Good Omens S1:E03 Hard Times Recap

Hello Good Omens fans! It’s been quite some time, but I promise you this: I’ll be done this entire series within a week. BOOM. It will have only taken several months and that one week. Strap in and brace yourself for the remainder of Good Omens season one, starting again at S1:E03 Hard Times after the break!

We open at the Garden of Eden 4004 BC, with Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) having misplaced his flaming sword (“big sharp cutt-y thing) from God (he gave it to Adam and Eve, she was pregnant and they were super cold) then we zip ahead 1000 years to Mesopotamia in 3004 watching Noah load up his ark.

Hai demon Crawley / Crowley (David Tennant) what are you doing here? Crowley represents the dark as Aziraphale is the light, but even Crowley’s aghast at God’s plan to massacre mostly locals, including kids.

There will be a reward at the end, however! A rainbow, as a sort of promise that they won’t drown everyone again.

Now we zoom over to Golgatha in 33AD, where I’m not watching the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Crawley, formerly the snake who tempted Eve with an apple lo those many moons ago, has decided to change his name to something less slithery-sounding. Crowley.

That scene was totally unnecessarily gross, but it did make me think of a documentary I just watched about the A.I.D.S crisis. Hit me up in the comments (jk, there’s nobody reading) if you want to hear more!

On to Rome 8 years later where Crowley’s gone with a complete new look, nice short curly ‘do, C! It’s Az who leads their connection, he’s shocked to hear Crowley’s never had an oyster! (Me either, hard pass)

That was really just for oysters? Really? Now we’re on to 537 AD in The Kingdom of Wessex where Aziraphale of the Round Table is looking for the Black Knight.

*Five bucks says that’s Crowley. Also: fun fact, my name comes from an Arthurian legend!

Crowley and Aziraphale are “working very hard in damp places and just cancelling each other out.” Crowley suggests they just send in reports and take a break, no waysies says Aziraphale and we’re off to 1601 at the Globe Theatre.

*David Tennant’s physicality is the best thing ever.

Crowley and Aziraphale are one of a handful of watchers of one of William Shakespeare’s (Reece Shearsmith) plays, the playwright approaches to ask if they’d give more…feedback. Aziraphale is game!

*So you can see Michael Sheen’s physicality is also

They’re still pretending to not know each other.

Even though they have an Arrangement! Only one of them goes to each location, they take turns tempting and thwarting, it’s very efficient. Eminently practical. “Toss you for Edinburgh.”

So it’s Aziraphale to Scotland and Crowley will make Hamlet a hit. Deal!

1793 Paris brings up Marie Antoinette in an unfortunate spot, but she’s not alone. Aziraphale has been sentenced to death and shall be beheaded by Jean Paul (Joe Vas), if not for Crowley’s intervention with a timely, if minor, miracle.

Onward to St. James Park in 1862 with top hats and everything! They’re very similar, Crowley thinks, I mean, they were both angels before he fell, or “vaguely sauntered downwards.”

Apropos of nothing.

Crowley would like some holy water, fanks. It’s for insurance! Aziraphale is disgusted and taken aback and they part ways, to fraternize no more.

Until 1941 in London, when Aziraphale is called from his bookshop to bring books of prophecy to Mr. Harmony (Mark Gatiss from Sherlock!) and Mr. Glozier (Steve Pemberton from Happy Valley series 1!). They’ve been sent by Adolf Hitler to retrieve “The Nice And Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.”

But there are no copies (save the one Agnes passed on to her descendants, one of whom who will leave it in the back of Crowley’s car much late on), only one lone prophecy as blurb from the publisher.

Solid choice.

A hilarious tableau plays out where Aziraphale thinks he’s helped capture German spies for Rose Montgomery of the British Intelligence, but NO! She’s German spy Greta Kleinschmidt (Niamh Walsh) and it was worth the price of admission to watch our guileless Az navigate that emotional arc.

