Friday 6 October 2023

Good Omens 2

See here for essential background:
"Don't watch it! It's awful! So woke!" said one pundit, a person I know and whose judgement I trust. They were referring to a TV series I have been looking forward to for a long time, Good Omens 2. As you can see in the background link above, I was very impressed indeed by the first season. I didn't expect season two to be as good; sequels rarely are. The second series is very similar is style and format. It has six fifty minute episodes and most of the same cast. There are some interesting changes though. Lord Beelzebub is played by a new actress, Shelley Conn, who is not as good. The annoying irony is that Anna Maxwell Martin couldn't take the part because she was busy playing the "Strong!" "Woman!" in A Spy Among Friends, see: What a waste! Three cast members from season one return, but as different characters. Miranda Richardson has gone from playing the medium Madame Tracy to Shax, a demon who assists Crowley. Two nuns from the Chattering Order of St Beryl now play shop owners, Maggie Service and Nina Sosanya. The latter's character runs a cafe with the brilliant name of "Give Me Coffee or Give Me Death". There are also some new arrivals, mostly quite good; and some sad absences. I did rather miss the sardonic bureaucratic aggression of Paul Chahidi's Sandalphon. There are some elderly guest stars from the golden age of cinema in the form of Siân Phillips and Derek Jacobi. The core of the plot is the emergence on earth of the Archangel Gabriel, incarnated as human, devoid of all clothing and memory. Aziraphale and Crowley have to find out what happened to him and what to do with him. The angels and demons in the six new episodes are as morally ambiguous as they were in season one. As I said back then, this is what makes the whole story so interesting. There are a lot of flashbacks, far more than in season one, exploring Aziraphale and Crowley's past collaboration in altering the outcome of various bible stories. This usually involves getting one up on the other angels; causing Aziraphale a lot of internal conflict. One of the characters is the Metatron who is portrayed as the leader of the angels; God does not narrate in season two. It's interesting that the Metatron appears a lot in the Gnostic tradition; sometimes under other names such as Rex Mundi, the Demiurge, Lucifer and Jahbulon (in Freemasonry). This is allegedly the deity that created the universe, which runs in the face of Abrahamic lore which says God made the world; God being the God of Israel, Jehovah, Adonai, Allah, etc. The Metatron made the universe imperfect and man's quest is to bring divinity into it. Jesus was not God incarnate because God cannot appear in a world as mundane as ours. This conflict was not explored in Good Omens, or hasn't been yet. There is no doubt that a third series is being planned because the ending is left very open.
(Spoiler alert!) The conclusion is remarkable. It involves an alchemical wedding between Gabriel and Beelzebub after Beelzebub holds the archangel's memories inside one of her flies during his period of amnesia. Theologians can make of that what they will! Crowley and Aziraphale have an argument when Crowley is offered the chance to return to Heaven; because, as the story goes, Satan was originally a fallen angel. Crowley still believes what Aziraphale used to. In season one the angel says to Adam: "Some hoped there would be a God incarnate. Others hoped you were the Devil incarnate. But you're better than both of those; you are human incarnate!" Aziraphale, however, has been seduced by the glories of Heaven, ironically making the Almighty the tempter. The final scene shows the two of them going their separate ways. I can't wait for the third series! Was it woke? Yes. In fact I played spot-the-white-straight-male and had a difficult time; however, it was presented in such a light-hearted way it didn't really bother me as much as usual. Good Omens 2 can be watched on Amazon Prime:

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