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Smited, Smote, Smitten: A Reading on Queer Longing in Good Omens


Smited, Smote, Smitten: A Reading on Queer Longing in Good Omens

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Smited, Smote, Smitten: A Reading on Queer Longing in Good Omens


Published on October 4, 2023


Well, that went down like a lead balloon.

Smited, smote, smitten, here at the end of all things.


“I won’t be forgiven. Not ever. That’s part of a demon’s job description. Unforgivable. That’s what I am.”

“You were an angel, once.”

“That was a long time ago.”

—the Bandstand (Good Omens season 1, episode 3)

The thing is, this is the shit I’ve been waiting for my whole life.

Before I knew the words, I was impacted by how every epic romance, every classic adventure, every story I had access to and enjoyed was cishet. I needed to translate either the story or myself to find myself in it—every single time. I grew up in the oughts, in the days of the Tumblr fandoms you’re thinking of. I wrote about this a bit more in my essay on the first season of Our Flag Means Death last year, and that first line applies here—queer heartache has never felt this good.

I’ve been able to consume a lot of queer storytelling lately—mostly white cis m/m, but not exclusively and more than I’ve ever been able to in my life, because I’ve been searching for it for a long time. Yet as we know, there are a lot of mainstream stories with queer “rep” that at their core about what marginalized queer people have been cautioning around for generations—normalization. Assimilation. Respectability. See, we can be just like you. We too desire to marry, participate as cogs in the violent machine of imperialism. We too want the right to give you our service, our allegiance. We too want to join your armies. I certainly can enjoy plenty of that media, but I’m still desperate for queer storytelling that’s not sanitized, not flattened out to fit cishet beats, something that tells a good story that’s queer on every level. And that means we deserve to see queer characters who are messy, who hurt each other, because sometimes, love isn’t enough.

While Good Omens in some ways still white cis m/m, it’s also not entirely, and what works for me is that it actually delves into asking the damned question: What if this love is a threat, actually?

What if this love is something that does disrupt your norms, your ways of life? What if it’s an open danger to the systems you’re used to? What if this love could disrupt everything? What if it goes against God’s will and Satan’s too, what if it flies in the face of the ineffable plan?

What I’m saying is, I’ve wanted stories that let queer people be characters, with all the nuance and complexity that entails. Stories that are queer, intentionally, in both subtext and text, that aren’t asking an audience to justify their right to exist. Instead, they’re giving voice to the specifics of queer experience that don’t typically get mainstream care, multi-season tenderness. We deserve queer love stories that are wistful, epic, tragic not because they’re of the “same gender” but because the tangled truths of safety and trauma are inextricable from queer love. We deserve stories that are queer as subtext and text, metaphor and central plot and side plot too. We deserve queer stories that explore how queer love is infinite variety. We deserve genre stories that explore what immortality or something close to it does to pining, to longing, for wanting the one person in the universe you can’t have.

We deserve queer stories without homophobia that still explore the traumas of marginalized desire, in which neither party is truly the villain, just victims of the same system, at different stages of knowing it.

Show me what it looks like beyond the happily ever after, the will they/won’t they, the beats of a privileged cis white coming out. Breathe arcs of nuance and poetry and history into it. We deserve that epic romance, and we deserve to see how much it can hurt, because the depths of that wound evidence the ferocity of that love.

Growing up queer can feel monstrous, and I need to see that on screen. When you get preached at that people like you go to Hell for what you are and the ways you want, you start to relate to the demons. When you’re taught the truest, most joyful parts of you are unholy, it’s fair to ask—why should I respect the authority of a system that hates me for reasons I can’t control?

You learn to disguise your desire, and it changes you. It changes you to choke down your feelings, to deny them, to believe that they are sin. You learn to pour them into the hidden language of love that arises between you and whoever you’re lucky enough to share it with, so you don’t learn how to say them aloud. (Their arrangement, “little demonic miracle of my own,” the fourth alternative rendezvous. This is what queer love has looked like for millennia: something beautiful and true, despite, despite, despite.) Unlike those whose love has only ever been legal, permitted, “normal,” “holy”—your relationship is inescapably shaped by the threat behind it. You don’t get to see them as often as you like. You don’t get to talk, either to them or about them, because it might disturb the precious existence you have carved out together. You have to make up excuses, you can’t admit to anyone exactly why you can’t stop going back, and in this way you don’t always have to confront it yourself.

At the same time, that’s why queer love can be one of the most powerful forces in the universe—it saved the world last time, even if they didn’t call it that, yet. Aziraphale and Crowley don’t know so many details about each other’s lives and yet they know nearly everything important.

This is love—this natural state of slipping into the truth, until you awaken to it, inevitable and encompassing, all around you.

