The Umbrella Academy Season 1, Episode 1 We Only See Each Other At Weddings and Funerals [Series Premiere] - Title Card
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The Umbrella Academy‘s first season is a bit hit and miss, but by the final, it seems to have found its footing.


Network
Netflix
Creator Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba, Steve Blackman
Genre Sci-Fi, Drama, Comedy
Good If You Like Melodrama
Isn’t For You If You Don’t Like Superheroes Who Don’t Use Their Powers Often To Fight Crime

Like Charismatic Villains

Think Most CW Shows Are Trash

Noted Cast
Reginald Colm Feore
Luther Tom Hopper
Diego David Castañeda
Allison Emmy Raver-Lampman
Klaus Robert Sheehan
Number Five Aidan Gallagher
Ben Justin H. Min
Vanya Ellen Page
Cha-Cha Mary J. Blige
Hazel Cameron Britton
The Handler Kate Walsh
Leonard John Magaro

Summary

It all began October 1st, 1989 when 43 women gave birth to kids immaculately. Originally, the whole world was supposed to end approximately 25 years later. However, the members of The Umbrella Academy, founded by eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves, were recruited to stop that, and various crimes. The members, who began their training before they were even 12 were the following: Number 1 (Luther) who had strength beyond the average human; Number 2 (Diego) who is a master with projectiles; Number 3 (Allison) who with saying “I Heard A Rumor” could manipulate anyone to do or forget anything; Number 4 (Klaus) who has the ability to communicate with the dead, and more; Number 5 (No Alias) who can teleport towards the future, past, and to different locations in the present; Number 6 (Ben) who could unleash a monster with tentacles to fight for him; and Number 7 (Vanya) who we are led to believe is powerless.

Together, minus Vanya, these children were trained for great things. However, by the time they are adults, most have left Reginald and The Umbrella Academy behind for various reasons. Be it Allison wanting to become a famous actress, Diego wanting to operate outside Reginald’s assigned missions, or just not wanting to deal with the indifferent nature of Reginald who barely seems to like most of his children. But, upon his death, they all come together and between investigating how he died, and Five returning after disappearing for years, so begins the first season which focuses on how to stop a pending apocalypse. One which will require them to work together unless they want to meet the same fate Five escaped from.

Highlights

What Ellen Page Brings To This

Vanya (Ellen Page) in the Umbrella Academy
Vanya (Ellen Page)

Recognizing not everyone is an Ellen Page fan, I honestly think she was the best actor out of all of them. As noted in the recaps, she brought a seriousness to the show, consistency in emotions, that we don’t really get from everyone else. While we hear the other actors, and their characters, vent about their childhood, adult life, and have these very forced upon emotional moments, it feels rather natural for Page.

For whether it is just her character being unwilling to hold most people’s glance, apologizing for existing sometimes, and other little things, you get a quality performance. Albeit one which barely fits in with the tone the show has, but towards the end, it becomes less of an outlier and more so something for this show to aim towards. Thus pushing the writing and Page’s peers to the point of trying to match her.

Low Points

The Superhero Element Isn’t Tapped Into Much

Ben's powers in animated form.

If you’re expecting powers to be used in masse, crime fighting to happen, epic fights, and things of that nature? Well, you might be disappointed. There are only two to three big fights in the entire season, and two of the three are in the season finale. A finale which finally lets us see Klaus’ power in force, as well as see how Ben’s power works – since Klaus passively conjures him up, even when high – which makes little sense considering being high is supposed to numb his powers.

As for the rest, again, it is only in those three fights we really see their powers, sans Allison who doesn’t use her skills for reasons noted in the season.

In The Beginning, It Cheaply Tries To Make You Emotional

We’re told, fairly often, that things weren’t good in anyone’s childhood and with each other so for 12 or 13 years, the family didn’t speak to one another. Also, we see Reginald, while testing his kids’ capabilities, would borderline torture them. Klaus, for example, was locked in a mausoleum to get over his fear of the dead – didn’t happen. Also, Allison was used and allowed to use, her powers to manipulate people – including for Reginald’s use. Making it so, when she became a mom, she found herself even using that power on her daughter.

