‘Good Omens’ Episode Three Recap: “Hard Times”
It’s time for another Good Omens recap! As always, there will be spoilers, so consider this your warning.
I’ve also decided all of the images of this episode’s recap will be dedicated to documenting the fabulous outfits that Aziraphale and Crowley (well, especially Crowley) have worn through the centuries because it’s my recap and I do what I want! And so, first things first —
A Brief History of Aziraphale and Crowley’s Friendship:
The Garden of Eden — God asks Aziraphale what happened to his flaming sword. Aziraphale stutters noncommittally. (“Forget my own head next!”)
3004 BC, Mesopotamia: Watching Noah build the ark — Crawley is shocked that God is killing all the humans in a fit of rage. Aziraphale clarifies that it’s “just the locals. God isn’t mad at the Chinese, or the Native Americans, or the Australians.” And that God will introduce something new after called a “Rain Bow” as a promise to never do this again. Crawley remains unconvinced, because this still involves murdering children. Aziraphale tells him “you can’t judge God’s plan because it’s –” and Crawley interrupts with, “Don’t you dare say ‘ineffable.’”
33 AD, Golgotha: Watching Jesus get nailed to the cross — Crawley has changed his name to Crowley. Aziraphale asks him if he ever got to meet Jesus. Crowley says yes and that he was “a very polite young man” and that he was the one that showed him all the kingdoms of the world. (Because, as a carpenter from Galilee, his travel opportunities were limited.) Crowley wonders what Jesus said that got everyone so upset. “Be kind to each other,” Aziraphale responds. “That’ll do it,” replies Crowley.
537 AD, Kingdom of Wessex: Aziraphale is riding for Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He confronts the Black Knight… who turns out to be Crowley. Aziraphale is out to spread peace, and Crowley has been sent to disrupt it. (“I’m here spreading foment.” “What is that, some kind of porridge?”) They realize they kind of just cancel each other out. Crowley says, “What if we just both stayed home?” Aziraphale is affronted at the suggestion of lying to his superiors.
1601, the Globe Theatre: Aziraphale and Crowley are watching a very sparsely attended production of Hamlet. Shakespeare approaches them and asks for a “small favor” — to be a vocal and encouraging audience for his actor (Richard Burbage) playing Hamlet. (He later eavesdrops on their conversation to steal some lines.) They realize that they are both headed towards Edinburgh, and Crowley mentions that it’s a waste of effort if they both go. Aziraphale balks at the implied suggestion that just one of them go, to do both the miracle and the tempting. Crowley reminds him that, because of their “arrangement,” they have done this dozens of times before. They flip a coin. Aziraphale loses and has to go to Scotland. In exchange, Aziraphale makes Crowley perform a miracle in exchange — turn Hamlet into a hit.
1793, Paris: Aziraphale is locked in the Bastille as the French Revolution rages outside. He popped across the channel for some crepes and was arrested (and is now awaiting the guillotine) for looking like an aristocrat. Crowley comes in to save him (mostly from the paperwork that comes from being “discorporated”) and asks why he doesn’t just perform a miracle to save himself. Aziraphale replies that he was reprimanded by Heaven last month for performing too many frivolous miracles. (“I got a strongly worded note from Gabriel.”) Crowley mentions that he got a commendation from Hell for the French Revolution, and he is taking the credit, even though it was the humans that thought it up themselves. He snaps his fingers, and Aziraphale’s shackles fall off, and his clothing swaps with that of the guard. He goes to thank Crowley but Crowley stops him, telling him that Hell can’t find out he saved an angel, because they will do more than just send a “rude note.” Aziraphale offers to buy him lunch instead.
1862, St. James Park: Crowley wants a contingency plan in case their agreement is discovered or things go pear shaped. (“I like pears.” – Aziraphale) He’s written it down and hands it to Aziraphale because “trees have ears. Ducks have ears. Do ducks have ears?” Aziraphale is shocked and dismayed by what Crowley wants. The note says “holy water.” Aziraphale refuses to give Crowley what he considers a suicide pill. Crowley insists that it will just be “insurance.” Aziraphale still refuses and mentions that heaven would be furious if they found out he was “fraternizing” with the enemy. Crowley is insulted by that term, and Aziraphale throws the note in the pond and storms off.