You might find yourself almost helpless to the magnetism. You can’t stop going back, finding your way to them, taking the risk, basking in the thrill of the comfort of their company.

And that’s why this finale, this story, this couple works so well for me—it’s queer in the telling, and while it always has been, this season literalized it on a new level and that matters.


“We’ve known each other a long time. We’ve been on this planet a long time, you and me. I could always rely on you. You could always rely on me. We’ve been a team, a group. Group of the two of us. And we’ve spent our existence pretending that we aren’t. I mean. The last few years, not really. And I would like to spend—I mean, if Gabriel and Beelzebub could do it, go off together, then we can. Just the two of us. We don’t need Heaven, we don’t need Hell, they’re toxic. We need to get away from them, just be an us. You and me, what d’you say?”

The thing is, Crowley must have thought there was finally a chance it would work.

Millennia of choking back feelings. Of patience, indulgence. No one knows better than Crowley what Aziraphale would be giving up for him. Crowley wouldn’t, couldn’t ask that of him, unless he was sure Aziraphale wanted it. Until someone else did it first, and there was no longer the excuse of we can’t. It isn’t done. Until Gabriel and Beelzebub set a precedent. Until finally, finally, he thinks he has a shot. This season canonizes the devastating extent of Crowley’s yearning. He’s waiting and waited, not only for Aziraphale to claim him, to love him—but to kiss him. To touch him, to give into his hunger the way he once let Crowley introduce him to the pleasures of a meal. To deliver on the promises of his touch, his favors, the half-perverse regency romance he made of his city block, just so he could ask Crowley to dance. To follow through on what Nina saw, what Anathema saw, what Heaven and Hell and almost everyone sees: this thing between them that neither of them intended to grow, blossoming defiantly and irrevocably, despite, despite, despite.

Crowley burst into flames when Gabriel reappeared in their lives. The near-end of the world has the effect of reorganizing your priorities, as we know all too well. He doesn’t want to fix Heaven. He doesn’t want to help Earth. He wants to love fucking selfishly for once. “If Gabriel and Beelzebub can—” He wants everything, but he’ll take what Aziraphale gives him, he always has. He’d rather keep his heart in Aziraphale’s unspoken purgatory than lose him. So he hands over the car keys. He makes his nemesis cocoa. He does the rainstorm. He saves the books, and he loves it. “Shut up,” he says. “Anywhere you want to go.”


Crowley loved God once, Aziraphale.

You remember he was an angel, yet you never take that into consideration.

Crowley loved God, and he was speaking to Her as recently as the last armageddon. Crowley loved God, and was loved enough by God as an angel that he was tasked with a major component of the universe’s Creation. Crowley crafted starlight and nebulas, constellations and Alpha Centauri, and he did it perfectly. He made it so beautiful, he loved it so much—even now, he can’t stop growing things, can leave behind everything except his plants. He obeyed the will of God once, Aziraphale. He made the universe out of wonder and beauty and curiosity, and because the God he loved so dearly, the God he thought loved him, asked him to. And that God didn’t even tell Crowley that their Creation was meant to only last six thousand years. Who knows when They decided? She wrote the end of Earth’s story before it even begun, and made it so anyone who questioned it would Fall from Their Grace forever. Aziraphale, you know that just because someone says they’re good doesn’t mean you agree with their thinking or their morals, yes? Didn’t Job, Wee Morag teach you that? The hubris, to think you know better than him. How can you lecture on Truth and Light and Good when you’re speaking to the demon who was once the angel chosen by God to let there be light. 


“You don’t know me.”

“I know the angel you were.”

“The angel you knew is not me.”

The Book of Job (season 2, episode 2)

Aziraphale doesn’t understand what it means to Fall.

This isn’t his fault. No angel can know, until it happens.

But it is his fault to assume he understands the distinctions between the mechanisms and moralities of demons and angels, when between he and Crowley, he’s not the one who’s been both. 

Crowley can’t ever be an angel again. How can you ask him to return to a place that damned him and cast him out—much less to wield your love as bait? As contingent? 

Crowley loves him with patience, with care. He didn’t have to be an angel to protect Aziraphale, to stop time and save the world, to save his books from the Blitz. He didn’t have to be holy to walk into Heaven for Aziraphale and breathe fire at the Archangel Gabriel, and he didn’t have to be an angel to make him cocoa. He brats over Aziraphale’s silliness and snaps when the angel’s stubbornness butts against what Crowley knows are mutual values, a shared, fundamental need to save who they can, where they can. He does all this as a demon.