Crowley arrives at the shooty part, tiptoeing painfully across consecrated ground to save his pal Aziraphale from humiliation. Did I say Crowley? I mean the famous Anthony J. Crowley (the J stands for nothing) and he’s thisclose to a giant vat of holy water!

There’s a bomb on the way to the church, Aziraphale and Anthony J. Crowley are saved by one tiny demonic miracle.

Soho in the 60s! This is probably my favourite history lesson ever, do Canada next!

We’re with Anthony J. negotiating with some swarthy types. Spike (Bailey Patrick) will be hauling on the ropes, Sally (Agatha Elwes – like related to Cary Elwes??) will be going down on same ropes. Young Lance Corporal General Shadwell (Scott Arthur)  – as in not the old Shadwell played by Michael McKean – will be locksmith, but we know he’s in the Witchfinder Army so he asks a lot of witch-related questions about their robbery of a church for some of its holy water.

Shadwell approaches Crowley after the meeting and offers the services of the entire Witchfinder Army (I think it’s really just him) for future services.

Aziraphale is waiting in Crowley’s car when he’s done talking to Shadwell, holding a thermos full of holy water. Now he can call off the robbery!

Some more chitchat about lunch and picnics, ho ho, what is this?

I don’t believe he was discussing a ride home, was he?? Interesting. Well, I guess if you live forever and work all the time, you may well fall for your nearest co-worker in the field, even if they’re technically on the opposite side.

*I once maintained an unwise friendship for years with someone who betrayed me (it was that dramatic, BELIEVE ME), but it was because they’d been in the war, you see? They knew everything about it, even if they’d been the war, they knew everything about it. It’s a type of bonding. Or illness, whatever.

We’re back in the present with Aziraphale one day before the end of the world just having realised that he and Crowley both had misplaced the Antichrist. Whoopsie!

The Antichrist Adam Young (Sam Taylor Buck) is currently wandering around Lower Tadfield, England with his hellhound that is shaped like a wee dog that chases cats.

*It grates so much when the Narrator/God cuts in, it’s Frances McDormand, whom I adore but her flat American delivery of English humour was such a bad casting choice.

Adam comes across Anathema Device (Adria Arjona) smashing things in the field, she’s upset because she lost Agnes Nutter’s book of prophecy after her family had safeguarded it for hundreds of years.

*I can’t remember, but my money’s on that also being in the prophecy. They were super tidy and accurate, after all.

**I try not to bang on about “but in the BOOK” too much, but here again I have to mention the unusual casting of an American into a role written for an English person. It’s just very different, but since they did explain it involving some stock manipulation thanks to the prophecies, I shall promise to only mention is 6 more times.

Adam offers to help, he’s a lovely boy as Antichrists go. She invites him into Jasmine Cottage, but there’s an anti-hell device over the door that slows up Dog but he’s in!

Her future partner Newton Pulsifer (Jack Whitehall) is examining the museum-quality articles of Shadwell’s (Michael McKean) Witchfinder Army and reviewing the logs of those enrolled in the Army. It’s just Shadwell and now Pulsifer, that’s it, that’s all that’s left except for a series of increasingly desperately invented names like “Witchfinder Majors Saucepan, Tin and Milk Bottle” etc.

Shadwell and Crowley meet in present day with his ledger of enrolled men looking for the monthly payroll, no problem! Crowley requests Shadwell send his best and brightest to Lower Tadfield to look for the Antichrist, that would mean Pulsifer, since there’s just the one!

Anathema fills Adam in on her and her family’s abilities to find ley lines, which are like invisible lines of power that can be used like forcefields. She can also see auras, but not his and that’s because his aura contains the entire village of Lower Tadfield.

Adam thinks this is cool beans, how come they don’t learn this in school? Because schools are oppressive tools of the state! She tells him what else he needs to know, about the desecration of the rainforest for cheap burgers, baby seal clubbing, climate change, whale hunting and nuclear power station.

