“The Book” builds on a strong first outing and maintains the series’ breakneck pace. There is a bit more mythology to digest in episode two but without sacrificing moving the story forward.
This Good Omens episode 2 recap for the episode titled “The Book” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Another strong and fast-paced episode, “The Book”, introduces us to a few more key players and a lot more of the mythology of the book. It’s still very plotty but there is plenty here to go back to and enjoy with lots of fantastic supporting characters to keep the story on its feet. So, without further ado, let’s get to the action.
London, just two days before the end of the world. Gabriel and his associate make their way into Aziraphale’s delightfully quaint bookshop. Clearly out of his depth on Earth Gabriel awkwardly tries to get Aziraphale on his own. Like most of the cast, Jon Hamm is having a whale of a time in this role, you could say he’s really Hamming it up (Budum-Tish). “So, Aziraphale, what is up with the Anti-Christ? Everything is moving nicely towards the war between good and evil. The four horsemen of the apocalypse should be along quite soon by the way”.
We’re in the desert and two warring nations are about to sign a peace agreement, tensions are running high however and it looks like things are about to go sideways. Just as guns are pulled on each other the International express man arrives with a delivery. He hands a package to the smirking journalist there which turns out to be a sword. She saunters off with it and leaves everyone in the tent to shoot each other. The journalist folks is, of course, War, the first Horseman (or should that be Horsewoman?) of the apocalypse.
We’re now in 1656 at the last witch burning to take place in England. A mob of witchfinders (led by Jack Whitehall) is on the hunt. They storm Agnes Nutter’s thatch cottage but guess what, she’s expecting them and doesn’t seem all that worried. Quite happily our witch climbs up on the Pyre to be burned. As the pyre is lit it explodes and takes out the mob, it turns out she had lined her petticoat with gun powder (sneaky). Nutter left behind a box and a book of prophecies. Agnes Nutter, you see, knew some things and advised her descendants to buy Apple stock. She also predicted the end of the world. Uh oh.
Agnes’ descendants clearly heeded her advice, they have a really nice house in the present day from all the Apple cash. But of course, we now know the end of the world is coming and the responsibility of saving it falls on the shoulders one of her descendants, a lady by the name of Anathema Device.
We are now also introduced to the descendant of the dude leading the witch-finding mob. Handily, so we can see clearly who everyone is supposed to be, ‘Newt’ as he is called, is also played by Jack Whitehall (pleasantly stripped of his usual hubris). Young Newt is a slightly awkward young man on his first and last day in a new job. He meanders around London where he encounters Michael McKean as Shadwell who is preaching on the streets about the evils of Witches. Shadwell describes to young Newt the current state of the Witchfinders (not exactly at its peak nowadays). Clearly, Newt is destined to follow in his ancestor’s footsteps.
Anathema Device sets up in a lovely Cottage. She looks serious and sets to work – we know she is serious because she theatrically puts her glasses on. They are pretty great glasses to be fair though, they are practically a character in their own right.
Aziraphale is back at his lovely bookshop. ‘Of course, I know about Agnes Nutter’s book and no I don’t have a copy…’
Newt meanwhile is meeting up with Shadwell to see what all this witchy stuff is about. The door is opened by the always fabulous Miranda Richardson (give her more to do!) who runs a brothel at the same place as the HQ of the Witchfinder army. Turns out the war is fought mainly with press clippings.
Aziraphale and Crowley have a heated discussion about the fact that Crowley bungled the baby swap – what are we going to do about it? What do Demons listen to in the car? The Velvet Underground of course (although, who even listens to CDs these days??).
Anyway, let’s get to know Adam and his gang, shall we? Wensleydale, Pepper, and Brian. Together they pose a charming gang of precocious youngsters living in the idyllic English countryside. Sort of a supernatural Famous Five (Dog making up the number). They are having a lovely old time playing witch hunters, picking on poor Wensleydale, you know the usual, when they encounter Anathema, who is on the lookout, presumably for the Hell Hound, however, she blithely walks past Dog because he is nowhere near as sinister as advertised (she is going to have egg on her face, eh?).
Aziraphale and Crowley are trying to solve the mystery of the wrong baby. Their search takes them to the site of the convent where the babies were born. It is, however, now a venue for corporate team building activities where accountants, etc play paintball. In a flourish of mischief Crowley turns all the paintball guns into real guns but crucially doesn’t allow them to actually kill each other (cos he’s actually secretly quite nice, isn’t he?). They bump into the nun who survived the fire of 11 years ago, she also just happens to be the Nun who cocked up the switch, fortunately, after a bit of hypnosis, she fills our fearless duo in on the deets but doesn’t actually know where Adam ended up.
Crowley is driving too fast (as usual) and knocks Anathema Device off her bike which plays a bit a like a mystical meet-cute. To make up for it Aziraphale offers her a lift where unfortunately Anathema leaves her treasured possession, ‘The Book’ in the car.
After a discussion on the strategy of using human operatives to try and find Adam with Crowley, Aziraphale finds the book of prophecy in the back of the car. He whisks it away (without telling his mate about it, tsk tsk) and takes it to his book shop where he pours over the prophecies contained within. Turns out, after a bit of cross-referencing with the Bible, they know exactly where to find the Anti-Christ and he’s actually quite easy to reach on the phone.
Andy joined the Ready Steady Cut team in October 2018. A Graduate of Exeter University, he writes mainly about films and TV.