Mark Reads ‘Good Omens’: Saturday, Part IV

In the fourth part of Saturday, all the players converge in one place in Lower Tadfield, ready for the End of the World. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Good Omens.

Saturday, Part IV

[For the purpose of following along, this review covers the Saturday chapter from page 300 to page 340 in the paperback edition, from the sentence, "The lorry blocked the road," to the sentence, "The alarms were totally brainless and though they saw four people where people should be, and went off like anything." - Mark]

Yeah, I hate that I’m reading this in pieces.

No, wait, I mean I love it, and I’m happy to be spending so much time in this world I’m glad I get to appreciate all the smaller details, twists, turns, and character portraits. But I JUST WANT TO KEEP READING. oh SHIT, they’re all converging on the base at the same time. THEY’RE ALL GOING TO MEET ONE ANOTHER. Oh my god, you know why I am most excited about this? Like, okay, yes, part of me is interested to see how this all ends. HOW IS THE WORLD GOING TO BE SAVED, OR WILL IT EVEN BE SAVED AT ALL? However, I am instead anticipating all of the great situational jokes these two writers will make. Like, at one point, we’ll have:

- The Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse

- Crowley

- Aziraphale inside Madame Tracy, along with Shadwell

- Nate

- Anathema

- The Them + the Antichrist

IN THE SAME FUCKING ROOM. Oh my god.

But let’s first talk about one of the more embarrassing/prophetic things I’ve written in any of my reviews ever. From yesterday:

“Also, those four bikers riding along with the Four Horsepeople… they’re not going to have a good ending, are they? Probably not.”

WHO KNEW THAT I WAS JUST TWO PAGES AWAY FROM THREE OF THEM DYING AFTER HITTING A THIRTY-FOOT PILE OF FISH? Part of me was sad because I liked these bikers, and then part of me thought this was one of the funniest deaths I’ve ever read.

I’m just sort of picking areas that feel natural to stop at, and now I can see the beauty in stopping where I did. This is the very point where this book shifts into high gear. Well, and Crowley does, too. Yeah, his entire journey to Tadfield is unreal. His car is a burning blob of fire. The fact that he was so willing to let his car get destroyed in the process is a sign that shit is real, and there’s not time for him to fuck around. What’s he going to do in Tadfield? Is there seriously a way to stop the Apocalypse other than killing Adam Young? This worries me.

Actually, shit is real in the very next sequence, where poor Lisa Marrow makes a terrible mistake. I admit that it’s fun when the authors switch to some unknown character because I try to figure out why we’re seeing things from their perspective. In this case, unfortunately, Lisa is just a telemarketer who happens to make a phonecall to one Anthony Crowley. Who happens to have a demon inside his ansaphone. Who happens to be freed when she gets his answering machine. Who happens to then eviscerate and devour the entire staff in just a few minutes. There were ZERO FUNNY THINGS in this scene, and Gaiman had to have written this nightmare fest. Just… THIS WAS UNEXPECTED!

So was Adam’s near-descent into Antichristville. It’s like this book is reminding me that the world is going to end very, very, very soon. I shouldn’t forget that! The entire scene with the Them takes a fucked up, dark turn once Adam starts controlling his friends. But that’s the entire point of this: he has no idea he is the Antichrist, and he’s not going to know he has these powers. Well, he at least initially does not. But then he leans back his head and screams, and this releases something within him, and suddenly, he’s self-aware. He knows! Wait, how can he know that he needs to do something? How does he know about what he needs to do? Is this the good side in him coming out?

I know that the scene with the Them discussing their purpose as a group and whether they should “win” or not is not the least bit subtle, but I liked it a lot. You have to understand that this book has a very special appeal to me as a recovering Catholic. A great deal of the things we see playing out here – the Four Horsemen, the pollution and war and famine and death, the great war between Heaven and Hell – all of this was literal, or at least it was taught that way. It’s a hard thing to grasp as an inquisitive little Christian who wonders all sorts of things. Did Adam and Eve’s children have to have sex with one another to procreate? Did Noah only collect two bees for the Arc? What if Abraham had told God that it was immoral to kill his own son because God forbade him to? Wouldn’t he have passed the test anyway? Did God feel pain in Heaven when He died on the cross? (That question got me a week suspension from catechism. I WASN’T JOKING, I WAS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF HIS THREE BEINGS, GOD YOU WERE THE WORST TEACHERS.)