So, to hear I forgive you…


“I never asked to be a demon. I was just minding my own business one day and then…ah, lookie here, it’s Lucifer and the guys. Oh hey, the food hadn’t been that good lately. I didn’t have anything on for the rest of the afternoon. Next thing, I’m doing a million-light-year freestyle dive into a pool of boiling sulphur.”

—Crowley (season 1, episode 5)

Aziraphale really, really thought Crowley wanted this.

He thought Crowley would be excited. Delighted at the prospect. He still thinks an angel of Heaven is a better thing to be than a Fallen one, he doesn’t question that Heaven is still the side of Good. He still thinks he’s better than a demon—he thinks they both are.

Aziraphale thinks Crowley’s Fall was a mistake.

He thinks of it as a bug, not a feature, of a system he still at his core believes in. Aziraphale doesn’t recognize Crowley’s demonic nature as who he is, but rather something thrust upon an already fundamentally kind being. He doesn’t understand that in God’s system, Crowley was always going to Fall, because Heaven murders innocents over and over and casts out anyone who questions it, and Crowley was never going to let anything innocent die without asking why. It is, fundamentally and ironically, a huge part of what Aziraphale loves about him.

Crowley’s existence doesn’t mean God was wrong in making him a demon, it means not every demon deserves hell, which means the entire system is horrifyingly flawed.

Crowley is the very best thing Aziraphale’s known in the world. The only being he could count on, he could trust. God, does he trust him. At the Eastern Gate of Eden, Aziraphale confesses his sin to the Serpent without hesitation—“I gave it away!” He beams smugly at Bildad the Shuhite because he knows this demon—technically an emblem of all evil—wouldn’t hurt so much as a goat if he can help it. And Crowley earns that trust time and again. Aziraphale puts a gun in Crowley’s hands and asks the demon to point it at him. Asks him to pull the trigger. No miracles, no backup plan. God may cast you out, Gabriel might send you to burn, but Crowley, Aziraphale knows he can count on. (“Run me through,” says another wounded would-be lover, in another universe. “Stab me.” Here is my heart, here in your crosshairs. Take aim. Because when tenderness opens you both to threat, this is the closest thing you get to a confession. I trust you, you say without saying.)

And yet he doesn’t trust Crowley at the moments that really, really matter. He thinks he knows better. He thinks he understands. He wants to save Crowley from Hell. He doesn’t understand he already did. He still doesn’t understand that for Crowley, the only place in the universe worse than Hell is the place that condemned him to it.

Aziraphale still hasn’t let himself understand—they have far more in common with each other than their respective sides. He still hasn’t realized, even after Gabriel and Beelzebub, that the difference between angels and demons—between Good and Evil, even, at least with the capitals—is the whim of a God he’s never even been allowed to talk to. Even after Job’s children, and the flood, and the sword he gave away. After Heaven cast out the best person he’s ever known, a person whose goodness is so tangible Aziraphale can’t stop naming it, can’t help but want to make it official. He just drew the wrong conclusion. And if he’d had a moment to savor what Crowley was offering, to actually listen to him, while I do think he’d need to at least try to change things in Heaven, I’d almost think he would’ve gotten there. “I think I’ve—” Not altogether unlike the ox-rib, only this is infinitely more revelatory—after he’s had a moment to process the shock, he realizes, with fierce and urgent pleasure, that he has been starving.


After season one, Heaven and Hell don’t care about them anymore. The world has been saved. Crowley’s ready for some well-deserved rest, at last.

But Aziraphale’s only just waking up.


Serpent of Eden, gardener cast from the garden, sculptor of starlight doomed to the pits of hell. You thought nothing would hurt worse than falling, and then you fell for him.

Crowley’s waited this long. He’s come to know himself as a wretch of wanting. It’s in the flex of his fingers, the set of his jaw, the lines of his spine and the plants in his car because he won’t ask Aziraphale to let him move in unless Aziraphale asks first. “You go too fast for me, Crowley.” Surely it’s fair for him to take that to mean that they’ll arrive at the same destination, even if it takes Aziraphale more time to get there? Crowley knows exactly what Aziraphale would be giving up for him. And he resists asking that of him for so, so long—until the very higher-ups who would’ve punished them go off together.

He wouldn’t do it if he didn’t believe in his heart that this was finally the time. Even after Aziraphale said what he said, even after Aziraphale asked of Crowley the very thing Crowley could never, ever do—he tried.

And he wasn’t wrong. Aziraphale had been as ready as he’d ever be. He’s agreed to “our side.” He’s wanted Crowley all season, and he’s not hiding it. He’s wooed Crowley all season, the ball and the dance and rescuing me makes him so happy. He’s been openly lusting, making up excuses to touch him. He’s been taking Crowley’s side over Heaven’s again and again, in the little ways that matter. They already are in love, and they act like it.