But, there are other things. People die, and you can tell that it is supposed to affect you. There are multiple betrayals as well, and a bunch of drama which is made to be a big thing, but likely won’t hit you emotionally. They are just things noted to keep things chugging along, not so much the type of events which deepen your investment.

The Villains Were Lackluster

Being that this is based on a comic book, you’d think the villains would be spectacular, the organization they worked for would be sinister, complex, and more, but that’s not the case. The Commission’s mission is explained, and we do get to see inside of it, but how it was created, whether there is competition, and how does it decide what timeline is correct, that isn’t gone into. Mind you, most episodes are almost 60 minutes so not learning those nuggets make it so there is a bit of a gray area. Not the kind which complicates things, but more so leaves fans to make theories or feel pushed to read the comic if they want answers.

But, setting aside the organization and talking about their representatives, things aren’t much better. Cha-Cha and Hazel come off fearsome at first. However, like the majority of the characters, they are infected with this tone of appearing serious, but being low-key bumbling fools. So with each failure and their reaction being to strip away any and all mystique, it kills any sense of them being menacing or people to worry about.

Then with the Handler, while she isn’t as exploited as Cha-Cha and Hazel, she doesn’t have the appeal of the villain with Cha-Cha and Hazel being her minions. She makes it clear she is just a recruiter, if not middle management. Thus taking away from any power or mystique she could have. Leaving us essentially without a villain besides the childhood trauma everyone, especially Vanya, are dealing with.

On The Fence

Some Call It Weird, I’d Say Awkward

Delores just being a mannequin.

 “Weird” is a term often used when this show is described, and I’d say the show is more so awkward. Acknowledging the source material began nearly a decade ago, there are times when you feel the show, in an effort to not be compared to X-Men, among other properties, tries to dodge comparisons and ends up in a ditch. There is also a problem of either trying too hard, like Klaus being a comic relief and not going far enough.

Now, the Klaus example one could write off easily as Robert Sheehan giving the fans what they want. However, when it comes to the “not going far enough” comment, the issue is how the show develops its characters. When it comes to Leonard, for example, there is no subtly when it comes to revealing who he is. He is made suspicious early on, and it makes the big reveal fall flat. The same could be said for Allison and Luther’s relationship and Diego and Eudora’s relationship. This show, awkwardly, tries to make these emotional connections, craft what should be major betrayals, but often times they feel dialed in.

Leading to, as seen in episodic recaps, the show coming to the point where it is hard to get through since it doesn’t seem to have much going for it beyond a budget and big-name stars. Yet, one could write the awkwardness, weirdness, are first season jitters. Both the writers and actors getting a groove, if you will. For by the time we’re in the final two episodes, there is some kind of rhythm, the emotional moments are set up better, and could get a real reaction out of you. That is, compared to what they were early on which often felt cheap and desperate.

Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)

Reginald talking to Klaus.

I feel like many of Netflix’s shows, this wasn’t necessarily adapted to be binged. It was made for a six to seven day forgiveness period so its flaws could be excused, its pacing wouldn’t seem so slow, and you didn’t experience the production as a whole, fatigue and all. Which I feel is a factor in the mixed rating. However, the bigger issue was not having a hook until damn near the end. The characters were a bore, the storyline never made the villains or the apocalypse that big of a thing, and the relationship drama, be it family or romantic, never reached a point where you could use that as a selling point.

Yet, because of the ending, that is why it is being noted to stick around. In general, most shows are figuring out how to handle their writers and performers and how to get the best out of them. Add in this being an established property, and that means trying to figure out what stories should be saved, held for the second season, and what can be done considering the budget. So while, by no means, over the moon when it comes to season 1 of The Umbrella Academy, this is getting a mixed label since it seems it can get better and is trying to. Rather than it feeling settled in the way it is, so you can take it or leave it, the last two episodes pushed the idea season 2 could give us everything season 1 struggled with. And sometimes, just leaving people with hope is all that is necessary to maintain their loyalty.


Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: Not yet.


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The Umbrella Academy Season 1, Episode 1 We Only See Each Other At Weddings and Funerals [Series Premiere] - Title Card
Meet The Characters
Purchase The Graphic Novels This Is Based On: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 (You Can Get Volume 1, And Access To Many Other Books With Kindle Unlimited)
Season/ EpisodeSynopsisDirector, Writer, and Introduced ActorsTopics & Focused Characters
Season 1, Episode 10 "The White Violin" [Season Finale]Somehow, The Umbrella Academy turns things around for what made for quite the finale - until we were left with a cliffhanger.
Director(s) Peter Hoar
Writer(s) Steve Blackman
Air Date 2/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
Reginald Wife: Abigail Liisa Repo-Martell
  • The Love Of A Violin: Reginald, Abigail, Vanya
  • One Last Meeting: The Handler, Cha-Cha, Hazel, Luther, Five, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Vanya, Pogo
  • This All Never Happened: Five, Vanya, Agnes, Hazel, Allison, Diego, Klaus, Ben, Cha-Cha, Luther
Season 1, Episode 9 “Changes”We get Grace’s origin story and get the family’s reaction to the events of episode 8 “I Heard a Rumor.”
Director(s) Jeremy Webb
Writer(s) Bob DeLaurentis, Eric W. Phillips
Air Date 2/15/2019
  • The Origins of Grace: Grace, Vanya, Reginald
  • Welcome To The Long Middle: Klaus, Ben, Hazel, Diego, Five, Allison, Luther, Leonard
  • The Beginning Of The End: Vanya, Luther, Hazel, Cha-Cha, The Handler, Agnes, Klaus, Ben, Diego
Season 1, Episode 8 "I Heard a Rumor"The truth behind Vanya’s powers, and her forgetting them, are revealed. Also, more info on Reginald’s death is provided.
Director(s) Jeremy Webb
Writer(s) Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Sneha Koorse
Air Date 2/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
Claire Coco Assad
  • On The Run: Cha-Cha, Hazel, Agnes
  • The Death of Reginald: Reginald, Pogo, Grace, Luther, Klaus, Diego
  • There Was An Accident: Reginald, Leonard, Vanya, Allison, Luther
Season 1, Episode 7 "The Day That Was"On top of Reginald making an appearance, so does what might be God. Also, we learn what Leonard has been hiding.
Director(s) Stephen Surjik
Writer(s) Ben Nedivi, Matt Wolpert
Air Date 2/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
Beaman Rainbow Francks
God (?) Birva Pandya
  • Is That You God? It’s Me, Klaus: Luther, Klaus, Reginald, God
  • The Past Biting You In The Ass: Leonard, Allison, Diego, Five, Reginald, Grace
  • Who Knows What The Future May Hold?: Cha-Cha, Hazel, Agnes, Vanya, Leonard, Det. Beaman, Diego, Allison
Season 1, Episode 6 "The Day That Wasn't"Five adjusts to middle management, secrets are revealed, we meet Dave, and Cha-Cha tries to kill Hazel!
Director(s) Stephen Surjik
Writer(s) Sneha Koorse
Air Date 2/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
Dave Cody Ray Thompson
  • For Love: Dave, Klaus, Vanya, Leonard
  • I Thought It Was Real: Cha-Cha, Hazel, Vanya, Leonard, Handler, Five, Agnes
  • I Can’t Live A Lie: Allison, Luther, Five, Diego, Grace, Handler, Cha-Cha, Hazel
Season 1, Episode 5 "Number Five"Alongside questioning what is going on with Vanya, there is a need to question who is “The Handler,” what is “The Commission” and are Five’s efforts futile?
Director(s) Ellen Kuras
Writer(s) Bob DeLaurentis
Air Date 2/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
The Handler Kate Walsh
Agnes Sheila McCarthy
  • The Veteran: Five, Klaus, Diego, Luther
  • The Greatest Love: Allison, Leonard, Vanya
  • Would You Like A Position In Middle Management?: The Handler, Cha-Cha, Hazel, Agnes, Luther, Five, Diego, Klaus
Season 1, Episode 4 "Man On The Moon"What’s in Hazel’s briefcase is revealed alongside how Luther got so bulky and how Klaus’ childhood was like.
Director(s) Ellen Kuras
Writer(s) Lauren Schmidt Hissrich
Air Date 2/15/2019
  • How Things Were Before: Luther, Reginald
  • A Good Time to Reconcile: Allison, Vanya, Leonard, Diego, Luther, Five
  • Never Act On Your Own: Diego, Detective Patch, Klaus, Cha-Cha, Hazel, Ben
Season 1, Episode 3 "Extra Ordinary"As mom gets investigated, Cha-Cha and Hazel pay a visit to the Umbrella Academy.
Director(s) Andrew Bernstein
Writer(s) Ben Nedivi, Matt Wolpert
Air Date 2/15/2019
  • Over The Course of 13 Years: Grace, Vanya, Allison, Luther
  • Mommie Dearest: Grace, Diego, Luther, Allison
  • Home Invasion: Cha-Cha, Hazel, Luther, Klaus, Diego, Allison, Grace, Number Five, Vanya
Season 1, Episode 2 “Run Boy Run”As Number 5 gets hunted, he tries to find one sibling who can help him stop what might be the apocalypse.
Director(s) Andrew Bernstein
Writer(s) Steve Blackman
Air Date 2/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
Eudora Patch Ashley Madekwe
Leonard John Magaro
Cha-Cha Mary J. Blige
Hazel Cameron Britton
  • We Could Have Been Good, You And I: Eudora, Diego, Luther
  • This Lonely Life: Vanya, Allison, Leonard
  • On The Run & Running Out Of Time: Klaus, Number Five, Vanya, Cha-Cha, Hazel
Season 1, Episode 1 “We Only See Each Other At Weddings and Funerals”The Umbrella Academy will surely become the next show you’ll see people flooding Netflix’s social media with “When is season 2?”
Creator Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba, Steve Blackman
Director(s) Peter Hoar
Writer(s) Jeremy Slater
Air Date 2/15/2019
Genre(s) Sci-Fi, Action, Drama
Good If You Like Complicated Family Dynamics