So seeing these things acted out, but with a sense of humor, feels very personal to me. It’s like this book was written so specifically for me and other Catholics in one sense. It’s why I’m okay with the Them discussing their “sides” in a way to represent the metaphor of the whole book. And I don’t often speak of my distaste for Christian theology because… well, that usually ends in disaster, you know? I’m not an atheist because certain things in my Christian upbringing didn’t make sense. I questioned Christianity because of those things, sure, but that’s not what ultimately got me to where I am. But I remember when we did cover Revelations in Sunday school, and I couldn’t deal with it. I couldn’t! And I know that the atmosphere in that school wasn’t the same as public school. Asking questions of the teachers, often various Sisters who lived on the grounds, wasn’t expected. It wasn’t downright discouraged, but this wasn’t like my classes in high school, where you could question things you didn’t understand. So when I started asking about the End of the World and all the things I didn’t comprehend, I was met with a brick wall. First, things were a metaphor, then they were literal, then they were both, then they were Why Don’t You Stop Asking Questions, Mark.

But what would happen to the Earth after God wins?

No one could ever really answer that. So this is why I like this conversation. Adam figures out what his friends are trying to get at: if one side wins, won’t they just repeat the whole process over again? As Pepper explains:

“Because,” she added, “if we beat them, we’d have to be our own deadly enemies. It’d be me an’ Adam against Brian an’ Wensley.” She sat back. “Everyone needs a Greasy Johnson,” she said.

Good needs evil. Light needs dark. This Apocalypse is a mistake. So is this what the Them are going to try to use to stop it? What about Crowley? HOW IS THIS GOING TO END?

I got some serious E.T. vibes when Aziraphale made Madame Tracy’s scooter fly. Well, it was a lot funnier than E.T., but you get it. I mean, the very image of her screaming above the heads of all those people on the M25 is just… I adore you, Madame Tracy.

I can’t believe that Good Omens is the first book I’ve ever read that’s addressed this, but Nate finally figures out that he can do whatever he wants because Agnes Nutter’s prophecies have those covered. Like, he finally just gives up and says, “PICK ANY CARD, IT DOESN’T MATTER,” and he is 100% right. How has no one ever thought of this? IT’S SO FUNNY TO ME. That means Nate could just slap one of the guards and still get inside. Well, that’s assuming the final set of prophecies predict the right thing. What did Agnes Nutter say about this final confrontation? We still don’t know. OH GOD.

R.P. Tyler. ALL OF YOU KNOW AN R.P. TYLER. When my family first moved to Southern California, we had to join a Home Owner’s Association. We didn’t have on in our previous neighborhood! And for real, those people who create and ruin HOAs are all in Hell, there’s no doubt about it. THEY WERE THE WORST PEOPLE. Oh my god, who fucking cares if my house is pearl white? NO ONE. IT DOESN’T MATTER. SHUT UP. So I love that the writers use him as the one who witnesses all of these groups of people come into town. OH, SHIT, HIS DIRECTIONS TO THE FOUR HORSEPEOPLE IS THE BEST THING EVER. I mean, it’s actually the worst, because I hate people who give directions like that. Ugh, he’s only in this book for like eleven pages, and he might be the most complete character imaginable.

Which does bring me to another point: is Adam’s father really that clueless? Am I missing something here?

This section ends on the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse. They manage to get inside the Lower Tadfield Air Base without considerable effort at all. I did like that they all discuss how pathetic it seems that they’re essentially pushing a button to start the Apocalypse. Then that got me wondering: how was this supposed to work? How would you decide who wins? Do the angels and demons literally battle on earth and the humans are just collateral damage? Am I not going to find out if this is true if the Apocalypse is stopped?

I have thoughts that might be answered soon, so I’m just going to keep reading.

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About Mark Reads

Vegan cyclist, Internet community nerd, atheist bookworm, high-five purveyor.
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3 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Good Omens’: Saturday, Part IV

  1. NotGonzo says:

    I’m loving your read of Good Omens! Having grown up in a non-religious household, but having gone to Christian primary schools, I didn’t have the same connection to the biblical stuff beyond knowing the story of it. So to me, the story felt less personal. I did ask many of those same questions when I was young, but my mum was pretty open about not knowing and not really being that interested in religion.

    You’ve inspired me to read Good Omens again – I’d forgotten how much I love this boo

    By the way, Terry Pratchett announced yesterday that he’s set up a production company, Narrativia, and its first projects are going to be a Good Omens TV movie & The Watch (based on TP’s Ankh Morpork City Watch, from the Discworld Series)!

  2. NotGonzo says:

    I’m loving your read of Good Omens! Having grown up in a non-religious household, but having gone to Christian primary schools, I didn’t have the same connection to the biblical stuff beyond knowing the story of it. So to me, the story felt less personal. I did ask many of those same questions when I was young, but my mum was pretty open about not knowing and not really being that interested in religion.

    You’ve inspired me to read Good Omens again – I’d forgotten how much I love this book. Thanks! :)

    By the way, Terry Pratchett announced yesterday that he’s set up a production company, Narrativia, and its first projects are going to be a Good Omens TV movie & The Watch (based on TP’s Ankh Morpork City Watch, from the Discworld Series)!

  3. NotGonzo says:

    Sorry for double post – my phone’s being a dick.

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