That’s what makes this hit so hard—love isn’t enough.


Aziraphale was granted a deeply buried dream he’s wanted for millennia—to love Crowley with God’s blessing, to do Good with him—the very instant after it’s been proven he doesn’t need that dream to live openly in love with Crowley anymore. He can’t just let it go. He thinks it will all work out in the end. He thinks he can make the system into something that loves them both.

Aziraphale is so excited to save Crowley as Crowley’s saved him all these years—he doesn’t realize that he’s the one that needs to be rescued, that Heaven cares as little about him as Hell does, that they want him as a weapon, not a savior.

And in this way Aziraphale hurt him so deeply as only Aziraphale could. What happened to our side? He rejects the very life Crowley thought he might have always wanted, just as Crowley himself had—he rejects the earth. He rejects the world they saved, together. It’s not just that he chooses Crowley—it’s that he makes it clear to Crowley that he’d choose a Crowley who would ally with and fight for the very forces that sentenced him to literal Hell over the Crowley he’s known all these years.

Which, understandably, makes Crowley doubt just how well Aziraphale knows him after all.

But it’s only because it was happening so fast! If they’d just had more time—if Aziraphale let Crowley speak first—if he took a moment to register how Crowley was taking it—

But there wasn’t any time and he was giddy and wrong-footed at the nigh-impossible prospect. And I don’t think he could have turned it down, because he wouldn’t have been able to forgive himself if he didn’t try.

What works so well—what makes this hurt so much—is that Aziraphale is only doing any of this because he’s so blindingly head-over-heels stupid in love that he can’t bear the thought of Crowley getting hurt because of him—getting punished for protecting him, for loving him, for being with him.

So when there’s a single chance to carve out a future in which he never has to worry ever again that their love will damn them both, he seizes it.

And in this way rejects everything Crowley is—rejects everything Crowley thought, in fact, he was coming to love.

Aziraphale just thinks they’d get to be Good again, together! Properly together! It would feel so right to be in God’s good graces! For Crowley to be safe forever, to never have to fear again that loving Crowley is technically evil. He didn’t get the chance to realize what he was turning down because he never, ever thought Crowley might want him in the ways Crowley wants him.

What Crowley hears is I love you in spite of what you are, and I would prefer to love you as something else. When given the choice, I will choose a version of you who returns to the very place that damned you to hell, and fights for their will and their army. I will act on the authority of the God that rejected you. And I will tell you it’s for your own good. 

Aziraphale had been so close to getting it—to understanding that Heaven was just as bad, that the system itself is fucked—but was so blindsided by the possibility of the eternally impossible thing he’d dreamed of for so long: that they could be together in a way that is holy. In a way that’s blessed by God, in a way that’s allowed, in the one and only way he’d never have to be afraid Crowley would be destroyed because of him.

And…well, because it feels holy, this thing between them. Because holy is the highest form of Good Aziraphale knows.

Please, please. Let me be the one to save him this time.

You still don’t get it, angel.

You already had.


In season one Crowley thought the worst thing that could ever happen to him was Aziraphale dying.

He was wrong.

Aziraphale throws that last card back at him, saying the thing that hurts Crowley more than anything else ever has and ever could. More ruinous than holy water, more destructive than anything God or Hell could ever, ever have done to him.


You can’t leave this bookshop, Crowley says, but he’s asking, don’t you want me?

Nothing lasts forever, Aziraphale says, but he’s saying there’s nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice for you.


“I forgive you.”

“Don’t bother.”

It’s because the way he feels about Crowley is so pure, so beautiful, that he can’t believe it’s anything other than sacred. He wants to revel in it! He wants it to be celebrated, he wants to dote openly, and he can’t wait to set things right.

Don’t you remember, angel? He’s said it a thousand times. What else am I meant to be, an aardvark? 

And painfully, it’s in part because Crowley’s been protecting him that Aziraphale doesn’t get it. “We’ve been talking for millions of years,” he groans to Nina and Maggie, for them to point out that what Aziraphale and Crowley do is hardly authentic conversation. Crowley’s protected Aziraphale for a very long time. His helpless fondness bleeds into his voice. “You could stay at my place. If you like.” “I’m so sorry, it’s gone. Your bookshop, it burned down.” A team. A group. A group of the two of us. We see that same fondness mirrored in Aziraphale’s expressions, again and again, across the seasons. Crowley makes him feel safe. Crowley doesn’t want him to think it’s a big deal, so he hides the effort, the punishment, the risk, behind bluster and “don’t call me nice.” Crowley shields Aziraphale from the worst of the danger they’re in until he can’t, and it finally comes round to haunt him. He doesn’t want to ask for Aziraphale’s help if he can help it, and doesn’t want to let himself go vulnerable. He remembers what it’s like to be cast out from the light of love forever—he’s not going to risk it again if he can help it. He knows Aziraphale is strong, even if he didn’t get to see the angel wield his halo, but Aziraphale likes playing the damsel and Crowley likes playing the hero—he likes playing cool. If he’d said please don’t leave me, it’s possible Aziraphale would have listened. But he couldn’t, because he’s never said anything so vulnerable in millennia. Maybe ever.

