Amazon’s Good Omens is an ambitious story about a lot of big concepts: faith, destiny, free will, and forgiveness. It’s also a story about love, of every size and variety, but it focuses primarily on the unlikely and unconventional relationship between a bookish angel named Aziraphale and a caustic demon called Crowley.
While the pair’s relationship is not given any sort of official name on the show—though Queen’s “Somebody to Love” does play rather cheekily at one point when one thinks the other is dead—it’s hard to dispute the fact that the connection between the two is the linchpin around which the entire series turns. Furthermore, the genuine love between Crowley and Aziraphale is not just sweet to watch, but presented as utterly necessary to the story Good Omens is telling.
The idea of interpreting Aziraphale and Crowley’s relationship as something more than just “the most epic bromance of all time” isn’t a new one. Fans have been rooting for this crazy odd couple to become canon pretty much since the day the book was published back in 1990. And by all accounts, they’re even more into the idea than ever before. (The series, and the pair at its center, have consistently ranked as one of the top five most-discussed topics on Tumblr since it premiered back in June.)
Author Neil Gaiman has repeatedly said that any interpretation of the duo’s relationship is best left to readers. (Though, according to internet lore, he also revealed that the two retired to a cottage on the South Downs together following the almost-Apocalypse, so here’s hoping we hear the rest of that story someday.) Star Michael Sheen is possibly the biggest Aziraphale/Crowley shipper on Earth, and can name the precise moment he feels the angel began to care about the demon in a “more than just friends” sense. David Tenannt seems to fall somewhere in the middle, generally defaulting to the language of buddy cop films to describe their repartee.
Of course, Good Omens itself leaves us a lot of room to maneuver in defining the specifics of Aziraphale and Crowley’s relationship. The two are celestial beings, after all, which means it’s highly doubtful that they are governed by the same physical needs and laws as humans are, regardless of what sort of corporation each currently inhabits. The mere concept of things like romance or sexual attraction may not exist for them as we understand it. Therefore, their story automatically lends itself to a sort of choose-your-own-adventure feel. If you want to ship it, there’s certainly enough onscreen evidence to support your feelings. And if you don’t, that’s fine too.
But what does seem apparent, no matter what side of the are they/aren’t they divide you fall on, is that Crowley and Aziraphale absolutely love one another in the deepest, purest sense of the word, and that connection drives not just their relationship with each another but the entire world of Good Omens.
Talk to anyone who’s watched the show, and they’ll inevitably mention that one of their favorite moments is the extended 28-minute sequence that opens Good Omens’ third episode. The segment, which fills in the backstory of Aziraphale and Crowley’s millennia-old relationship, follows the angel and demon through everything from the Biblical flood to the Reign of Terror in France. Along the way, what starts as mere professional courtesy between them grows into something more complicated, and eventually the two find themselves constantly breaking the rules, going out for crepes on the regular, and rescuing one another from Nazis.
All of this plays out like the most sumptuous of rom-coms, complete with Crowley saving Aziraphale’s rare books from bombs in the Blitz, and Aziraphale guilting Crowley into making Hamlet a hit. (That first bit, incidentally, is the most romantic scene on television this year. Fight me.) The two are monstrously co-dependent, and their dynamic together resembles nothing so much as an old married couple who’ve settled into the idea that there’s nothing for either of them but each other. Thus, when the two basically decide to co-parent the Antichrist in an attempt to thwart the coming Apocalypse, well, it barely even feels weird.
And to be honest, it really shouldn’t.
Aziraphale and Crowley may have been initially thrown together by circumstance but their unique situation forces them to become something more. No other being understands their experiences, because no one else has seen the things they’ve seen. No angel or demon has lived among God’s creations for so long, or seen them at their wondrous best and most destructive worst. Crowley and Aziraphale grasp humanity’s triumphs and failings as others don’t, and they love them for it all. And in doing so, they learn to love each other, too.
Perhaps the bureaucracies of Heaven and Hell have both forgotten this fact, in the midst of their cosmic struggle. These creations-angel, demon and human alike—were formed by the greatest love there has ever been, and are all reflection of that fact in their own ways. And perhaps Good Omens is so popular precisely we ourselves need the reminder too: That love has always been the thing that unites us, whatever the differences that divide the creatures above, below, and within this world might be. It’s the Almighty’s greatest gift, and the maybe only thing truly worth fighting for.
(Remember, after all, that it’s not the threat of Crowley’s own death that motivates him in the final battle against Satan. It’s Aziraphale threatening to never speak to him again.)
Perhaps it’s merely the chance of proximity that ultimately leads Aziraphale and Crowley to care about one another so fiercely. Perhaps it’s because they’re both divine beings, initially formed of love themselves, and therefore their default factory setting is merely intense emotional attachment. Or maybe it’s a deliberate narrative choice, and their connection was the point of everything all along.
Good Omens is the sort of story that desperately wants us to choose not to be cynical, and to embrace big, gloppy sentiment with arms wide open. Armageddon is thwarted not through battle or manipulation or even divine intervention, but love. Between an angel and a demon, no less, who choose each other over and over again though they’re not supposed to do so. But also, it’s between a boy and his father. Among friends and neighbors and strangers who just met. And in the ineffable machinations of a Higher Power who has never abandoned Her Creation—though it may not have always seemed that way.
In short: Love is a radical act, and always has been.
From the very beginning of Aziraphale and Crowley’s story, this has been the case. In the Garden of Eden, the Serpent tempted Adam and Eve to disobey, in order to give them the power to choose their own futures. The Angel of the Eastern Gate broke the rules to gift the fleeing humans his sword, and spent the next six millennia lying to the servants of the Almighty about what happened to it. In their simplest forms, these are acts of love.
Perhaps they’re not the sort that we ourselves can often emulate—and if someone has a flaming sword at home, please leave it there—because we’re probably not all equipped to save the world from Armageddon. But we can choose each other, whether that means rescuing priceless books, delivering a thermos of water, or simply learning to care about those who most different or alien from us. We can do small things with great love. And change the world along the way.
Good Omens is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Lacy Baugher is a digital producer by day, but a television enthusiast pretty much all the time. Her writing has been featured in Collider, IGN, Screenrant, The Baltimore Sun and others. Literally always looking for someone to yell about Doctor Who and/or CW superhero properties with, you can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.