Good Omens Season 2 Is an Indulgent, Romantic, and Ineffable Delight

TV Reviews Good Omens
Good Omens Season 2 Is an Indulgent, Romantic, and Ineffable Delight

Not to put too fine a point on it, but a second season of Prime Video’s Good Omens really shouldn’t exist. The first season covered pretty much the entirety of the beloved Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett novel of the same name, and was essentially perfect television, a limited series that reflected the heart of the book upon which it is based and reminded us all that faith, hope, and (so, so much) love still abide in and with all of us. But, as someone very wise once said: sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles. That a second season of this show happened at all is a wonder that it is, in and of itself, rather miraculous; that said second season feels as heartfelt and full of light as its first is nothing short of an ineffable gift. 

Despite the fact that the show essentially ran out of source material at the end of Season 1, Gaiman has spoken about the fact that he and Pratchett, although they never wrote another novel set in the Good Omens universe, had discussed ideas for how the story might continue past the events of the original book. Perhaps it’s due to the inclusion of those elements, perhaps it’s Gaiman’s steady hand on the series’ rudder, or perhaps it’s simply a little bit of divine intervention, but despite the fact that Season 2 is essentially made up of whole cloth, it feels like a genuine, fully natural extension of what came before it.

Good Omens is, at its heart, a love story, and that’s never been more apparent than here, where the unorthodox bond between prim angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and swaggering demon Crowley (David Tennant) is both the primary narrative driver and emotional linchpin around which the rest of the series turns. There are times when it almost feels as though this season was dreamed up by the fanfic authors of AO3, so thoroughly does it give fans nearly everything they could have possibly wanted in terms of the pair’s relationship, while still allowing viewers to define their bond in the way that makes the most sense to them. 

As Season 2 begins, the pair have essentially retired from their various professional obligations to both Above and Below in the wake of the aborted Apocalypse they thwarted at the end of Season 1. Aziraphale continues to run his Soho bookshop with the help of his demonic BFF and eternal life partner, while Crowley now lives in his beloved Bentley with an assorted collection of his favorite plants. (Don’t worry, he spends like 90% of his time at Aziraphale’s, so, hopefully, the plants will get to relocate to a better environment sooner rather than later.)

The larger plot of the season is fairly simple, and, honestly, the least important part of the story that Good Omens is telling. An amnesiac (and stark naked!) Archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm) turns up at the door of the bookshop with no idea who he is or how he got there, and Aziraphale and Crowley must determine not only what caused his condition but what his disappearance means within the larger battle between the forces of Heaven and Hell. Along the way, they meet sweet undercover angel Muriel (Quelin Sepelveda), who’s been sent to Earth to spy on them on behalf of archangels Michael (Doon Mackichan) and Uriel (Gloria Obianyo), as well as local neighbors Maggie (Maggie Service) and Nina (Nina Sosanya) who own two of the local shops surrounding Aziraphale’s. 

Despite repeated hints about the potentially cosmic stakes associated with Gabriel’s disappearance from the heavenly realm, Season 2 is surprisingly sweet and gentle, trading in Crowley and Aziraphale’s search for the Antichrist for domestic squabbles, trips to the pub, meetings of the local shopkeeper’s association, and a coordinated effort to romantically matchmake Nina and Maggie with the help of sudden rainstorms and Jane Austen. (I cannot convey to you properly how utterly adorable this all is without spoilers, so suffice it to say: just trust me.) 

There are moments when Season 2 feels like nothing so much as an extended riff on that 28-minute sequence that opened the first’s third episode, an interlude that filled in some of the gaps surrounding the celestial pair’s multiple millennia on Earth. In the five episodes (out of a total of six) available to screen for critics, there are even more of these flashbacks, from a gut-punch of a meeting with Biblical figure Job that explores God’s reasons for testing his alleged favorite to a return to the aftermath of the 1941 sequence that saw Crowley rescue Aziraphale (and his books!) from Nazis, and even a scene set prior to the creation of the world. Throughout, Sheen and Tennant deftly play multiple versions of their characters across time as the series continues to deepen and complicate the relationship between Aziraphale and Crowley, underlining how utterly necessary they are to one another and the ways their bond has allowed each to become the best version of themselves (as well as more perfect instruments of God’s ineffable plan). 

Tennant remains as entertaining as ever as Crowley,  as he wrestles with the lingering fallout from last season, tries to keep the demon Shax (Miranda Richardson) from learning too much about Gabriel’s whereabouts, and adjusts to a life that seems increasingly entwined with Azirphale’s, who has adopted an unexpectedly expansive view about personal property rights between them. And his still simmering anger toward Gabriel over his attempt to kill Aziraphale (and, by extension, Crowley, who was inhabiting his body at the time) is an entertaining plot point that ultimately evolves into yet another sign of just how far the former Serpent of Eden has come. 

But it is Sheen who truly gets the chance to shine this season, as an Aziraphale who has fully come into his own. There were moments in Good Omens’ first outing where it felt as though Tennant’s Crowley effortlessly overshadowed his angelic partner, whether by the wider breadth of his emotional journey or simply sheer volume. In Season 2, Aziraprhale is fully Crowley’s equal, demanding apologies when his demon screws up, taking a more active role in the pair’s larger schemes, and physically standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. 

A big chunk of the season’s flashback sequences focus on Aziraphale’s slowly evolving understanding of what he can and cannot accept in terms of being a soldier of Heaven, and Sheen’s expressive face contains multitudes at any given moment. Often, our pop culture struggles to make the idea of goodness interesting—or at least as much fun to watch as its darker counterpart, which generally features characters that get to wear leather pants. (See also: Crowley.) But in Season 2, Azirphale’s cozy sweater vests mask a spine of steel, and it’s incredibly satisfying to watch him finally find his own voice separate from Crowley’s—whether that involves taking the initiative to search for clues related to Gabriel’s disappearance or bully and befriend his fellow shopkeepers. 

Critics haven’t seen the Season 2 finale yet, so I can’t tell you how this story ends, or what threads it may or may not leave dangling for any potential future installments. But what I can say is this: Be not afraid. I doubted that a second season of this show could work, or that it was even something any of us necessarily needed to see. But after basking in its soft, warm joy—a true rarity in our current bleak television landscape—I cannot deny that its existence feels like nothing so much as divine providence.

Good Omens Season 2 premieres Friday, July 28 on Prime Video. 

Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV

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