“I think you’re overestimating the trouble we’re actually in,” Aziraphale says a moment before Hell breaks into his bookshop, because he still believes there are rules for a reason, and everyone, to some degree, is following them. He doesn’t understand that the strict borders his office has drawn around Good and Evil are as breakable as a windowpane when the right person decides they’re worth breaking. Aziraphale was wrong then and he’s wrong now. He didn’t see Gabriel’s face condemning him to death. He doesn’t get punished by Heaven in the way Crowley’s been punished by Heaven and Hell alike.

Aziraphale wants to do the Right thing, and he still doesn’t understand how complicated that is. And he doesn’t understand that Crowley’s done trying to save the world. He’s tried, over and over. He’s spared even goats from God’s awful indifference. “You’re being silly.” No, angel. You’re being stubborn.

And…it’s because of Crowley that Aziraphale wants to fix things from within. That he can even recognize there are things he wants to fix. It’s because Crowley made him brave, and strong.


“Not kind! Off my head on laudanum. Not responsible for my actions.”

“Will you get into trouble? Well, they’ll surely have noticed downstairs. You just did a very good deed indeed.”

“Trust me, if Hell noticed that little display, I’d already be—”

—(season 2, episode 3)

Years later, shortly before the near-Armageddon, Aziraphale tries to call him nice again. Crowley seizes him by the lapels and shoves him against the wall. Aziraphale isn’t in the least bit concerned for his own safety in this moment, peering as Crowley snarls, “Shut it. I’m a demon, I’m not nice, I’m never nice. Nice is a four letter word.”

There’s something there, isn’t it? When the one who’s never known real suffering, real terror, real cruelty, dangles their love out at you at their leisure, to feed upon from their lap. You cull the chaos of you. Trim your history of pain and rage, shape yourself into someone they might let themself be seen with. It’s not enough. It’s never enough. “Deep down, I always said you were a little bit of a good person,” Aziraphale told him once, and Crowley doesn’t stop him that time, doesn’t shove him. “None of this would’ve worked if you weren’t just enough of a bastard to be worth knowing.” A bit more than just enough of a bastard. Just as Crowley’s kindness bleeds in at the edges, the angel’s selfishness does too at times—his petulance, his stubbornness in the face of Crowley’s patience.

“To the world,” Crowley said, and he thought Aziraphale understood what that meant. They each thought they were on the same page. “I think your exactly and my exactly are two different exactlys.” “I thought we were carving it out together.” “So did I!” They don’t talk.


Crowley does good even when it puts him at risk. He makes The Arrangement with Aziraphale not only so he can try to get Aziraphale to realize they’ve got far more in common with each other than their respective home offices—but because Crowley can’t help but do good. Real, proper good, the good that tricks Heaven’s will and Hell’s schemes, the good that actually helps humans in a way no one who’s never lived on Earth ever could. He’s liked the universe and everything in it since before it existed, and he doesn’t want it dead. He often enjoys it—he’s nearly as theatrical as Azirpahale when it comes to some of his saves, and he signs himself up to take on some of Aziraphale’s assignments. It’s part of what brings the two of them back to each other. the way they use their time the way each makes the Earth a home for the other in a way neither Heaven nor Hell ever has been.

The thing is, Aziraphale too has been questioning God. At least since Eden, or at least since he learned, perhaps, that Crowley fell. We witness the extent of this—how it was happening even back with Job. Aziraphale’s been lying to Heaven, deceiving them, working with Crowley, defying God’s plan because he thinks deaths are a side effect too small for Heaven to care for—not a part of a system functioning as designed. “I don’t think it is what God wants,” Aziraphale says anxiously, as if a memo simply got lost in translation and surely God didn’t intend to punish innocents irrevocably, on a whim or a bet with Hell. The introduction of Muriel this season further emphasizes just how much Aziraphale has strayed from Heaven. So much of him is defined by his love of Earth-things. He’s moving somewhere closer to a true goodness that’s somewhere between Good (without exception) and Evil (for evil’s sake).

