book, 668: Neighbor of the Beast. According to Gaiman, the stuff in season one building out Heaven and Hell came from that outline. Gabriel, Beelzebub, and all the other Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons were also introduced in 668. I am excited to see the closest thing to a new Terry Pratchett book we’re ever going to get, so let’s dig in!

The episode begins with an angelic “meet cute” flashback. We see Aziraphale and Crowley meet for the first time before Crowley even fell (or rather, “sauntered vaguely downwards”). Az helps Crowley make a nebula, and my guy already has the sin of lust in him. He is just drinking Crowley in. As Giles once said on Buffy, the subtext is rapidly becoming text. The Ineffable Husbands shippers will be pleased.

Speaking of shippers, I should mention that I’m planning on including a Gay-O-Meter to rate how queer each episode of Good Omens season two is. You’ll find it at the top of the Apocrypha section, just like in the real Bible.

Crowley finds out that the whole of existence has a ~6000-year expiration date because that’s when the humans are getting judged. Turns out Crowley’s big contention with Heaven was anthropocentrism, and girl, same.

Flashback sorted, we’re now in a post-non-apocalyptic London. After averting the End Times in season one, Crowley and Aziraphale are personae non grata in their respective realms. Aziraphale is still hanging out at his rare bookshop and is (ew) landlord to the record shop next door. The record shop is eight months’ late on rent, but he doesn’t care. He just wants someone to source rare classical vinyl for him. Crowley, meanwhile, is teaching his replacement on Earth (played by Miranda Richardson) the ways of the world. A new status quo has established itself, so it’s the perfect time for an amnesiac Gabriel to fuck it all up.

Jon Hamm as Gabriel in season one of Good Omens did very little for me. His lawful-stupid vibe felt true to the show’s take on Heaven, but his role as “No, don’t do that” guy was limited. Now Hamm gets to go full himbo, and it’s glorious. Gabriel’s cheerful, clueless, and trusting demeanor is the underlying vibe many straight white men bring to every situation. “Most things are fine in the end,” he says, and he really believes it.

Gabriel comes to Aziraphale’s bookstore fully nude and holding a box. Eventually, Az figures out that Gabriel wanted to give him the box, only to find it seemingly empty. As he always does when in trouble, he calls on Crowley. Crowley had heard something weird was going on in Heaven from his infernal successor. “Something’s going down in the up,” she says, in some very Pratchett-y prose.

Aziraphale wants to help Gabriel; Crowley wants to drop him off in Dartmoor and forget this whole thing ever happened. It’s a classic principle-based ethics versus ethics of care argument. Aziraphale wants to help because it’s the Right Thing to Do, while Crowley doesn’t want to help the guy who almost got his bestie sucked into Hell. He’s so mad at Az for lacking backbone/reason that he discharges an EMP? I guess that’s what happens. Crowley kind of strikes a Super Sayan pose, red lightning comes out of his limbs, and all the power goes out on the bookshop’s block. That means record-store owner Maggie gets locked into a woman named Nina’s coffee shop for their own li’l meet-cute B-plot.

It’s only after Beelzebub drops the intel that Aziraphale is risking being erased from existence that Crowley’s willing to get involved. Apparently Heaven is looking at “extreme sanctions” against anyone who helps Gabriel while he’s on the lam. That means not only will Az not exist, he will retroactively never have existed in the first place. No interstellar meet cute, no shaky alliance at the gates of Eden, no really good dinners. It’s no wonder that Crowley comes back and decides to help Gabriel — uh, Jim. Crowley and Aziraphale decide to essentially put a cloaking device on the bookshop, which should shield Gabriel from Heaven’s and Hell’s eyes. Only it backfires in classic Streisand Effect fashion. That’s when trying to hide something only makes it more apparent. Heaven can see that some big, lavender miracle has been done. So they know Aziraphale is somehow involved in whatever is going on with Gabriel, which is more than even Gabriel knows at the moment.

What is going on with Gabriel? We have a clue in the form of an empty matchbook with a Bible quote on it, Job 41:19. “Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out,” which is a description of Leviathan. In the Book of Isaiah, the Leviathan is said to be killed at the end of time. The Book of Job itself describes a weird prank/goof/bet God and Satan have over the man’s piety. It’s God at peak ineffability, doing some truly wack shit and not really explaining why. It also can be read as God and Satan still being on pretty good terms, all in all pretty on brand for Good Omens. Let’s see how our celestial boyfriends get themselves out of this one.

Biblical Apocrypha

• Gay-O-Meter is at Defcon 4: DOUBLE TAKE. Nothing explicitly queer is happening, but we’ve got two sets of same-sex couples full of one-way longing. Also Hamm ass, which counts for something.

• If you’ve only encountered Terry Pratchett as a co-creator of this series, I have good news. Pratchett wrote shittons of books, both in his Discworld fantasy series and in other, more discrete chunks of narrative. A bunch of the Discworld series just got new audiobooks with Peter Serafinowicz as Death. (The same Death as in season one of this show. They borrowed him for Good Omens.)

• Was anyone else triggered by Crowley constantly calling Aziraphale “Angel” and sent into a whole The Idol K-hole? No, just me? Fuck.

• If Maggie sold Taylor Swift on vinyl, her record shop would be doing better, jussayin’.

• Nina and Maggie are played by Nina Sosanya and Maggie Service, who previously played members of the satanic Chattering Order of St. Beryl.

• Seriously, Emmy for Jon Hamm. I don’t think it’ll happen. If he only won on his last season of Mad Menthe TV Academy isn’t going to reward him for six episodes of being a silly goose. But they should. Look at him dusting!

• I’m glad we don’t have to suffer through multiple episodes where Crowley and Aziraphale are mad at each other. I don’t like it when my dads fight.

• The three years Aziraphale did the “I’m Sorry” dance were 1650, 1793, and 1941. Not sure what happened those years to put Aziraphale in the wrong, but here are some guesses: 1650 was smack in the middle of Cromwell’s arguable attempt at genocide in Ireland. 1793 was the beginning of the Reign of Terror, which we saw these two at last season. And 1941 is a bad Spielberg movie. Hope that helps.

Good Omens Premiere Recap: Something’s Going Down in the Up