A strong first episode lays out all the pieces on the board and creates a rich world that feels strongly in keeping with the book’s tone.
This Good Omens episode 1 recap for the episode titled “In the Beginning” contains spoilers.
“In the Beginning”, the first episode in the six-episode Good Omens, introduces us to the main characters, the tone, the world and central plot of this Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman adaptation. There is a lot of plot to get through and things move at a terrific pace. If you are unfamiliar with the source material, you will need to pay close attention as there is a lot to get through in episode one. If, however, you were just scrolling through Instagram through the whole thing and have no idea what was going on, you can just read on as we have covered the main plot points below.
We open Good Omens with a short animation and the sound of God explaining to us firstly that most of our theories of the creation of Earth are bunk and secondly that Earth is a Libra. Frances McDormand provides us with the voice of God (isn’t that just perfect?!) and the requisite arch humor is established for the show. Good one guys!
We’re in the Garden of Eden and guess what guys, there is a snake who whispers sweet nothings in the ear of Adam and Eve. Before you know it, they are expelled from the Garden. We follow the snake and he transmogrifies into David Tennant (Crowley) who then proceeds to have a theological discussion with Michael Sheen (Aziraphale). An Angel and a Demon, both struggling to do the right thing in their respective roles whilst sharing a sort of professional respect for one another, isn’t that lovely?
After the credits have rolled, we have a couple of sinister-looking Demons hanging about at night in the woods. Headlights and the sound of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody fill the shot. Crowley’s here and he is looking modern, cynical and a little bit glib. David Tennant is really channeling… well, everything else I have ever seen him in, but it does work for this role. “Sorry I’m late guys, traffic you know…” Let’s compare bad deeds.
The Demons in Good Omens really look straight from central casting and have a wicker basket for Crowley, Crowley is all like, “Really? Now? Do I have to?” and the Demons are all like “yuh-huh, you totally have to…” Crowley reluctantly takes the basket and swaggers off to his car with his full Mick Jagger strut. Once in the car, he is distracted by the radio talking to him (either that or it’s the Bohemian Rhapsody) the car swerves and the basket lid pops open to show the audience what, or should I say who, is inside… a baby!
Aziraphale is having a bit of sushi in a nice restaurant. Unexpectedly he is joined by the swoon-inducingly handsome archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm) exuding all manner of whimsical loftiness as he informs Aziraphale that the end of the world is coming and he’d better go and keep an eye on that bloody Crowley.
Two different couples are having children at the same time (one of whom is awesomely Fathered by a mustache-less Nick Offerman). It turns out, however, that some Satanic Nuns are scheming to execute the old switcharoo on one of the families, planning to replace one of the babies with the spawn of Satan himself – gulp.
The two expectant Mothers arrive to have their babies delivered by the Nuns. But oh-uh, one of them is not supposed to arrive until next week. A brief exchange between the wrong Father and Crowley leads to a bit of a misunderstanding that results in the anti-Christ being deposited with the wrong family (there is a lovely 3 card Monty metaphor used to illustrate this). In a feat of creative editing by Good Omens, we get to an end where the Anti-Christ is named Adam and the non-demonic baby is named Warlock (that will go down a storm at primary school). The babies are with the wrong parents and no-one is any the wiser.
Crowley and Aziraphale get together on a lovely park bench and wittily thrust and parry in a bickering debate on who stands the better chance in the eternal war between Heaven and Hell. After they get a bit pissed, Crowley has an idea, ‘let’s work together to try and prevent the end of the world, it’s rather good fun tormenting people, let’s keep this party going.’ Aziraphale has become something of an Earth-phile and would quite miss the finer things if the world ended. Frankly, at the end of this scene, it is a miracle there is any scenery left un-chewed by Tennant and Sheen who seem to be having a lovely time on camera.
Demon from central casting is back. He’s at the convent with the Satanic nuns. Thanks for your help ladies but we’re all done with you now, time to burn it down and kill everyone inside. Bit of a dick move if you ask me, but then again, he is a Demon.
Aziraphale and Crowley undertake watching over young master Warlock (remember everyone thinks he is the Anti-Christ) and subtly influence his upbringing so he does not bring about the end of the world at the age of 11. They pose as a gardener and a nanny respectively in preposterous costumes (wouldn’t you notice if Dr. Who was dressed up like Mrs. Doubtfire?).
It’s now just 6 days until the end of the world and young Warlock is a spoilt, whiny 11-year-old. Crowley casually drops into conversation that pretty soon Warlock will take receipt of a hell-hound. Once the hell-hound is named that will bring into effect the irreversible sequence of events that would bring about the end of the world. All that can be done is for Crowley and Aziraphale to make sure they are at Warlock’s birthday party to intercept it, we, of course, know that they are at the wrong birthday party and soon, so do they.
Adam and his friends are celebrating his birthday in the woods. The CGI hell hound stalks the woods looking big and snarly and menacing. Adam is complaining loudly that he wants a dog for his Birthday, a small one, one to play with. He’ll probably name him… Dog. Just like magic the hell hound transforms into a lovely little Jack Russel. He has found his master and he has a name. The end of the world is upon us.