Superheroes

Isn’t For You If You Don’t Like Melodrama
Introduced This Episode
Reginald Colm Feore
Mom Jordan Claire Robbins
Mr. Pogo Adam Godley
Luther Tom Hopper
Diego David Castañeda
Allison Emmy Raver-Lampman
Klaus Robert Sheehan
Number 5 Aidan Gallagher
Ben               Ethan Hwang
Vanya Ellen Page

How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive

15 COMMENTS

  1. I wouldn’t necessarily call Reginald unloving. The purpose of mom, in my mind, was to provide the love he was afraid to give. For he already lost his wife, came to America (?) and decided to raise these kids to their fullest potential. Yet, in a way, I think he feared what could happen if he got too close. Hence when Five disappeared there was a portrait hanged up and when Ben died, a statue. The man likely felt deeply for his kids but felt an immense pain he never shook and didn’t want to experience that again.

    Plus, when it comes to Vanya, he gave her the one thing he had left of his ex. So he definitely loved in his own way and I hope the kids gets to confront that in season 2.

    • I get what you are saying, the portrait of #5 and the statue of Ben were telling, but other than that, from what the show has given us, I would say in my mind Reginald was unloving. Reginald creating Grace (Mom) in my opinion wasn’t because he was afraid to love the kids, it was out of necessity. We know for a fact that at age 4 Vanya was throwing nannies out of windows and throwing them down the stairs left and right, Refinald knew that if he built a robot that could take on the hits that Vanya was throwing out it would keep everything else in line. I would say the mom giving the kids a bit of love and nurturing took even more weight and responsibility off of Reginald in terms of him being a real dad.

