Good Omens season 2 gets off to a relaxed, charming start in “The Arrival”

David Tennant (Crowley), Michael Sheen (Aziraphale)
David Tennant (Crowley), Michael Sheen (Aziraphale) /

And so begins the improbable second season of Good Omens, based on the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Only no, because the first season was based on the book. This second season will continue the story of the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and the demon Crowley (David Tennant), last seen freeing themselves from the yoke of heaven and hell and striking out on their own. Gaiman and Pratchett contemplated a sequel but didn’t got to write it before Pratchett died in 2015. Now Gaiman is carrying on alone. He and John Finnemore wrote every episode of this new season, including the premiere, “The Arrival.”

“The Arrival” is a relaxed affair that doesn’t have many moving parts. The archangel formerly known as Gabriel (Jon Hamm) shows up at Aziraphale’s bookstore in London, not knowing who he is, why he came, or that he’s naked. Jon Hamm, who became famous for playing a very serious character on Mad Men, has wanted to do nothing but comedy ever since, and has a blast letting has ass hang out and trading deadpan British witticisms with a scandalized Aziraphale.

Although there are some fun zingers in here, “The Arrival” is all about the performances. Sheen is politely, quietly, panicking out of his million-year-old mind as Aziraphale, who’s desperately trying to make sense of the naked smiling lunk sitting in his drawing room; Gabriel missing from heaven is a big deal, and means that something very strange is afoot.

Aziraphale calls his old buddy Crowley, who adds some spice to the gumbo, what with his slitted irises and snarling suspicions. Tennant has the showier role here; after refusing to help Aziraphale, he literally starts smoking in the streets, blowing fuses all over the neighborhood. But it’s the way that he and Aziraphale interact that sells the show. Crowley is a hothead, Aziraphale a gentle soul; Crowley the kind of guy who wants to drive Gabriel out to the country and bury him, Aziraphale the kind who wants to feed him hot chocolate. But they have an understanding born out of millennia of friendship (or more; hey, shippers) and they settle disputes like this with the practiced cadence of an old married couple.

Also there’s a dance. Crowley does an apology dance. Tennant is a gifted physical actor, and knows how to make his lanky body work to his advantage. He’s all arms and legs, that guy. That’s great for a character like Crowley, who’s given to getting angry and gesticulating wildly.

The episode ends with the angel and demon using their supernatural powers to hide Gabriel from both heaven and hell, and trying to find out just what’s going on in the meantime. It doesn’t work: heaven immediately that Aziraphale has pulled some kind of church magic, so expect our new trio to be on the move.


All in all, not a ton happens in the episode. It doesn’t feel as busy as the first season, which had a few stories developing in tandem. We do get introduced to a few other characters, to be sure. There’s a potential romance developing between a mild-mannered record store owner and a worldly coffee shop proprietor, a couple of angels jockeying for position now that Gabriel has vacated his post, and a demon named Shax (Miranda Richardson), who replaced Crowley as hell’s representative on Earth after he quit.

They all add some color, but overall it’s a very straight shot from point A to point B, which isn’t bad. I wish there were a few more laugh-out-loud gags, but the actors are both extremely good and extremely comfortable with their roles, which makes them a pleasure to watch. I’m interested to see how the mystery unfolds.

Also, I have to shout out some of the special effects work in the episode. It opens with the first meeting between Aziraphale and Crowley before the beginning of time, when Crowley was still an angel and was creating galaxies at the behest of the almighty. Looks far-out, and it’s fun to see Crowley before he became the grumpy demon we all know and love. I also liked his scene with Beelzebub, a high-ranking demon who appears on Earth as a swarm of sentient flies.

So the show looks great! It moves well, and the actors are having a good time. More please.

Good Bullet Points

  • Lots of fun little back-and-forth moments in this episode. The record shop owner telling Aziraphale she can’t her rent: “I’m out of here in two weeks.” “Why, don’t you like it here?”
  • The difficulties of talking to an amnesiac: “What makes you say that?” “My brain, but I’m not sure.”
  • Crowley teaching Shax about humans communicate: “His royal smugness is in trouble, that’s so sad.” “Is it? Why?” “Sarcasm, we’ll work on it next time.”

Episode Grade: C+

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