Aziraphale meets with Gabriel (Jon Hamm), Uriel (Gloria Obianya), Sandalphon (Paul Chahidi) and the Archangel Michael (Doon Mackichan)  about the misplaced Antichrist. The Other Side is busy prepping for war in the Middle East, Aziraphale offers to send one of the members of his team down to the place Adam’s really hanging out. Maybe see if they could head things off?

But Gabriel and Heaven don’t want to head things off.

Anathema checks for ley lines all over Tadfield, looking very witchy, it must be said. She stares at the auras of everyone walking by as she, to be met by Tyler (Bill Paterson from Fleabag and Guilt!!) of the Tadfield Neighbourhood Watch who is happy to learn that she’s an American tourist and not a person of interest.

Anathema disagrees! She asks whether anything demonic popped in around 11 years ago and I don’t know if you’d lead with that, Anathema. He suggest she smoke her disco cabbage elsewhere and go back to America with her “fatty spliffers.”

Aziraphale and his “hypotheticals” are under strict scrutiny by the Big Wigs now, what can he be playing at? He’s right now calling up Madame Tracy (Miranda Richardson) to get hold of his team of agents: the Witchfinder Army. Which is still just Shadwell and Newt Pulsifer, and Shadwell’s out.

*It must be Tuesday as Madam Tracy is dressed for Intimate Massage

Home comes Shadwell, he hurls invective at her harlot self as she asks if he’ll be wanting food later? He’s sooner ‘sup with the devil!

Aziraphale has the actual address Shadwell will be sending his best men (man) to, that’s helpful! He and Crowley are both great bosses.

As it turns out, Newton’s already been looking at Lower Tadfield because of its unusual weather patterns. Shadwell doesn’t care, go find some witches!

Now we meet Famine of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!! We met War (Mireille Enos) last time, now here is Famine (Yusuf Gatewood) starving the world one pretentious meal at a time.

That’s only the main course, the appetizer is a balloon filled with lavender-scented air.

But he isn’t just wanting to kill rich people with no food, he’s come up with fast food, full of calories and no nutrition to take out the poor. “Food-free Food” under the brand name Chow.

The International Express Man (Simon Merrells) delivers the Armageddon package of scales to Famine, spying an elderly Elvis behind the grill, awww.

Adam’s not having an easy time explaining a bunch of half-understood concepts to his very English parents, Arthur Young (Daniel Mays) and Deirdre Young (Sian Brooke! from Guilt!!) look especially skeptical at the thought of Tibetan people watching everyone from tunnels all the time.

*Literally one of my favourite parts.

Crowley and Aziraphale meet again, Az still hasn’t told him that he knows exactly who and where the Antichrist is currently living. They fight over who should kill Adam to avert the War To End All Wars but Aziraphale doesn’t want any blood on his hands.

Ahem, remember above with Noah and the ark?

The fight, Crowley keeps calling them friends but Aziraphale feels terrible about befriending a fallen, erm vaguely sauntered, angel.

Crowley insists they’re on THEIR side! OUR side! Aziraphale can’t. “Have a nice doomsday” shouts Crowley as he vaguely saunters away.

Adam reads the New Aquarian magazines Anathema gave him late unto the night, finally drifting off with half-formed ideas that are about to change the world as we know it.

The head of the nearby nuclear reactor is awoken in the middle of the night, it seems there’s no more…nuclear in the nuclear power plant. They have to call someone else to get authorized to open up the core, where inside there’s only a lemon candy instead of a giant nuclear reactor.

Adam sleeps on and we’re out. Cheers! I’ll get on to the next as soon as I can! I have a difficult time recapping this show because I love it so much. So much. I just want you all to watch it and love it and come here so we can talk about how much we love it together. That’s not exactly the analytical bent I try to keep my recaps at, you see? But we’ll muddle through. Until anon!