      The fact that the kids didn’t even get names until Grace named them speaks volumes. The fact that he didn’t even look up from his work to say good night to the kids is another point. Locking Vanya in a chamber because of her powers and literally drugging her was disgusting. Locking up an 8 year old Klaus in a damn cemetery was disgusting. Using Allison to rumor her sister into thinking she was ordinary was disgusting as well.

      Like I get what you are saying but for now the writing is on the wall. Come season 2 things could be shown differently that maybe he did love them. The siblings being better to Vanya is probably the only thing that could change in the timeline so to speak. If Reginald is an emotional abusive parent than sadly that isn’t going to change no matter what the timeline is or whether or not the siblings actually like each other or get along.

      Thoughts?

      • I see what you mean. I guess since I know some emotionally unavailable people, I’m taking the little glimmers of hope he provided the kids and ran with it.

        As for the Vanya thing, honestly, I question if it was because he knew the Apocalypse was coming and she’d cause it – thus he originally tried to get her to control her powers and when that wasn’t working, he used Allison. Hoping the isolation, her thinking she is normal, it would stop things. Isn’t that what he pushed when speaking to Klaus in the after life? That he knew much more than he ever let on?

        • I would say yes, but Klaus has more powers in them just talking to the dead. He also has telekansis and can fly, so Reginald was also talking about Klaus tapping into more of his powers. But before Reginald decided to kill himself it was already I wanna say 13 years or so since the siblings all came together anyway. So it was clear that none of them were on speaking terms with each other even though Reginald was still alive. I think they said after Ben died the siblings all just left. Reginald clearly felt that killing himself was the only way the siblings would come together. Which speaks volumes to me.

          What Reginald knows is still a mystery. Either way the damage of him wanting to suppress Vanya’s powers clearly had an impact in the end.

  2. Yes. To all of what you said. The foundation could be a bit better but again with the siblings going back in time it makes me think that they may as you said, rewrite history to include Vanya and make her more apart of the family, but even with that whether on not that changes how Reginald treated the kids has yet to be seen. Sadly it seems like Reginald was just an unloving, hardass in general lol

    I get the hate for Luther but it still makes a bit sad that Luther wasn’t able to get away from his father like the other kids did. I mean it makes since. When it comes to abusive households there always seems to be that one sibling who just isn’t able to break away from the abusive parent like his or her siblings do. Considering that Reginald also looked at Luther in a different way then the rest if his siblings it makes it that much more easier to understnad why Luther stayed at the academy. Reginald saw Luther as his “favorite” so it was harder for Luther to see his dad in a bad light. Unlike his siblings.

  3. Hey Amari, I read all of the recaps.

    For me I absolutely LOVE this show. I watched all 10 episode’s all the way through from start to finish.

    I agree with some of your thoughts about certain things with the show, I understand what you mean about making the characters a bit more complex but I like the underlying issues and unresovled emotions that the show has given us. I don’t necessarily think that the show has to spell everything out for us but I get what you mean about wanting the timeline to be a bit more fleshed out.

    I really like that the superpowers weren’t being thrown out there every five seconds. Again I like when powered up characters have a bit of normalcy to them. A show with superheroes just chilling in a room talking and having a discussion about things other than fighting crime is really refreshing to me.

    I really dig this show a lot and I hope we get a season 2. There really is a lot more things that can be developed and fleshed out.

    Thoughts?

    • I can see your point about liking the show for it leaned more towards the mundane bits of being a super hero rather than some big baddie to take down and massive fights and destruction. I still wish though, if it was going to show the non-crime fighting side more, they made the emotional moments not seem so cheap. Also, I found it sad how the villains were like Jesse and James from Pokemon in a way. Capable of doing a lot, but more than half the time failing, even with a powerful organization behind them.