Crowley’s changed him, sure. But he never could have if Aziraphale didn’t want to protect humans in a way no one in Heaven would, he never could have if Aziraphale didn’t recognize the lifesaving power in what Heaven deems “wrong.”

He knows this, a bit, which is part of why he’s so relieved when he gets a chance to affirm his allegiances.


Good Omens could have left it like this. But the Gabriel/Beelzebub plotline at the core of the season removes that barrier, reveals it for the facade it is, abruptly and all at once. Aziraphale has no excuse. He makes his choice.

That’s way more interesting, and all too fitting. They haven’t talked, not really, in millennia, and this misalignment is so profound it cracks the certainty of them, the bedrock of our side. 

This is now one of the greatest love stories of all time. They dote on each other, they protect each other, they’re trying to figure out how to love each other in a world whose rules change on a whim. They are, quite literally, star-crossed.

This is the shit I’ve been waiting for all my life. When God abandons you, when you’re not sure what to believe in, who to trust—look at who knows you. Who sees you, and wants to know who you are.


Queer love isn’t neat. The closet isn’t just one thing. Love isn’t love isn’t love isn’t love. I’ve always hated that expression, because queerness should be normalized, not defanged. Until it’s seen as truly equal, it’s empty to pretend that it is. Love is not love. It’s not the fucking same. It grates on me most, I think, because it doesn’t feel like a validation—it feels like a dismissal. How dare you compare what it takes to exist as a queer person in this world, to nourish queer love, to moving through the world in which cisheteronormativity—the overarching system—works in your favor. You get to see yourself in every love story. You get to fall in love safely. You get to live it, safely, and you can trust that that will never change. How could it possibly be the same? Queer love is inextricable from fear, don’t you get it? No matter how far we’ve come in the most recent ticks of the earth’s enormous clock, this pain is current. I’m thirty-one and I and my queer college friends weren’t sure gay marriage would ever be legalized in our lifetime.

They can make anything illegal. They can take anyone away. (They hurt him once, angel. They can hurt him again.)

It feels different, when you’re living in a legacy of secrecy and shame. The love feels different, when it’s held back through gritted teeth. Spoken through code and meeting-points, because the alternative is literal damnation. Queer love is inextricable from trauma. From tragedy, from triumph, from heartbreak. From danger, and grief, and fear.


You should know why you’re about to die. God has abandoned you. The God who claims to love you, who demands your praise, has given you up to be destroyed. Bad luck.”

—Crowley to the goats (season 2, episode 2)

It’s a terrifying thing, to lose faith in God.

But when that very Heaven rules that knowledge is sin, mercy is finite, authority is absolute, and saving the innocent is treason—it’s worth questioning what in your life actually feels truly sacred. What deserves your worship and your allegiance, what inspires true reverence.

Don’t you get it, angel? While it might be terrifying to lose your faith in God—to doubt the judgment of the very Heaven you’d trusted as the authority on Good, all this time—it’s infinitely more so to have your God lose faith in you.


Aziraphale hesitates. Reaches for his trembling lips with an expression to rival an Austen heroine, six thousand years worth of moments shattering apart and rearranging in his mind, and before he can put it all together and look at what’s in front of him, he’s got a choice to make. “I think I made a mistake” on the tip of his tongue.

“You’re an angel, I don’t think you can do the wrong thing.”

He sets his jaw and redoubles his resolve because he’s already fucked it up so terribly the only thing he can do is make it worth it. He’s so sure that the right thing is for Crowley to be an angel with him so they can save everyone together—he begged him, in fact. “I need you.” Is that the first time he’s admitted that aloud? In the end, I’d argue, he follows Metatron for Crowley—he thinks he’s moving toward an eternal future together. “I forgive you,” he’d said. The cruelest thing he could have said, to the demon who turned down Heaven. “Unforgivable. That’s what I am.” 

For Aziraphale—obstinate, eager Aziraphale, who has always taken Crowley for granted—this is the best way, the only way, to atone.

He’ll see, Aziraphale tells himself, with complete assurance. He wouldn’t go if he wasn’t confident. (He wouldn’t have been confident without Crowley.) Once I fix things, we can be angels and agents of good together. We’ll never have to hide or run away. The rest of Heaven and Hell and Earth will see just how good Crowley is.

After that kiss, once he gathers himself, Aziraphale’s resolve only stiffens. This thing is holy and I have been granted the power to make it so. I still believe in righteousness, so, Crowley, let me forgive you your trespasses. Lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, the glory are yours, now and forever.

He doesn’t realize that asking Crowley to pull angelskin over the demon he’s been for millennia affirms all the worst fears Crowley’s ever had: I will only love you if you love me in a way that is permitted.