1941, London: Air raid sirens are going off as Aziraphale enters a church to supposedly hand over books of prophecy to the Nazis. They ask him for the “Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter.” He tells them that all known copies of the book were destroyed. They go to kill him, when a woman (“Rose Montgomery of British Military Intelligence”) enters, gun drawn. Aziraphale triumphantly claims that he was recruited by her to foil the Nazis and they have been “played for suckers.” Unfortunately, she reveals that she is actually a Nazi as well, and he is the one that has been double crossed. Luckily for him, Crowley comes hot stepping (literally — he’s a demon in a church) in to save him once again. By “demonic intervention,” a bomb drops on the church but “miraculously” both Crowley and Aziraphale are unharmed. Crowley even saves Aziraphale’s books. He offers him a lift home, and Aziraphale gazes after him lovingly.
1967, SoHo London: Crowley has put together a group of thieves and criminals to pull off a heist for him. Among them is a young Shadwell, the locksmith of the group. He wants them to break into a church (to steal some Holy Water, though the humans aren’t aware of that yet). Shadwell wants to know if there is witchcraft involved. Crowley says no. Shadwell is disappointed. Later, outside the bar where they met, Shadwell stops Crowley to tell him about the Witchfinder Army and to offer its services to him, should he need it. Crowley gets into his car and finds Aziraphale sitting inside. Az has heard about his “caper” to rob the church. After much consideration and trepidation, Aziraphale has changed his mind about helping Crowley. He warns Crowley that holy water won’t just kill his body but will kill him completely. He hasn’t changed his mind about not wanting to Crowley to use it, but he also can’t stand Crowley risking his life. He then hands Crowley a thermos full of holy water. Crowley asks if he should say “thank you” or if he can drop him off anywhere. Aziraphale declines but says perhaps one day they can “go for a picnic or dine at the Ritz.” Crowley insists on giving him a lift. Aziraphale says “You go too fast for me, Crowley,” and exits the vehicle.
Present Day, One day before the end of the world: Aziraphale hangs up on Mr. Young and tries to plan how he is going to explain the Antichrist mix up to Gabriel and the other angels. Meanwhile in Tadfield, Adam is walking with Dog (who is still adjusting to life as a former Hell Hound), when he comes upon Anathema crying and breaking pots in her garden. She is upset about misplacing The Book. He asks if she’s ok and offers his help. She tells him that she is upset about losing her book, and he offers to look for it or give her the book he wrote instead. (It involves pirate detectives and dinosaurs.) She invites him inside for some lemonade. He excitedly asks if they will have to “battle the witch that lives in Jasmine Cottage” in order to get it. She tells him that is her cottage and she is not a witch but an “occultist.” (“Oh that’s alright then,” replies Adam). Dog is hesitant to enter because of the horseshoe nailed above the door frame (to ward off evil), but Adam makes him enter and a little bit more of Hell is burned out of him.
Back in London, Newt is looking at the artifacts of the Witchfinder Army (including the hat of his ancestor Thou-shalt-not-commit-adultery Pulsifer), when he comes across Shadwell’s pay ledger. God notes that, according to the pay ledger, Shadwell does not actually run the Witchfinder Army, but has concocted a list of generals, colonels, and majors (including Witchfinder Majors Saucepan, Tin, Milk bottle, and Cupboard) in order to extort more money out of benefactors like Crowley. In fact, at this moment, Crowley and Shadwell are meeting in a small cafe. Crowley tasks Shadwell with going to Tadfield to track down an 11-year-old boy. Shadwell asks if the boy is a witch, and Crowley cagily replies, “Possibly, but we have to find him first.”
