Events move alarmingly quickly on Good Omens Season 2 Episode 5 from odd to impossible to perilously bonkers.
For a show that has taken us to Scotland and Uz, with meandering detours through prehistory and Biblical times, introducing graverobbers, Nazis, and Job, it escalates a neighborhood theme party to an infernal siege with barely a moment to acknowledge the critical change.
Meanwhile, the miracle that hides Gabriel from those looking for him works so well that his surrender is rendered useless.
As an angel, Aziraphale has a number of superpowers, but his party-planning skills are nothing short of miraculous.
His willingness to part with his books — the items he cherishes most in the world– in the name of bringing Maggie and Nina together is like Crowley giving up his plants or Bentley.
Like the weather scheme Crowley uses to set Nina and Maggie up to kiss, Aziraphale’s Jane Austen ball is a contrived context in which a romantic trope is expected to emerge.
What is concerning is how Aziraphale thinks nothing of casting his guests into roles, taking away their free will to act and feel genuinely.
As funny as it is for Mrs. Sandwich to declare herself a seamstress over and over again involuntarily, it’s clearly frustrating for her.
And Nina’s awareness of all the strangeness is troubling to her even though she doesn’t feel troubled.
I wonder why, of all the guests, Nina’s perceptions are unaffected by the glamor Aziraphale has cast.
It doesn’t mean she isn’t compelled to dance or speak in the prescribed and scripted manner, but she recognizes that she is being compelled.
Crowley: ‘GIve Me Coffee or Give Me Death.’ It’s a funny name for a coffee shop.
Nina: Everything else was taken.
She chafes at being forced to act and feel unlike herself.
In this, she resembles Shax in her determination to better her position by any means necessary.
As it always is when the bureaucracy of Heaven and Hell is made blatant, Shax’s requisition for a legion is hilarious.
While Furfur might’ve wanted a more glamorous job on Good Omens Season 2 Episode 4, he’s come to understand the power he wields in his current position.
Shax: Five hundred. There must be five hundred foot soldiers.
Furfur: What they for?
Shax: Attacking a bookshop. Don’t tell anybody, but we may be battling angels.
Furfur: Can do you a hundred.
Furfur: It just dropped to seventy.
Shax: I’ll take them.
Now, why would Hell be so short on demons? That seems a strange labor shortage to have.
Assuming a balance between Upstairs and Down, a decrease in Hell’s minions would imply that perhaps Heaven might be running low on entry-level angels.
Nothing short of being erased from the Book of Life would end an angel’s existence, and demons only fear celestial smiting.
So what has happened to the multitudes?
Perhaps Crowley will learn the truth now that he’s convinced Muriel to take him to Heaven.
I suspect his interest in poking around in the penthouse stems from his interaction with Jim/Gabriel.
Gabriel: I feel like an empty house.
Crowley: A house?
Gabriel: Yes, a house someone lived in for a very long time, but now they’re gone, and the house can sort of tell where the things used to be. Like when I remembered how it all began.
We’ve been provided with many pieces to the puzzle of Gabriel’s amnesia.
The matchbox. The Edinburgh pub. The song.
How does it fit together?
Gabriel’s time in this helpless and — dare I say it? — carefree state has demonstrated that the pompous Supreme Archangel is not the only type of person he is capable of being.
He is grateful, thoughtful, and compliant. He’s a team player.
If he were to regain his memories, would we lose this Gabriel and get the one Crowley hates back?
Will he remember his time as Jim if his memories return?
Or will the Supreme Archangel cringe at the Liberace tuxedo and the idea of serving food to humans and demand the universe erase the days when he found joy in hot chocolate and dusting bookshelves?
Speaking of retconning events, how will the Whickber Street Traders and Shopkeepers’ Association members explain the party crashers?
What has happened to Mr. Brown?
Will Maggie and Nina survive the onslaught of Hell’s demons? And can anything they do be worse than Lindsey’s behavior?
Well, her spelling is better; I’ll give her that.
Considering the season as a longitudinal study of Aziraphale’s growth as an angel and as a person, I feel that his tour around the shops of Whickber Street is somewhat like a graduation thesis.
For the angel who couldn’t understand why a girl would steal bodies to sell as cadavers, he demonstrates an incredible ability to discern precisely which volume in his bookshop would entice each business owner to attend the monthly meeting.
Maggie and Nina are depending on me. They just don’t know it yet.
Preceding offerings have had inside joke guest stars. They’re more subtle here, in a way.
Aziraphale offering the proof of the first Doctor Who annual touches on David Tennant‘s stint as the time-traveling Doctor.
Furthermore, Crowley trying on the fez hat is a reference to the fez his Doctor Who successor, Matt Smith, wore in the role.
Thematically, there is no jukebox at the Jane Austen ball, but when Maggie and Nina begin dancing, the ensemble plays an instrumental version of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday.”
Finally, after millennia of finding himself in dire straits and having Crowley swing in to rescue him, Aziraphale voices his intention to save himself, admitting he knows it may rob Crowley of his favorite pastime.
Aziraphale: We aren’t in danger. Crowley will be back in a moment. He will have a plan.
Nina: What don’t you stand up for yourself? Make your own plan.
Aziraphale: Oh, I am. But rescuing me makes him so happy.
So, as we roll into the finale, we have Maggie and Nina holed up with Jim/Gabriel and Aziraphale, preparing to face the forces of Hell, while Crowley and Muriel head Upstairs to solve the mystery.
What will they find, Fanatics? What terrible thing drove Gabriel into the world of humans, hot chocolate, and hors d’oeuvres?
Hit our comments with your thoughts and theories!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond ’til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.