WARNING! This review contains spoilers for the first four episodes of Good Omens. Keep reading for our spoiler-free thoughts on episode five (‘The Doomsday Option‘), and scroll down for a more spoiler-filled discussion – if you dare!
With only a few hours to go, does anyone stand a chance of stopping Adam bringing about the end of the world?
As the penultimate episode of Good Omens opens, things are looking decidedly bleak. Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) appears to have left this earthly plane, after stumbling into his summoning circle while being confronted by Sergeant Shadwell (Michael McKean). To make matters worse, a stray candle looks to be about to cause some severe damage to his bookshop…
Now, the end of days is almost upon us. Adam (Sam Taylor Buck) has fully come into his power as the Antichrist. With Azriaphale gone, Crowley (David Tennant) all but resigned to his fate, and Newton (Jack Whitehall) and Anathema (Adria Arjona) (ahem) otherwise occupied, is the apocalypse now inevitable?
Good Omens Episode Five: ‘The Doomsday Option‘ – Spoiler-Free Review
Following the disastrous events of the previous episode, we find Crowley hitting absolute rock-bottom. Despite his unwavering determination to avert the end of the world, Aziraphale has now been effectively killed. It’s utterly heartbreaking to see suave, self-assured Crowley crumble after losing his best friend. Plus, to add insult to injury, a past invention of his comes back to bite him, and we might not have seen the last one of his closest enemies (side note: maybe don’t eat your dinner while watching this one?)
Meanwhile, in Tadfield, Adam appears to have fully succumbed to his destined role as the Antichrist. Oddly enough, the best performances out of Adam’s gang arguably come from his friends, particularly Amma Ris‘ Pepper. The special effects used on her, Brain, and Wensleydale are far more effective than those used on the Adversary himself in demonstrating his new-found malice. Either way, the quality of the special effects in general throughout this episode just goes to show that the thirty-year delay in Good Omens coming to the screen was worth it. The technology has only just caught up with Gaiman and Pratchett‘s wild imaginations!
Perhaps the most stand-out moments in ‘The Doomsday Option‘ are provided by Miranda Richardson as Madame Tracy. This episode finally gives Richardson her chance to truly shine, as her character assumes a more central role. Elsewhere, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come together at last, and they look set to see out the end of the world in impeccable style.
Now the end of everything is imminent, it’s hardly surprising that this penultimate episode is the most completely apocalyptic yet. Some moments and minor figures from the novel are sadly missing, likely to save making an already-complex story more so. Nevertheless, new additions and alterations (plus the most Queen-heavy soundtrack of any episode thus far) perfectly capture the utter chaos of the final hours of the Earth.
Now you’ve heard our spoiler-free take on Good Omens episode five, ‘The Doomsday Option‘, if you haven’t seen the episode, go and watch it!
Keep scrolling for our spoiler-filled review below – if you dare!
Good Omens Episode Five: ‘The Doomsday Option‘ – Spoiler-Filled Review
As the penultimate episode of Good Omens opens, the situation Crowley finds himself in can only be described as disastrous. He arrives to find Aziraphale (for all intents and purposes) dead, and his beloved bookshop up in flames. For all his pretence that he doesn’t need Aziraphale, it’s abundantly clear that Crowley is utterly lost without him. It’s downright heartbreaking to hear him cry out that ‘somebody killed my best friend!’ soundtracked by Queen‘s ‘You’re My Best Friend’ and ‘Somebody to Love’. Indeed, this episode sees Queen feature more heavily on the soundtrack than any previous episode, to brilliant effect.
Miraculously, (no pun intended) however, Aziraphale has merely been discorporated, much to the relief of a distraught Crowley. Now, all he needs is a receptive host body. Thankfully, Shadwell’s next-door neighbour Madame Tracy just so happens to be holding a seance! As such, ‘The Doomsday Option‘ sees one of the novel’s most memorable moments brilliantly realised, as Johnny Vegas‘ Ron Ormerod finally confronts his wife from beyond the grave. Plus, I don’t know about everyone else, but I was somewhat relieved at the decision to swap Madame Tracy’s heavily stereotyped spirit guide Native American ‘Geronimo’ for a psychic eighteenth-century Irish child. More importantly, however, this episode finally gives Miranda Richardson her chance to shine, as Madame Tracy takes on a more central role as Aziraphale’s host.
As well as Madame Tracy’s change of spirit guide, episode five features a few other slight alterations from the original text. Crowley’s hand in the construction of the M25 really comes back to bite him as it becomes a ring of fire around London. As well as this, Ned Dennehy‘s more prominent role as Hastur continues, as it transpires we haven’t seen the last of him just yet. Let’s hope no one was eating their dinner while watching him consume a room full of people in a stomach-churning sea of maggots?
Meanwhile, over in Tadfield, Adam appears to have fully succumbed to his innate power and destiny as the Antichrist. Unfortunately, his new-found ability to fly left me unable to take him entirely seriously. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to watch him torment his best friends to such a degree. It’s a wonder they decide to stick by him after his rather sudden change of heart. It seems the only ones having something of a good time are Newton and Anathema, just down the road at Jasmine Cottage!
As the episode draws to a close, the diverse strands of Good Omens‘ story begin to converge. We’re treated to yet more fantastically executed adaptations of iconic scenes from Gaiman and Pratchett‘s novel, most notably Crowley’s flaming Bentley careening through Tadfield to the triumphant sound of Queen. Plus, the Four Horsemen finally join forces to make the journey to the American air base, sporting beautifully-designed motorcycles and leathers.
We’re now mere minutes away from the end of the world. With all its Earth-dwelling characters now together at last, will their combined efforts be enough to avert the apocalypse?
Good Omens is available to stream now on Amazon Prime and is due to be broadcast on BBC Two later this year.