‘Good Omens’ Recap Episode Two: “The Book”
This post contains spoilers for Good Omens!
We open in Aziraphale’s shop, as Gabriel and his head crony Sandalphon impose themselves on the general public. In an attempt to get the angel by himself, Gabriel announces (loudly) that he’d like to BUY SOME PORNOGRAPHY, causing an exasperated Aziraphale to sequester them to the back room. They have stopped by to check on the Antichrist, now that the Hellhound has been loosed and the four horsemen (Death, War, Famine and Pollution) have been summoned. Aziraphale dodges the question, saying that he didn’t stick around long enough to catch the hound, and thankfully, they take off.
Crowley is at his apartment trying to take a load off, when Ligur and Hastur interrupt his morning news program to check in themselves about the Antichrist. They still think that everything is going according to plan, what with the American Diplomat’s son being flown to the Middle East for the end days and well, Crowley doesn’t really correct them. He just snaps his fingers and they bugger off.
Meanwhile, the job of summoning the four horsemen has been outsourced, and we follow a rather plain looking gentlemen, the Summoner, as he drives his mail van to his first destination in a former war zone. Somehow, peace has broken out, but War (Mireille Enos) watches on, disguised as a war correspondent, with a smirk as three different leaders in a dusty tent attempt to sign a peace treaty. Only, they can’t quite decide who should sign first, and an argument breaks out. Tensions run high and guns are drawn as the Summoner enters the tent, effectively stopping the action and handing War a box. Inside of it is a rather old looking sword and for her, it marks the beginning of the end. Smiling, she walks away from the tent as gunshots ring out.
Three hundred and sixty years earlier, Witchfinder Major (Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery) Pulsifer oversaw a pyre being built in the center of town, and is now on his way to Agnes Nutter’s house. She’s accused of being a witch, which is absolutely the case. She has written a book full of prophecies, the only one in history to consist of completely accurate predictions. She’s not at all surprised to see the angry horde, declaring “Thou art tardy, I should have been aflame ten minutes hence.” She has predicted her own death (of course), and prepared for it by sending her prophecies to her daughter and husband, who then become the curators of the book. She also prepared by lining the skirts of her dress with gunpowder and roofing nails, and as she’s tied to the pyre she beckons the townspeople to “come hither to watch how the last true witch of England dies.” No one survived.
Except for her book, which stayed in the family for generations until it reached her great-great-great-great-great granddaughter Anathema. The young girl grew up memorizing the prophecies, many of which were about her, as they state that she is to be the one that is there for the end of the world.
Elsewhere, Adultery Pulsifer’s great-great-great-great-great grandson Newton is experimenting with his computer and, well, is doing a terribly bad job at it. As he plugs in his machine, the power for the entire city block goes out. This unlucky streak continues far into his adulthood, as he is fired from job after job for his inability to work with any sort of electronics. He finds himself wandering the streets after his latest depressing episode and lands smack in front of Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell (Michael McKean), giving a sermon on the (very real) threat of witches. He’s sadly, the last of his kind, which is why he’s thinking the world is going to hell in a neat little hand-basket, but he sees a spark of something within Newton, and invites him to come by his home later to learn more about becoming a Witchfinder. Newton, with very little direction in life and looking for a career not involving electronics, decides to take him up on it.
Anathema, all grown up, is now taking the necessary steps laid out in her grandmother’s book to try and prevent the apocalypse. The first of which is to move to a small village in England called Tadfield.
Crowley, still anxious about losing the Antichrist, attempts to cheer himself by tending to his plants. He had heard somewhere that talking to them helps them grow, but in true demon fashion, he chooses instead to use fear, and intimidate them into growing healthy and lush. An unfortunate leaf spot leads to a rather gruesome end for one of the plants, as the rest quiver in their pots.
When Newton arrives at Shadwell’s place, he’s met by a lovely woman who at first, thinks he’s there to see “Madame Tracy”, and tells him she only draws back the veil on Thursdays. When he insists that’s not the case, she assumes he’s there for “intimate personal relaxation and stress relief for the discerning gentleman”. They finally arrive at the fact that he’s there to see Shadwell, and she directs him to his flat. The Sergeant appoints Newton as Witchfinder Private Pulsifer and gives him a brief history of the Witchfinders.
