In the second part of Saturday, the entire world begins to fall apart as the Apocalypse gets closer, and both Aziraphale and Crowley face unexpected adversaries. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Good Omens.
Saturday, Part II
[For the purpose of following along, this review covers the "Saturday" chapter from page 230 to page 264 in the paperback edition, from the sentence, "Bullets of ice shredded the leaves around the Them as Adam led them down into the quarry," to "There was a flash of lightning, blue-white, strobing across the cloud-black sky, a crack of thunder so loud it hurt, and a hard rain began to fall." - Mark]
Well, that escalated quickly, didn’t it?
You know, as exciting and thrilling as this all is, I love that both writers never forget to be funny. Here, it’s less situational, as much of the humor comes from the lovely details dropped in footnotes or in things these characters say. Still, I liked this part of the book specifically because it showed me just how real the coming Apocalypse would be.
All over the world, the signs are coming. Adam continues to descend into the quarry, becoming more and more like the Antichrist in the process, terrifying the Them as he does so. A tree in a plaza inside a business grows impossibly over the span of a few minutes. (And I love that we get this tiny portrait of Jaime Hernez for just two pages!) SOMEONE RELEASED THE KRAKEN! It’s so fun to read this because it’s making me wonder what else we’ll see as the Apocalypse approaches. What other horrors will be released on the world? How will the media react to this? Hell, how will anyone deal with this if Aziraphale and Crowley are successful in delaying the End of the World? Like, you can’t just ignore that a giant squid rose out of the ocean and got revenge for ten billion sushi dinners. You can’t spin a network of hyperviolent, ridiculous storms all across the world. These things are happening everywhere and simultaneously. This book hasn’t ignored that these things are occurring in the real world, so I’m fascinated to see how this will be addressed.
There’s a small segment dealing with Newt and Anathema, but the bulk of this section focuses on the panicked state that both Crowley and Aziraphale are currently in. After Shadwell figures out just how wrong things are in Lower Tadfield (and that he needs money, and that he has no real friends to give him that money except for his Mafia friend, Crowley, and his Russian spy, Aziraphale), he heads out on a disastrous collision course. I think that Gaiman/Pratchett/whomever wrote this part is a goddamn genius, because I completely forgot that Shadwell was going to seek out Aziraphale almost immediately. Instead, I was utterly entranced by Aziraphale’s conversation with the Metatron. (Oh god, NOW I’M THINKING ABOUT HIS DARK MATERIALS help me, drowning in feelings.) I find it hilarious that it’s easier for humans to reach heaven than it is for Aziraphale. He’s an angel! He’s like the angel, and it’s still a hassle for him to make contact.
But the scene also highlights just how dangerous and morally ambiguous this plan of his is. I think it’s easier to like Crowley because he’s funny, he’s edgy, and he clearly supports all the things we love. But I came to really like Aziraphale after this scene. This angel is risking eternal happiness to spare the human race from a horrifying Apocalypse. I guess I never stopped to think about what that meant. I never considered what that entailed! And here he was, speaking to the Voice of God, realizing that things were going to end very soon, and he still refuses to waver from his position. Sure, he’s reluctant and scared, but he knows that deep down, he can’t let the End of the World happen. Well, at the very least, he can’t let it happen on Earth.
Also, he doesn’t get voicemail. L O L I LOVE YOU, AZIRAPHALE.
So yes, I was so in love with this exchange that I forgot Shadwell was headed here. When he showed up, I just placed my head on the table. SHADWELL THINKS AZIRAPHALE IS A DEMON. But this should be easy to clear up! I thought. He’ll just have to –
what. Wait. OH. OH SHIT. Did Aziraphale just get beamed up to Heaven?????
This entire sequence is paralleled brilliantly once we get to Crowley as well. He is also extremely freaked out over the coming Apocalypse, knowing that he doesn’t have much time left, and knowing that he’s going to have to answer to his Boss fairly soon. (Aside: This aside is dedicated to the aside in this book about the computer warranty. Bless this book. Wait, is it bad to bless a demon’s sense of humor? Hmmm. I should look into that.) While we do get a glimpse of Crowley’s sense of style (demons are so fashionable!), we’re mostly shown how differently Crowley deals with his superiors. He’s far more dismissive and risky towards them as Aziraphale. When some demon representative all-caps shouts at him through the TV, he treats it like an annoying child. He largely ignores it. And even when Hastur and Ligur are sent to retrieve him, he doesn’t panic. He simply destroys Ligur with a bucket of holy water. (I seriously couldn’t figure out what was in the flask the whole time. It was so obvious in hindsight, but MY GOD.) It’s so horrifying, but I think it demonstrates just how desperate Crowley is to avoid the destruction of all humankind because of some cosmic, metaphysical chess game. He destroys a demon. He traps another one in a voicemail tape. And then he gets the fuck out of his house to go find Aziraphale. Just like with Aziraphale’s choices, I suddenly respected what Crowley was doing so much more. He had the hounds and demons of hell after him, and he refused to give up. He needed to save the world. This is the same world he’s supposed to be claiming for his Master! It’s just so fascinating to me that this character exists in such a unique position. You know, I honestly can say I’ve never come across characters like Aziraphale and Crowley in pretty much any book I’ve ever read.
So how great is Crowley’s scene in Aziraphale’s bookstore? I know he’s got all these wonderful powers to keep himself unseen, but the fact that he’s so open and crass about his entrance and exit to the store is a sign of how critical this moment is. Can I also suggest that perhaps Crowley loves Aziraphale? I don’t mean this in a shipping sense (though I can’t imagine that there aren’t a lot of folks who ship these beauties). I don’t even know if Crowley’s role/nature makes it possible for him to love, but I’d say this is evidence that he does. He cares so much about his friend that he walks into a burning building in front of tons of witnesses, spectators, and Soho night people (L O L) just to find him. Yes, he’s immortal, and yes, he probably has the tools at his disposal to make sure all these folks forget he was there. But that’s not the point. I’m coming to understand just how much these two characters need each other and what that means for the rest of us. Good and evil need each other to exist, don’t they?
Shit is getting so goddamn real, y’all.
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