Good Omens season 1 premiere recap: In the Beginning


The anti-Christ is born, heralding the coming of the end times and challenging hereditary enemies and best friends – the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley – to try to prevent Armageddon throughout Good Omens.

The voice of God (Frances McDormand) narrates an opening montage on the various theories about the Earth’s actual age on Good Omens. The correct answer is that it was created on Sunday, October 21, 4004 BC at 9:13 am.

Angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) meets the demon Crowley (David Tennant) when Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden after Crowley tempts them to eat the apple. Crowley questions God’s judgment regarding the exile while Aziraphale has the unquestioning faith of a meek bureaucrat. God’s plan is ineffable and not theirs to reason why. Crowley wonders if he accidentally did the right thing tempting them to eat the apple, while Aziraphale worries that he did the wrong thing giving the couple his flaming sword to protect themselves.

Fast forward to eleven years before Armageddon on Good Omens. Crowley is given the job of placing the anti-Christ on Earth to start the world on the path to the apocalypse. The demons who bring the baby worry that Crowley has gone native after all his years on Earth. Meanwhile, as they recount their temptings and evil deeds, it becomes fairly obvious that Crowley isn’t really evil, only more of a troublemaker. While he reluctantly accepts his task, he rather likes the Earth and would prefer to avoid Armageddon if possible.

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The scheme to place the anti-Christ on Earth involves a simple act of baby switching. Harriet Dowling (Jill Winternitz), wife of American diplomat Thaddeus Dowling (Nick Offerman) goes into labor and is brought to a birthing hospital at a convent in nearby Tadfield. The satanic nuns are meant to exchange her baby for the anti-Christ, but the unexpected arrival of another couple at the convent complicates matters. Crowley misidentifies the father and instructs the baby to be taken to the wrong room. With the help of a dimwitted nurse, the anti-Christ goes instead to Arthur and Deirdre Young (Daniel Mays and Sian Brooke).

Meanwhile, Aziraphale is visited by the angel Gabriel (Jon Hamm), who tells him that the apocalypse is at hand and Crowley may have something to do with it. He is ordered to keep a discreet eye on him and see what’s happening. Gabriel marvels that after all these years Crowley hasn’t spotted him yet. Of course, the two have secretly been friends for millennia. Crowley calls Aziraphale and the two meet to discuss what to do. Crowley is against the apocalypse, and being a rebel by nature is happy enough to secretly undermine the grand plan. Aziraphale is a follower. Whether he agrees with the grand plan or not, he doesn’t think it’s his place to question it. Crowley plays on Aziraphale’s earthly weaknesses – wine, food, old books, good music – and reminds him that it will all be gone if they allow Armageddon to happen. In the end, it’s all a matter of semantics. Aziraphale agrees to work with Crowley as long as Crowley can frame their plan in such a way that Aziraphale isn’t technically breaking any rules.

The plan is to raise the anti-Christ in a balanced way so as to prevent him from being evil. They each take a position with the family in order to be in a place of influence with the boy as he grows up. Aziraphale is the kindly gardener who teaches him that all life is sacred, while Crowley is the cross-dressing nanny who teaches him to grind weaker beings under his heel. Not that it makes any difference to Heaven, who isn’t interested in avoiding a war, only winning it. Of course, their efforts are wasted since they unknowingly raised the wrong boy. This becomes glaringly obvious when no hellhound turns up on his eleventh birthday. So if Warlock Dowling isn’t the anti-Christ, where and who is he?

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The real anti-Christ is Adam Young (Sam Taylor Buck), who on his eleventh birthday is playing in the woods with his friends and only wanting a dog for his birthday. A little dog; one you can have fun with and teach tricks and name simply “Dog.” The approaching hellhound overhears this, and having been named, transforms from a hellish beast into a playful terrier. The anti-Christ has named his hellhound and unknowingly starts the world on the path to Armageddon.

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