Aziraphale calls Crowley with an idea about the Antichrist. Seeing as they at least know his age, and where he was born, they should attempt to visit the hospital to see if they can track him down that way. That is, as long as they don’t get “inconveniently discorporated” due to Crowley’s reckless driving through central London.
Wensleydale, Pepper, Brian and the actual Antichrist Adam are sitting in their little fort in the woods, discussing the new witch in town (Anathema) and the plight of witches in general. They decide to form their own “Spanish Inquisition,” on account of Brian knowing some Spanish, to hunt witches down. They find her out in the woods, performing spells to track down the Antichrist (whom she hasn’t yet discovered is Adam). She participates in their childhood games for a while but is clearly uncomfortable with their game of “torture the witch” (which consists of pushing the designated witch on a tire swing) so leaves them to it.
The convent near Tadfield doesn’t look much different than it did 11 years ago as Crowley and Aziraphale arrive. The biggest difference is that, upon entering the gates, they’re both shot – with paintballs. The nuns have long since gone, and now the place is a corporate retreat where co-workers can come shoot one another with paintballs in the name of “team building”. Crowley smirks as he miracles the stain from Aziraphale’s coat, and they make their way inside to see if they can find records. For an extra bit of fun, Crowley turns their paintball guns into actual guns, but to “keep it fun”, every person manages to “miraculously” escape death with every shot. Aziraphale is charmed by this, claiming that Crowley must certainly be nice, to not want them to actually die. Or at least he tries to claim that before Crowley slams him against a wall in anger. They share a tense yet, intimate moment that is broken up by Mary Hodges, the owner of the retreat, and also formerly known as Sister Mary Loquacious. They put her in a kind of trance where she answers their questions, only she has no new information to offer whatsoever. And all of those records? Burned in a fire. Having reached a dead end, they leave (as SWAT teams surround the workers, arresting all of them for using real guns).
As they drive home, Aziraphale gets a strong sense of love from the area that they’re traveling in – something Crowley cannot feel. Across the forest, Anathema is performing the last spell of the night and discovers something, taking off on her bike with a renewed sense of vigor. Between the angel and demon arguing and the witches enthusiasm, they collide with one another on the road, sending Anathema flying. Aziraphale is quick to heal her hand, head and bike and he offers her a ride back to her home – much to the chagrin of Crowley. In her haste as she leaves the Bentley, she forgets her book – “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter”, and doesn’t even realize it until much later that night, when it’s too late.
Of course, Crowley and Aziraphale haven’t discovered that they’re quite literally sitting next to the answer to their problem as they stop at a diner to debate their next move. Aziraphale suggests hiring a human to find the child, but Crowley reminds him that the Antichrist has a defense mechanism built in where suspicion slides off him like “whatever it is water slides off of.”
In Tadfield, Adam’s parents are discussing their son, and how strange it is that they let him keep the dog. Adam’s mother decides to check on him and finds him sound asleep. But the moment the door is closed, Adam’s eyes shoot open. He’s hearing voices in the night, indistinct but constant.
As Crowley drops off Aziraphale, they agree to use their “networks” of human operatives to attempt to find the Antichrist. Aziraphale exits the vehicle only to notice the book, and with wide eyes, keeps it to himself until he can get into the book shop. Crowley drives off without any knowledge of what his friend is about to do. The angel puts on white gloves, and opens to a “random” prophecy which of course, isn’t random at all – it’s about him, and his cup of cocoa. Startled, Aziraphale reads on through the night. In the morning, Crowley calls to see if he’s found anything and again, Aziraphale keeps this information to himself. His readings have led him to one prophecy and within it, cryptically, is a phone number. He dials it – and it rings to Adam’s house. He tells them “Sorry! Right number” and hangs up.
Stay tuned for our Good Omens episode three recap, “Hard Times.”