Martin Carr reviews the fifth episode of Good Omens…
Burning Bentleys, ring roads aflame and psychic charlatans absorbing celestial bodies are just some of the oddities which populate this penultimate episode as Armageddon warms up in the wings. With hells angels riding four abreast and causing convergences north of London, while witch finder sergeant majors cohabit with ladies of dubious occupation, it would appear boys with glowing eyes are less problematic than first thought. What should be of concern is a grief stricken demonic presence dressed like an angry time lord on a mission which involves light smatterings of retribution. Then there is the fact that it has started raining which was most definitely not on the forecast.
As Good Omens streaks towards a comical yet decidedly end of the world sort of conclusion, to find out that a demon burdened with imagination might yet be its saviour is very Pratchett indeed. From the outset Gaiman has channelled the great man through prose like he were in fact communicating with an extremely jovial ghost. As witch finder Shadwell advances on Tadfield with an ancient and potentially inoperable blunderbuss, clutching a pre-possessed Madam Tracy the M25 is burning like Beelzebub herself was having BBQ human style.
Despite the Enid Blyton overtones which pervade Adam’s gang his air of blatant Anti-Christ tends to put a dampener on things. Levitating whilst vocalising world changing proclamations which amount to dividing continents up between anyone left, not only takes the edge off but tends to blunt things completely. To describe this episode as decidedly madcap and scatter shot might be the most accurate summation committed to paper. With a plethora of acting dignitaries getting in on the act either visibly or otherwise, it is still Tennant and Sheen who give Good Omens a pulse. Whether clutching the wheel and driving like a possessed Polaris missile through walls of fire, or admonishing Aziraphale for being not only dead but all together less involved Crowley is a breathe of sulphuric air. Which in turn allows Sheen to ramp up his portly public school boy persona as a tangible counter balance to all that hell fire.
As forces from both sides gather for the final reckoning assumptions have given way to honest conclusions, which in turn are bringing home all manner of birds to roost both literally and metaphorically. Hastur is pursuing Crowley, Crowley has designs on anything which means he can keep the car and Aziraphale is negotiating squatter rights or a short term physical let with Madam Tracy. Whether any of this ends up bringing about the end of days, nights and those awkward bits in between where people mill about is up for debate.