This whimsical show about the end of the world is just delightful. In the fifth episode of Good Omens, “The Doomsday Option,” the last hour for Earth ticks away while all of the key players take their places. Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers!
When we last saw them, Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) had been pushed into a portal to Heaven by Shadwell (Michael McKean), and Crowley (David Tennant) had trapped Duke of Hell Hastur (Ned Dennehy) in his answering machine so he could escape the consequences of his choices on Earth. We catch up with Crowley, who has decided not to go to Alpha Centauri after all, as he discovers his best friend’s book shop is in flames. He runs inside, screaming for Aziraphale, and walks out despondent, absentmindedly picking up Agnes Nutter’s slightly singed book as he goes.
Aziraphale, meanwhile, apparates in Heaven in front of a Quartermaster Angel (Jonathan Aris) who scolds him for being tardy to the war– and for showing up without the body (and flaming sword) he was issued 6,000 years ago. Aziraphale explains that he hadn’t prepared to come, and as a result he accidentally discorporated on the way. As the Quartermaster blusters, Aziraphale takes a stand. He will not be fighting in any war, and he will finish what he started on Earth– even if that means navigating back on his own and possibly possessing a willing human in the manner a demon might.
Fortunately, Aziraphale’s navigation skills are solid. He immediately finds Crowley drowning his sorrows in a pub and is delighted to learn that Agnes’ book, and all his notes about Adam that are tucked inside it, has survived the fire. He instructs Crowley to meet him at the Tadfield Airbase, then departs to find a host for his own journey thither.
At just that moment, Shadwell returns home in shock after apparently zapping a witch out of existence. His attentive neighbor, local medium / prostitute Madame Tracy (Miranda Richardson), brings him into her flat for a lie-down while she entertains some customers with a seance.
The seance commences while the storm caused by Adam’s growing power rages outside, which is very atmospheric and pleases her clients. Although the proceedings commence with her usual trickery, she surprises herself and her guests when she’s possessed by a real spirit: Aziraphale. He indulges one of the seance guests by allowing her late husband to come through, and after that gentleman has emphatically told his wife to shut up, Aziraphale ends the seance so he can enlist Madame Tracy’s help.
Shadwell wakes to the sound of Aziraphale and Madame Tracy conversing, and is shocked to find that the “demon” he just banished has returned and is recruiting him and his neighbor to prevent the end of the world. They hop on Madame Tracy’s scooter, and using the power of miracles, zoom away towards Tadfield.
Crowley is making poor time, having been caught in the worst traffic jam in history as a direct result of his own interference in the construction of the M25, the “London Orbital Motorway.” In the 1970s, Crowley altered the plans so that the motorway would actually be a demonic symbol, and as armageddon began, the whole thing burst into flame, ringing London in a fire nobody can cross.
As he sits frustrated by his own past success, Crowley discovers Hastur in his passenger seat. The Duke of Hell escaped the answering machine when an unwitting telemarketer called, exiting her headset as a swarm of maggots and devouring the flesh on everyone in her office before recorporating. He’s come to tell Crowley he’s doomed, which is exactly the push Crowley needs to get creative.
Crowley, using the imagination that sets him apart from other demons, wills his vintage Bentley through the wall of flame. He and the car make the trip, but Hastur is incinerated. Crowley drives to Tadfield blasting Queen and looking like something out of an R. Crumb cartoon.
Back in the woods in Tadfield, Adam (Sam Taylor Buck) is still levitating and holding his friends captive. Dog is cowering near the mouthless friends as Adam summons his “new friends,” the Four Horsemen. He is unhappy with his friends’ resistance to his plan to burn down the flawed world and rebuild something better, so he forces them to smile, which means restoring their mouths.
He tells them he’ll give them each continents to rule, including Dog, and when they ask where he’ll be, he says he’ll stay there and be where he’s always been. They tell him that’s where they want to be, too, and that they don’t want him to force them to do anything or go anywhere. Adam tells them they can do what they like, and they agree that he isn’t their friend anymore and they run away– including Dog.
Adam doesn’t like being left behind. He speeds ahead of them through the air, landing in front of them on the village cricket pitch. He begs them to give Dog back, but Pepper (Amma Ris) says that Dog isn’t Adam’s, he’s his own dog. Adam levitates and screams with pain, arching his back as the world shakes with his anguish.
When his cry ends, he drops to the ground. The skies clear, and he tells his friends he’s sorry while Dog licks his face and whines with concern.
Unfortunately, Adam has already set things in motion for the end of the world. He tells Pepper, Brian (Ilan Galkoff) and Wensleydale (Alfie Taylor) that they need to get their bicycles. They’re going to stop it.
In Jasmine Cottage, Newt (Jack Whitehall) and Anathema (Adria Arjona) skip through afterglow and cuddling to maximize the less-than-an-hour until doomsday in the wake of their coupling. Anathema has all of Agnes’ predictions on heavily annotated index cards, but she doesn’t know which applies to the moment they’re in. Clever Newt suggests that if the predictions are synced with reality, then any card they choose will be right. Indeed, the one Anathema selects suggests that the two of them should go together to Tadfield Airbase. Furthermore, Agnes predicts that an ash tree will have fallen on the fence behind the base, giving them a way in.
Finally, to the intense confusion of the poor Gate Guard (Andre Nightingale) at the Air Base and the befuddlement of the Tadfield Neighbourhood Watch (Bill Paterson) who has given everyone directions to the base, a series of strange and stranger people arrive at the epicenter of Armageddon.
First, the Four Horsemen: War (Mireille Enos), Famine (Yusuf Gatewood), Pollution (Lourdes Faberes) and Death (Brian Cox) come roaring onto the base on motorcycles. Then Aziraphale/Madame Tracy and Shadwell arrive on their scooter. Next, Crowley arrives in his flaming Bentley. And while the Gate Guard is distracted by the angel and demon’s arrival, the four children ride past all of them through the gate, which Adam opens with his power.
Inside a building on the base, which turns out to be a top secret communications hub, the Four Horsemen use their powers to take over all of the communications/electricity in the world. They arm every major weapon and are ready to strike when their master arrives. They’re salivating over the imminent chain reaction of war, pollution and famine they’re about to unleash when Adam and his friends arrive outside and he announces his arrival.
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