He doesn’t realize that what Crowley has been quietly pleading with him to understand is that Heaven’s love is contingent, and Crowley has learned to live without it. Crowley needs no love but Aziraphale’s.

All Crowley’s wanted for a long time now was to be enough for Aziraphale, just as he is.

And he thought he might finally have a chance.

It’s genius, and it’s devastating. We’ll let you back in is so much safer (and manipulative) than you’ll make your own way, the temptation of real influence in a system the angel thinks he knows outweighing the thing in the corner of his heart he’s tried so steadfastly not to name for what it is, even as it courses through his veins like blood might. You can see it in his eyes—It is a relief. Aziraphale would never have been able to live with himself if he turned it down. He’d always wonder who he could have saved if he was the one making the rules.

He’s not a human, but he is queer: his love is forbidden, marginalized, at odds with the foundations of morality he’s been taught. And like many queers who get the opportunity to rise through the ranks of a discriminatory system, he thinks he can change it from the inside. He doesn’t realize no one can, that’s why demons exist in the first place. The system will devour you or you will become its tool, there is no other way to do its bidding and retain a sense of yourself.

Normalization. Assimilation. Respectability.

He hasn’t recognized what Crowley did a long time ago: they trust each other more than they trust God. They’ve gone against Her will, together, over and over and over because they have a clearer sense of Good on Earth than anyone Heavenbound ever could.

And besides, angel. The only being Crowley’s believed in since he Fell is you. 


What Crowley doesn’t realize is that Aziraphale would do anything to get to love him openly. To Aziraphale, this is the way—this is beyond his wildest dreams. Finally, he won’t have to hide how much he adores him! Finally, everyone will see how good Crowley really is. Finally, Aziraphale can align these feelings of care and delight and love and love and love with the one true source of goodness he knows: holiness.

He never thought he would love anyone as much as he loved God.

And then he fell for Crowley.

So surely, surely, there has to be a mistake.

Crowley’s not evil.

And…he’s right about that. He’s just choosing a point too surface to change. Crowley doesn’t have to be an angel for you to love him, Aziraphale. Crowley needs you to recognize there is nothing wrong about loving him as a demon. Crowley needs you to recognize that you and he aren’t so different after all, not because you’re the two most special or unique out of all the angels and demons, but because the distinction is a lie. Heaven, Hell, they’re names for careless behemoths playing with souls like checkers, making up rules as they go.


“One fabulous kiss and we’re good. I have a plan. Get humans wet and looking in each other’s eyes, and then—vavoom.”

Of course Crowley thinks the best way to fall in love is to get them wet and vavoom. It worked on him, in Eden, a very long time ago.

That kiss was desperate, violent, half because Crowley couldn’t help himself, because he had to try, because he had absolutely nothing left to lose.

And half because, well. That’s how it works in the movies, isn’t it? “I saw it in a Richard Curtis film.” Crowley, who still has the James Bond fake bullet holes in his Bentley’s window, which he bought in 1967 because he thought it makes him look cool. Crowley, whose only knowledge of Jane Austen is her leading role in diamond robbery.

Staring at Aziraphale with parted lips and a heaving chest, a tidied bookshop and no glasses between them. He was ready to do it right. He’d planned it out. He’d rehearsed the words—imagined saying them in a very different tone, to an angel who hadn’t just invalidated so much of what they’d been through together. To the angel who’d reached for him when Gabriel reached for Beelzebub, the angel Nina told him to fight for, the angel who took him by the hand and asked him, with Heaven furious and Hell at their door, to dance.

Crowley’s done pining.

This wasn’t to prove Crowley’s love—he’s done that over and over, by choosing Aziraphale for exactly who he is. It was to prove that he wants anything on earth Aziraphale will give him. You want me like this, angel? Yeah, I want you like this too. This is how badly. This is how human. There’s nothing of you I don’t want. You’ve got me. I want anything you’ll give me, as long as it’s you.

“We could just kiss like real people do.”

Crowley thought he’d found the single product of Heaven that loves him exactly as he is—a thing he hasn’t felt since he was loved by God Herself.

Smited, smote, smitten, here at the end of all things.


Crowley, who loves to grow things. Crowley, who understands that a weapon giving weight to a moral argument is as easily a threat as a shield. Crowley, who understands the weight of humanity more than any angel, because he, like Job, like the victims of the Flood, like the goats and so many humans, has been forsaken by Heaven. Cast out, by whim or plan. Ignored, unanswered, and punished for asking.

Aziraphale, haven’t you learned yet? Goodness, true goodness—you know it through Crowley. That doesn’t mean Crowley ought to be on the side of Heaven. It means the designations of Good and Evil are far less binary than you were led to believe. You cannot fix a system that powerful from within—not when it’s working perfectly as designed.