In Jasmine Cottage, Anathema is explaining ley lines and auras to Adam. He is eating it up. He gets particularly excited about Anathema being able to read people’s auras. He asks if she can see his, and she realizes that she can’t. (God explains that the reason she can’t see his aura is for the same reason that people standing in Times Square in New York can’t see the rest of America.) She gets on a roll, telling him about saving the environment (especially the whales), the dangers of nuclear power plants and how we need to get rid of them, and more. Adam soaks it up like a sponge. Anathema sends him home with a stack of New Aquarian magazines. He takes them eagerly.
Up in Heaven, Aziraphale meets with Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, and Sandalphon to tell them that Hell has “possibly misplaced” the Antichrist. It does not go well. He tries to tell them that the actual Antichrist is not with the U.S. Ambassador but somewhere else and offers to find out where (even though he already knows). They remind him that there was war in Heaven before the earth was created, and things were never “really settled.” Aziraphale really does not want a second war, but the angels are committed. They brush off his concerns and send him away. “The earth isn’t just going to end itself, you know.” Later, the angels convene to talk about their mistrust of Aziraphale. They decide he has been “down there” too long.
Back in London, Newt is clipping noteworthy headlines and articles from the newspaper. Aziraphale dials Shadwell, and Madame Tracy (in full Brigitte Bardot sex kitten get-up) answers. She passes the phone to Shadwell. Aziraphale also tasks him with sending “men” to Tadfield to investigate Adam Young. He also sends his condolences about the death of Witchfinder Major Milk bottle. Newt tries to tell Shadwell about the unusual weather patterns in the Oxfordshire area. Apparently there is a village there that always has “perfect weather for the time of year,” something that never actually happens. Shadwell is uninterested until he puts it together that Newt is talking about Tadfield. He then tasks Newt with going to investigate the village. (After Newt promises to pay for his own petrol, of course.) Newt is to report to Shadwell’s apartment first thing the next morning so that he can be outfitted with his “armor of righteousness.”
Later that evening, in a five star restaurant, Dr. Raven Sable (otherwise known as “Famine”) is dining with his assistant. Due to his influence, fine dining restaurants now serve miniscule portions (including a first course that is a balloon full of lavender scented air for the patrons to inhale). He loves seeing the rich going hungry. He is a business man with a whole chain of restaurants, and he is about to launch something new — “CHOW,” a food product that contains no actual food or nutritional value. It is going to be sold at diners and fast food joints all over the world. He goes to visit one diner, assistant in tow, to test out the new products, when the delivery man arrives with a package. It is a set of scales. He tells his assistant to cancel all of his upcoming appointments for the foreseeable future.
Crowley calls Aziraphale to arrange a meeting while in Tadfield. Adam tries to talk to his parents about all of the new things he’s learned. His father dismisses it as “rubbish” and so, sulking, Adam goes to his room to continue his reading. Both tense, Crowley and Aziraphale meet. Crowley asks if Aziraphale has found the boy yet. Aziraphale, still not yet on board with having to possibly kill a child, pretends like he doesn’t know where Adam is. He insists that Crowley, being the demon, should be the one to do it. Crowley tells him that it’s a big universe and even if the earth “turns to goo,” they could go still go off together… after all they’ve been friends for over 6,000 years. Aziraphale is scared of the suggestion and retreats to his “but you’re a demon and I’m an angel” argument. Crowley tells him to forget their opposing sides and that they are on their own side. Aziraphale is stubborn and defiant, and tells him that, even if he did know where the Antichrist is (he does), he wouldn’t tell Crowley. He insists that their “arrangement is over.” Crowley leaves, telling him, “Have a nice doomsday.”
In bed, Adam is still reading Anathema’s magazines via flashlight, a bag of lemon drops next to him. He goes to sleep, the voices whispering in his head. As he dreams, alarms at the nuclear plant begin to go off, because the nuclear reactor has…. well it’s gone missing. Power is still being generated, but the reactor itself has disappeared. In its place is a single lemon drop.
Stay tuned for our recap of episode four, “Saturday Morning Funtime!”