TV Review: 'Good Omens: The Doomsday Option (Episode 5)

“He’s here. Everything ends now. Time is over.”

For the second straight episode, the Good Omens dynamic duo—Aziraphale and Crowley—share no more than a precious few moments onscreen together and because of that (also for the second straight episode), even more of the original luster that elevated the series to the peak of witty heights has faded. In its place is the continued unfolding of the narrative driver—that inexorable walk towards Armageddon and, by the time the credits for “The Doomsday Option” roll, the end is well and truly now.

Thanks to Shadwell’s interference, Aziraphale finds himself in Heaven, body discorporated and in desperate need to find his way back to Earth and put a stop to the impending apocalypse. He’s briefly able to incorporate in spirit form long enough to give Crowley (who thought his bestie Aziraphale had been killed in the bookstore fire) the 411 on where the Apocalypse begins: Tadfield Airbase which, no surprise, everyone else eventually finds their way to as well. With Agnes Nutter’s book in and hand and Aziraphale’s instructions, Crowley regains a bit of his waning confidence and eventually makes his way to Tadfield.

For a few brief moments, Crowley believes that Aziraphale, his best friend in existence, is gone.

For Aziraphale, it’s about finding a willing human vessel to assist him in his mission to stop the War before it starts. He strikes gold in Madam Tracy, who just happens to be the woman taking care of the gobsmacked Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell (after his purported banishing a demon from this earthly plan with nothing but his pointer finger). Yes, everything here is a series of mind-bendingly comical coincidence as the angel picks up two more allies in the fight to prevent Armageddon, so much so, it won’t be a surprise if Agnes Nutter predicted every last one of these moments.

With the help of an angelic miracle, the two humans and Aziraphale (still riding shotgun in Madame Tracy’s head) make their way to Tadfield Airbase in a flying scooter, all the while obeying all traffic regulations on the journey.

Crowley and Aziraphale aside for a moment, the biggest development in “The Doomsday Option” is Adam finally coming down from his world-must-end-so-we-can-make-a-better-one tirade. Towards the end of the last episode and through a good portion of this one, he proselytizes about what he and his three chums—Pepper, Brian, and Wensleydale—will be able to do as the new rulers of the world. It’s not just his tantrum-like behavior that drives them away but Adam’s complete disregard for the loss of human life that will occur should things go according to his will.

In their desires not to be involved, Adam hints at his other friends (the Four Horsemen) on their way and how they will be able to make his visions a reality. Then a strange thing happens: when he gives Pepper and the others permission to act in accordance of their own free will, they leave his side, including Dog. In their absence, the voices of influence get louder, urging him to let them go, that he is the one that has the power. It’s watching his friends go that snaps Adam back into his own mind. He chases them down, begging their forgiveness and when the uncertain trio stands by his side, Adam proclaims that whatever it is he’s done, they have to stop it.

All this time, it looked as if Madam Tracy was going to be nothing more than a tertiary character. Now she finds herself in the thick of it. Quite the turnaround for a charlatan of a medium.

If “Saturday Morning Funtime” was the horn sounding the end, “The Doomsday Option” was the act of the troops gathering into formation. It’s the opening flow of the orchestral score before the crescendo that signals the two opposing armies to charge one another; the calm before an extremely violent storm (not the one experienced by Newton and Anathema, either). It was a necessary step back from the angel and demon hijinks and while not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just lacking in the earlier buzz that was Good Omens’ strength.

I know a lot of this sounds like undo complaints, like the kid that gets free ice cream but then bitches about the flavor or size of the cone, but as I long for more of Crowley and Aziraphale (Hell, let’s throw Jon Hamm’s Gabriel in that mix as well), I also realize just how important these last two episodes are in setting the board up for the finale. A coherent and well-structured story can’t be all about the treats and sweets; there has to be a bit of the healthy stuff in there as well, a necessary part of the menu. Or to put it in the Bane’s terms, “a necessary evil”. Let’s just hope the magic of the first three episode returns with a vengeance in the too-soon finale.

The End is Nigh

  • It only makes sense that the Four Horsemen ride into Armageddon in bike leathers and some very delicious motorcycles. Though I must say, Death’s ride was a bit underwhelming. But the Horsemen’s banter made up for it; War, Famine, and Pollution were like three siblings who’d be away from each other for years with Death being the father-figure they deferred to. Not only are they wicked powerful (tapping into the world using the Airbase’s communications equipment), they’re so much fun (well, maybe not Death). It’s a shame we haven’t seen a bit more of them.
  • For the creative ways he’s buggered humanity for these 6,000 years, it’s apropos that Crowley finds himself in a fire of his own making. Using another clever tangential peek into the past, we see his devilish influence on the construction of the UK’s M-25. His imagination for unusual ways to fulfill Hell’s agenda becomes vital in him making it through to the Airbase, despite his Bentley in flames. It’s no surprise really that, of all the participants in the upcoming Armageddon, Crowley’s the one that arrives with the most style.