Crowley understands that design. He’s been trying—not to make Aziraphale notice, but showing him he can. He won’t tempt. He won’t beg. He needs him to get it.

And more than that—he wants Aziraphale to choose him. To choose to leave with him, not force him to conform. It’s the one thing Crowley will not, cannot do for love.

You fell in love with a demon, Aziraphale. You cannot change him from being a demon in order to love him, because that’s not who you fell in love with. You have to change your mind about the firm delineation between Good and Evil not by thinking Crowley is Good but by recognizing that calling him Evil and casting him out means Heaven is not to be trusted. Heaven is not a safe home for him. Heaven is not a safe home for anyone. You have to love him as he is, because otherwise that’s not love. And you do love him as he is, you just reconciled it in the wrong direction because Metatron granted you the power to love him in a way that is Holy, and you are so, so tired of being scared that your love will be what destroys him.

And isn’t that the irony of it all, because well, Aziraphale. It has.


The tragedy is that fundamentally, they’re both just trying to take care of one another.

But Crowley can’t do this anymore.

And then Crowley, in perhaps Tennant’s most devastatingly iconic scene since Rose, waits.

He put his glasses back on for the kiss. The moment Aziraphale said “if I’m in charge…” he already knew. He put his glasses back on, perhaps to mask the hell-yellow of his eyes (which Aziraphale actually loves—“but it’s pretty”), but certainly to create a barrier between him and the heartbreak he was trying so hard not to believe was unavoidable.


“I’m not taking you to hell, angel. I don’t think you’d like it.” Crowley is so attentive, so patient. He’s devoted to Aziraphale. Exactly as he is: fussy, excitable, flamingly cringe, extraordinarily clever and an absolute idiot. Crowley deserves that same consideration.


“No nightingales.”

God, and you just know both of them are also furious at the other for spoiling their first kiss.

I’m not convinced it’s not the bulk of what Aziraphale’s I forgive you was about. It’s so petty, it’s so in the moment—he thinks they’ll get another chance to get it right. He thinks they’re still in the realm of apology dances. Aziraphale loves to forgive, he tells Maggie in the first episode. It’s one of his favorite things to do. But as many of us queers raised in the church know well, there’s a powerful genre of forgiveness that comes from control, not kindness. I forgive you designates your actions as a crime, the forgiver assuming a benevolent superiority. It suits Aziraphale, the petty brattiness of it, but it doesn’t suit the magnitude of the situation because he still doesn’t understand.

“I don’t think you understand what I’m offering you. We could be together!”

“I understand a whole lot better than you do, angel.”

For the first time, Aziraphale finally lets himself believe he and Crowley, together, are inevitable.

For the first time, Crowley is forced to consider they might not be.


Queer storytelling means queer beyond aesthetic. Queer as in hard choices made in fear, under threat. Queer as in the confusing love for the “bad influence” best friend you’re not supposed to be seen with, the one who got kicked out. Queer as in what could our future possibly look like? Where are we safest together? Where can we grow this thing between us, and what in the world might that mean? Queer as in a scriptless love that you both get to and have to define.

Queer love sometimes feels so intense or sudden because you know, on some level, what you’re signing up for: some degree of eternal risk. Permission can be revoked. Laws get changed. You never know when they’ll turn on you again—every moment of peace is fragile. What you do know is I want them. I want them, I want them, and I can’t not. 

If Crowley could feel the Bentley go yellow, I can only imagine what it felt like to drive through hellfire to meet Aziraphale at the air base at the end of the world.

Yeah, this is the sort of shit I’ve been waiting for my whole life. Queer love can heal and hurt in ways the cishets can’t imagine. The pain of this finale is exquisite, because Aziraphale never could have hurt him so mortally if they hadn’t been so deeply in love. I trust that the intentional storytelling devoted to shattering them so specifically will do justice to putting them back with care.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this season, and I’m still in shock at the vindication. Theirs has always been a love story. I’m so relieved that finally, like Aziraphale and Crowley, we no longer have to read it between the lines.


Maya Gittelman is a queer Fil-Am and Jewish writer and poet. They have a short story forthcoming in the YA anthology Night of the Living Queers (Wednesday Books, 2023). She works in independent publishing, and is currently at work on a novel. Find them on Twitter (@mayagittelman) or Instagram (@bookshelfbymaya).

About the Author

Maya Gittelman


Maya Gittelman is a queer Fil-Am and Jewish writer and poet. They have a short story in the YA anthology Night of the Living Queers (Wednesday Books, 2023). She works in independent publishing, and is currently at work on a novel. Find them on Twitter @mayagittelman or Instagram @bookshelfbymaya.
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