Good Omens has been wonderful and weird – both a tribute in excelsis to the novel and a television series of mad scope and invention. In episode six, it makes a graceful exit by wrapping up its helter-skelter events and toasting the story it’s told with a chink of glasses.
A story with a single message that neatly touched each of its plots: you can choose who you are, no matter who the world expects you to be. Demons can be angelic and angels can be demonic, and being both at once is what makes them, and us, human.
The finale was a free will extravaganza. Adam chose not to be the antichrist, saving the world in the process. The Them chose peace, cleanliness and a healthy lunch, and so – helped by Adam’s reality-altering powers – defeated their horsemen counterparts. Anathema chose to not know the future and let the world decide for itself. Madame Tracy chose to retire from offering intimate personal relaxation and stress relief for the discerning gentleman. The demon Crowley chose to be a little bit good and the angel Aziraphale chose to be a little bit bad.
Mostly though, they chose each other.
The centuries-long love story between Crowley and Aziraphale is Good Omens’ greatest treasure. Extending the original ending with a bonus caper in which the two avoided their respective executions with a magic trick exploited that infinitely rich resource while giving book fans something new.
“Like Agnes said, we’re going to have to choose our faces wisely,” Crowley told Aziraphale as the pair waited for the bus back from the end of the world. The next time we see either, they’ve done just that, swapping bodies in readiness for their inevitable punishments.
(Hence Aziraphale-as-Crowley walking past his gleaming Bentley and hailing a cab instead of getting behind the wheel. We can debate the respective demonic/angelic appropriateness of a strawberry ice lolly and a vanilla with a flake at a later date.) It was a clever addition.
The finale had laughs too, largely thanks to Miranda Richardson’s performance (more of her in everything, please), and Shadwell’s continued belief in the extraordinary celestial power of his finger. It hardly lacked for spectacle either, thanks to that time-stopping desert pep talk, and the arrival of Adam’s biological dad (the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, because this cast didn’t have enough names).
Really though, the ending was sweet. It was sweet that Adam chose his bumbling earthly dad over the devourer-of-all-things one who’d lobbed him at Earth like a grenade instead of raising him. It was sweet that both witch-finders found a witch but fell in love and settled down with them instead of going through with the whole burning-at-a-stake thing.
David Arnold’s sparkling score cast a spell around the romantic endings, with long-time Neil Gaiman pal and collaborator Tori Amos (she also had a cameo in the BBC Radio 4 Good Omens dramatisation) lending her vocals to the closing song. The music, especially the catchy theme accompanying the beautifully animated opening credits sequence, has been a treat.
The whole thing’s been a treat, more so because of its six-episodes-only, one-and-done nature. Rarity makes things precious, so hopefully that’s where we’ll leave Crowley and Aziraphale, dining at The Ritz, the final scene in Neil Gaiman’s great and now effable plan. Let’s raise a glass to that.