Good Omens 2: Avenging Angels

The band Space once sung this catchy tune:

This song, I think, describes Good Omens 2 quite nicely. Though it’s more complicated than that (as things often tend to be). Having averted the Apocalypse, the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley find they have a bit of time on their hands: Crowley having been kicked out of his job and all but banished from Hell and Aziraphale – well, he’s not exactly in Heaven’s good books either. But he’s kept the bookshop and often enjoys buying new (well, extremely old) ’78 records from Maggie across the road, who has kept her grandmother’s record shop going even in the digital age (in part due to “Mr. Fell” being her landlord and she’s the only one that can source his favourite records).

Things start to take a turn when the Arkangel Gabriel turns up in Soho, completely naked apart from carrying a cardboard box, and makes his way to the bookshop having completely lost his memory…

Now, I initially thought the first episode was a bit slow and had some trouble “feeling” it. But with the second episode, everything clicked together, and it was an absolutely whirlwind of a ride which ended far sooner than I had hoped. I must say that Terry Pratchett’s presence is felt throughout the show – I loved how Gabriel fans somebody with a Discworld book, and that C.M.O.T. (cut-my-own-throat) Dibbler is responsible for providing dangerous substances to an Edinburgh doctor specialising in cadavers for medical research. Among many other things. I think Terry would have really enjoyed this season.

There is so much going on and so much to enjoy that it’s impossible to list everything here. But needless to say that there is a fine line between being an angel and a demon – both are two sides of the same coin. Throughout the series we go back through time to see how the pair’s relationship develops – from the beginning of the universe (when Crowley had yet to be cast down to Hell), to Biblical times, and jumping forwards to the time where grave diggers were providing medical establishments with cadavers for use in medical research for handsome sums of money. This proves to be a REMARKABLY interesting part of the story because of the grey line, morality wise, of digging up the dead and using them in medical research. It also provides a significant moment in which Crowley demonstrates that he be good (which absolutely delights Aziraphale). We also revisit the Second World War (where we get to see Mrs. Henderson of the Windmill Theatre fame – a theatre that I used to walk past many times back in the 2000’s) and a magic act to outdo all magic acts.

The whole point to this is to solve the mystery of why Gabriel turned up at Aziraphale’s bookshop (and subsequently became a David Jason-like Granville in the process – you’ll have to watch to see what I mean) as well as putting the world to rights (literally) – with a bit of matchmaking along the way.

But really, the main point – to me at least – is that thin line between good and evil. Sometimes there is no distinction at all. This is best demonstrated in the Job sequence in which Job (God’s favourite human) is tested by having all his animals slaughtered and his kids killed. This job(!) is left to Aziraphale who, along with Crowley, get up to shenanigans which are best to those that watch the show. We see (or at least hear) God, played once again by triple Oscar-winner Frances McDormand talking to Job (played by David Tenant’s father-in-law, Peter Davidson) with Job just completely flummoxed. In the end, however, Aziraphale is convinced that because he defied the will of God, he’s going to be cast down to Hell like Crowley. But Crowley simply tells his friend that he won’t say a word. The whole Job sequence is a pivotal moment in the show and is really beautifully handled.

The final episode wraps up things as it should do, but also opens the possibility for a third season of this wonderful story. Saving the day is one thing but saving it repeatedly is another. Being the sentimental old git that I am, I am not ashamed to say that I cried. Happiness and sadness. Crowley finally shows some emotion towards his angelic friend. Lovely appearance by Derek Jacobi, by the way.

I’m not sure whether Good Omens 2 is coming to the BBC like the first series did, but nevertheless I’ll be buying copies on Blu-Ray when it’s released. This is a truly remarkable sequel to one of my all time favourite books, and Neil Gaiman and the team have worked miracles to bring it to the screen. And speaking of Neil, hopefully we should be getting The Anansi Boys soon – I am hotly anticipating this one because I’ve a huge fan of the novel. Seeing Mr. Nancy and his sons Fat Charlie and Spider – along with Mrs. Higgler – is going to be my my jam for next year (assuming it’s released next year, and that all the current Hollywood strikes are settled).

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