[Ed. note: This post contains major spoilers for the ending of Good Omens season 2.]
The second season of the Prime Video show — based on the 1990 fantasy book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett — ends with a big damn kiss. Except, instead of being a happy climax to a love confession, it’s a tearful goodbye. Demon Crowley (David Tennant) was just about to confess his love to angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), but the angel cut him off with some other news. Aziraphale accepted the Metatron’s offer to be a leader in heaven, and he hopes to rebuild heaven with Crowley by his side. But Crowley doesn’t want to be an angel again, or play by anyone’s rules. So, after shooting his shot with a desperate kiss, he turns down Aziraphale and the two go their separate ways as the credits roll.
It’s a moment that could have been a huge disappointment for fans who’ve waited literal decades for these two characters to romantically get together.
Instead, though, the consensus seems to be that this heartbreaking ending hurts so good.
Fans are offering one another comfort, comparing this ending to other devastating romantic moments in TV, like the first season finale of Our Flag Means Death, the Priest and Fleabag’s breakup, and (funnily enough) the 10th Doctor and Rose’s premature parting of ways. Good Omens has the heartache and yearning that resonates with the most bittersweet and touching of romances, with the added oomph of being a queer love story. After all, slow burn romances and angst are just as appealing to fanfic writers as fluffy domesticity.
One of the most popular comparison points is Supernatural — which isn’t surprising given just how much lasting power the sleeping giant fandom has. In this case, it takes on a particularly funny parallel, considering the heaven and hell of it all. Both Good Omens and Supernatural end with a love confession that separates an angelic being from their romantic partner. But there is a key difference between Supernatural from these other examples. Our Flag Means Death, Fleabag, and Doctor Who were sad, sure, but Supernatural’s abrupt awkward love confession (and subsequent immediate death) was a source of anger and frustration (and a million memes thanks to the ridiculous timing of the episode, but that’s another story).
Supernatural’s weird one-sided love confession lives on in infamy. Even though the parallels are there, everything about Good Omens’ tragic love confession is actually an example of how to do it right. For one, this isn’t the final, definitive ending of Good Omens — at least, not yet. Neil Gaiman said on Tumblr that a hypothetical season 3 would be the “last act” of the story, even if that hypothetical season hasn’t yet been announced by Amazon (and thanks to the writers and actors’ strikes, might not be announced for a bit).
But while the creatives behind Supernatural always joked about the possibility of Dean and Castiel getting together, it never translated to actual storylines in the show. That, coupled with actor Jensen Ackles’ dismissive behavior, fueled queerbaiting accusations from fans. So, the tragic and out of left field ending — a love confession which immediately ended in a death — understandably soured fans. After an angel professes love to him, Dean dies an unrelated death in the actual final episode, and reunites with his car (and brother) instead of Castiel.
Meanwhile, the storytelling choices in Good Omens season 2 — as well as the other examples of this devastating heartbreak canon — make sense. Of course, Crowley would want to reject the establishment and run away with Aziraphale. And of course Aziraphale still has a lot to learn, and thinks that fixing heaven will get the both of them what they want. As they are now and as the world is, a relationship would not work out. There is time to learn and grow, which fans seem to recognize, and more importantly, there is the possibility of a third season to really tie things together and give everyone a happy ending.
But what’s a happy ending without 100K of slow-burn angst before it? Till that hypothetical season 3 manifests, at least there’s plenty of art, memes, and fics to help us cope.
Good Omens season 2 is out on Prime Video now.