“There needn’t be a war. We can save everyone.”
With only hours to go before Armageddon officially rings in, the time for witty rejoinders* and feel good moments of reminiscing is put to the side as Crowley, Aziraphale, and the other players in the apocalypse realize just how fast the end of the world goes from an idea to reality.
*Considering the story—the original creators and their jump-off-the-page characters, this is an obvious exaggeration. However, it is not out of reach to say that the wondrous chemistry between our favorite angel and demon are all but non-existent in this particular episode, given the unceremonious nature of their separation in the previous episode. The witty writing’s still there, but more spread out this time.
It began at the end of where, after reading some of the environmental magazines given to him by Anathema, Adam subconsciously transformed a nuclear reactor into a lemon drop and now, that Armageddon is only a few hours away, the Antichrist’s powers are truly starting to manifest. In “Saturday morning Funtime” his unconscious manipulations of reality, where he raises Atlantis, creates alien beings whose message of peace and harmony (not to mention grading humanity on its irresponsible flubs regarding the planet’s health), and lets the Kraken loose on whaling vessels, Adam begins to hear the whispering voices while awake. “Make it happen,” they say, “make it real”.
It’s here that Adam begins to understand what he can do and, in this, begins to let the nature of the Beast come forward. Forcing his friends to stay with him despite their pleas to be free, he points out how the world has gone to Hell thanks to humanity’s carelessness, suggesting that nothing will be left for them when they grow up. Scarier still is his idea that it wouldn’t be terrible “if all the nuclear bombs went off and it started again, only properly this time.” There’s no mistaking it, Adam sounds quite similar to the MCU’s Thanos though, as the Antichrist, he doesn’t need Infinity Stones to bring his will to pass. Even Dog becomes agitated by its master’s unusual behavior. But what can you do when a veritable god tells you to shut up and your mouth disappears?
From a plot perspective, Adam’s apparent descent towards his unholy origin is the most interesting aspect of “Saturday Morning Funtime”. Unfortunately, it lacks the pizzazz and fun of everything else going on. As serious as everyone else’s predicaments are, they aren’t kids and watching one’s friend seemingly transform from your sweet buddy to a terrifying god doesn’t leave much room for funny one-liners. Thankfully the slack in this regard is picked up by others. Though Crowley doesn’t have much to work with, his time on screen is every bit as entertaining. Not only does he melt his former cohort Ligur into a puddle of nothing with the old bucket of holy water above the door gag, but he also traps Hastur—who finally learns the truth about the misidentification of the Antichrist—in his answering machine. Though it rates as one of the weaker sequences yet, the psychedelic chase through the phone lines and the ensuing reminder that demons don’t obey the laws of physics as we know them (thanks Narrator/God) and it makes sense in the fact that it doesn’t make sense.
And then there’s poor Aziraphale. Not only does he sound closer and closer to a celestial breakdown (angels can get those, can’t they?) he even gets accosted and roughed up by his fellow angels, who demand him to pick a side. Oh, and then Gabriel revisiting the business about the Flaming Sword, in which the flustered Aziraphale answers with a non-answer and one can already see just how much he needs he demonic brother Crowley to help navigate what will be a most assured rush of insanity in the few hours before things all come to a head.
Of course, Aziraphale’s got problems of his own when Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell—after seeing the angel communing with Metatron and thinking he’s a demon—inadvertently backs Aziraphale into the open gateway leading to Heaven. For Aziraphale, it’s par for the course. He doesn’t have the best foresight in the world and the surprising F-bomb he drops the instant before being hurled up to Heaven is the perfect summation of his emotional fracturing. Coupled with Crowley leaving for parts unknown and there’s no one really to take on the celestial powers and stop the War.
The End is Nigh
- It was bound to happen. No way was Good Omens going to maintain that rapid fire joy of watching Crowley/Aziraphale banter about for six episodes. Most of that is due to the plot line and the pair’s unfortunate split. With that said, if an episode like “Saturday Morning Funtime” is your weakest episode, you’re doing something very, very right.
- It’s beginning in earnest now. What with Adam seemingly giving into his powers, the two remaining Horsemen—Pollution and Death—being activated, all sorts of Agnes Nutter prophecies coming to pass and the official horn sounding, things don’t look too good for this world. Add to it that Crowley’s in the wind and Aziraphale was zapped Upstairs and things are looking thoroughly sketchy. On the positive side, at least Ligur and Hastur are out of the picture.
- One of the good things about Anathema is that she’s not the typical ‘try to fight the prophecy’ protagonist. If that includes doing the horizontal mamba with Newton Pulsipher while tornadoes rage outside then, so be it. Too often, where prophecies are concerned, people dismiss them or spend so much time fighting the fate they aren’t prepared for what happens when they come to pass.
- While the dialogue in Good Omens is amazing, a big mess of the fun is from those small occurrences and tangents Narrator God takes us on as the story unfolds. The bit about how many angels can dance on a pin (save for Aziraphale, they don’t. Ever.) and bringing it back to explain Crowley’s flight into the phone system was brilliant. Also, the line about Pestilence retiring does beg the question: what is the retirement plan like for a Horseman of the Apocalypse? Better yet—and much more relevant to the story at hand—shouldn’t have there been some type of Find-my-Flaming-Sword app Aziraphale could have used to, you know, find his Flaming Sword?