      • Again, I maybe a little too hyped from the show but I think that the emotional moments were there and they weren’t cheap at all.

        I liked the villians for the most point. I get how it maybe frustrating that the badies didn’t actually get the goodies but I can kind of see from a story point of few as well. There is still a lot of story left to be told with whole more important and powerful villians than the likes of Cha Cha and Hazel. They were great by the way. MJB has really been killing in her acting roles lately.

        Also the academy fight from ep 3 was grest. From the way it was shot to the music. I loved it.

        Also I want you to guess who my favorite character is or sibling(s) are?

          • Yes and also Allison lol. I know that you have been very critical of the show and of the development of some of the characters, but I think what we have seen so far from these characters is more than enough for me to be on board with them. Number 5 is also a great character as well the young actor definitely holds his own when it comes to acting with the grownups.

            I agree with you on making some of the characters more complex and going a bit deeper with the characters backstory though as well. But again thats where season 2 comes in hopefully. One of the things that has me excited is that the writers have a legit plan for the show. If a second season happens the writers know what they want to do.

            Also I really dig # 3 (Allison’s) power. Shoot if I had that power boy, it’s over with lol that’s the thing her power is very useful but also very dangerous as well. Just my opinion I guess.

          • I’m looking forward to them trying to rewrite history and be nice to Vanya. Which perhaps is why they were light on the backstory since season 2 would be all about rewriting their backstories.

            And honestly, I do think most of my criticism is rooted in either the show not being like the majority of superhero shows, outside of what we see on CW, and I wish when it came to binge watch shows, they were written to be binged watched vs. done like weekly series.

          • I get what you are saying but I guess whether a show feels binge worthy or not is just how you see the show as a whole. I personally binged TUA all the way through the first time and will actually watch it again as I wait for On My Block to come back lol

            There isn’t one character or emotional moment that you connected with lol?

          • Vanya got me in my feelings a few times but I think that is partly because I’m a fan of Ellen Page. Heck, she is the reason I even started to watch this show. Though there were other moments. I remember a moment between Luther and Allison, maybe when she had him talk to her daughter, that got me in my feelings.

            More so the stuff early on just made me roll my eyes. By the end, when Allison pushed them to forgive Vanya, I was able to connect more.

          • Yeah. Ellen’s acting was really good. I couldn’t imagine having the life that those kids did. Having superowers but only being seen and used as a tool or an experiment by your “father” then on top of that not being able to connect with any of your siblings on a personal like Vanya, was sad to watch.

            It’s why Allison was one of my fave characters. She was really the only character to do some real self reflection in how her adult life was. Her realizing that she didn’t work or earn any of the succes that she had, her realizing that she probably didn’t have any real friends that she didn’t have to rumor to hang out with her, judging from her upbringing it wouldn’t surprise me if Allison had issues wanting and accepting love, along with her not being able to accept a person that she may love not loving her back, and her using her powers to obtain that love back even if it wasn’t real (Patrick).

            It was shown in ep 3 that Alllison realized her treatment of Vanya and that she wanted to be a better sisters towards her. I think you were right in saying that it wasn’t until Allison became a mother herself that she was able to see the error of her ways, that and her unfortunately losing her daughter because she used her powers on her, but then again its all that Allison ever knew. Lastly, I loved how Allison was fighting to get V out of the chamber. Also the smile the two of them had during V’s concert was great too.

            Thoughts?

          • That smile had me all the way messed up. Even with Vanya going off the deep end, there was still a part of her that wanted to be loved and accepted by her family. So that exchanged smile was not just an act of acknowledgement but perhaps also forgiveness.

            And that’s what I meant by not having the depth it could. It wasn’t until the end we really got a sense of the humanity. Before that, at best you got to see the foundation being laid down and at worse, they were trying to bring up ways to quickly get you invested without having the proper foundation laid out.

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