The End Times have begun! If you haven’t already, get caught up with Shuffle’s previous recaps.
Things are getting truly bizarre as the world races towards its end. Despite all the major plot moments that are brought into episode four of “Good Omens,” the episode is surprisingly dry and empty feeling. I have a few theories on why that is, but we’ll get to that later.
So, here’s what happens in “Good Omens” episode four, “Saturday Morning Funtime.”
Like I said before, strange things are happening and the End Times are nigh. Atlantis has risen from the sea, the Kraken is at large, aliens visit Earth and warn us of our planet-destroying ways, and, without explanation, key elements of the world’s nuclear power plants have come up missing. It’s like the wildest parts of the imagination have come to life.
Because that is exactly what has happened.
In the previous episode, we see our favorite little Antichrist, Adam, discover the exciting world of sci-fi magazines. As he fills his head with the fantastical, unbeknownst to him, he is creating real change in the world and slowly coming into his powers. It’s a great moment in the show that highlights Adam’s very human element.
Despite all divine expectations of him, he’s still just a kid that loves stories of monsters and aliens but also wants to save the whales and the planet. He is balanced in an increasingly polarized universe; altruistic, albeit a little chaotic. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t see him struggle with his darkness and, by the end of the episode, begin to give in.
Speaking of the polarized universe, Crowley and Aziraphale are unable to reconcile their differences and go their separate ways. Aziraphale ascends to Heaven to seek answers, but is met with dismissal and a desire for a war that he doesn’t want. In a final effort, he tries to speak to God herself…but she does not reply.
Meanwhile, Hell discovers that they’ve been tracking the wrong Antichrist (still bamboozled by the swapped babies) and Crowley is now at the top of the hit list. He ingeniously defends himself with that infamous thermos of Holy Water and uses his human world savvy to trap a fellow demon in an answering machine. It’s a crazy cool scene.
If episode three was all about Aziraphale and Crowley bridging the gap and showing all that Heaven and Hell have in common, episode four centers on the combative and flawed nature of both realms…prejudice being the only thing they have in common.
Also in episode four, we are introduced to the final two Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Pollution has replaced the retired Pestilence in a very pointed commentary on environmental concerns. Mankind may have advanced enough to escape disease, but that does not mean we are free from poisoning ourselves with our own advantages. Pollution reminds us of that.
Additionally, Death finally arrives and, frankly, it’s cool as hell. More on that in the later episodes!
As the Apocalypse swirls about us in the form of extreme weather, Newton and Anathema find another storm to get caught up in. The two hide from the weather and discover each other to be a witch and witchfinder, respectively, searching for the Antichrist. Anathema confesses that the prophecies in the book have foreseen them being together and…well, they manage to drum up a lot of passion, despite the world literally crumbling around them.
I end the recap with a focus on that particular scene because, just as with Agnes Nutter’s seemingly random prophecy, the whole vibe of episode four could be summarized as “random, but according to plan.” There is a lot happening in this episode, maybe too much. For the first time, the show felt a little chaotic and off-balance.
Could it be that we’ve spent too much time building up everyone’s favorite angel/demon pair and now we have to rush the apocalypse? Is it just a symptom of the adaptation, where pages in a book can do better than minutes in a runtime? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that (like Newton and Anathema’s love affair) episode four felt packed with meaning that had insufficient setup and was a little rushed.
Also, I think it’s only fair to own up to the fact that this episode was very light on Aziraphale and Crowley and the show just doesn’t run the same way without its two best characters. Definitely a weak link in the series, but still a great episode in an even greater show.
Favorite moment of Episode 4 of “Good Omens:” The appearance of Death. Tragically introduced, but with a kind of spooky humor.
Who is your favorite of the Four Horsemen? Did you miss Crowley and Aziraphale or appreciate the break? Let us know in the comments.
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Caitlin is a lean, mean writing machine based in Austin, TX. Her love of film began when she was shown “Rosemary’s Baby” way too early in life. She currently serves as the Lead Film Contributor for Shuffle Online; other notable bylines include The Financial Diet and Film Inquiry. Caitlin is a member of the Online Association of Female Film Critics and the Women Film Critics Circle.